An exhibition of photography and drawings of an important Mexican painter. Plus, South American textile works and new public art in Culver City. Here are five exhibitions and events to check out in the coming week:
“Unseen: 35 Years of Collecting Photographs,” at the Getty Museum. In 1984, the museum’s precursor, the J. Paul Getty Trust, began to collect photography. Now the Getty has holdings of more than 148,000 prints, but only a fraction of those have ever been exhibited at the museum. This show gathers a small selection of some of those images, by photographers from all over the world, and puts them on display in thematic groupings that touch on themes related to the body, the city, animals and experimental photograms. These include new acquisitions by Laura Aguilar and Osamu Shiihara, as well as images by other figures in the collection, including Anthony Hernandez, Carrie Mae Weems, Mary Ellen Mark, Veronika Kellndorfer and many more. Through March 8. 1200 Getty Center Drive, Brentwood, Los Angeles, getty.edu.
Rufino Tamayo, “Innovation and Experimentation,” at the LACMA gallery at Charles White Elementary School. An exhibition drawn from LACMA’s collection focuses on the celebrated Mexican painter’s works on paper — where he often worked out formal and technical issues. The show includes 20 works on paper that center on his depictions of the human figure, as well as five Mesoamerican sculptures (Tamayo was an avid collector of ancient indigenous objects). As part of the exhibition, L.A. artist Raul Baltazar will work with students at the school to create a collaborative installation inspired by Tamayo’s work. Opens Saturday and runs through July 11. 2401 Wilshire Blvd., Westlake, Los Angeles, lacma.org.
Tatsuo Miyajima, at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art. This is the Japanese artist’s first museum exhibition in the United States in more than 20 years. Miyajima is known for employing LED lighting in ways that toy with the conventions of lighting generally employed for commercial signage. Here, he uses them to create installations that are luminous and contemplative. Opens Sunday and runs through April 19. 1130 State St., Santa Barbara, sbma.net.
“Arte, Mujer y Memoria: Arpilleras From Chile,” at the Museum of Latin American Art. Hand-stitched and hand-woven textiles from Chile feature narratives of daily life — which, in this case, often touched on issues of struggle and politics. The show gathers more than 30 arpilleras produced by Chilean artisans between 1976 and 2019. On view through March 29. 628 Alamitos Ave., Long Beach, molaa.org.
Nate Mohler, “Culver Current,” at Culver City City Hall. A new-media artist, Mohler is debuting a work of public art inspired by fountains — but it doesn’t employ a single drop of water. Opens today at 5 p.m. Culver City City Hall, 9770 Culver Blvd., Culver City, culvercurrent.art.
Annie Lapin, “Strange Little Beast,” at Shulamit Nazarian. The Los Angeles painter is known for taking aspects of landscape and interpreting them in ways that seem to invoke paintings of 19th century ruins by way of graffiti-covered contemporary urban landscape. Her invented worlds materialize in a new series of works she is now displaying at Shulamit Nazarian, her first show at the gallery. Through Saturday. 616 N. La Brea Ave., Hancock Park, Los Angeles, shulamitnazarian.com.
Umar Rashid (Frohawk Two Feathers), “The World You Know Is a Fiction…” at the Vincent Price Art Museum. Rashid takes American historical narratives, scrambles them, then reimagines them in paintings that take on issues such as colonization, war and the building of empires. Produced over several years, the work on view at the museum explores the vicissitudes of power and centers on figures that occupy his so-called “Frenglish Empire,” a fusion of the French and British colonial enterprises. Expect to see battalions of militiamen, freed slaves, indigenous nobility, all drawing on the visual and material traditions of colonial art. Through Saturday. 1301 Cesar Chavez Ave., Monterey Park, vincentpriceartmuseum.org.
Joe Rudko, “Tiny Mirrors,” at Von Lintel Gallery. From a distance, they appear to be pixelated images; get up close and you’ll see parts of vintage photographs all spliced together to create fragmented realities. This is the first exhibition at the gallery for the Seattle-based artist. Through Saturday. Bendix Building, 1206 Maple Ave., #212, downtown Los Angeles, vonlintel.com.
Carolyn Castaño, “The Valley of the Sun / After América,” at Walter Maciel Gallery. Using watercolor, gouache and acrylic on paper, the Los Angeles painter combines geometric elements and fragments of landscape to imagine notions of modernity and progress through a Latin American aesthetic. The exhibition takes its title from Sogamoso in Colombia, a settlement known as “City of the Sun.” Separately, the gallery is featuring a show of paintings on paper by Dean Monogenis; the works tackle architectural themes. Through Saturday. 2642 S. La Cienega Blvd., Culver City, waltermacielgallery.com.
Carolina Caycedo, “Apariciones / Apparitions,” at the Vincent Price Art Museum. As part of a project that was jointly curated by VPAM and the Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens, Caycedo spent time at the Huntington making a work that responded to the museum collection: a collaborative dance piece with choreographer Marina Magalhães that was inspired by indigenous and African dance practices and that, in many ways, responds to the issues of colonization raised by the entire Huntington enterprise. VPAM is now showing the video from that work, which it has acquired as part of its permanent collection. Through Saturday. 1301 Cesar Chavez Ave., Monterey Park, vincentpriceartmuseum.org.
“W|alls: Defend, Divide and the Divine” at the Annenberg Space for Photography. An exhibition takes a broad look at the ways in which humans have constructed barriers and the myriad purposes they have served — and continue to serve — be they political, spiritual or aesthetic. Through Dec. 29. 2000 Avenue of the Stars, Century City, annenbergphotospace.org.
“The Archival Impulse: 40 Years at LACE,” at Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions. LACE, the historic Los Angeles art spot that gave key shows to Mike Kelley and groups such as Survival Research Laboratories in the 1980s, is turning 40 — and to mark the occasion, the organization has been poking around its metaphorical attic (aka its archive) to see what it might turn up. This show gathers elements from that archive as well as video works by a range of Los Angeles artists, including Jim Shaw, Susan Mogul and Reza Abdoh. Through Dec. 31. 6522 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood, welcometolace.org.
“Winter Group Show,” at Lora Schlesinger Gallery. Schlesinger has been in the art biz for 45 years. Now she is hanging up her art hat and headed into retirement. This salon-style group show, her last, will bring together many of the artists her gallery has shown over the years. Through Dec. 31. Bergamot Station, #B5b, Santa Monica, loraschlesinger.com.
Oscar Castillo, “L@s Tarahumaras: Life, Culture and Challenges,” at Jean Deleage Gallery. In 1972, the photographer reported a story about the Tarahumara runners of the High Sierras of Chihuahua. This exhibition showcases some of that work. Through Dec. 31. Casa 0101 Theater, 2102 1st St., Boyle Heights, casa0101.org.
Hugo Crosthwaite, “Tijuas: Death March, Tijuana Bibles and Other Legends,” at Luis De Jesus Los Angeles. The painter is showing a new series of drawings, panel paintings and animations that chart the ebb and flow of humanity, along with unseen magical phenomena, in the U.S.-Mexico-border region where he lives and works. (The artist divides his time between Rosarito and San Diego.) A recent series pays tributes to Goya’s “Caprichos,” capturing grotesqueries and folly. Through Jan. 4. 2685 S. La Cienega Blvd., Culver City, luisdejesus.com.
Harry Fonseca, “Coyote Leaves the Res,” at the Autry Museum. The museum acquired the estate of the Sacramento-born painter and is now presenting works from his archive. Fonseca was known for his depictions of Coyote, a canine trickster who materializes in all manner of very human settings. It’s work that nods at the artist’s indigenous heritage without ever getting caught up in cliches. Through Jan. 5. 4700 Western Heritage Way, Griffith Park, Los Angeles, theautry.org.
“The Allure of Matter: Material Art From China,” at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. A group exhibition features contemporary Chinese artists who are deeply engaged with their materials, be it wood, fabric or assembled scraps of photography. The show spans four decades and features work by Ai Weiwei, Cai Guo-Chiang, Song Dong and many others. Through Jan. 5. 5905 Wilshire Blvd., Mid-Wilshire, lacma.org.
“Lari Pittman: Declaration of Independence,” at the Hammer Museum. This is the most comprehensive retrospective of the Los Angeles painter, known for producing deeply layered, wildly ornate canvases that draw from an array of historical painting, textile and graphic traditions to address a range of social and historical conditions. In his work, he touches on queer sexuality, colonialism and the deadly ravages of the AIDS crisis — and all the in-between pieces of life that have to do with love, sex and death. Through Jan. 5. 10899 Wilshire Blvd., Westwood, hammer.ucla.edu.
“Indian Country: The Art of David Bradley,” at the Autry Museum of the American West. This survey exhibition examines the four-decade career of Bradley (Chippewa), who is known for producing vibrant, figurative paintings inspired by the Native experience — while also wryly poking at stereotypes and Hollywood tropes. Through Jan. 5. 4700 Western Heritage Way, Griffith Park, Los Angeles, TheAutry.org.
Charles Gaines, “Palm Trees and Other Works,” and Philip Guston, “Resilience in 1971,” at Hauser & Wirth. The L.A. conceptual artist is known for using numbered grid systems to generate patterns and images — most famously, of trees. His new series is inspired by native California palms from Palm Canyon near Palm Springs. Also on view are works by the late Abstract Expressionist Philip Guston, who in his later years, became known for delving into figuration and the grotesque. The show focuses specifically on works from 1971, a pivotal year for the artist, including his Roma paintings and Richard Nixon drawings. Through Jan. 5. 901 E. 3rd St., downtown Los Angeles, hauserwirth.com.
Calvin Marcus, “Go Hang a Salami Im a Lasagna Hog,” at David Kordansky Gallery. Marcus creates paintings, installations and ceramics that are infused with humor (imagine a pair of ceramic eyeballs peering at you from a plinth). In his second show at the gallery, he is toying with scale and ideas of precarity. Through Jan. 11. 5130 W. Edgewood Place, Mid-Wilshire, davidkordanskygallery.com.
“L.A. on Fire,” at Wilding Cran Gallery. A group exhibition examines fire — both its cleansing and destructive properties — as it relates to the city of Los Angeles. Whether it be through uprising or climate change or poetic license (think: Ed Ruscha’s “Los Angeles County Museum on Fire”), the more than 50 artists in this exhibition explore its significance in a range of works. These include John Divola, Salomón Huerta, Juan Capistrán, Karon Davis, Gajin Fujita, Rachel Mason and many others. Through Jan. 11. 1700 S. Santa Fe Ave., Unit 460, downtown Los Angeles, wildingcran.com.
Tatiana Trouvé, “On the Eve of Never Leaving,” at Gagosian. The Paris-based artist has a series of paintings and sculptures on view in Los Angeles that fuse visions of natural ecosystems with the hard objects that give away evidence of human presence. Her scenes, which reveal a dexterous use of surprising materials, are both haunting and dreamlike. Through Jan. 11. 456 N. Camden Ave., Beverly Hills, gagosian.com.
“Mexicali Biennial: Calafia — Manifesting the Terrestrial Paradise” at the Armory Center for the Arts. The latest iteration of this roving, cross-border biennial is landing in Pasadena and the theme on this go-around are the literary origins of our state: Calafia, the black queen and her Amazon warriors who figure in Garci Rodríguez de Montalvo’s 16th century novel “Las Sergas de Esplandian,” the figure from which California gets its name. Featured in the show are artists such as Sandy Rodriguez, Mely Barragán, Chelle Barbour, Noé Olivas, Chinwe Okona, Cog*nate Collective, Invasorix and many others. As in other iterations of the biennial, there will be more to the show than the exhibition at the Armory Center, with satellite programming in Calexico, Mexicali and Tijuana. Through Jan. 12. 145 N. Raymond Ave., Pasadena, armoryarts.org.
“Loitering is delightful,” at Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery. In his essay “Loitering Is Delightful,” writer Ross Gay explores the meaning of the word and the ways it is employed as a tag of criminality when used to describe people of color. This group show, featuring work by artists such as Cauleen Smith, Milano Chow, Lauren Davis Fisher and many others, invites dawdling and other forms of “non-productive” activity. Through Jan. 12. 4800 Hollywood Blvd., East Hollywood, lamag.org.
“Manet and Modern Beauty,” at the Getty Museum. Painter Edouard Manet was notorious for large, confrontational nudes that unabashedly challenged convention in their day (such as his infamous “Olympia,” from 1863) and for being part of an upstart group of artists that turned their rejections from the French Academy into the now famous Salon des Refusés. But toward the end of his life, he painted smaller, more intimate works that depicted Paris street life, stylish women and café society. The exhibition will display more than 90 paintings and drawings from the final years of his life. Through Jan. 12. 1200 Getty Center Drive, Brentwood, getty.edu.
Martin Durazo, “Monolith(ic),” and Chris Kallmyer, “Sundown Shelter,” at the Grand Central Art Center. The Santa Ana arts center has several exhibitions on view. This includes a new installation by Durazo consisting of a Lamassu, the winged Assyrian deity (a symbol of power and protection), which will anchor a structure that will serve as a site of performance and lectures and other public events. Also on view is a new video work by Kallmyer that features Slavic pagan performers in Warsaw. Through Jan.12. 125 N. Broadway, Santa Ana, grandcentralartcenter.com.
Sadie Barnette, “The New Eagle Creek Saloon,” at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles. The Oakland-based artist has created an installation that reimagines the Eagle Creek Saloon, the first black-owned gay bar in San Francisco — which happened to be owned by her father, Rodney Barnette (also a founder of the Compton chapter of the Black Panther Party). One part monument, one part sculpture and one part social space, the installation is meant to be the site of regular events. Through Jan. 16. 1717 E. 7th St., downtown Los Angeles, theicala.org.
Edward and Nancy Kienholz, “The Merry-Go-World or Begat by Chance and the Wonder Horse Trigger,” at L.A. Louver. In the 1990s, the artist pair, known for their assemblages and narrative tableaux, created a large-scale merry-go-round installation inspired by accidents of birth. Using old bits of furniture, toys and taxidermied animals, they created individual mounts inspired by people in different places and different stations: a chairmaker in Egypt, a street barber in Bombay, a girl in a Rio favela, a wealthy woman in Paris — all demonstrating that the life we are born to is pure chance. It is the first time the work will be seen in L.A. since it debuted in 1992. Through Jan. 18. 45 N. Venice Blvd., Venice, lalouver.com.
R.B. Kitaj, “Collages and Prints, 1964-75,” at L.A. Louver. Kitaj was known for bright paintings that focused on the human figure. He was also a bibliophile who was infatuated with the printed image, which he found ways to mix and remix. This show features collages and prints — the collages served as the basis of his prints — that span a 12-year period from 1964 to 1975. Through Jan. 18. 45 N. Venice Blvd., Venice, lalouver.com.
“The Box Project,” at Durón Gallery at SPARC. This exhibition charts three collectives of women’s artists operating in Paris, Mexico City and L.A. who exchanged small objects among themselves. These groups referred to themselves as “salons” in reference to the French intellectual gatherings of the 17th century. Through Jan. 18. 685 Venice Blvd., Venice, sparcinla.org.
Francisco Toledo, “Fire and Earth,” at Latin American Masters. The Oaxacan painter, who died this fall, was also a gifted sculptor and ceramicist. This exhibition features almost three dozen works from the artist’s estate, including self portraits, playful works influenced by his dogs and indigenous traditions of zoomorphic depictions in art, and a mournful sculpture that was inspired by the disappearance of 43 students in the state of Guerrero in 2014. A fine opportunity to revel in the works of a figure that essayist Paul Theroux once described as “the embodiment of Oaxaca’s vortex of energy.” Through Jan. 18. Bergamot Station, 2525 Michigan Ave., #E2, Santa Monica, latinamericanmasters.com.
“Nineteen Nineteen” at the Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens. Exactly a century ago, Henry and Arabella Huntington signed the trust document that established the Huntington Library in San Marino. This exhibition marks that momentous occasion by looking at the era in which the museum was established, the roiling years after World War I. Featured in the show are photographs, paintings, sculpture, maps, posters, rare books and other objects that define that historical moment. Through Jan. 20. 1150 Oxford Road, San Marino, huntington.org.
“The Collective Then: An Historical Survey of the Collective,” at Residency Art Gallery. Twenty years ago a group of 20 Inglewood artists came together to form a collective that could help promote work, secure exhibition space and implement public programs — all with a focus on black artists and black-owned galleries or artist-run spaces. Among its ranks, it counted Cecil Ferguson, one of the first African American curators at LACMA, assemblage artist John Outterbridge and the late Vida Brown, who was a curator at CAAM. The show includes art, archival video and other ephemera. Through Jan. 25. 310 E. Queen St., Inglewood, residencyart.com.
Russell Crotty, “Paintings Distant and Perilous,” at Shoshana Wayne. In his fifth solo show at the gallery, the artist, who has long had a fascination with space, is presenting about two dozen new paintings influenced by astronomy and lunar exploration — inspired, in part, by a 2015-16 residency at the Lick Observatory, part of the Institute of Arts & Sciences at UC Santa Cruz. The series fuses an array of celestial phenomena with more earthly landscapes, among other imagery. Through Jan. 25. 4835 W. Jefferson Blvd., West Adams, shoshanawayne.com.
Laura Owens, “Books and Tables,” at Matthew Marks Gallery. The Los Angeles painter is displaying a series of works, including handmade artist books, some of which have been a decade in the making. Through Jan. 25. 1062 N. Orange Grove, West Hollywood, matthewmarks.com.
“Following the Box,” at the USC Pacific Asia Museum. A show inspired by found photographs links past and present: 12 contemporary artists — two American and 10 Indian — have created works based on images snapped by an unknown U.S. serviceman in India at the end of World War II. The new pieces encompass a wide variety of media, including painting, installation and artist books. Through Jan. 26. 46 N. Los Robles Ave., Pasadena, pacificasiamuseum.usc.edu.
“No Wrong Holes: Thirty Years of Nayland Blake” at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles. The influential artist is know for creating works out of modest materials — old shoes, racks of books, old bottles — that touch on heady topics: the vagaries of race, sexuality, gender and dominance. The artist’s adult-sized gingerbread house in one of the galleries will likely generate all manner of chatter, but the poignant works of video, assemblage and drawing will be worth marinading in too. Through Jan. 26. 1717 E. Seventh St., downtown Los Angeles, theicala.org.
“The Foundation of the Museum,” at the Museum of Contemporary Art. This permanent collection exhibition marks the museum’s 40th anniversary with a display of history-making works, including Chris Burden’s “Exposing the Foundation of the Museum,” 1986, in which the artist dug up a portion of the museum’s floor, revealing its concrete foundations. Through Jan. 27. 152 N. Central Ave., downtown Los Angeles, moca.org.
“All Women Are Dangerous II,” at Building Bridges Art Exchange. A group show organized by Marisa Caichiolo brings together art by women photographers exploring questions of identity and gender presentation. Participants include Aline Smithson, Brandy Trigueros, J.K. Lavin and many more. Through Feb. 2. Bergamot Station, 2525 Michigan Ave., Unit F2, Santa Monica, buildingbridgesartexchange.org.
lauren woods, “American Monument,” at the Beall Center for Art + Technology. In this timely exhibition, the artist explores the ways in which African Americans have lost their lives due to police violence. Painstakingly compiled through government records requests, the central work is a sound installation in which viewers can employ the installed turntables to play audio from police killings. The audio is broadcast within the gallery space and to other exterior locations too. The installation generated headlines last year after the director of the University Art Museum at Cal State Long Beach, where it was supposed to be shown, was fired — and woods silenced the work. Now “American Monument” is on view at UCI, where it can be heard in full. Through Feb. 8. UC Irvine, 712 Arts Plaza, Irvine, beallcenter.uci.edu.
Christopher Myers, “Drapetomania,” at Fort Gansevoort. In sculptures and textile works, the New York-based artist, illustrator and playwright examines how narratives of freedom are also linked to narratives about bondage. The exhibition takes its title from a bogus theory promoted by 19th century physician Samuel Cartwright that described a mania — an irrational desire or condition — that caused enslaved Africans to want to flee. Among his pieces is a large-scale work that depicts a surge in the removal of Confederate monuments in the United States. Through Feb. 8. 4859 Fountain Ave., East Hollywood, fortgansevoort.com.
Gabriela Ruiz, “Full of Tears,” at the Vincent Price Art Museum. In her first solo museum show, the Los Angeles artist also known as “Leather Papi” employs a mix of media — video, 3-D mapping, sculptural installation — to examine identity and the self. Expect a full, wild immersion. Through Feb. 15. East Los Angeles College, 1301 Avenida Cesar Chavez, Monterey Park, vincentpriceartmuseum.org.
Rodney McMillian, “Brown: Videos from the Black Show,” at the Underground Museum. This exhibition consists of a suite of video works previously shown as part of an installation at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia that serve as meditations on class, race, gender and economic status around a central axis of blackness. Through Feb. 16. 3508 W. Washington Blvd., Arlington Heights, theunderground-museum.org.
Shirin Neshat, “I Will Greet the Sun Again,” at the Broad Museum. This is the most extensive exhibition to date of work by the New York-based artist, who is known for her elegant photographs and videos, each of which mine an intersecting array of topics, including exile, justice, politics and gender. Though widely known for installations that explore the vagaries of Iranian culture and history, the exhibition shows Neshat turning to other subjects, too: Azerbaijan, the Arab Spring, and a series of surreal stories that she uncovers in the desert of New Mexico. Through Feb. 16. 221 S. Grand Ave., downtown Los Angeles, thebroad.org.
Phillip K. Smith III, “10 Columns,” at Bridge Projects. Smith is known for his large-scale architectural installation projects, such as the mirrored structure he created for the 2017 iteration of Desert X in the Coachella Valley, and the defunct Detroit skybridge he turned into a beacon of colorful light. For the debut of this Hollywood gallery, the artist has created an immersive light installation for the 7,000-square-foot space that is inspired by the shifting nature of light in Los Angeles over the course of a day. Through Feb. 16. 6820 Santa Monica Blvd., Hollywood, bridgeprojects.com.
“Soft Schindler,” at the Mak Center. In 1949, Pauline Schindler, estranged from her husband, R.M. Schindler, painted half of the interior of the Modernist home they shared on Kings Road in West Hollywood a shade of salmon pink. For the architect, the paint job breached a design ethos that was all about natural materials. This exhibition explores that idea — how the various inhabitants of the Schindler House have over time softened its hard “masculine” edges with so-called “feminine” design flourishes: pillows, flower pots and curtains. These design binaries inspired the works on view in the show, which include installations by artists such as Tanya Aguiñiga, Bettina Hubby and Alice Lang, among others. Through Feb. 16. 835 N. Kings Road, West Hollywood, makcenter.org.
Julie Green, “Flown Blue,” at the American Museum of Ceramic Art. Green is known for recycling secondhand porcelain to create original works in shades of cobalt blue — among them “The Last Supper,” a large-scale installation of more than 800 plates that features last meal requests from inmates on death row. Through Feb. 23. 399 N. Garey Ave., Pomona, amoca.org.
“Beside the Edge of the World,” at the Huntington Library, Art Museum and Botanical Gardens. Every year, the museum selects a group of artists for a yearlong residency and collaboration. This year, that group includes Nina Katchadourian, Beatriz Santiago Muñoz, and Rosten Woo, and writers Dana Johnson and Robin Coste Lewis, poet laureate for the city of Los Angeles. The show features work by each artist. Through Feb. 24, 2020. 1151 Oxford Road, San Marino, huntington.org.
George Rodriguez, “Double Vision,” at the Vincent Price Art Museum. For decades, this Los Angeles photographer (whom I profiled last year) captured every aspect of life in Los Angeles: the Eastside blowouts, the rise of rap (he made some of the earliest professional portraits of N.W.A), farm labor activism, the Chicano moratorium, Hollywood dinners, a gig by the Doors at the Whiskey a Go Go, prizefighters in the moments before they climb into the ring and shoeshine boys in downtown. Now the Vincent Price has put together the photographer’s first career retrospective, featuring a range of his images from the 1950s to the early ‘90s. Through Feb. 29. East Los Angeles College, 1301 Cesar Chavez Ave., Monterey Park, vincentpriceartmuseum.org.
Timothy Washington, “Citizen/Ship,” at the California African American Museum. The Los Angeles artist is known for assemblages he crafts from found objects that he embeds into large-scale armatures often dipped in cotton and white glue. For this show, he is displaying his first installation project, “Citizen/Ship,” a work that fuses Afrofuturism and rah-rah patriotism. Through March 1. 600 State Drive, Exposition Park, caamuseum.org.
“Through a Different Lens: Stanley Kubrick Photographs,” at the Skirball Cultural Center. Before he was a film director he was a photographer, taking pictures for Look magazine in the 1940s. This exhibition gathers images from the Look archive and maps the early aesthetic talents of one of cinema’s great eyes. Through March 8. 2701 N. Sepulveda Blvd., Brentwood, skirball.org.
“El Sueño Americano: The American Dream, Photographs by Tom Kiefer,” at the Skirball Cultural Center. Kiefer gathers objects seized by officials on the U.S. border — objects often deemed “potentially lethal” or “nonessential” — and creates tidy arrangements that he then photographs. The images serve as searing catalogs of the ways in which immigrants are treated upon arrival in the U.S. Kiefer came upon many of these items while working as a janitor at a Customs and Border Protection station in Arizona. Through March 8. 2701 N. Sepulveda Blvd., Brentwood, skirball.org.
OCMAEXPAND: Six new artist installations at the Orange County Museum of Art. The museum, still in its temporary space in an old furniture showroom near South Coast Plaza (do visit — this is a great space), has a whole new rack of installations by six artists working on the Pacific Rim, all of which are inspired by the environment and the natural world. This includes installations by Carolina Caycedo, Daniel Duford, Ximena Garrido-Lecca, Mulyana, Robert Zhao Renhui and Yang Yongliang. Through March 15. South Coast Plaza Village, 1661 W. Sunflower Ave., Santa Ana, ocmaexpand.org.
“The Medea Insurrection: Radical Women Artists,” at the Wende Museum of the Cold War. In the years before the fall of the Berlin Wall, artists in Eastern Europe turned to mythology to challenge authority and question the roles of women in society. This show features work by underground women artists working in Eastern Europe alongside their cohorts from Southern California. Through April 5. A tour of the exhibition will be held Saturday at 1 p.m, followed by a reception and panel. 10808 Culver Blvd., Culver City, wendemuseum.org.
Betye Saar: “Call and Response,” at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Saar is one of the icons of the Black Arts Movements, a Los Angeles assemblagist known for taking some of the ugliest pieces of our culture’s detritus and making out of them things that are stirring and beautiful. This solo show examines the arc of her practice, pairing early schematic sketches with finished versions of her work from throughout her career. Through April 5. 5905 Wilshire Blvd., Mid-Wilshire, lacma.org.
“Natural History of Horror,” at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County. This exhibition explores our fascination with movie monsters with a display that includes film posters and props but also elements of the natural world that inspired their narratives. This includes a coelacanth fish, which served as the basis for the design of “The Creature From the Black Lagoon.” Through April 19. 900 Exposition Blvd., Exposition Park, nhm.org.
“Julie Mehretu,” at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. This mid-career survey by the New York-based painter brings together 35 paintings and nearly 40 works on paper that tackle themes such as architecture, landscape, the flows of capital and the displacement of people in abstract ways. Through May 17. 5905 Wilshire Blvd., Mid-Wilshire, lacma.org.
“With Pleasure: Pattern and Decoration in American Art 1972-1985,” at the Museum of Contemporary Art Los Angeles. In the 1970s, artists across the United States began to embrace forms of artistic production frequently described as feminine or domestic, traditions such as quilting, embroidery, weaving and interior design (such as wallpaper patterns). Artists took those ideas and media and pumped up the volume. This show, the first comprehensive, scholarly survey of this American art movement, will feature works by figures such as Merion Estes, Kendall Shaw and Takako Yamaguchi, as well as artists who aren’t directly associated with Pattern and Decoration but whose work bears tangential or indirect links. Through May 11. MOCA Grand Ave., 250 S. Grand Ave., downtown Los Angeles, moca.org.
Do Ho Suh, “348 West 22nd St.,” at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. A recent gift to the museum, this installation is a 1:1 scale reproduction of an apartment the artist once inhabited in New York City. The piece, made from transparent polyester, gives the architecture a ghostly effect and evokes issues of memory and home. On long-term view. 5905 Wilshire Blvd., Mid-Wilshire, lacma.org.
Daniel Hawkins, “Desert Lighthouse.” The Los Angeles-based artist is obsessed with producing works that toy with ideas of grandiosity, failure and gestures that border on the Sisyphean. (One of his goals as an artist is to ultimately build a scale replica of the Hoover Dam.) Now, Hawkins has installed a 50-foot-tall, fully functioning lighthouse in the Mojave Desert in the vicinity of Barstow. The piece even features a light to guide travelers through this rugged landscape. Directions and coordinates can be found on the website. On long-term view, Hinkley, Calif., desertlighthouse.org.