Datebook: The art of Robert Mapplethorpe, photographs in Play-Doh, and zipper paintings


A photographer’s legendary erotic portfolios. A Los Angeles painter’s early works -- crafted from zippers. And an artist who uses lingerie to reflect contemporary attitudes in pop culture. Plus, the painted works of a noted poet, a group show that explores form and abstraction and famous photography rendered in Play-Doh. Here are eight shows to see this week:

Robert Mapplethorpe, “The Perfect Medium,” at the L.A. County Museum of Art and the Getty Museum. A two-part exhibition spread over a pair of L.A. museums explores the photographic legacy of an artist who brought as much grace to images of flowers as he did to S&M. The LACMA portion will feature early drawings, collages, sculptures, Polaroids, still lifes and archival material. The Getty will present his more formal portraits, along with the infamous “X Portfolio,” with its elegant S&M imagery. The LACMA portion opens Sunday and runs through July 31. 5905 Wilshire Blvd., Miracle Mile, Los Angeles, The Getty exhibit also runs through July 31. 1200 Getty Center Dr., Brentwood, Los Angeles,

Karen Carson, “Zip Line,” at Rosamund Felsen Gallery. Felsen is showing important early works by the L.A. artist. Namely, her zipper pieces from the early 1970s. These wall pieces -- part painting, part sculpture -- were Carson’s answer to the industrial materials of 1970s minimalism: Soft fabric connected (and disconnected) by zippers that could transform the geometric nature of a work in question. Opens Saturday at 3 p.m. and runs through April 16. 1923 S. Santa Fe Ave., Los Angeles,

An installation view of Zoë Buckman's "Every Curve" at Papillion in Leimert Park.

An installation view of Zoë Buckman’s “Every Curve” at Papillion in Leimert Park.

(MJ Glover / Papillion Art)

“Zoë Buckman: Every Curve,” at Papillion. The British artist takes vintage lingerie and embroiders it with phrases from classic hip-hop tracks by the likes of Biggie Smalls and Tupac Shakur. The beguiling installation -- objects dangling daintily from the ceiling -- tells a deeper story about the contradictory ways in which women are regarded in the popular culture. Through April 30. 4336 Degnan Blvd., Leimert Park, Los Angeles,

“A Shape That Stands Up,” at Art + Practice. A group show that treads the line between abstraction and figuration features works by Amy Sillman, Henry Taylor, Sadie Benning and a host of other interesting names. Opens Saturday at 3 p.m. and runs through June 18. 4339 Leimert Blvd., Leimert Park, Los Angeles,

“Portraits and Autobiographies by Kim Abeles,” at Post. The Los Angeles artist known for using smog -- some of her works literally trap particulates onto their surfaces -- takes a more inward view in this, her latest solo exhibition. The show includes self-portraits, photo-based works, research projects and sculptural works that often employ the body. Opens Sunday at 2 p.m. and runs through May 21. 1206 Maple Ave., Los Angeles,


Eleanor MacNair, “Photographs Rendered in Play-Doh,” at Kopeikin Gallery. This artist takes iconic photographs and renders them in Play-Doh, then photographs them again for images that whimsically recontextualize the tropes of art history. Opens Friday at 6 p.m. and runs through April 16. 2766 S. La Cienega Blvd., Culver City,

Wayne Koestenbaum, “A Novel of Thank You and Other Paintings,” at 356 Mission. Koestenbaum, a poet and cultural critic, is also a painter -- known for vivid canvases that play with desire and bold patterns to electric effect. Opens Saturday at 8 p.m., 356 S. Mission Rd., Boyle Heights, Los Angeles,

Julian Schnabel, “Infinity on Trial,” at Blum & Poe. The bad boy of ‘80s neo-expressionism is back in Los Angeles with a solo show for the first time in almost a decade. The show gathers works from the mid-1970s to the present, including some of the ceramic shard collages for which he is best known. Also included will be more recent works, such as his “Goat Paintings,” from last year. Opens Friday at 6 p.m. and runs through April 30. 2727 S. La Cienega Blvd., Culver City,


“Siren” at Five Car Garage. A group show of 10 artists who hail primarily from the Los Angeles area looks at works that employ or reference sound. This includes works of video and a pair of “sound baths” that provide sound healing. (The sound baths require advance RSVP and an admission of $30.) Five Car Garage is located in the garage of a private home; address and other details are provided with an RSVP. Through Friday. Santa Monica,

Joshua Abelow, “Moving Pictures,” at Tif Sigfrids. A show of paintings by the New York-based artist revels in crude form-making: stick figures, witch figures and abstracted, colorful forms. The series emerged out of a period the artist spent in rural Maryland. Through Saturday. 1507 Wilcox Ave., Hollywood,

“... Loss, Desire, Pleasure,” at the ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives at USC. For four years, the Los Angeles nightclub known by a word that can’t be printed in this newspaper, served as rejoinder to the clean-cut world of West Hollywood gay bars -- a gritty setting where dance, performance and activism were blurred into a single act, and where the human body served as statement and canvas, displaying piercings, tattoos and all kinds of other bod-mods. This exhibition tracks the club’s historical legacy and connects it with contemporary artistic practices. Note: The related link contains NSFW images. Through Saturday. 909 W. Adams Blvd., University Park, Los Angeles,

“Frank Gehry,” at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Featuring more than 200 drawings and 65 models, as well as countless photographs and video, this retrospective looks at the life and career of one of L.A.’s most celebrated architects. Totally worth it just to see the original design for downtown’s Disney Hall. (Glad they went for the option that was built.) Through Sunday. 5905 Wilshire Blvd., Mid-Wilshire,

“Outsource Show,” at werkärtz. In a show that toys with ideas of conceptual art as much as it does with globalism and outsourcing, curator Alexander Tarrant got 17 nonpainter artists to submit proposals for paintings that he then had executed in the arts production center of Dafen, China. Paintings in this show are considered “floor models.” Any time a painting sells, another is created in Dafen to replace it. In other words, art as the ultimate global commodity. Through Wednesday. 927 S. Santa Fe Ave., Los Angeles,


Christian Eckart, “post-post,” at Wilding Cran. The Canadian-born, Houston-based artist’s first solo show in Los Angeles features a series of new abstract paintings as well as a curious sculpture titled “The Absurd Vehicle,” a seemingly enticing objet whose many wheels and impractical body look as if they would simply send a rider scurrying in circles. Through March 26. 939 S. Santa Fe Ave., Los Angeles,

Evan Holloway at David Kordanksy Gallery. Holloway, a Los Angeles artist, is known for making curious arrangements out of seemingly simple materials: Geometric pieces of tree branches turn out to be cast bronze, while spherical shapes studded with spent batteries nod to spiky Nkondi nail fetish sculpture. Through March 26. 5130 W. Edgewood Place, Mid-City, Los Angeles,

“Erwin Wurm: One-Minute Sculptures” at the MAK Center. The Austrian sculptor brings a wry approach to the form with pieces that can only be completed by the viewer -- which means standing on a pedestal with a pink plush doll on your head or sitting inside a white plinth turned on its side. It’s all a tribute to the absurd nature of the monuments men make to themselves. Go with friends for maximum enjoyment. Through March 27. Schindler House, 835 N. Kings Road, West Hollywood,

“Ayotzinapa: A Roar of Silence,” at the Durón Gallery at SPARC. The disappearance of 43 students from a rural teachers college in the Mexican state of Guerrero in the fall of 2014 led to protests and outrage over impunity and violence all over Mexico. Artist Francisco Toledo used it as a call to action, getting artists from all over the world to submit graphic works that dealt with their disappearances. Now these incredible posters are on view in Los Angeles thanks to a collaboration between SPARC, the Center for the Study of Political Graphics and Self Help Graphics & Art. Through March 27. 685 Venice Blvd., Venice,

“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,

“Reveal the Rats,” at the Pit. A group show featuring work by Anna Betbeze, Rebecca Morris, Sterling Ruby, Lara Schnitger and Despina Stokou explores the idea of rat as architect, a creature that is constantly remaking its environment. The artists in the show do much the same: deconstructing and reconstructing ideas and objects in their work, which includes collage, quilting, textiles and painting. Through March 31. 918 Ruberta Ave., Glendale,

“A Marcel Duchamp Collection” at LA Louver. Over a period of 40 years, a single collector amassed a rich assortment of works and ephemera by the seminal French artist Marcel Duchamp -- including numerous book covers and magazines that the artist helped design even after he’d bid goodbye to art-making in order to focus on chess. The show is presenting these works, as well as editioned objects and prints, ready-mades and collaborative designs. In a separate gallery, LA Louver is also showing an exhibition of the television sculptures of L.A. assemblage artist Ed Kienholz. Through April 2. 45 N. Venice Blvd., Venice,

Ed Bereal, “Disturbing the Peace: Assemblage, Sculpture, and Painting 1963-2011,” at Harmony Murphy Gallery. Bereal became known in the ‘60s for participating in the infamous 1961 L.A. exhibition “War Babies,” whose poster featured the artist, along with three others, eating foods that were stereotypical to each of their cultures over a table draped with an American flag. Over the years, he worked as a teacher and writer and has also worked in theater, but has returned to art-making: primarily collage, assemblage, sculpture and other works that deal with violence, war and racial clichés. Through April 2, 358 E. 2nd St., Los Angeles,

“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,

“Nathan Hayden: Pure Pretty Fever” and “Tight Ass: Labor Intensive Drawing and Realism,” at CB1 Gallery. The downtown gallery has a pair of shows: The first, by Hayden, his debut show at the gallery, features abstracted paintings and ceramics that channel the patterns and colors of the desert. The second is a group show organized by painter Brett Reichman that revels in the act of drawing -- realistic, labor-intensive depictions that engage the breadth of contemporary life. Through April 9. 1923 S. Santa Fe Ave., Los Angeles,

Martine Syms, “COM PORT MENT,” at Karma International. Syms has been on a roll, with a recent performance at the Broad under her belt, as well as an exhibit of short videos at Human Resources Los Angeles. Now she is showing a new series inspired by text and film stills. Through April 9. 9615 Brighton Way, Suite 426, Beverly Hills,

Lita Albuquerque, “20/20: Accelerando,” at the USC Fisher Museum of Art. In an exhibition that melds film, sound and performance, Albuquerque tells the story of a 25th century female astronaut who lands on Earth in the year 6000 BC. The piece is drawn from a text that Albuquerque has been working on since 2003, reimagined in the museum as an impressionistic environment that, among other things, features original music by film and theater composer Robbie C. Williamson. Through April 10. 823 W. Exposition Blvd., Exposition Park, Los Angeles,

“Rebecca Campbell and Samantha Fields: Dreams of Another Time” at the University Art Museum at Cal State Long Beach. A two-person show looks at the works of two important Los Angeles-based artists: Campbell, known for her meticulous portraits composed out of broad lines, and Fields, who uses old-fashioned paint to create the sensations of digital blurring. In the permanent collection galleries, the museum will also be displaying a number of prints by renowned painter Wayne Thiebaud. Through April 10. CSULB, 1250 N. Bellflower Blvd., Long Beach,

Lester Monzon, “Si vis pacem para bellum,” at Mark Moore Gallery. The second solo show at Moore by the Los Angeles artist features paintings that deftly fuse minimalist grids with bold, expressionistic brushstrokes for abstractions that read like sci-fi dreamscapes. The gallery also has a show of the pop-infused abstractions of Jason Salavon on view. Through April 16. 5790 Washington Blvd., Culver City,

Ruben Ochoa, “Tripping the Light Fantastick,” at Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects. The L.A.-based Ochoa is an artist obsessed by the base materials of construction: Chain link, fence posts, concrete, aggregate, rebar and plywood. For his newest series of works, Ochoa has taken to more traditional canvas -- but with a combination of acrylic and rust, for paintings that feel like they could be made of Corten steel. The gallery also has a solo show devoted to the bright city scenes of Berlin-based painter Armin Boehm. Through April 16. 6006 Washington Blvd., Culver City,

“practice, Practice, practice: Abstract Sprituality in Los Angeles Painting, Sculpture and Performance,” at Nan Rae Gallery at Woodbury University. Inspired by a seminal LACMA exhibition about the spiritual in abstract art, independent curator Doug Harvey has put together a group show of art that is linked to religious systems and spiritual practice. Through April 17. 7500 Glen Oaks Blvd., Burbank,

“Skin,” at the L.A. Municipal Art Gallery. The work of three dozen contemporary artists -- including figures such as Kara Walker, April Bey and Ken Gonzales-Day -- examines issues related to race and identity in this new group show. Through April 17. 4800 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood,

“(En)Gendered (In)Equity: The Gallery Tally Poser Project,” at LACE. For three years, artist Micol Hebron has produced a series of installations that look at the issue of gender inequity in the art world -- and the story these installations tell is not pretty. Of every 10 artists commercial galleries represent, chances are that only three of them will be women. So Hebron has enlisted the help of hundreds of artists from all over the world to produce posters that map gender ratios at galleries around the globe. LACE brings together more than 400 posters produced over the course of this project. You can see some of the images from the project on the Gallery Tally Tumblr page. Through April 17. 6522 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood,

“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,

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 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, Eagle Rock,

“High Priestesses,” at 323 Projects. The popular phone line gallery (all shows are audio, accessible on your telephone) has a new show going up that is all about aural healing and New Age-y teachings as imagined by a crew of Los Angeles artists: Michelle Andrade, Michelle Chong, Meg Cranston and Bridge Kane. It’s the ideal sort of thing for working that artsy third eye. Through May 1 by calling (323) 843-4652,

Donald Baechler, Lily Stockman, Mike Davis, at Gavlak Gallery. Gavlak is opening a trio of solo shows that feature Baechler’s early paintings and collages, Stockman’s biomorphic abstractions and a series of funny-wry watercolors by Davis that explore the topics that occupy his thoughts -- namely, Picasso, artists and Kermit the Frog. Through May 7. 1034 N. Highland Ave., Hollywood,

“Catherine Opie: 700 Nimes Road” at MOCA Pacific Design Center. For six months in 2011, Los Angeles photographer Catherine Opie documented the Bel-Air estate of Elizabeth Taylor -- the clothes, the photographs, the jewelry, the little bits of personal ephemera that make a house a home. Now she is showing the series, one that chronicles a life of wealth and fame, at the Museum of Contemporary Art’s West Hollywood space. Through May 8. Pacific Design Center, 8687 Melrose Ave., West Hollywood,

“Noir: The Romance of Black in 19th Century French Drawings and Prints,” at the Getty Museum. Figures in deep penumbra and sprightly creatures in dim settings. In the middle of Europe’s industrial revolution, some artists became intrigued by the non-color of the color black, creating prints and charcoal drawings that evoked the nocturnal, the dark and the deep recesses of the cosmos -- not to mention the not-quite-real state of dreaming. Through May 15. 1200 Getty Center Drive, Brentwood, Los Angeles,

“Leap Before You Look: Black Mountain College, 1933-1957,” at the Hammer Museum. Black Mountain College in North Carolina wasn’t open very long, not even 20 years. But in its short lifetime it brought together bands of seminal artists, musicians, dancers and thinkers -- John Cage, Merce Cunningham, Cy Twomby, Ruth Asawa, Robert Rauschenberg and countless others -- as both teachers and students. Key to that dynamism was the presence of Josef and Anni Albers, a pair of Bauhaus artists who fled Germany to join Black Mountain in the late 1930s. This critically acclaimed exhibition, which first opened at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston, shows the far-reaching effects a single institution can have. Through May 15. 10899 Wilshire Blvd., Westwood,

Jasmin Sanchez, “Flux,” at the Grand Central Art Center. The Orange County-based Sanchez is taking over the walls of the art center with drawings that meld landscape with abstraction and mapping to produce images that feel just a little bit magical. Through May 15. 125 N. Broadway, Santa Ana,

“Linda Arreola: Architect of the Abstract,” at the Vincent Price Art Museum. This one-woman exhibition looks at roughly a 10-year period in the work of this abstract Los Angeles artist. Arreola is known for creating taut, gridlike arrangements using bright blocks of color. Her work extends into the sculptural realm too. Through May 21. 1301 Cesar Chavez Ave., Monterey Park,

“PLAN,” at the El Segundo Museum of Art. An exhibition organized by the Wende Museum and the El Segundo Museum of Art brings together works by disparate figures -- from Camille Pissarro to Egon Schiele to Vitaly Komar and Alexander Melamid -- exploring the idea of plans and planning. This includes references to five-year plans, a map for the projected Soviet invasion of West Berlin and other works that play with the idea of fate versus meticulous intention. Through May 22. 208 Main St., El Segundo,

“Making Waves: Japanese American Photography, 1920-1940,” at the Japanese American National Museum. In the early 20th century, groups of Japanese American photographers all along the Pacific coastline launched photography clubs, through which they published and exhibited their work. Their striking imagery -- ranging from abstract compositions to scenes of everyday life -- drew the attention of artists such as Edward Weston and László Moholy-Nagy. Unfortunately, much of their work was destroyed or lost when Japanese Americans were sent to internment camps by the U.S. government during World War II. But examples remain and JANM has gathered more than 100 of these prints for a show that explores the history and legacy of the clubs. Through June 26. 100 N. Central Ave., Los Angeles,

“Popol Vuh: Watercolors of Diego Rivera,” at the Bowers Museum. The “Popol Vuh” is a nearly 500-year-old Mayan text, written in Quiché, that recounts that culture’s creation myths. This sacred text inspired a series of watercolors by Mexican muralist Diego Rivera, an artist who was preoccupied with indigenous themes. Now 17 of these paintings, on loan from a museum in Mexico, are on view at the Bowers. Through May 29. 2002 N. Main St., Santa Ana,

Alex Israel, at the Huntington. In 2012, the San Marino library and museum unveiled the first of its contemporary interventions with low-key works by Ricky Swallow and Lesley Vance. Now the museum is getting bolder, with a series of installations by painter Alex Israel, whose pop-inspired canvases and objects touch on topics such as celebrity, glamour and power. Through July 11. 1151 Oxford Road, San Marino,

José Montoya, “Abundant Harvest: Works on Paper / Works on Life,” at the Fowler Museum. Throughout his life, activist, poet and painter Jose Montoya drew -- on whatever was at hand: napkins, hotel stationery and notebooks. And in those drawings he recorded the quotidian aspects of Mexican American life in the United States: dogs and children, women and sailors, pachucos and pachucas, the architecture of low-lying Central Valley neighborhoods, industrial warehouses and agricultural settings, as well as the glamorous profile of lowrider cars. It is the first comprehensive look at this vital Chicano artist’s drawing practice. Through July 17. UCLA, 308 Charles E. Young Drive North, Westwood,

“Sam Maloof Woodworker: Life/Art/Legacy,” at the Maloof Foundation. The foundation is celebrating the centennial of the birth of the renowned Southern California woodworker, whose elegant objects and furnishings are in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the L.A. County Museum of Art and the Smithsonian. The exhibition will feature more than 60 objects from throughout the artist’s life, including furnishings, drawings, photographs and other ephemera. The show is part of a year’s worth of events that will celebrate Maloof’s life and work. Through Aug. 27. 5131 Carnelian St., Alta Loma,

“Duchamp to Pop,” at the Norton Simon Museum. Drawing mostly from the Norton Simon’s permanent collection, this exhibition looks at the influence Duchamp likely had on generations of artists, from assemblagists to pop painters -- figures who have appropriated elements of the everyday world and transformed them into art. Through Aug. 29. 411 W. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena,

“Revolution in the Making: Abstract Sculpture by Women, 1947-2016,” at Hauser Wirth & Schimmel. The debut exhibition at the city’s newest gallery tackles more than half a century of sculpture by women, featuring key works by important international figures (Louise Bourgeois, Lee Bontecou) and key California artists (Ruth Asawa, Clare Falkenstein). Pieces range from the ethereal (Lygia Pape’s golden threads) to downright hilarious (Lara Schnitger’s lacy/cat/fur assemblage sculptures). Altogether, the show offers an alternative to the narrative of the macho man postwar painting scene that has so dominated the story of 20th century art. Through Sept. 4. 901 E. Third St., Los Angeles,

Hito Steyerl: Factory of the Sun, at the Museum of Contemporary Art. A video installation by the German artist takes the viewer into a dystopia where the movements of workers are harvested to create artificial sunshine. The piece, which debuted at the Venice Biennale in 2015, is a mash-up of contemporary communication, told as video game, news report documentary film and Internet video. Through Sept. 12. MOCA Grand Ave., 250 S. Grand Ave., Los Angeles,

“MOLAA at Twenty: 1996-2016,” at the Museum of Latin American Art. The Museum of Latin American Art in Long Beach is celebrating two decades in existence with a show that draws from the museum’s permanent collection of more than 1,600 objects. These include works by renowned Modernists Joaquín Torres-García and Wifredo Lam, Argentine conceptualist León Ferrari as well as contemporary figures such as Alexandre Arrechea and Patssi Valdez. Through Jan. 1. 628 Alamitos Ave., Long Beach,

“Senses of Time: Video and Film-Based Works of Africa,” at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. For one of its long-term installations, the museum has gathered works of video or film by contemporary African artists that explore the body and the looping nature of time. This includes pieces by figures such as Yinka Shonibare, Sammy Baloji, Berni Searle, Moatax Nasr and Theo Eshetu. Through Jan. 2, 2017. 5905 Wilshire Blvd., Mid-Wilshire,

“Islamic Art Now: Part 2” 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., Mid-Wilshire,

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