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Outside the fairs, you won’t want to miss these exhibitions on view at Los Angeles’s top museums, galleries, and collections.
Lee Quiñones: IF THESE WALLS COULD TALK
Charlie James Gallery Chinatown
“IF THESE WALLS COULD TALK” marks Lee Quiñones’s first solo show in Los Angeles. The New York–based artist first became known as an influential figure in New York’s 1970s graffiti movement. For this show, Quiñones has created new works that showcase the passage of time in a unique way. By writing on slabs of drywall and wood paneling in his studio, the artist eventually created tablets out of pieces removed from the wall. They reflect an intimate, interior world and practice. “In a manner and as a matter of speaking, the studio walls have always been my visual sounding board,” says Quiñones.
Allen Ruppersberg: Intellectual Property 1968-2018
The Hammer Westwood
“Allen Ruppersberg: Intellectual Property 1968–2018” is the first comprehensive U.S. survey of the Conceptual artist’s work in over three decades. Many works on view have never before been shown in the country. Ruppersberg moved to Los Angeles in the mid-1960s, soon becoming a part of the art scene that included Ed Ruscha, William Leavitt, and John Baldessari. The pioneering artist was known for his found object environments, narrative photo pieces, and other works that asked viewers to actively look. On view are more than 120 works from the past 50 years including assemblage sculptures, and participatory projects like Al’s Cafe (1969) and Al’s Grand Hotel (1971).
Charles White: A Retrospective
LACMA Miracle Mile
February 16–March 16
On view at LACMA’s satellite gallery, The Charles White Elementary School (formerly the Otis Art Institute), is the first major 21st-century museum retrospective on the midcentury artist Charles White. The exhibition traces the artist’s life and career, from his birthplace of Chicago, to his early acclaim in New York, to his time as a civil rights activist in Los Angeles. On view are 100 drawings and prints as well as some lesser-known paintings. White was known for capturing the dignity, humanity, and heroism of historical and
contemporary African Americans in both portraits and everyday scenes. The show is accompanied by “Plumb Line: Charles White and the Contemporary” (March 6–August 25, 2019) at the California African American Museum.
The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA Little Tokyo
The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA is presenting a midcareer survey of work by the L.A.-based artist Laura Owens. The exhibition includes over 60 paintings from the 1990s to today, showcasing the breadth of Owens’s practice thus far. Visitors will see her early work, leading up to her recent paintings and installations. “Laura Owens is one of the absolutely crucial figures in the development of painting over the past three decades,” says MOCA senior curator Bennett Simpson.
Ai Weiwei: Life Cycle
Marciano Art Foundation Hanock Park
“Life Cycle” is Ai Weiwei’s first major institutional exhibition in Los Angeles. The focal point of the show is a debut sculpture, Life Cycle (2018), which addresses the current global refugee crisis. The artist created an inflatable boat using traditional Chinese kite-making techniques dating back to the Ming dynasty. Surrounding the boat are suspended figures made of bamboo and silk that reference mythic creatures from the Shanhaijing, or Classic of Mountains and Seas. Also on view are installations Sunflower Seeds (2010) and Spouts (2015).
Deana Lawson: Planes
The Underground Museum Arlington Heights
When Noah Davis founded The Underground Museum, a solo show of the work of Deana Lawson was one of the first he envisioned. Davis saw her work in 2009 while serving as a juror for a prestigious art prize. The two became close friends, and the museum has carried on Davis’s wish to present Lawson’s work in “Planes.” The artist is known for her staged photographs and installations that capture the beauty of the body and its environment. Often working with strangers she meets, Lawson uses the domestic space as a backdrop, surrounding her subjects with objects and artifacts she’s collected.
Anat Ebgi Culver City
Anat Ebgi presents a solo exhibition of work by Faith Wilding, focusing on the development of Wilding’s practice in the 1980s, in particular 1981–1985. Wilding is perhaps best known for her public performances and lectures, and the significant body of work reorients the social aspect of her prolific, five-decade-long career within the context of the private studio environment, which fuels her commitment to collective political action. Alongside new works on paper, the exhibition pays particular attention to Wilding’s “Scriptorium” and “Hildegard” series. This body of work is rooted in Wilding’s notion of “becoming,” creating fantastic counterpoints to Western and male-dominated narratives, evoking the spiritual and alchemical.
Maira Kalman and Alex Kalman: Sara Berman’s Closet
Skirball Cultural Center Brentwood
“Sara Berman’s Closet” features a unique installation by Maira Kalman and Alex Kalman. The show is inspired by the experiences of Maira’s mother and Alex’s grandmother, Sara Berman (1920–2004). Berman’s fascinating life included time in Belarus, Tel Aviv, the Bronx, and Greenwich Village. Through an intimate installation of her closet, the show explores themes of independence, feminism, family, memory, and identity. The exhibition includes 12 new paintings by Maira Kalman.
Desert X 2019
Desert X Coachella Valley
This spring, Desert X returns to California’s desert landscape for a highly anticipated second edition. On view will be site-specific installations by renowned contemporary artists from around the world, brought together by curator and artistic director Neville Wakefield, alongside co-curators Amanda Hunt and Matthew Schum. The special exhibition will interact directly with its surroundings, offering audiences a chance to discover and contemplate their own social, political, and environmental impact. New to 2019 will be film projects and process-driven works, and this year’s exhibition will expand as far south as the Salton Sea.
Piero Manzoni: Materials of His Time
Hauser & Wirth Arts District
February 14–April 7
“Piero Manzoni. Materials of His Time” is the first exhibition in Los Angeles devoted to the seminal figure of postwar Italian art and progenitor of Conceptualism. Curated by Rosalia Pasqualino di Marineo, director of the Piero Manzoni Foundation in Milan, it focuses on the artist’s revolutionary “Achromes”—paintings without color. More than 80 Achromes will be on view, made with materials like sewn cloth, cotton balls, fiberglass, synthetic and natural fur, straw, cobalt chloride, polystyrene, stones, and more.
David Kordansky Miracle Mile
This winter, David Kordanksy will present a solo show of work by the artist Evan Holloway. The L.A.-based artist first became known in the late 1990s, and has developed a fan base and following. On view will be a group of outdoor sculptures, a relatively new exploration for Holloway. He will also show a new series of endless columns featuring towers of polychromatic heads, a group of radiant objects cast in white, his plant sculptures in bronze, and large Möbius strip–like sculptures that operate as incense holders.
Glenn Ligon: Untitled (America)/Debris Field/Synecdoche/Notes for a Poem on the Third World
Regen Projects Hollywood
“Untitled (America)/Debris Field/Synecdoche/Notes for a Poem on the Third World” is Glenn Ligon’s sixth solo show at Regen Projects. The artist will show a series of silkscreen and ink marker paintings, as well as a neon work inspired by an unrealized film project by Pier Paolo Pasolini in India, Africa, Latin America, the U.S., and the Middle East. Focused on letters rather than a text, Ligon used images of his own etchings and drawings to create a dense pattern of letter-based shapes. The resulting abstracted images go further than the artist has before in the exploration of language and meaning.
Parergon: Japanese Art of the 1980s and 1990s
Blum & Poe Culver City
February 14–March 23
Blum & Poe is pleased to announce a selected survey exhibition of Japanese art of the 1980s and ‘90s. Focusing on themes such as abject politics, transcending media, performativity, and satire and simulation, this show will present work in an array of media spanning painting, sculpture, duration performance, noise, video, and photography. This exhibition will take place in two parts at Blum & Poe Los Angeles as well as partnering institutions. The work of over 25 artists will be presented, including Kodai Nakahara, Tatsuo Miyajima, Kazumi Nakamura, Yukie Ishikawa, Tsuyoshi Ozawa, and Yukinori Yanagi, among many others. A catalogue with new scholarship will be published on the occasion.
Adia Millet: Breaking Patterns
California African American Museum Exposition Park
The California African American Museum is presenting the work of Adia Millett. The Oakland-based
artist works in collage, assemblage, textiles, painting, and photography to explore identity, personal memory, and collective history. “Breaking Patterns” particularly focuses on the story of African American women, as seen in Millett’s use of quilts in pieces like Flying Coffee Table (2015). Also on view are the artist’s miniature houses that serve as interior vignettes or dreamscapes, dealing with the domestic, memory, and loss.
Trenton Doyle Hancock: An Ingenue’s Hues and How to Use Cutty Black Shoes
Shulamit Nazarian Melrose
Trenton Doyle Hancock’s “An Ingenue’s Hues and How to Use Cutty Black Shoes” is one of the most important shows Shulamit Nazarian has ever put on. On view will be large-scale paintings as well as a life-sized sculpture. The Houston-based artist has also created paintings directly on the gallery walls. The monumental exhibition acts as a precursor to Doyle Hancock’s largest exhibition to date—“Mind of the Mound: Critical Mass” at Mass MoCA, opening March 9, 2019.
Sarah Cain: The Sun Will Not Wait
Honor Fraiser Culver City
Sarah Cain’s “The Sun Will Not Wait” will run concurrently with the Los Angeles–based artist’s site-specific installation curated by Ali Subotnick for Frieze Los Angeles (February 14–17). On view at Honor Fraser will be new floor paintings, created on-site prior to the opening. A group of new canvases exploring color, spatial constraints, and abstraction will also be presented. Finally, Cain will debut a skylight work inspired by her major commission for the San Francisco International Airport, which will be unveiled in June of this year.
Nikki S. Lee: Parts
Various Small Fires Melrose
Nikki S. Lee’s “Parts” series was first shown in 2003. In it, the Korean-born artist explored the impact of relationships on identity through candid photos from which the face or identity of partners has been cut. What remains is just a hand or arm, for instance. The exhibition will be accompanied by an essay from Cherise Smith, author of Enacting Others: Politics of Identity in Eleanor Antin, Nikki S. Lee, Adrian Piper, and Anna Deavere Smith.
Derek Fordjour and Tau Lewis
Night Gallery Downtown
Night Gallery is currently presenting two solo shows, featuring the work of Derek Fordjour and Tau Lewis. Fordjour is recognized for his paintings in acrylic on canvas layered with cardboard, newspaper, and oil pastels. Dealing with memory and race, he depicts collegiate scenes of community and celebration. Lewis uses found materials to create sculptural assemblages and portraits. The artist also employs sewing, plaster casting, and painting to capture collective identity and themes of labor and ownership.
Jeffrey Deitch Hollywood
“People” marks the second show in Jeffrey Deitch’s Frank Gehry–designed Los Angeles space. The exhibition focuses on figurative sculpture, expanding on the gallery’s New York iteration last spring. It brings together figurative pieces by an array of artists including Frank Benson, John Ahearn, and Karon Davis. The range of pieces on view is meant to reflect the diversity of the artists behind each work.