The Best Exhibits at Museums and Galleries in L.A. in September

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

Douglas Tausik Ryder: Body Language – Jason Vass Gallery

Opens September 7

Douglas Tausik Ryder’s work marries the warm, organic material of wood with digital design. Ryder has pioneered a high-tech system that allows him to sculpt wood using customized industrial machinery in his studio. He applies this practice to create smooth, curved shapes, primarily inspired by female human bodies.


Kenny Scharf: Optimistically Melting! — Honor Fraser

Opens September 7

Known for his surreal, swirling cartoon figures, SoCal legend Kenny Scharf takes on the still life in a new group of paintings on display at Honor Fraser. Outside the gallery, Scharf is constructing a garland built from plastic detritus that will wrap around the building as a statement about consumption.


Judy Chicago: Los Angeles — Jeffrey Deitch

Opens September 7

Feminist pioneer Judy Chicago was making art in L.A. well before the scene was embracing women. A full survey of the paintings, drawings, sculptures, and installations she created between 1965 and 1972 goes on display at Deitch.


Celeste Rapone: Future Amateur – Roberts Projects Gallery

Opens September 14

Chicago-based artist Celeste Rapone stages her first show at Roberts Projects Gallery, featuring her large, colorful paintings. The images are most frequently women, doing everyday tasks or in fantastical settings, but always unapologetically the subject of attention.


Theaster Gates: Line Drawing for Shirt and Cloak — Regen Projects

Opens September 14

In his second solo exhibition at Regen, groundbreaking Chicago artist Theaster Gates presents a series of activations that incorporate metal work and his own wardrobe. Gates also wrote, performed, and recorded a vocal score to accompany the exhibit.

Ongoing Exhibits

Donna Huanca: Obsidian Ladder – Marciano Art Foundation

Closes December 1

This site-specific installation in the Marciano’s 13,000-square-foot Theater Gallery marks the first significant solo exhibition in the U.S. for Donna Huanca. Huanca specializes in using materials taken from nature–clay, oil, turmeric, sand–to create what she calls “skin paintings.” The show incorporates the senses of sight, smell, and hearing, and uses both fixed works and performance.


Coyote Leaves the Res: The Art of Harry Fonseca – The Autry Museum

Closes January 5, 2020

Harry Fonseca was an influential force in shaping the look of contemporary Native American art. This collection of work focuses on the character of Coyote, the shape-shifting trickster of lore, depicted by Fonseca in leather and sneakers, amid colorful, graphic designs.


Disruptors – Petersen Automotive Museum

Closes March 15, 2020

Designers Rem D. Koolhaas and Joey Ruiter turn their innovative, minimalist sensibilities to cars, skateboards, and other objects in this just-opened exhibit. How each of these A-list designers reshapes everyday functional items to be visually and technologically sophisticated is sure to provoke some thoughts.

Closing Soon

Frank Stella: Selections from the Permanent Collection – LACMA

Closes September 15

A heavyweight of modern art, Frank Stella is best known for his paintings and sculptures that bridge Abstract Expressionism and Minimalism. The works included in this exhibition include a number of pieces held in LACMA’s permanent collection which have been in storage, not seen by the public for over 30 years.


Offal – Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery

Closes September 29

For this show, 45 local contemporary artists were asked to contribute works that engage with the intersections of culture, taboo, heritage, labor, waste, and food represented by the consumption of the animal organs and innards referred to as offal.


Mary Corse: A Survey in Light – LACMA

Closes November 11

Topanga Canyon-based artist Mary Corse has been working since the mid-1960s, when she broke through as one of the few women associated with the West Coast Light and Space Movement. The connective thread amongst all of the pieces in this, her first solo museum survey, is the reflection and refraction of light; she uses a variety of materials, even the microspheres that illuminate street lane markers, to create pieces that shimmer and glow as the viewer moves around them.


RELATED: These L.A. Artists Are Bringing Queer Perspectives Into Focus


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