15 Art Shows to See in Los Angeles This Summer

From historical surveys to immersive installations by emerging artists, Los Angeles museums and art institutions offer something for everyone this summer. At the Getty, a Camille Claudel survey aims to refocus attention on her art rather than her turbulent life, while Albrecht Dürer at the Huntington illustrates the influence of Italian art on this German Renaissance master. The LA Public Library is displaying a mural by pioneering Chicano collective East Los Streetscapers for the first time in 25 years, and an exhibition of photographs by J. T. Sata at the Japanese American National Museum highlights the late artist’s modernist innovations. Josh Kline at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Sofía Córdova at JOAN, and Sangre de Nopal at the Fowler confront global legacies of exploitation and extraction, imagining speculative futures of catastrophe or liberation.

Sofía Córdova: The Wreck and not the Story of the Wreck

In this ambitious solo show, Oakland- and Puerto Rico-based artist Sofía Córdova asks what is required to make liberation a reality. Alongside a newly commissioned text and sculptural installation, the exhibition features two video installations from the artist’s GUILLOTINÆ WannaCry series (2019–2022). Its first half follows characters who enact revolutionary politics and challenge power structures in various ways, including historical examples of the Black Panthers in the United States, Sandinistas in Nicaragua, and Russian Revolutionaries. The second part of the series focuses on histories of resistance in the Caribbean, incorporating poetry by Derek Walcott, Alice Walker, and William Carlos Williams; musical genres such as reggaetón, salsa, and free jazz; and flora, 3D scans of seeds, and taxidermied birds featured in the film itself, highlighting the link between colonialism and environmental exploitation.

JOAN (joanlosangeles.org)
1206 Maple Avenue, Suite 715, Downtown, Los Angeles
Through July 20

Camille Claudel

Sculptor Camille Claudel broke ground as one of the few celebrated female artists in late 19th- and early 20th-century France. Despite her creative successes, her art is often overshadowed by her tumultuous personal life, which included an affair and creative rivalry with her mentor Auguste Rodin and confinement to a mental institution that lasted for 30 years until her death in 1943. Featuring around 60 sculptures in bronze, plaster, and marble, the Getty’s exhibition aims to return our focus to her artwork, affirming her status as a major influence in the history of modernist figurative sculpture.

Getty Center (getty.edu)
1200 Getty Center Drive, Brentwood, Los Angeles
Through July 21

East Los Streetscapers: Hacia al Norte

East Los Streetscapers, a pioneering mural collective that emerged from the Chicano Art Movement, wove together stories of migration to the United States from Latin America, Asia, and Europe in their 65-foot-long mural “Hacia al Norte” (1991). In it, Spanish galleons cruise alongside lowriders, traffic courses around Mexico City’s “Ángel de la Independencia” monument, children teach each other to use chopsticks, and an ocelot creeps past a Mayan temple while a bus speeds past fields, its destination emblazoned on the side: “al norte,” or northward. Artists David Botello, Wayne Healy, and Rich Raya landed on the theme after speaking with employees — many of whom were first- or second-generation immigrants — of the Outdoor Recreation Group company, which commissioned the mural for their headquarters in Lincoln Heights. The Los Angeles Public Library’s exhibition marks the mural’s first public display in 25 years.

Los Angeles Public Library (lapl.org)
630 West 5th Street, Downtown, Los Angeles
Through August 4

Gregg Bordowitz: This Is Not A Love Song 

This summer, nonprofit art space LAXART will reopen in its new location in East Hollywood with a new name, the Brick, which references “the idea of a building block that is part of a larger whole,” as Executive Director Hamza Walker explained in a press statement. Following the grand opening on June 16 and 17 featuring performances from avant-garde saxophonist Roscoe Mitchell, the inaugural exhibition, Gregg Bordowitz: This Is Not A Love Song, opens in July and will include video, performance, poetry, and prints from the artist, writer, and activist whose work examines HIV/AIDS, queerness, and Jewish identity through personal and political lenses. The show will feature Thirdness (2023), the third in a series of films co-produced by the Brick and Palais de Tokyo that began with Fast Trip, Long Drop (1993) and Habit (2001), which confront the realities of living with HIV through autobiographical reflections, archival footage, and satire.

The Brick (the-brick.org)
518 North Western Avenue, East Hollywood, Los Angeles
July 14–August 24

Kwame Brathwaite: Things Well Worth Waiting For

Over the course of six decades, photographer Kwame Brathwaite, who passed away last year, chronicled the breadth of African-American life and culture and created what are now some of the most iconic images of the Civil Rights and Black Power movements. Things Well Worth Waiting For showcases his work devoted to music, fashion, and community through roughly 50 photos from the 1960s and ’70s. These include portraits of Miles Davis, Marvin Gaye, Abbey Lincoln, and other musicians; images of the Grandassa Models who epitomized the “Black is Beautiful” phrase that the photographer helped popularize; and a slideshow projection of color stills set to a jazz soundtrack curated by producer Swizz Beatz.

Alyce de Roulet Williamson Gallery at the ArtCenter College of Design (artcenter.edu)
1700 Lida Street, Pasadena, California
Through August 17

Winfred Rembert: Hard Times

Hard Times is the first LA solo show of work by the late artist Winfred Rembert, bringing together his Cotton Field and Chain Gang series. Rembert’s carved and painted leather works reflect a mix of figuration and abstraction, as scenes of incarcerated people digging ditches and workers picking cotton break into color fields and mesmerizing striped patterns. These series depict episodes from the life of the artist, who grew up sharecropping in Georgia and was incarcerated from 1965 to 1974 after being arrested during a Civil Rights march. The exhibition will also include love letters written during his incarceration between Rembert and his wife Patsy, who encouraged his art practice upon his release.

Hauser & Wirth (hauserwirth.com)
901 East 3rd Street, Downtown, Los Angeles
Through August 25

J. T. Sata: Immigrant Modernist

James Tadanao Sata moved to Los Angeles from Japan in 1918, establishing himself as an amateur art photographer and bringing a modernist sensibility to his images of Little Tokyo, Southern California landscapes, portraits, and abstractions. During World War II, Sata and his family were imprisoned in detention centers along with other Japanese Americans, and his photography career stalled as cameras were considered contraband. Instead, he turned to drawing and painting to chronicle life in the camp. Immigrant Modernist assembles 60 of Sata’s photographs alongside documentation of his camp artwork, reflecting the sense of possibility, and later persecution, that his adopted country offered.

Japanese American National Museum (janm.org)
100 North Central Avenue, Little Tokyo, Los Angeles
Through September 1

On the Edge: Los Angeles Art from the Joan and Jack Quinn Family Collection

From the 1960s to the present, Joan Agajanian Quinn and her late husband Jack assembled one of the preeminent collections of post-war art in Southern California. In contrast to the stereotype of the aloof art collector, Joan Quinn — dubbed the “Gertrude Stein of her day” — has been a vibrant, charismatic figure in the LA art world for decades, introducing artists to the public through her former role as West Coast editor of Andy Warhol’s Interview magazine, host of her long-running cable television show Joan Quinn Profiles since the early ’90s, and former society editor for the Los Angeles Herald Examiner. On the Edge highlights the personal connections between the Quinn family and the more than 70 artists from their collection, including Lita Albuquerque, Don Bachardy, Larry Bell, Carole Caroompas, Charles Garabedian, Edward Kienholz, Alexis Smith, and many more.

Laguna Art Museum (lagunaartmuseum.org)
307 Cliff Drive, Laguna Beach, California
Through September 2

David Medalla: In Conversation with the Cosmos

The title of David Medalla’s first major US survey exhibition gives a sense of the late Filipino artist’s expansive and collaborative vision. Medalla is best known for the “biokinetic” sculptures he made in 1960s London, including bubble machines that fused art and technology. Throughout his career, he created artworks with which audiences could engage, beginning with the Exploding Galaxy, a performance troupe that opened for rock bands including Pink Floyd. In 1979, he devised the term “synoptic realism” to describe paintings and performances that bridged the personal, historical, and mythological. The Hammer’s exhibition spans paintings and drawings made in the 1950s through his death in 2020.

Hammer Museum (hammer.ucla.edu)
10899 Wilshire Boulevard, Westwood, Los Angeles
Through September 15

Estevan Oriol & Teen Angel: Dedicated to You

This exhibition at Beyond the Streets brings together two artistic forces that have both been central to documenting and shaping Chicano culture over the past several decades. Since the 1990s, Estevan Oriol has been photographing iconic visions of Latinx life in LA with candor and respect, ranging from lowriders, tattoos, and hip-hop to family scenes and urban landscapes. The exhibition will highlight the connection between Oriol’s work and one of his earliest artistic influences, Teen Angel’s Magazine, which ran from 1980 through the mid-2000s. Founded by the late artist known as Teen Angel, the magazine featured photographs, drawings, and stories celebrating Cholo and Chola culture and lifestyle, cars, fashion, graffiti, and influential black-and-gray tattoo style. Alongside Oriol’s photographs and paste-ups, and ephemera from Teen Angel’s archive, the show will feature a painstaking recreation of his studio, complete with original desk and glasses.

Beyond the Streets (beyondthestreets.com)
434 North La Brea Avenue, Fairfax, Los Angeles
June 29–September 15

Albrecht Dürer: Wanderlust

Albrecht Dürer may be synonymous with the German Renaissance, but his visits to Italy, France, Belgium, and the Netherlands as a young artist proved influential to his creative development. Albrecht Dürer: Wanderlust features 24 works created by the artist during and after his travels, illustrating his incorporation of disparate ideas and techniques into his practice. These are presented alongside paintings and prints by artists he encountered along the way, such as Raphael, Bellini, and Lucas van Leyden.

The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens (huntington.org)
1151 Oxford Road, San Marino, California
Through September 23

Josh Kline: Climate Change

In 2018, John Kline began developing a multi-faceted project imagining a near future disastrously impacted by climate change. In this speculative account, a rise in sea levels has flooded coastlines around the world, leaving several communities underwater and causing large-scale refugee crises. Josh Kline: Climate Change is the first complete presentation of the project, which intertwines film, photography, sculpture, and ephemeral materials to create an evocative vision of a reality that is already upon us.

Museum of Contemporary Art (moca.org)
250 South Grand Avenue, Downtown, Los Angeles
June 23–January 5, 2025

Sangre de Nopal/Blood of the Nopal: Tanya Aguiñiga & Porfirio Gutiérrez en Conversación/in Conversation

For roughly 2,500 years, Zapotec peoples have been dying fabrics with cochineal, a brilliant red dye made from an insect of the same name that lives on the nopal, or prickly pear cactus. In Sangre de Nopal, artist and designer Tanya Aguiñiga and Porfirio Gutiérrez, a Zapotec textile artist and natural dyer based in Ventura, California, consider Indigenous ecological traditions and patterns of migration and displacement within the Oaxacan diaspora through the example of cochineal, which is used today in several industries to color cosmetics, food, and luxury goods. The show will include textiles, performance, and video works by Aguiñiga and Gutiérrez, presented alongside early 20th-century Oaxacan textiles from the Fowler Museum’s collection.

Fowler Museum at the University of California, Los Angeles (fowler.ucla.edu)
308 Charles E. Young Drive North, Westwood, Los Angeles
July 21–January 12, 2025

Simone Leigh

Simone Leigh’s two-venue museum survey spans the last 20 years of her career, with the California African American Museum highlighting her film and video work, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art showcasing her large-scale sculpture, and both institutions featuring pieces from her presentation in the US pavilion at the 2022 Venice Biennale. Leigh’s multi-layered practice explores the complexities of Black female identity, incorporating art forms and traditions from throughout the African diaspora as well as precedents in African art and architecture. Highlights include hanging sculptures composed of breast-like forms made from cast watermelons from her Trophallaxis series (2008/17); “Breakdown” (2011), a cinematic collaboration with Liz Magic Laser juxtaposing scenes of “female hysteria” from film and TV with a performance by opera singer Alicia Hall Moran; and “Cupboard” (2022), a massive bell-shaped sculpture composed of raffia fibers that references communal vernacular architecture, women’s garments, and colonial histories of taxonomy and domination.

Los Angeles County Museum of Art (lacma.org)
5905 Wilshire Boulevard, Miracle Mile, Los Angeles

California African American Museum (caamuseum.org)
600 State Drive, Exposition Park, Los Angeles
Through January 20, 2025

Jaime Muñoz: Truth Is A Moving Target

Jaime Muñoz’s bold, graphic mixed-media paintings are characterized by a sense of hybridity, juxtaposing Indigenous symbology, Mexican syncretism, car culture, and typographical elements. In “LA Commute” (2019), a sparking, geometric border frames a Toyota truck fitted with a worker’s tool rack below a rendering of an Aztec sun, as birds rendered in the style of flash tattoos flit about. Muñoz incorporates other elements that reflect his experience as a first-generation Chicano, layering ancient Aztec statues, stylized butterflies and horses, consumer products, and figures of Jesus within his brightly colored and pin-striped canvases. Truth Is a Moving Target is his first solo museum show.

LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes (lapca.org)
501 North Main Street, Downtown, Los Angeles
June 28–January 26, 2025

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