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.
Through April 14
Before she was the photog behind glam Hollywood portraiture, Annie Leibovitz was young artist learning her craft amid the turbulence of the ’70s, grabbing her camera for drives up and down the California coast, documenting anti-war protests, rock stars, and her daily life along the way.
Through April 21
Take a road trip out to the Coachella Valley to explore Desert X, a site-specific exhibition of large-scale art projects from artists including Nancy Baker Cahill, Mary Kelly, and Gary Simmons. You can visit the works on your own for free, or sign up for talks and programming held in Palm Springs. While the pieces are eclectic in style, they share a common theme: the urgency of global climate change.
Opens March 2
The Craft in America Center reveals its newly renovated gallery space with this show, which features a landmark survey of 50 historic pieces of decorative arts created by Californian crafters of the mid-twentieth century. Most of the selections come from the holdings of Forrest L. Merrill, who is considered to have the best and most complete private collection of studio craft by California artisans ever assembled.
Opens March 23
Highlighting more than 60 different artists, this exhibition focuses on the vital contributions of Black creators in American art. The show highlights the connections between political and social movements including the Civil Rights struggle and Black Power and the artwork of the era, as well as how Black artists engaged with Minimalism, abstraction, and other genres. Among the artists in the show are Noah Purifoy, Faith Ringgold, Charles White, Alma Thomas, and Romare Bearden.
In David Alekhuogie’s solo show, viewers will see a variety of depictions of physical falling, reaching, and jumping–used here as metaphors for, as the artist says, “the precariousness of freedom in America, a much-mythologized notion that remains out of reach for many.”
Closes April 21
What does it mean to be a monument? This exhibition explores the idea of how humans have created physical markers of history through the centuries. Beyond the structures themselves, the exhibit also investigates how the creation of monuments reflects belief systems, power structures, and sometimes contradictory cultural messaging.
Closes April 21
See how graphic design evolved as the century ended in this show, a collaboration between LACMA’s Decorative Arts and Design department and Prints and Drawings department. The idea is to see graphic design both as work in itself, and in the context of political and artistic movements of the time.
Closes May 12
This retrospective is the first major show of conceptual artist Allen Ruppersberg work to be staged in the U.S. in over 30 years, and many of the pieces on display have been sourced from European collections that have never been shown here at all. Ruppersberg ran in the same 1960s L.A. art scene as John Baldessari and Ed Ruscha; many of his works are large-scale, influenced by commercial graphic design, and often involve viewer participation.
Time Is Running Out of Time: Experimental Film and Video from the L.A. Rebellion and Beyond – Art + Practice Space
Closes September 14
Centered around a selection of video works created by Black student filmmakers studying at UCLA in the aftermath of the 1965 Watts Uprising, this collection of pieces expands out to include experimental film and video works that address themes of community, identity, politics, and culture.
Closing March 9
The Propeller Group is a collective of contemporary artists in Vietnam who create works incorporating film, photography, sculpture, and installations, and walk the line between fine art and commercial content production. None of the pieces included in this show have ever been displayed in Los Angeles before.
Sara Berman’s Closet – Skirball Cultural Center
Closes March 10
Artists Maria Kalman and Alex Kalman have created this installation inspired by their grandmother, Sara Berman, who died in 2004. At age 60, Berman ended her 38-year marriage, packed up her life in Tel Aviv and moved to New York City, and decided to wear only white, storing all her belongings in one small, perfectly organized closet. Her grandchildren saved the contents as they were at the time of her death and stage them here as an exploration of identity, freedom, family, and memory.
David Hockney: Something New in Painting (and Photography) [and even Printing]… Continued – L.A. Louver
Closes March 23
One of L.A.’s favorite artists, David Hockney, returns to an L.A. gallery this month. This exhibition focuses on Hockney’s most recent works, mostly very large-scale photographs and multi-canvas paintings. Hockney has a long history with L.A. Louver; he’s held shows in the gallery 21 times since 1978.