16 promising L.A. and O.C. museum exhibitions you can see now

Masked gallery-goers walk past paintings by Yoshitomo Nara at the newly reopened Los Angeles County Museum of Art.
Exhibits at the newly reopened Los Angeles County Museum of Art include a survey of works by Japanese artist Yoshitomo Nara.
(Museum Associates / LACMA)

The pandemic-delayed “Made in L.A.” biennial at the Hammer Museum and the Huntington Library, Art Museum and Botanical Gardens has opened, as has “Under a Mushroom Cloud” at the newly reopened Japanese American National Museum. Wayne Thiebaud in Laguna Beach, Yoshitomo Nara at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art — the number of exhibitions on view at Southern California museums keeps growing.

Check this list for weekly updates, and before you go, call or go online for reservation requirements and other COVID-19 protocols. Here are some shows that have our attention:

“Made in L.A. 2020: a version”
The Hammer’s fifth biennial, presented this year with the Huntington, has opened at last and is on view through Aug. 1 | TIMES FEATURE | REVIEW
Hammer Museum, 10899 Wilshire Blvd., Westwood. Closed Mondays. Free; reservations required. (310) 443-7000. Also at the Huntington, 1151 Oxford Road , San Marino. Closed Tuesdays. $13-$29; children younger than 4, free; advance purchase required. (626) 405-2100.


“Mesopotamia: Civilization Begins”
Statuary, pottery, wall paintings and other antiquities from the Louvre, on view through Aug. 16 | TIMES REVIEW
The Getty Villa, 17985 Pacific Coast Highway, Pacific Palisades. Closed Tue. Free; advanced tickets required. (310) 440-7300.

Also on view: “Assyria: Palace Art of Ancient Iraq” (through Sept. 5)

“Under a Mushroom Cloud: Hiroshima, Nagasaki, and the Atomic Bomb”
Personal effects of atomic bomb victims, on view through June 13
Japanese American National Museum, 100 N. Central Ave., Little Tokyo, L.A. Closed Mondays. Free; advance tickets required. (213) 625-0414.

Also on view: “Transcendients: Heroes at Borders” and “Transcendients: 100 Days of COVID-19 and Memorial to Healthcare Workers,” multimedia exhibits by Taiji Terasaki that salute social justice advocates and frontline medical personnel.

“Inside the Walt Disney Archives: 50 Years of Preserving the Magic”
On view through June 20 |TIMES FEATURE
Bowers Museum, 2002 N. Main St., Santa Ana. Closed Mondays. $10-$15; children younger than 12 free; advance purchase recommended. (714) 567-3600.

Also on view: “Test of Medal: Charles J. Shaw and the Montford Point Marines” (through June 27); “Treasures in Gold & Jade: Masterworks from Taiwan” (through Sept. 5); “Artistic Legacy: The Ann and Bill Cullen Collection” (Aug. 28 through winter 2022)

After a canceled season in 2020 — the first in 98 years — the Bowl will reopen with free shows for healthcare, grocery and other essential workers.

April 9, 2021

“Yoshitomo Nara”
A three-decade survey of works by the Japanese artist, on view through July 5. | TIMES REVIEW
Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 5905 Wilshire Blvd., L.A. Closed Wednesdays. $10-$25; ages 12 and younger are free; advance timed-entry tickets required. (323) 857-6010.


Also on view: “Not I: Throwing Voices (1500 BCE–2020 CE),” exploring ventriloquism in art (through July 25); “Cauleen Smith: Give It or Leave It,” multimedia works by the L.A.-based artist (through Oct. 31); “Bill Viola: Slowly Turning Narrative,” room-sized video installation (through June 27); “Vera Lutter: Museum in the Camera,” images of the LACMA campus (through Sept. 12); “Fiji: Art & Life in the Pacific” (through May 12); “Do Ho Suh: 348 West 22nd Street,” installation re-creating the artist’s New York apartment in sheets of translucent polyester (through May 16).

“Nikita Gale: Private Dancer”
Sculpture made of theatrical lighting trusses and programmed with lights that “dance” to an unheard soundtrack by Tina Turner, on view through May 9.
California African American Museum, 600 State Drive, Exposition Park, L.A. Closed Mondays. Free; reservations required. (213) 744-7432.

Also on view: “Men of Change: Power. Triumph. Truth.” (through May 30); “Sanctuary: Recent Acquisitions to the Permanent Collection” (through July 11); “Sula Bermúdez-Silverman: Neither Fish, Flesh, nor Fowl” (through May 2); “Enunciated Life” (through Aug. 15)

“The Art of the Brick”
Artworks made from LEGOs.
California Science Center, 700 Exposition Park Drive, L.A. Open daily. Permanent exhibits are free; special exhibits (including “The Art of the Brick”) and IMAX films vary in price. Advance reservations required. (323) 724-3623.

Also on view: “Mission 26: The Big Endeavour,” exploring the relocation of the space shuttle to Southern California.

“Free State”
Exploration of human rights, democracy, the environment on view through Sept. 18.
ESMoA (El Segundo Museum of Art), 208 Main St., El Segundo. Open Fridays and Saturdays. Free; advance timed-entry tickets required. (424) 277-1020.


Our weekend picks also include drive-in opera, an in-person screening of “Singin’ in the Rain” and a dance party with BLM co-founder Patrisse Cullors.

April 8, 2021

“Wayne Thiebaud: Clowns”
Paintings, drawings and etchings on view through Oct. 24.
Laguna Art Museum, 307 Cliff Drive, Laguna Beach. Closed Wednesdays. $5, $7; 17 and younger are free. (949) 494-8971.

Also on view: “Hymns to the Silence,” black and white images of architectural structures by Jacques Garnier (through Oct. 24).

“When I Remember I See Red: American Indian Art and Activism in California”
On view through Nov. 14 .
Autry Museum of the American West, 4700 Western Heritage Way, Griffith Park, L.A. Closed Mondays. $6-$14; children younger than 3 free; reservations required. (323) 667-2000.
Also on view: “What’s Her Story: Women in the Archives”

“Golden Hour: California Photography From the Los Angeles County Museum of Art”
On view through May 9 | TIMES COLUMN
Museum of Art & History, 665 W. Lancaster Blvd., Lancaster. Closed Mondays. Free; reservations required. (661) 723-6250.

Also on view: “Ken Marchionno: 300-Miles to Wounded Knee: The Oomaka Tokatakiya, Future Generations Ride,” documentary photography (through May 9); “Amir Zaki: Empty Vessel Excerpts,” hybridized photography (through May 9); “Eileen Cowin: What It Takes to Survive a Crisis or the Imaginary Richter Scale of Rage,” video, photography and multimedia installations (through May 9).

“L’Epoque des Carrossiers: The Art and Times of the French Coach Builders”
Mullin Automotive Museum, 1421 Emerson Ave., Oxnard. Open Fridays-Sundays. $10-$16; ages 2 and younger and active-duty military are free; advance purchase required. (805) 385-5400.

Also on view: “The Lady of the Lake,” “Le Mans,” “Schlumpf Reserve Collection”

Butterfly Pavilion
Open through Sept. 6 | TIMES FEATURE
Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, 900 Exposition Blvd., L.A. Open Thursdays-Sundays. $8-$17; 2 and younger are free; advance timed-entry tickets required. (213) 763-DINO.


Also on view: “Rise Up L.A.: A Century of Votes for Women” (through Oct. 10); “Spiky, Hairy, Shiny: Insects of L.A.” (through April 2022)

What will the first shows at the Music Center look like? Imagine family pods, outdoors, with masks. Lineup includes ABT, Paul Taylor and Alonzo King.

April 8, 2021

“Hollywood Dream Machines: Vehicles of Science Fiction and Fantasy”
Petersen Automotive Museum, 6060 Wilshire Blvd., L.A. Closed Mondays-Tuesdays. $11-$16; active-duty military and children younger than 4 are free; advance purchase required. (323) 930-2277.

Also on view: “The Aesthetic of Motoring: 90 Years of Pininfarina,” “Alternating Currents: Building an Electric Future,” “Extreme Conditions: Modified for Offroad,” “Porsche: Redefining Performance,” “Silver Shotgun: Italian Motorcycle Design of the 1960s and 1970s,” “Supercars: A Century of Spectacle and Speed”

“The Inconstant World”
Works by international artists exploring perception and abstraction, on view through May 30.
Institute of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, 1717 E. 7th St., L.A. By appointment. Free. (213) 928-0833.

Also on view: “Paul Pescador: PSA,” 12 short public service announcement-style videos by the L.A.-based artist and filmmaker, on view through May 30

“Defining Beauty”
Newly opened international juried exhibition.
California Museum of Art Thousand Oaks at the Oaks, 350 W. Hillcrest Drive, Thousand Oaks. Open Fridays-Saturdays. Free. (805) 405-5240.