An influential pioneer of assemblage. Intimate portraits of fighting men. And a show that captures odd clay sculptures in paint. Plus: Flower paintings in time for Mother's Day and a pair of piano performances — one of which features an ax. Here are seven shows to see this week (and next):
Berman, "American Aleph," at Kohn Gallery. This is the first comprehensive Los Angeles retrospective for the pioneering Southern California assemblage artist in roughly four decades. The artist, who was also the publisher of the influential arts and literary magazine Semina, had an international influence. The exhibition gathers works from the 1940s to his death in 1976, including numerous examples of his Verifax collages, photocopied and painted assemblages that play with the tropes of popular culture. This is one not to miss. Opens Friday and runs through June 25. 1227 N. Highland Ave., Hollywood, kohngallery.com.
"Salomón Huerta," at Christopher Grimes Gallery. A new series of works by the Los Angeles artist features his watercolor portraits of celebrated boxers, including Muhammad Ali, Rocky Marciano and Mike Tyson — an intimate look at the hyper-masculine figures of one of the world's most brutal sports. Opens Saturday at 6 p.m. and runs through July 1. 916 Colorado Ave., Santa Monica, cgrimes.com.
"Two Pianos: An Evening of Piano-Based Compositions," at Blum & Poe. Tonight brings a pair of unusual piano performance to Los Angeles (and it promises to be waaaay better than any ridiculous Cinco de Mayo happy hour). Artist Jim Brown re-creates Raphael Montañez Ortiz's "Piano Destruction," a performance that ends with artist taking an ax to the instrument (the first time Montañez has allowed another artist to do the piece). This will be followed by artist-composer Tom Recchion's "Drishti Point," in which he creates sound by manipulating the strings without using the piano keys. Totally righteous. Tonight at 7; doors open at 6:30 p.m. 2727 S. La Cienega Blvd., Culver City, blumandpoe.com.
John Kilduff, at Daniel Rolnik Gallery. Kilduff, known as "Mr. Let's Paint" for his wild painting performances on treadmills, has a new show opening at Daniel Rolnik that is part conceptual flower shop, part paean to vintage Americana. For the former, the artist is painting specially commissioned canvases of flowers for $100 a pop (just in time for Mother's Day) and in the area he calls "The Cavern" he is featuring works inspired by the show "American Pickers," which includes renderings of bits of garage sale detritus, as well as a full-blown pinball machine crafted out of cardboard. Opens Saturday at 6 p.m. and runs through June 1. There will be a special performance by the Radioactive Chicken Heads and appearance by MQ Schmidt as the Michelin Man during the opening. 2675 S. La Cienega Blvd., Culver City, danielrolnikgallery.com.
"43: From Ayotzinapa to Ferguson," at Self Help Graphics & Art. In partnership with the Social Public Art Resource Center (SPARC), the venerable Eastside print workshop and gallery is bringing together a panoply of L.A. artists — including David Botello, Sandy Rodriguez and Eye.One — to take on the issue of abuses of the state around the Americas. Through June 10. 1300 E. 1st St., Boyle Heights, Los Angeles, selfhelpgraphics.com.
"Peter Opheim: Fables of the Eleven Rooms and Six Houses," at Zevitas Marcus. Opheim paints clay renderings of bulbous Venus of Willendorf-ish figurines that are charmingly grotesque. The show includes 11 paintings, as well as a series of sculptures made from the discarded clothing of friends and family members. Opens today and runs through June 25. An opening reception will be held Saturday at 5 p.m. 2754 S. La Cienega Blvd., Culver City, zevitasmarcus.com.
Callings Out of Context: Junglepussy and Dan Deacon, organized by the Broad museum. As part of its public programming initiatives, the Broad has teamed up with performer Ted Hearne and Pitchfork's Brandon Stosuy to host a concert by bawdy-smart New York rapper Junglepussy and electronica master Dan Deacon. This sounds like it's going to be a serious jam. May 12 at 8 p.m at the Teagram Ballroom. 1234 W. 7th St., Westlake, Los Angeles, thebroad.org.
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 Saturday. 1034 N. Highland Ave., Hollywood, gavlakgallery.com.
Lawrence Weiner, "Made to Be," at Regen Projects. Weiner is a leading conceptual artist whose work plays with language and the ideas and images that it conjures. In his ninth solo show at Regen, he once again works with the power of words to tease the viewer in wry and canny ways. Through Saturday. 6750 Santa Monica Blvd., Hollywood, regenprojects.com.
"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 Sunday. Pacific Design Center, 8687 Melrose Ave., West Hollywood, moca.org.
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. Through Sunday, 356 S. Mission Road, Boyle Heights, 356mission.com.
"House Housing: An Untimely History of Architecture and Real Estate in Thirty-one Episodes," at the MAK Center. An ongoing research project by the Temple Hoyne Buell Center for the Study of American Architecture at Columbia University, this exhibition looks at the intersection of real estate development and architecture — from pre-fab apartment blocks to suburban gated communities. A timely show for Los Angeles as it furiously debates the future of development in the city. Through Sunday. Schindler House, 835 N. Kings Road, West Hollywood, makcenter.org.
"John Divola: Dents and Abrasions" at Gallery Luisotti. This exhibition features a series of new works by Divola, who is known for capturing abandoned buildings and their environments in decidedly cool and unromantic ways. (No ruin porn here.) The pieces continue Divola's tradition of marking the buildings in some way — with spray paint or found paintings — and then capturing the entire scene in a photograph. Through May 14. An artist's reception will be held at 6 p.m. Saturday, Bergamot Station, 2525 Michigan Ave., Building A2, Santa Monica, galleryluisotti.com.
Ed Ruscha, "Editions," at Leslie Sacks Gallery. The show is a gathering of recent and vintage print editions — from 1982 to 2015 — by the L.A. pop artist, including his inscrutable word-and-image pieces, which he has produced throughout his career, as well as his ghostly prints of ships from the 1980s. Through May 14. 2525 Michigan Ave., Santa Monica, lesliesacks.com.
"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, getty.edu.
"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, hammer.ucla.edu.
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, grandcentralartcenter.com.
Daniel Joseph Martinez, "If You Drink Hemlock, I Shall Drink It With You…" at Roberts & Tilton. A hallucinatory environmental installation by the L.A.-based artist takes on Jacques-Louis David's seminal French revolutionary painting "The Death of Marat" as a point of inspiration. Martinez's mise en scène features the artist as the key figures in this famous murder, including Marat, and his killer Charlotte Cordray, among others. Through May 21. 5801 Washington Blvd., Culver City, robertsandtilton.com.
"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, grid-like arrangements using bright blocks of color. Her work extends into the sculptural realm too. Through May 21. 1301 Cesar Chavez Ave., Monterey Park, vincentpriceartmuseum.org.
"LA Rebels: Photographs by Janette Beckman," at Project Gallery. Beckman, who is known for photographing some of hip-hop's most iconic figures (including Ice Cube and Dr. Dre), is showing two sets of works at this show. The first features her collaborations with artists, who often drew and painted over her photographs; the second is a series from the '80s that documents the El Hoyo Maravilla gang from East L.A. Through May 21. 961 Chung King Road, Chinatown, Los Angeles, projectgallery.com.
Deveron Richard, at Good Luck Gallery. Unicorns get groovy on light-up disco floors, polar bears rock lipstick and buxom birds wear rainbow dresses in the humorously electrified scenes imagined by this South Bay artist. Through May 21. 945 Chung King Road, Chinatown, Los Angeles, thegoodluckgallery.com.
"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. Through May 21. 1206 Maple Ave., Los Angeles, postlosangeles.org.
"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, esmoa.org.
Abel Alejandre, "Public Secrets," at Coagula Curatorial. The Wilmington-based artist, known for his hyper-detailed graphite drawings, is unveiling a new series of paintings at the gallery that contend with secrets — from the family sort to UFOs. All of this comes in advance of the opening of his public commission for the Westwood/Rancho Park Metro Station in May. Through May 22. 974 Chung King Roa., Chinatown, Los Angeles, coagulacuratorial.com.
Gerald Davis, "House With Buried Figure," at Ltd. Los Angeles. The Los Angeles painter has his first solo exhibition at the gallery with a series of eight, large-scale expressionistic canvases that depict quivering house-like structures obscuring a human figure within. Through May 27. 7561 Sunset Blvd., No. 103, Hollywood, ltdlosangeles.com.
Ramiro Gomez, "On Melrose," at Charlie James Gallery. In his third solo exhibition at the gallery, the Los Angeles artist, known for creating works that insert the often invisible laborers who makes luxury possible, is turning his sights to Melrose Avenue — creating a series of paintings that take on iconic sites such as the Paramount Studios and Fred Segal. Through May 28. 969 Chung King Rd., Chinatown, Los Angeles, cjamesgallery.com.
"TRI(…ed): Reivisiting TRI Gallery," at Wilding Cran Gallery. In 1992, artist Rory Devine established a gallery in his home at Hayworth Avenue in L.A., in which he showed one work by three artists in one room of the house. That evolved into a storefront in Hollywood that lasted for 4 1/2 years. Over its life, the gallery presented more than 30 exhibitions. This show gathers work by artists who showed in the space, including figures such as Mary Heilmann, Kathleen Johnson and Leonardo Bravo, Trudie Reiss and George Stoll. Through May 28. 939 S. Santa Fe Ave., downtown Los Angeles, wildingcran.com.
"Margie Livingston: Holding It Together," at Luis De Jesus Los Angeles. Livingston doesn't make paintings; she makes "paint objects" — canvases wrapped in acrylic paint skin that she straps to her body, then drags through the city's streets. Part penance, part performance, these actions leave behind a work that is as much a wall hanging as it is evidence of something darkly destructive. Through May 28. 2685 S. La Cienega Blvd., Culver City, luisdejesus.com.
Lily Simonson, "Midnight Sun," at CB1 Gallery. The painter known for her electric renditions of icy snowscapes is having her third exhibition at the gallery, showcasing work that was inspired by a recent trip to Antarctica with the National Science Foundation. Expect otherworldly vistas from both above and below the ice. Through May 29. 1923 S. Santa Fe Ave., downtown Los Angeles, cb1gallery.com.
Catherine Fairbanks, "Two Chimneys," at Wilding Cran Gallery. A pair of chimney sculptures crafted out of geologic layers of papier-mâché evoke the ruined domestic buildings throughout the West. But while they may call attention with their scale and their dexterous construction, don't miss the pair of abstractions, on a rear wall, exquisitely woven together from different shades of horse hair. Through May 28. 939 S. Santa Fe Ave., downtown Los Angeles, wildingcran.com.
Delicious Taste, "Re-Corded History," at C. Nichols Project. The duo of Grant Levy-Doolittle and Bruce Yonemoto, known as "Delicious Taste," has created an installation that takes on the ephemera of our digital lives and marries it to pre-Columbian tradition. Phones, monitors and surveillance cameras are connected by a vast array of knotty wires that evoke ancient Andean quipús, the knotted strings that served as record-keeping devices. Through May 28. 12613½ Venice Blvd., Mar Vista, cnicholsproject.com.
Amy Park, "Ed Ruscha's Every Building on the Sunset Strip" at Kopeikin Gallery. Park takes Ruscha's iconic 1966 photo book, which documented every building on West Hollywood's Sunset Strip, and re-creates it as a series of watercolor paintings — a 97-foot immersive environment that wraps the gallery and therefore the viewer. It's a new way of seeing a familiar Los Angeles work. Through June 4. 2766 S. La Cienega Blvd., Culver City, kopeikingallery.com.
Joan Snyder, "Womansong," at Parrasch-Heijnen. The prominent abstract painter is having her first solo exhibition in Los Angeles at this new Boyle Heights space. This will include seven new canvases that explore aspects of landscape and the female figure, as well as one of the early "stroke" paintings for which she is well known. These are canvases composed of bold strokes of paint on gridded backgrounds — works that ride the divide between abstraction and conceptualism. Through June 10. 1326 S. Boyle Ave., Los Angeles, parrasch-heijnen.com.
Morgan Fisher and Karina Nimmerfall, "Past Future Housing," at the MAK Center. This exhibition brings together two artists — one German, one from Los Angeles — who look at the question of mass-produced housing in the United States. This includes the creation of a fictional prototype for a new utopian city inspired by historic development plans for Los Angeles. Through June 25. Mackey Garage Top, 1137 S. Cochran Ave., Mid-Wilshire, Los Angeles, makcenter.org.
Ed Moses, "Moses@90," at William Turner Gallery. To celebrate the prominent L.A. painter's 90th birthday, this survey exhibition gathers works from throughout his career. This includes drawings from the 1950s to the 1970s, his more gestural paintings from the 1990s, as well as a slew of recent works. Through June 25. Bergamot Station, 2525 Michigan Ave., E-1, Santa Monica, williamturnergallery.com.
"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, janm.org
"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, bowers.org
"Marilyn Minter: Pretty/Dirty," at the Orange County Museum of Art. The New York-based painter and photographer has long played with the tropes of feminine beauty in works that seamlessly stir the alluring with the mildly grotesque. Through July 10. 850 San Clemente Drive, Newport Beach, ocma.net
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, huntington.org
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, fowler.ucla.edu.
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 features 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 runs through July 31. 5905 Wilshire Blvd., Miracle Mile, Los Angeles, lacma.org. The Getty exhibit also runs through July 31. 1200 Getty Center Drive, Brentwood, Los Angeles, getty.edu.
"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, malooffoundation.org
"In Focus: Electric!" at the Getty Museum. Electricity: It powers your home, it powers your work and it powers the phone on which you are likely reading this post. This photographic exhibition at the Getty gathers historic images that showcase the allure of light and power. Through Aug. 28. 1200 Getty Center Drive, Brentwood, Los Angeles, getty.edu.
"Art of the Austronesians: The Legacy of Indo-Pacific Voyaging," at Fowler Museum. A look at the legacy of Austronesian-speaking peoples gathers art and artifacts from the Philippines, Indonesia and other points in the South Pacific. This includes nearly 200 works, from wood sculptures to ceremonial textiles to canoe prow ornaments. Through Aug. 28. 308 Charles E. Young Drive N., Westwood, fowler.ucla.edu.
"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, nortonsimon.org.
"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, hauserwirthschimmel.com.
"Claire Falkenstein: Beyond Sculpture," at the Pasadena Museum of California Art. The 20th century California artist, whose name has is circulating once again after being included in the debut exhibition at Hauser Wirth & Schimmel, is now the subject of her own retrospective, tracking her entire career, from the 1930s to the '90s. (She passed away in 1997.) The artist, who worked in San Francisco and Los Angeles — as well as Paris — produced prints and murals, among other works, but she is best known for her sculpture: in particular, her often gritty assemblages made out of wire studded with chunks of glass. Through Sept. 11. 490 E. Union St., Pasadena, pmcaonline.org.
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, moca.org.
"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, molaa.org.
"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. 5905 Wilshire Blvd., Mid-Wilshire, lacma.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 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 2017. 3508 W. Washington Blvd., Arlington Heights, Los Angeles, theunderground-museum.org.
"Geographically Indeterminate Fantasies," hosted by Providence College Galleries. Don't worry if you're nowhere near Providence College in Rhode Island. A new digitally-minded exhibition by the art writing team at Art F City features more than two dozen works by artists who use animated GIFs to create work — from Brenna Murphy's dizzying electronic architecture to Jacolby Satterwhite's pulsing alternate universe. It's the sort of thing that will encourage you to spend quality time online (and away from awful Facebook). pcgalleries.providence.edu.
"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, lacma.org.