The Best Exhibits at Museums and Galleries in L.A. This Month

Your guide to new openings, must-sees, and what you need to catch while you can

We’re blessed with an abundance of museums and art galleries here in L.A., but with so many shows rotating in and out at any given time, it can be hard to keep up. Nobody wants to be the person who only finds out about a cool exhibit when it’s closing down and heading out of town. To help you make the most of your gallery-going, we’ve picked a selection of the best exhibits at museums and galleries around town.

New Openings in July

A Journey That Wasn’t – The Broad

Closes February 2019

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At first glance, A Journey That Wasn’t seems like it covers a lot of ground, with a mix of eras, styles, media, and approaches all in one show. What ties it all together is a theme: Every artwork finds the artist thinking about time, and how time passing impacts our lives. Works on display in this new show are drawn entirely from The Broad’s deep and diverse permanent collection, with several never been displayed in L.A. before.


Bruce W. Talamon: Soul, R&B, and Funk Photographs, 1972-1982 – Grammy Museum 

Closes August 1

Photographer Bruce W. Talamon had a front-row seat for the biggest stars of the ’70s, and was there for major concerts by the likes of Isaac Hayes and Stevie Wonder, and intimate moments like Muhammad Ali and Gil Scott-Heron discussing Nelson Mandela backstage at The Roxy. It was about more than documenting pop music to Talamon, who, as a young black man, saw himself as a “visual caretaker” of the culture and history of an era.

Ongoing Exhibits

Made in L.A. – Hammer Museum 

Closes September 2

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If you want to know what’s happening in the Los Angeles art scene, there is no better primer than the Hammer’s beloved biennial, Made in L.A. The show collects emerging and mid-career artists who represent some of the most interesting work coming out of the community today. For 2018, there’s a special emphasis on performance and movement pieces, so be sure to check the daily schedules.


The Jim Henson Exhibition: Imagination Unlimited – Skirball Cultural Center

Closes September 2

Take a deep dive into the magical world of Jim Henson, with this expansive exhibit which includes artifacts from his creative career. You’ll find Muppets, Sesame Street characters, items from Labyrinth and Fraggle Rock, and an array of personal notes, sketches, and storyboards from Henson’s personal archives.


Shinique Smith: Refuge — California African American Museum

Closes September 9

Shinique Smith’s first solo show at CAAM is inspired in part by her recent move to Los Angeles, themes of displacement, housing insecurity, and homelessness, and the physical landscape of Southern California. The artist hails from Baltimore (and even appeared in some John Waters movies) and lived in New York City before finding herself drawn to L.A., finally moving here at the beginning of 2018. In just a few months, she’s soaked up inspiration for a compelling show that reflects the city in a way even natives will find eye-opening.


Real Worlds: Brassaï, Arbus, Goldin — MOCA Grand Avenue

Closes September 3

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Curator Lanka Tattersall dove deep into MOCA’s own collection for most of the works on display in this exploration of three of the most influential photographers of the past century, Brassaï, Diane Arbus, and Nan Goldin. Expect poignant, occasionally unsettling, and often beautiful photos documenting moments of modern life.


King Tut: Treasures of the Golden Pharaoh — California Science Center

Closes January 6, 2019

Celebrating the 100th anniversary of the discovery of King Tut’s tomb, this touring exhibition is the most complete collection of artifacts ever shown outside of Egypt. While the run lasts over six months, don’t wait until the last minute to check it out—tickets for this blockbuster show have been selling out weeks in advance.


The High Art of Riding Low: Ranflas, Corazón, e Inspiración – Petersen Museum 

Closes September

Get inside the world of low-riders at this immersive exhibit. You’ll see customized cars, art inspired by low-rider culture and urban life in Los Angeles. The exhibit highlights the way customizing cars offers a platform for creative and expression, and comes with its own iconography and aesthetics.

Closing Soon

David Hockney: 82 Portraits and 1 Still-Life — LACMA

Closes July 29

David Hockney may have been born in England, but he’s made L.A. his home for much of his life. Even now, 50 years into his career, he’s still making art inspired by the city, its environment, and the people who live here. Most of the works in this show were created in his L.A. studio, and many of the 82 portraits’ subjects were locals, too. This exhibit, which originated at the Royal Academy of Arts in London, makes its only U.S. appearance at LAMCA.


Beyond the Streets — Werkartz Studios

Closes August 26

Beyond the Streets is something of a sequel to the blockbuster 2011 MOCA exhibit Art in the Streets, but it takes the concept in a bigger, bolder direction. The show pops up in a 40,000-square-foot indoor-and-outdoor space, with immersive environments, large-scale installations, and works on display by over 100 influential artists from Jean-Michel Basquiat to Shepard Fairey.


RELATED: This Jasper Johns Retrospective Is the Broad’s Next Big Thing


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