16 Must-Visit Art Spaces Around Los Angeles This February
The Frieze Art Fair is making its West Coast debut after months of anticipation. And all around Los Angeles, top institutions are rolling out the red carpet for a new wave of visitors by hosting special events and unveiling new exhibitions. If you’re planning to make the trip for Frieze Week (February 14 to 17), be sure to leave room in your itinerary to visit these incredible art spaces.
1. The Broad Situated inside a striking Diller + Scofidio Renfro–designed building, this institution is practically a work of art itself. Its extensive collection, which includes blue-chip artists like Jean-Michel Basquiat, Chuck Close, and Roy Lichtenstein, as well as pieces by a number of emerging talents, is always worth the trip.
2. Geffen Contemporary at MOCA On February 16, early risers can enjoy a 7 a.m. “Brutally Early Club” breakfast with artistic director Hans Ulrich Obrist and the museum’s curator Klaus Biesenbach, followed by their conversations with artists Lauren Halsey, Korakrit Arunanondchai, and Luchita Hurtado at 9:30, 10:30, and 11:30, respectively. Then stay to enjoy the museum’s can’t-miss surveys of Los Angeles–based artists Laura Owens and Zoe Leonard.
3. Hammer Museum A major retrospective of artist Allen Ruppersberg features some 120 works from his five-decade career, which helped put Los Angeles on the map as a hub for conceptual art.
4. Marciano Art Foundation One of the city’s must-visit exhibitions right now is Ai Weiwei’s “Life Cycle,” on view through March 3. When it opened in September, this incredible and compassionate exhibit marked the Chinese artist’s first L.A. solo show. The installation, which examines the global refugee crisis, doubles as a poignant manifestation of Weiwei’s experience as a child refugee. While you’re there, be sure to check out Yayoi Kusama’s long-term installation With All My Love for the Tulips I Pray Forever. With every surface clad in polka dots, this immersive work is quintessentially Kusama.
5. Underground Museum Frieze week will be the last opportunity to catch Deanna Lawson’s “Planes,” on view through February 17. Her photographic portraits of African Americans in humble domestic settings are meant to convey a sense of strength: “They are displaced kings and queens of the diaspora,” she told the The New York Times in October. “There’s something beautiful and powerful that hasn’t been taken away.”
6. The Getty Stop by the J. Paul Getty Museum for an art history fix, starting with works by the great 16th-century painter Pontormo. This traveling exhibition of the Florentine artist’s masterworks, “Pontormo: Miraculous Encounters,” just arrived on February 5 and centers on the recently restored 1528 altarpiece the Visitation. You can catch it anytime before April 28.
7. Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) The exhibition “Outliers and American Vanguard Art” brings together more than 250 works by outsider artists like Judith Scott, Kara Walker, Betye Saar, Bill Traylor, and many more in an exploration that reflects on the rise in recognition of self-taught artists and their intersection with the mainstream canon. Open since November, the show will remain on view for a month after Frieze closes, ending on March 17.
8. UTA Artist Space Nick Cave, Karon Davis, Kehinde Wiley, and Kerry James Marshall are just a few of the influential black artists contributing to “DREAMWEAVERS,” a group show curated by Nicola Vassell to address society’s great challenges with a surrealist twist. The exhibit, on view until April 13, was organized in part by arts patron Kasseem “Swiss Beatz” Dean.
9. Night Gallery The gallery is slated to launch three new exhibitions in conjunction with Frieze, including”JRRNNYS,” Derek Fordjour’s newly opened solo exhibition that is also his first in Los Angeles. At the heart of Fordjour’s show is an installation entitled STOCKROOM Ezekiel, which lifts its name from the 1884 letters of Ezekiel Archey, an unjustly imprisoned 25-year-old who was forced into labor at the Pratt coal mines in Birmingham. The show is up through March 2.
10. David Kordansky Gallery Since its establishment in 2003, the Los Angeles gallery has evolved from a place for emerging artists into one of the city’s preeminent exhibition spaces for blue-chip art. At present, two remarkable shows are on view: the nebulous “Chromospheres,” of Fred Eversley, who just joined the gallery’s roster in September, and a group of imaginative outdoor sculptures by Evan Holloway.
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11. Regen Projects To see (and hear) Doug Aitken’s dramatic new installation, Don’t Forget to Breathe, you’ll have to travel to the strip mall at 6775 Santa Monica Boulevard. The gallery’s off-site presentation of Aitken’s work dwells on what it refers to as a “retail apocalypse,” as brick-and-mortar shops become abandoned in favor of online marketplaces and the digital world at large.
12. Hauser & Wirth Father-and-son duo Paul and Damon McCarthy have spent the past three years conceiving and directing films, and what better place to premiere them than Hollywood? Head to the Montalbán Theater on February 15 for the one-day-only showing of CSSC – It Begins – The Coach The Skull and DADDA – Poodle House Saloon. Fair warning, though: In true McCarthy style, both films are rife with gore and aren’t for the faint of heart.
13. Jeffrey Deitch For the L.A. edition of the gallery’s hit New York exhibition “People,” more than 50 figurative sculptures in myriad poses fill the space in styles that run the gamut from Dadaist and Surrealist figures to department store mannequins. The roster of artists is similarly wide-ranging, including some of the foremost contemporary artists like Nick Cave, Jeff Koons, Urs Fisher, and Sarah Lucas, while also placing a special emphasis on emerging talent.
14. Gagosian Fans of artist Albert Oehlen will be delighted to hear that he has a special, large-scale wall drawing planned for Frieze Week. His kinetically charged handiwork will fill a small pop-up gallery at 420a North Camden Drive, just a few doors down from the mega-gallery’s permanent Beverly Hills location.
15. Schindler House A group of contemporary artists have been invited to create works responding to the artist Alison Knowles’s computer-generated poem and related architectural exhibition, “The House of Dust.” The opening reception featured performances by Milka Djordjevich and an interpretation of scores by Knowles and Yoko Ono. Follow-up performances are scheduled for February 16 and 17.
16. The Newsstand Project Earlier this year, Los Angeles art dealer Stefan Simchowitz set up shop in a defunct newsstand in the hopes of appealing to passersby. The Newsstand Project, as he refers to the street-side gallery model, now has two locations in the city. Be sure to catch solo shows by Matt Hope and Darren Goins at its Kings Road Cafe and House on Sunset locations, respectively.