A retrospective for an important L.A. painter. The works of a polymath Modernist. And landscapes of the unusual. Plus: A book launch, early Polaroids and a documentary about a key dancer. Here are nine exhibitions and events to check out in the coming week:
Dreamland: A Frank Romero Retrospective, at the Museum of Latin American Art. The first museum retrospective of the storied Los Angeles painter brings together more than 200 works from throughout his career — pieces that frequently contend with various aspects of the urban experience, in particular that of L.A. The show covers all periods of his more than five-decade-long career, including his early works, pieces from his time with the collective Los Four in the 1970s and ’80s, his large-scale paintings and murals and his more recent work in neon and ceramics. Opens Sunday and runs through May 21. 628 Alamitos Ave., Long Beach, molaa.org.
“Moholy-Nagy: Future Present,” at the L.A. County Museum of Art. This sprawling exhibition examines the career of the influential Bauhaus artist and teacher, known for stripping art down to fundamentals of color and shape. Moholy-Nagy was a polymath who worked in painting, printmaking, photography and industrial design and the show gathers more than 250 works of his in all formats. Moreover, it will also feature his installation “Room of the Present,” a concept for an exhibition space that was never realized in his lifetime. Opens Sunday and runs through June 18. 5905 Wilshire Blvd., Mid-Wilshire, Los Angeles, lacma.org.
Chambliss Giobi, “Arcadia,” at 101/Exhibit. Inspired by the Greek region, an icon of the pastoral ideal, this show features a series of works that explore the nostalgic and the idealized in nature — including a large Möbius strip sculpture made from some of these very elements. Opens Saturday and runs through March 25. 668 N. La Peer Dr., Beverly Grove, Los Angeles, 101exhibit.com.
Frank Uwe Laysiepen, “Ulay the Animist,” at the Depart Foundation. It’s the first West Coast presentation of the performance artist known as Ulay — former collaborator of Marina Abramovic. The show includes works from his early Polaroid works from the ’70s to his large-scale experimental photographic projects from the 1990s, as well as documentation of his various performances. The exhibition’s title refers to the artist’s 1995 film, “The Animist,” which incorporated ritual and other elements, to determine the boundaries of reality. Through April 1. 9105 W. Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood, departfoundation.com.
“Feelings are Facts: The Life of Yvonne Rainier,” at Laemmle Theaters. As part of the Culture Vulture series, the theater chain is screening Jack Walsh’s documentary about the seminal dancer and choreographer, who helped turn everyday movements into striking performance. The film, shot over a five-year period, features early footage of Rainier, along with plenty of insights from the artist herself — now 82. Monday and Tuesday at Laemmle Theaters around Los Angeles, laemmle.com and feelingsarefacts.com.
Jim Morphesis, in dialogue with Suzanne Muchnic, at Garboushian Gallery. Morphesis, the L.A. painter, and arts writer Suzanne Muchnic (author of the recent “LACMA So Far: Portrait of a Museum in the Making”) sit down for a conversation about Morphesis’s long-running career along with sidebars about the L.A. arts scene of the ’70s. The chat is being held in conjunction with Morphesis’ solo show at the gallery, “Selected Works 1974-2016.” This Saturday at 2 p.m. 427 N. Camden Dr., Beverly Hills, garboushian.com.
“Work by Asian Mamas Working in the Arts,” at 1748 Adams. A collective of women artists, formed informally over group dinners, has gathered together for this one-night-only show that features a loose mix of painting, prints, photography, performance and conceptual pieces — including one that dwells on the nature and semantics of citizenship. Artists featured include Samantha Ayson, Seo Yun Son, Ellie Lee, Michelle Cho and Elena Yu, among various others. Saturday at 8 p.m. 1748 W. Adams Blvd., West Adams, Los Angeles, asianmamas.work.
Carlos Ramirez, “Complejo de Cristo y Vampiros,” at New Image Art. Coachella-based painter Ramirez is perhaps better known as part of the art duo the Date Farmers. Now he is having his first show as a solo artist, presenting a series of paintings that riff on Mexican culture, pop imagery and the materials and landscape proffered by the desert he inhabits. Through Saturday. 7920 Santa Monica Blvd., West Hollywood, newimageartgallery.com.
Nkame: A Retrospective of Cuban Printmaker Belkis Ayón, at the Fowler Museum. The Cuban visual artist was known for powerful pieces inspired by the visual iconography of the founding myths of Abakúa, an Afro-Cuban fraternal society. Over her short life (she died at age 32 in 1999), she produced a voluminous number of prints and collages in shades of black and white that convey scenes that are both magical and enigmatic. Through Sunday. UCLA, 308 Charles Young Drive North, Westwood, Los Angeles, fowler.ucla.edu.
Karl Haendel, “By and By,” at Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects. In his third solo show at the gallery, Haendel explores the power of the heroic in portraiture — playing with issues of masculinity, power and gender in a series of works that depict everything from powerful men to teenage girls riding rodeo to a monumental portrait of Hillary Clinton (his largest drawing to date). Also on view is a new video, “J.,” an intimate filmic portrait of a convicted sex offender. Through Saturday. 6006 Washington Blvd., Culver City, vielmetter.com.
“The Ecstasy of Mary Shelley,” at Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions. Part of LACE’s Emerging Curators program, this exhibition, organized by Virginia Broersma, Nick Brown and Kio Griffith, takes Shelley’s seminal “Frankenstein” as a point of inspiration for a group show that dwells in “ecstatic highs and monstrous lows” as related to issues of performance and the body. This includes works by Cassils, Annie Lapin, Candice Lin and Gala Porras-Kim. Through Sunday. 6522 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood, welcometolace.org.
Sam Durant, “Build Therefore Your Own World,” at Blum & Poe. With a title drawn from an essay by Ralph Waldo Emerson, this exhibition of new works by the L.A. artist takes elements inspired by the transcendentalists (Emerson, Henry David Thoreau) and remixes them with objects drawn from the lives of African and African American thinkers. This might consist of a 3-D rendering of Emerson’s writing chair mashed up with poet Phyllis Wheatley’s desk, or the walking stick of Jack Garrison (once enslaved) with Thoreau’s pencil — objects that tell the intersecting tales of American history. Through Feb. 18. 2727 S. La Cienega Blvd., Culver City, blumandpoe.com.
Harry Callahan and Robert Heinecken, “Figures in Transformation,” at Marc Selwyn Fine Art. This exhibition pairs two key artists who worked with images: Callahan, the 20th century photographer renowned for the ways in which he captured the human figure, and Heinecken, the Los Angeles appropriationist known for his subversive works of installation and collage. This new show at Selwyn examines how the two approached the female figure, pushing the boundaries of what is considered photography in the process. Through Feb. 18. 9953 S. Santa Monica Blvd., Beverly Hills, marcselwynfineart.com.
Patrick Martinez, “All Season Portfolio,” at Charlie James. Martinez has become known in recent months for paintings that take the iconography of the Pee-Chee folder, but use it to tackle a variety of issues, including figures in popular culture and police brutality. This show features works from that series, as well as neon text sculptures that reference hip-hop lyrics and L.A. vernacular signage. Through Feb. 18. 969 Chung King Rd., Chinatown, Los Angeles, cjamesgallery.com.
Merion Estes, “Lost Horizons” and “Cooling Trend,” and Emily Davis Adams, “Somewhere Between,” at CB1 Gallery. From 2007 to 2011, painter Merion Estes produced a series of works on paper inspired by vanishing natural landscapes and the 1937 Frank Capra film “Lost Horizon,” about the hidden mountain paradise Shangri-La. She will be showing these works, along with a work that draws its intense color palette from our ever warming climate. Also on view at CB1 will be an exhibition of new works by Emily Davis Adams: a series of paintings inspired by constructions made from paper and other materials that toy with how the viewer perceives color and light. Through Feb. 19. 1923 S. Santa Fe Ave., downtown Los Angeles, cb1gallery.com.
“Ease of Fiction,” at the California African American Museum. The museum has launched a new slate of shows. This includes “Ease of Fiction,” a group exhibition that features work by four African artists exploring the fine line between the invented and the real and the debut museum exhibition of Los Angeles artist Genevieve Gagnard, whose photographs question notions of blackness and whiteness. There is also a beguiling room-sized installation by Hank Willis Thomas that recasts the symbols of the Confederate flag in the colors of black nationalism — and projects them in tune with a soundtrack of spoken-word audio (a piece that Times art critic Christopher Knight describes as “enthralling.”) Through Feb. 19. 600 State Dr., Exposition Park, Los Angeles, caamuseum.org.
“Truc Anh: Vacuphilia,” at Varola. The first exhibition by the Vietnamese-French artist at Varola has paintings and installations that feature bodies and body parts inhabiting an abstracted world of black and white. Through Feb. 24. Pacific Design Center, 8687 Melrose Ave., Suite B256, West Hollywood, helenvarola.com.
Theaster Gates, “But to Be a Poor Race,” at Regen Projects. When writing his seminal work, “The Souls of Black Folk,” civil rights activist W.E.B. Du Bois created a series of data visualizations about black advancement in the United States — including circular charts that show taxable property owned by African Americans and other graphics that tracked city-versus-rural populations. Now Gates, a Chicago-based artist, has created a series of paintings inspired by Du Bois’ elegant graphics: bright color field canvases that are as much an homage to the sociologist’s work as they are to recent art history. The show includes various works of sculpture, too. Don’t miss. Through Feb. 25. 6750 Santa Monica Blvd., Hollywood, regenprojects.com.
“Guerrero: Calder and Nevelson, in Their Studios,” at Edward Cella Art + Architecture. Guerrero made a name for himself as a photographer when he was hired to document Frank Lloyd Wright’s architecture at Taliesin West in the early 20th century. A pair of providential assignments connected him with artists Alexander Calder and Louise Nevelson, whom he would devotedly capture in their environments in ways that are both poetic and frank. Through March 4. 2754 S. La Cienega Blvd., Culver City, edwardcella.com.
“Pulped Fictions,” at the Torrance Art Museum. A group exhibition features works created from that most pliable of materials: cardboard. This includes large-scale installations and small, intimate wall-hangings by artists such as Ann Weber, EVOL and Dani Tull. Through March 4. 3320 Civic Center Drive, Torrance, torranceartmuseum.com.
Llyn Foulkes, “Old Man Blues,” at Sprüth Magers. The Los Angeles artist, known for his assemblages of scavenged objects that explore dark corners of the American cultural psyche, is having his first show at Sprüth Magers. On view are a series of new works made since the retrospective of his work organized by the Hammer Museum in 2013. Some of these are informed by U.S. electoral politics; others consist of the large-scale tableaux that, with their deep layering of materials, create startling plays on depth and perspective. Also on view at the gallery is a two-man show featuring Jon Rafman and Stan Vanderbeek, inspired by the pair’s interest in cinema, animation and video games. Through March 4. 5900 Wilshire Blvd., Mid-Wilshire, Los Angeles, spruethmagers.com.
Allan Sekula, “Early Works,” at Christopher Grimes Gallery. The gallery has gathered a number of early works by the photographer and theorist, including preliminary versions of some of his documentary pieces, which tackled issues of labor and politics, as well as never before exhibited prints. Also on view are well-established works such as “Long Beach Notes” and the video “Reagan Tape,” which mashes up pieces of Reagan’s early films with footage from his political career. Through March 11. 916 Colorado Ave., Santa Monica, cgrimes.com.
“Unique and Singular,” at Cirrus Gallery. A group show at the venerable print studio features works by the likes of Mark Bradford, Ruben Ochoa, Mary Weatherford and Lita Albuquerque and explores the ways in which artists manipulate multiples to create works that are one-of-a-kind. Through March 11. 2011 S. Santa Fe Ave., downtown Los Angeles, cirrusgallery.com.
Toba Khedoori, at the L.A. County Museum of Art. This is the first major museum survey of the L.A.-based artist, known for her painstaking draftsmanship and enigmatic drawings and paintings. Her works often feature architectural elements, landscape, smoke and flame in ways that play with negative space and toy with meaning. Through March 19. 5905 Wilshire Blvd., Mid-Wilshire, Los Angeles, lacma.org.
“Ursula Schulz-Dornburg: Bricks and Mortals,” at Gallery Luisotti. The German photographer has long been intrigued by transitory pieces of architecture — from her studies of brutalist, Soviet-era bus stops in Armenia to her images of ruins in Syria. Her first exhibition at the gallery gathers the early bus stop pictures, as well as later series that document a nuclear test site in Kazakhstan, the abandoned Hejaz Railroad in Saudi Arabia and an 8th century chapel in Spain. Through March 25. Bergamot Station, 2525 Michigan Ave., Santa Monica, galleryluisotti.com.
“Edgar Arceneaux: Library of Black Lies,” at the Main Museum. First exhibited in Paris, this installation by the Los Angeles artist explores themes of African American progress through the selection and modification of books in a library of Arceneaux’s creation. At a time when questions about the fake and the real occupy the media, the piece looks at the complex, in-between stories that shape our current moment. Through March 26. 114 W. 4th St., downtown Los Angeles, themainmuseum.org.
“Non Fiction,” at the Underground Museum. An emotionally charged exhibition curated by the late Noah Davis in collaboration with the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles brings together works that explore issues of race and violence. This includes important works from MOCA’s permanent collection by artists such as Robert Gober, Kara Walker, Henry Taylor and David Hammons. Through March. 3508 W. Washington Blvd., Arlington Heights, Los Angeles, theunderground-museum.org.
Rachel Lacowicz, “Lay Back and Enjoy It,” at Shoshana Wayne Gallery. The Los Angeles-based artist has created a large-scale installation modeled after structures from Clint Eastwood’s 1973 western “High Plains Drifter” — two of which she has covered in red lipstick. It’s a look at the ways in which male power imbues our society’s governing institutions — not to mention the architecture that represents them. Through April 1. Bergamot Station, 2525 Michigan Ave., B1, Santa Monica, shoshanawayne.com.
“Forms of Identity: Women Artists in the ’90s,” at the Orange County Museum of Art. A show drawn entirely from OCMA’s permanent collection focuses on works by 16 women whose art in the 1990s underwent a transformation, from overtly political to something more poetic and personal. This includes works by photographer Laura Aguilar, sculptor Jacci Den Hartog, light and space artist Helen Pashgian and installationist Polly Apfelbaum, among others. Through April 2. 850 San Clemente Dr., Newport Beach, ocma.net.
Arne Quinze, “Jungle Cities,” at Denk Gallery. This is the debut show for the new Los Angeles gallery, which has kicked off its program with an exhibition by the Belgian sculptor known for his wild architectural installations. Quinze has created a new series of metal sculptures and wall hangings that play with the idea of disappearing nature. This includes a standing sculpture that evokes a wild creature and a work that resembles a log — full of growths and other bits of wild nature — but is actually a piece of cast bronze. Through April 15. 749 E. Temple St., downtown Los Angeles, denkgallery.com.
“Breaking News: Turning the Lens on Mass Media,” at the Getty Center. An exhibition that couldn’t be timelier: Curator Arpad Kovcs has put together a show that looks at the ways in which artists have turned bucolic magazine images and fragments of news programming into sharp political statements against events such as the Vietnam War and the so-called war on terror. The show features work by Martha Rosler, Alfredo Jaar, Catherine Opie and Robert Heinecken. Through April 20. 1200 Getty Center Drive, Brentwood, Los Angeles, getty.edu.
Jimmie Durham, “At the Center of the World,” at the Hammer Museum. For the last 20 years, Durham, who was born in Arkansas, and who came of age as an artist in New York’s downtown scene in the 1980s, has chosen to show primarily outside the United States. (He is of Cherokee descent.) This makes his first North American retrospective all the more special. Gathering his works from the 1970s to the present, the show features wry assemblages and wall sculptures that combine natural and discarded elements, riffing on classical architecture, the nature of portraiture and colonization. While you’re there, don’t miss the exhibition featuring drawings by French artist Jean Dubuffet, a figure who turned the graffiti-like gesture into high art. Through May 7. 10899 Wilshire Blvd., Westwood, Los Angeles, hammer.ucla.edu.
“Picasso and Rivera: Conversations Across Time,” at the L.A. County Museum of Art. This exhibition compares the artistic trajectories of two of the 20th century’s most towering Modernists: Pablo Picasso and Diego Rivera. This covers the period from the 1920s to the ’50s as they explored Cubism, classical forms and ancient cultures in innovative ways. The shows features 150 paintings, etchings and watercolors. Through May 7. 5905 Wilshire Blvd., Mid-Wilshire, Los Angeles, lacma.org.
Loris Gréaud, “Sculpt,” at the L.A. County Museum of Art. The entire theater has been taken over by the European artist for a film that screens to only one person at a time. The nonlinear picture follows “a man about whom we know very little, who seems to be constantly developing the concept of what experiencing beauty, thought, or obsession can be,” according the write-up. Times critic Christopher Knight describes it as “pretentious and uninvolving.” A good hate-watch, maybe? On view through a yet to be determined date. 5905 Wilshire Blvd., Mid-Wilshire, Los Angeles, lacma.org.