A performance and paintings show by a first lady of performance art. Video art about the natural world. Installation pieces that play with L.A.’s architecture. And a piece that examines the trials of an important French saint. Plus: Victorian dandies and a place in which to deposit all of your holiday angst.
“The Tip of Her Tongue: Karen Finley and the Jackie Look,” at the Broad, and “Karen Finley: Love Field” at Coagula Curatorial. The Broad is hosting a series of performances organized by Jennifer Doyle focused on issues of femininity and gender identity. As part of the series, renowned performance artist Karen Finley will take on the figure that was Jacqueline Kennedy. Unfortunately, the show is sold out (so unless there is a cancellation, it may be impossible to see). But you can get a dose of Finley elsewhere: The artist is showing a series of related paintings at Coagula Curatorial, which explore imagery surrounding the Kennedy assassination. Performances at the Broad are at 8 p.m. Friday and 7 p.m. Saturday. 221 S. Grand Ave., downtown Los Angeles, thebroad.org. The exhibition at Coagula opens at 7 p.m. Saturday and runs through Jan. 3. 974 Chung King Road, Chinatown, Los Angeles, coagulacuratorial.com.
Diana Thater, “The Sympathetic Imagination,” at the L.A. County Museum of Art. The Los Angeles-based video artist is widely known for groundbreaking video installations that often incorporate the architecture of a space while exploring a range of natural phenomena: from the underwater lives of dolphins to the ways in which bees communicate. For the show at LACMA, she will be showing works shot in Claude Monet’s garden in Giverny, France, and at the Galtaji Temple in Jaipur, India — pieces that look at the thin boundary between tame and wild. Opens Sunday and runs through Feb. 21. 5905 Wilshire Blvd. Mid-Wilshire, Los Angeles, lacma.org.
Maureen Selwood, “29 Cross Examinations,” at Automata. Selwood recently had a gangbusters tribute exhibition to Pussy Riot at Rosamund Felsen Gallery, and now she’s following it up with a piece that explores the trials of Joan of Arc in an installation that comprises video, performance and transcripts from the actual trial. 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday. 504 Chung King Court, Chinatown, Los Angeles, automata-la.org.
Radamés “Juni” Figueroa, “Rompiendo en Frío,” at LTD Los Angeles. An artist whose work was featured in the 2014 Whitney Biennial, Figueroa is known for creating architecturally driven and other pieces that bring elements of the outside in. Many of these speak to the environment of the tropics — specifically Puerto Rico, where he is from. For this show, he is focusing on objects he has found in L.A.’s urban environment — from chain-link fence to a scraped-up air conditioning unit. Opens Friday and runs through Dec. 23. 7561 W. Sunset Blvd., No. 103, Hollywood, ltdlosangeles.com.
Aaron Smith, “In the Snuggery of Airs and Graces,” at Gregorio Escalante, in collaboration with Sloan Fine Arts. Smith’s latest paintings were inspired by vintage photographic portraits of men from the Victorian/Edwardian era — images full of stiffness and formality. Smith renders these thickly, often in acid tones, imbuing these antique representations with a more contemporary energy. Opens at 7 p.m. Saturday and runs through Jan. 3. 978 Chung King Road, Chinatown, Los Angeles, gregorioescalante.com.
JEFF&GORDON, “Not at the Dinner Table.” In 2013, the artist duo known as JEFF&GORDON did a phone art piece for 323 Projects that allowed anyone to leave a voicemail message for a loved one they have a conflict with. Now, with the holidays upon us, and everyone duking it out over the Paris attacks on social media, they have decided to resurrect the piece. So, if you have something to get off your chest with a loved one, but don’t want to start a battle royale over turkey, JEFF&GORDON want to hear from you. Call 234-201-9709 to leave a message. Log on to jeffandgordon.net to hear what has been said.
“Gyre: The Plastic Ocean,” and Cynthia Minet, “The Beast of Burden” at USC’s Fisher Museum. A pair of exhibitions provide different perspectives on detritus. “Gyre” explores the trash in the Pacific through art — namely, the ways sculptors, photographers and others have employed discarded plastic as material for assemblages, photographs and installation. Minet, in the meantime, employs piles of plastic scraps to create illuminated life-size sculptures of animals. Through Saturday. 823 Exposition Blvd., Exposition Park, Los Angeles, fisher.usc.edu.
“Made in Cuba! Hecho en Cuba! Recycling Memory and Culture,” at Arena 1 Gallery. This pop-up exhibition features more than 70 mixed-media works by a wide array of contemporary artists from Cuba. Expect assemblage, painting, sculpture, photography and collage, among other kinds of objects. The show is curated by longtime Cuba expert Sandra Levinson, who has been traveling to the country for more than 40 years. Through Saturday. 3026 Airport Ave., Santa Monica, arena1gallery.com.
“Cao Fei: Shadow Plays” at the Mistake Room. An imaginary China in Second Life and a video that riffs on the zombie-like nature of middle-class ennui — this is the first Los Angeles exhibition for the Beijing-based artist, whose work has been shown at the Museum of Modern Art in New York and the Palais de Tokyo in Paris. Expect a series of wry pieces that examine the real and invented side effects of Chinese-style capitalism. Through Sunday. 1811 E. 20th St., downtown Los Angeles, tmr.la.
“Adams, Curtis and Weston: Photographers of the American West” at the Bowers Museum. More than three dozen images produced by three of the most iconic American photographers tell the story of the American West — through dreamy images of landscape as well as the people who once inhabited it. Through Nov. 29. 2002 N. Main St., Santa Ana, bowers.org.
William Powhida, “Mediations,” at Charlie James Gallery. The New York-based artist is once again tweaking the art world — as well as issues of class, wealth, persona and all of the other hot topics that can make the art world a swamp of insanity — in a series of new paintings inspired by bits of his Twitter archive, among other texts. Through Dec. 5. 969 Chung King Road, Chinatown, Los Angeles, cjamesgallery.com.
“Oasis” at the Sturt Haaga Gallery at Descanso Gardens. In this new exhibition, 22 artists reflect on the idea of oasis. This takes the form of painting and sculpture, but also site-specific works set around the gardens. Through Dec. 6. 1418 Descanso Drive, La Cañada Flintridge, descansogardens.org.
Taisha Paggett: “WXPT: The School for the Movement of the Technicolor People,” at Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions. An installation takes the shape of a temporary dance school that asks the question, “What is black dance curriculum today?” The piece will attempt to answer that through a series of workshops, weekly classes and “micro-performances.” It is inspired by Paggett’s own history: Her family founded “a school for colored youth” in East Texas in the early 20th century. Through Dec. 6. 6522 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood, welcometolace.org.
Luis Flores, “Whatever You Want It to Be,” at Grice Bench. The L.A.-based multimedia artist has a show that explores the various ways in which humans construct identity for themselves: be it through ritual, through photography (selfies!) or through acts of hyper-masculinity (acts that often verge on the homoerotic). The artist does this all through a series of uncanny knitted sculptures that are built to resemble himself. Through Dec. 9. 915 Mateo St., downtown Los Angeles, gricebench.com.
“A Performative Trigger: Radicals of Irvine” at UC Irvine’s Claire Trevor School of the Arts. Some of Southern California’s most notable artists emerged from the first MFA class at UC Irvine, which graduated in 1971. This includes figures such as Barbara T. Smith, Nancy Buchanan and Chris Burden — the last of whom famously had himself shot in the arm as a work of performance. The exhibition gathers ephemera and documentation from the era, as well as a number of original works. Through Dec. 12. UC Irvine, 4000 Mesa Road, Irvine, arts.uci.edu.
“Sign Language: Juan Delgado, Armando Lerma, Thomas McGovern, Carlos Ramirez,” at CSUN Art Galleries. A mixed-media exhibition draws four artists from Southern California’s Inland Empire to exhibit works that riff on murals, graffiti and sign paintings, among other traditions. You might know Lerma and Ramirez by their collective moniker: They are the Date Farmers. Through Dec. 12. 18111 Nordhoff St., Northridge, csun.edu/artgalleries.
“Everyone’s Heart is Full of Fire,” at Fahrenheit. A group exhibition featuring the work of three very different artists — painter Dorothy Iannone, conceptualist and body modifier Genesis Breyer P-Orridge and documentarian Marie Losier — looks at works based on the intimate psychological and physical unions between two people. Through Dec. 12. 2245 E. Washington Blvd., downtown Los Angeles, fahrenheit.flaxfoundation.org.
Leon Benn, “Spare Time,” at Roberts & Tilton. Benn produces deeply saturated paintings that layer color and texture in rather hallucinatory ways. This survey of new paintings by the Portland-based artist gathers works inspired by ideas of leisure — from the weekend retreat to a range of activities performed in nature. Through Dec. 12. 5801 W. Washington Blvd., Culver City, robertsandtilton.com.
“Far-Sited: California International Sculpture Symposium 1965/2015” at University Art Museum at Cal State Long Beach. In 1965, an international conference brought sculptors from around the globe to Southern California to make works in collaboration with local industry. (I wrote about it in the spring.) Many of these pieces now dot the Cal State Long Beach campus. The museum exhibition explores this history, presenting an array of vintage photographs, sketches and maquettes. Through Dec. 13. 1250 Bellflower Blvd., Long Beach, web.csulb.edu.
“Fred Tomaselli: The Early Works — Or How I Became A Painter” at Begovich Gallery at Cal State Fullerton. Tomaselli, a painter and collagist, is known for hallucinatory arrangements of objects and patterns that explore inner journeys. But he got his start as a light-and-space artist, playing with ideas of perception. The Begovich Gallery is showing his earliest works, which have not been exhibited since they were first made, primarily in the ’80s. Through Dec. 17. 800 N. State College Blvd., Fullerton, fullerton.edu.
Marc Horowitz, “Interior, Day (A Door Opens),” at the Depart Foundation. An exhibition of painting and sculpture spans the range of the high-low, including forms of classical statuary studded with pieces of banal kitsch, and canvases that play with color field, still life and cartoons. Through Dec. 19. 9105 W. Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood, departfoundation.com.
Brett Reichman, “Better Living Through Design,” at CB1 Gallery. Acid-colored domestic spaces cluttered with vintage dinnerware serve as settings for wild trysts and other expressions of gay males’ sexuality. The tones make the action and the settings feel totally sci-fi. Also on view at the gallery will be the exhibition “Plegarias,” a series of new paintings that play with ideas of Christian supplication by paper artist Lorenzo Hurtado Segovia (also renowned for repurposing thrift-store art). Through Dec. 19. 1923 S. Santa Fe Ave., downtown Los Angeles, cb1gallery.com.
Simmons & Burke, “Dutch Masters,” at Kohn Gallery. Artists Case Simmons and Andrew Burke had full access to the entire digital archive of paintings at Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum and used elements of the imagery to create a series of abstracted, monumental collages. Through Dec. 19. 1227 N. Highland Ave., Hollywood, kohngallery.com.
Ryan McGinley, “Fall,” at Team Bungalow. McGinley’s photography is inspired by the romantic landscape painters of the 19th century, depicting unspoiled nature and the pastoral men (and women) in its midst. The artist has a two-gallery show with Team — one in its New York space; another in Los Angeles. The local show focuses on his “Fall” series, which shows nude figures photographed around upstate New York. Through Dec. 20. 306 Windward Ave., Venice, teamgal.com.
John Bankston, “Sundry Stories,” at Walter Maciel Gallery. A new series of paintings by the San Francisco-based artist places a series of recurring characters in surreal scenarios that riff as much on the history of art as they do on the coloring-book form. Expect some wild and weird scenes. Through Dec. 23. 2642 S. La Cienega Blvd., Culver City, waltermacielgallery.com.
“The Avant-Garde Won’t Give Up: Cobra and Its Legacy,” at Blum & Poe. This historic exhibition looks at the legacy of the Northern European postwar movement with roots in Copenhagen, Brussels and Amsterdam. The show started off at Blum & Poe’s New York space in September with early historic works. The L.A. portion looks at the movement’s influence by integrating historic Cobra pieces from the ’50s and ’60s with a range of contemporary works. Through Dec. 23, 2727 S. La Cienega Blvd., Culver City, blumandpoe.com.
“Hannelore Baron: Collage & Assemblage,” at Jack Rutberg Fine Art. Taut works of assemblage and collage take their power from the found materials the artist used: bits of fabric and other gewgaws found in thrift stores and junkyards, charged objects that retain the sense of having once served other purposes. Born in Germany (her family fled the country in the wake of Kristallnacht), Hannelore was part of New York’s artistic milieu at mid-century, but her pieces, which feel faded and worn, suggest the claustrophobia of isolation and confinement. Through Dec. 24. 357 N. La Brea Ave., Fairfax District, Los Angeles, jackrutbergfinearts.com.
“KLAM Radio” at 323 Projects. Performance artist Lenae Day and writer Anna Kryczka have teamed up to put together a paean and parody to the bizarre art of small-town radio — in this case, in the fictional desert settlement of San Ranchito. This includes spoofs of public radio and right-wing talk. And, of course, there’s the station’s hilarious promotional slogan: “Jam out with your KLAM out.” The podcasts are all available on the 323 Projects website. Listeners are welcome to call the gallery’s line — (323) 843-4652 — to leave dedications for the KLAM DJs. Through December, at 323projects.com.
“Paperworks” at the Craft and Folk Art Museum. A variety of works by 15 artists — including sculpture and collage — are made entirely out of cut paper. This includes Lecia Dole-Recio’s painted mosaics, Lorenzo Hurtado Segovia’s woven-paper abstractions, Soo Kim’s reconfigured photographic landscapes and Susan Sironi’s carved-up books. Expect to see paper in ways you might not have expected. Through Jan. 3. 5814 Wilshire Blvd., Mid-Wilshire, Los Angeles, cafam.org.
“Fiberlicious,” at the Municipal Art Gallery. Sixteen contemporary artists explore and expand the possibilities of fiber art, including wild sculptures woven together from paper, rope and cardboard. Included in the mix are figures such as Tanya Aguiñiga, Lorenzo Hurtado Segovia, Wendy B. Osher and Ann Weber. Through Jan. 3. 4800 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood, lamag.org.
“J.B. Blunk: Painting, Drawing, Sculpture,” at The Landing. This Northern California artist is renowned for his woodworking. (Blum & Poe in Culver City had a show of his abstract sculptures — some defined by the roiling organic forms of the wood that he worked with — in 2010.) Now The Landing, which is unveiling a 2,800-square-foot gallery space in West Adams, is bringing together a selection of the artist’s paintings and drawings, which also gracefully manipulate form and texture. Through Jan. 9. 5118 W. Jefferson Blvd., West Adams, Los Angeles, thelandinggallery.com.
“Hammer Projects: Njideka Akunyili Crosby” at the Hammer Museum. The Nigerian-born artist opened an exhibition of her recent collages at the Art + Practice space in Leimert Park in September. Now there’s more, a second exhibition at the Hammer that features a selection of her early works: wild collages of intimate domestic scenes fabricated from scraps of magazine pages. Through Jan. 10. 10899 Wilshire Blvd., Westwood, hammer.ucla.edu.
James Turrell, at Kayne Griffin Corcoran. In his latest solo exhibition at Kayne Griffin Corcoran, Turrell is debuting a series of large-scale works made from elliptical glass that, over 2 1/2 hours, go through thousands of different parts of the color spectrum. (Just the show for Pantone-heads.) Through Jan. 16. 1201 S. La Brea Ave., Mid-City, Los Angeles, kaynegriffincorcoran.com.
“New Objectivity: Modern German Art in the Weimar Republic” at the L.A. County Museum of Art. A dark and gripping show explores the art of Germany following World War I, before the rise of the Third Reich. Featuring a mix of photography, painting, drawings and ephemera from the era, the exhibition captures the social, political and economic tumult of the Weimar period. Not to be missed. Through Jan. 18. 5905 Wilshire Blvd., Mid-Wilshire, Los Angeles, lacma.org.
“Mapping the Information Age,” at Christopher Mount Gallery. During the infancy of microprocessing, companies such as Intel, IBM and Hewlett-Packard would create colorful prints that were used as maps for constructing early microchip technology. Not intended to be art, these curious technological artifacts (dating to 1990) offer a range of intriguing abstract geometric patterns — of the sort that would no doubt impress the likes of Piet Mondrian. Through Jan. 20. Pacific Design Center, 8687 Melrose Ave., West Hollywood, christopherwmountgallery.com.
“The Idea of North: The Paintings of Lawren Harris,” at the Hammer Museum. Known for his elegant depictions of frigid Canadian landscapes, Harris was part of the Group of Seven, a group of painters who were proponents for establishing a distinctly Canadian school of painting — in Harris’ case, one with distinctly Modernist overtones. His sparse landscapes, depicted in stained-glass hues of blue, white and green, often with exalted rays of light descending from the heavens, have practically religious overtones. Through Jan. 24. 10899 Wilshire Blvd., Westwood, Los Angeles, hammer.ucla.edu.
“Giant Robot Biennale 4,” at the Japanese American National Museum. Giant Robot — the shop and gallery — has long focused on Asian and Asian American popular culture, showcasing works and decorative merchandise by figures such as Yoshitomo Nara and Takashi Murakami. Since 2007, founder Eric Nakamura has partnered with the Japanese American National Museum for this biennial, which showcases pop-infused works by an array of young artists. Through Jan. 24. 100 N. Central Ave., downtown Los Angeles, janm.org.
“Somewhere Over El Arco Iris: Chicano Landscapes, 1971-2015” at the Museum of Latin American Art. Guest curator Julian Bermudez has gathered 25 works that tell a story of landscape through the works of Chicano artists over more than four decades. This includes classic pieces by noted California figures such as Gronk, Frank Romero, Patssi Valdez and Carlos Almaraz. But it also includes up-and-comers such as Shizu Saldamando and Jaime “Germs” Zacarías. Extended through Jan. 31. 628 Alamitos Ave., Long Beach, molaa.org.
Stas Orlovski, “Skazka,” at Young Projects Gallery. The L.A.-based Orlovski is known for his haunting stop-motion animations that employ bits of vintage children’s books and Victorian drawings. This new work, which features a soundtrack by experimental audio artist Steve Roden, is inspired by 19th century magic-lantern performances and will include a stage-set and larger-than-life projections onto silhouettes. Through Feb. 5. Pacific Design Center, 8687 Melrose Ave., Space B230, West Hollywood, youngprojectsgallery.com.
“Various Small Fires (Working Documents)” at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. A show that illuminates unusual bits of LACMA history, such as the plan to have a robot patrol the galleries or the time a dog worked as a security guard. Included in the mix is Ed Ruscha’s working sketch for his infamous mid-’60s canvas, “The Los Angeles County Museum on Fire.” Through Feb. 7. 5905 Wilshire Blvd., Mid-Wilshire, Los Angeles, lacma.org.
Victor Hugo Zayas, at the Museum of Latin American Art. Gritty abstractions the color of charcoal, acid and steel capture the industrial innards of Los Angeles. Zayas, a painter who maintains a studio on the banks of the L.A. River, will have a survey of more than 40 works on view at the museum — works that chart the evolution of the city’s industrial landscape. Through Feb. 7. 628 Alamitos Ave., Long Beach, molaa.org.
“The Wartime Photographs of Ansel Adams,” at the Skirball Cultural Center. Adams’ powerful black-and-white images from Manzanar during World War II protested what he described as the “enforced exodus” of American citizens: Japanese Americans who were forcefully detained for the course of the war. It’s a stirring view of life for Japanese Americans during a dark period in American history. Through Feb. 21. 2701 N. Sepulveda Blvd., Brentwood, Los Angeles, skirball.org.
“Noah Davis: Imitation of Wealth” at the Museum of Contemporary Art Grand Avenue. In 2013, Davis re-created a series of works by famous artists and put them on display at the Underground Museum, his alternative art space in Arlington Heights. The idea was to display works of high cultural value in an unlikely setting. Now, the Museum of Contemporary Art has re-created the installation — a work made more poignant by the artist’s recent death. (The piece is viewable free of charge through the windows of a storefront space adjacent to the museum.) Through Feb. 22. 250 S. Grand Ave., downtown Los Angeles, moca.org.
“R. Luke DuBois: Now” and “Sandow Birk: American Qur’an,” at the Orange County Museum of Art. OCMA opens a pair of new shows: one by the New York-based DuBois, an artist who often employs data to create unique visualizations, and the L.A.-based Birk, who has spent nine years transcribing and illustrating every verse of the Koran in a uniquely American way. Through Feb. 28. 850 San Clemente Drive, Newport Beach, ocma.net.
“Rain Room,” at the L.A. County Museum of Art. It was universally panned by the critics when it appeared at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. (New York Magazine critic Jerry Saltz described it as “the worst single work of art that I saw all this year ... a high-tech amusement-park ride.”) And my colleague Christopher Knight labeled it “brainless amusement” in his review of the experience. But who cares when you can take the world’s most awesome selfie inside of it and share it with the world on Instagram? Through March 6. 5905 Wilshire Blvd., Mid-Wilshire, Los Angeles, lacma.org.
“In Focus: Daguerreotypes,” at the Getty Museum. A selection of some of the museum’s 2,000 daguerreotypes go on view alongside daguerreotypes from the collection of singer-songwriter Graham Nash, a prominent collector of this early type of photography. Through March 30. 1200 Getty Center Drive, Brentwood, Los Angeles, getty.edu.
“Robert Cremean: The Beds of Procrustes” and “The Seven Deadly Sins,” at the Pasadena Museum of California Art. The California artist is known for cool, diagrammatic pieces that employ the human figure in ways that riff on bigger questions of art, myth, faith and sacrifice. For his show in Pasadena, one installation examines the legend of Procrustes, the Greek mythological bandit who would torture people in various ways in order to force them to fit onto an iron bed, while another uses human figures to interpret each of the deadly sins. Through April 3. 490 E. Union St., Pasadena, pmcaonline.org.
“Hard Edged: Geometrical Abstraction and Beyond” at the California African American Museum. A new exhibition features the work of 46 artists — from emerging figures to well-established names — working in the arena of geometric abstraction. This includes works by fresh voices and standard-bearers, including well-known figures such as Rashid Johnson, Senga Nengudi, David Hammons and Tim Washington. Through April 24. 600 State Drive, Exposition Park, Los Angeles, caamuseum.org.
Alice Könitz, “Los Angeles Museum of Art (LAMOA),” at Occidental College. This is a work of sculpture that also serves as a micro exhibition hall. The space was established in Könitz’s backyard in 2012 but will be on view at Occidental College for the course of the academic year. The inaugural exhibition features work by L.A. artist Alice Clements. Through spring 2016. In front of Weingart Hall at Occidental College, 1600 Campus Road, northeast Los Angeles, oxy.edu.
“Islamic Art Now” at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Contemporary works from LACMA’s permanent collection by 20 artists who live in or have roots in the Middle East look at questions of society, gender and identity. Runs indefinitely. 5905 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, lacma.org.
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