Betye Saar, “Black Dolls sketchbook, San Diego, Mingei International Museum” (2015), overall: 6 1/4 x 4 1/8 inches (collection of Betye Saar, courtesy the artist and Roberts Projects, Los Angeles, © Betye Saar, photo © Museum Associates/ LACMA)

Below you’ll find a fun mix of museum and gallery shows, performances, and film screenings taking place over the next few months in the greater Los Angeles area. We know how hard it is to keep track of all that’s going on, so we’ve compiled some of the events that stood out to us and organized them according to theme and type. We’re hoping there’ll be a little something for everyone. 

California Art, Artists, and History 

CURRENT:LA FOOD, LA Public Art Triennial

When: October 3–November 5
Where: City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs, various locations across Los Angeles

LA’s Department of Cultural Affairs is staging a second iteration of the LA Public Art Triennial, and it sounds fascinating. Fifteen artists — including Nari Ward, Jazmin Urrea, Michael Rakowitz, and Shana Lutker, among others — will spark discussions around food equity, agriculture, and distribution. Various spaces around Los Angeles will host the artists and related events (including solar cooking and break-making workshops). Check for details. 

Chris Christion, “The Unauthorized Histography of California Vol. 1” (2018), digital video (image courtesy the artist, the MexiCali Biennial, and Armory Center for the Arts)

Calafia: Manifesting the Terrestrial Paradise

When: October 6, 2019–January 12, 2020
Where: Armory Center for the Arts (145 N Raymond Ave, Pasadena, California)

Not bound to either a specific time of year or city, the MexiCali Biennial mounts itinerant exhibitions across both sides of the US and Mexico border. The Black queen Calafia, a fictional character from a 16th-century Spanish novel that fueled colonial fantasies of the region that became California, is the inspiration for the latest exhibition. Featuring the work of 30 artists and collectives, Calafia: Manifesting the Terrestrial Paradise explores shared histories of colonial violence and visions of resistance that extend across national borders.

DENSE-CITY: Housing for Quality of Life and Social Capital

When: October 19–December 14
Where: 18th Street Arts Center (Airport Gallery, 3026 Airport Avenue, Santa Monica, California)

The homelessness crisis in Los Angeles is severe and the housing supply has not been meeting the demands of the market. For this exhibition, the LA-based architecture studio Brooks + Scarpa shares models and ideas for sustainable housing in the city. 18th Street will also host talks with city planning officials, artists, and more.  

Franklin Williams, “Open Outward and Inward” (2019), acrylic on paper and canvas with collage, 40 x 60 inches (image courtesy Parker Gallery and the artist)

Franklin Williams

When: October 27–December 21
Where: Parker Gallery (2441 Glendower Ave, Los Feliz, Los Angeles)

As a young painter California Bay Area artist Franklin Williams abandoned Abstract Expressionism in favor of a stronger, more singular vision. His work is multifaceted and tied to various art historical movements, combining quilted patterns, biomorphic forms, and the handmade and decorative. Over five decades later, he continues to make work that is difficult to classify and pin down as just one thing or another.

Artist Retrospectives 

Betye Saar: Call and Response

When: September 22, 2019–April 5, 2020
Where: Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA)(5905 Wilshire Blvd, Mid-Wilshire, Los Angeles)

While Betye Saar is a Los Angeles native, this exhibition is, shockingly, her first California museum retrospective. In LACMA’s words, Saar has been overlooked “no doubt largely because she is a black woman who came of age in the 1960s outside of New York City.” This exhibition is a must-see, as it surveys her long career and takes a special look at the artist’s lesser known travel sketchbooks. 

Lari Pittman, “Untitled #8 (The Dining Room)” (2005), Cel-Vinyl, acrylic, and alkyd on gessoed canvas over wood, 86 × 102 inches (Collection of Christen Sveaas, © Lari Pittman, courtesy Regen Projects, Los Angeles)

Lari Pittman: Declaration of Independence

When: September 29, 2019–January 5, 2020
Where: Hammer Museum (10899 Wilshire Blvd, Westwood, Los Angeles)

The beloved Los Angeles artist Lari Pittman gets a major retrospective of 80 paintings and 50 works on paper. Bright, densely layered images point to historical and personal moments, from the AIDS epidemic to the artist’s own brush with death. Lately Pittman has recently experimented with painting in the style of textiles, and the results are mesmerizing.

Revisiting and Reexamining the Past 

Todd Gray, “Euclidean Gris Gris (Gifty/Versailles)” (2019), three archival pigment prints in artist’s frames, 48 5/8 x 41 x 3 5/8 inches (image courtesy the artist, David Lewis, New York, and Meliksetian | Briggs)

TODD GRAY: Euclidean Gris Gris 

When: September 3, 2019–May 17, 2020
Where: Pomona College Museum of Art (330 N College Ave, Claremont, California)

Todd Gray, an artist-in-residence at Pomona, is interested in the stories of the African diaspora and how colonialism has impacted them. At the museum gallery, Gray has installed a site-specific wall drawing that challenges our perceptions of the geometric, ordered European garden and the less manicured nature of African landscapes. A series of events with artists, writers, and activists will take place in conjunction with the exhibit.

Nineteen Nineteen

When: September 21, 2019–January 20, 2020
Where: MaryLou and George Boone Gallery (the Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens, 1151 Oxford Rd, San Marino, California)

The Huntington is celebrating it 100th anniversary this year with an exhibition of 275 objects that were made, published, edited, or exhibited in 1919. Some were acquired by Henry and Arabella Huntington that same here (today the institution houses around 11 million items). In the aftermath of World War I, the couple’s brand-new collection was a reflection of the times: at this exhibition you’ll find suffragist magazines, self-help guides for soldiers, posters from the German Revolution, and more unusual finds.  

Publicity photo for MGM’s Gone with the Wind (1939) (image courtesy Terry Alex)

Making Mammy: A Caricature of Black Womanhood, 1840–1940

When: September 25, 2019–March 1, 2020
Where: California African American Museum (600 State Drive, Exposition Park, Los Angeles)

Hattie McDaniel’s character Mammy in the 1939 film Gone with the Wind was an archetype of Black womanhood beloved by many White audiences — the dutiful and loyal servant whose physical characteristics, dark skin and overweight, were assumed to be undesirable. White Americans used stereotypes like this to justify enslavement and present Black women as contented maternal figures lacking any agency of their own. This exhibition examines the mammy figure’s appearance throughout US history and its construction and reinforcement through literature, cinema, and other media.

Stephen Towns: Rumination and a Reckoning

When: October 12, 2019–January 25, 2020
Where: Art + Practice (3401 W 43rd Pl, Leimert Park, Los Angeles)

Stephen Towns brings his powerful political quilts, including a series inspired by Nat Turner and the 1831 rebellion he led. The series is provocative and challenging — showing slaves with nooses around their necks — and sparked debate in Baltimore where the works were previously shown. We recommend reading Cara Ober’s piece for Hyperallergic on the subject before heading over to Art + Practice. 

Georges Trubert, “The Adoration of the Magi” (about 1480–1490), tempera colors, gold leaf, gold and silver paint, and ink on parchment (image courtesy the Getty Center)

Balthazar: A Black African King in Medieval and Renaissance Art

When: November 19, 2019–February 16, 2020
Where: The Getty Center (1200 Getty Center Dr, Bel-Air, Los Angeles)

While one of the three kings who visited baby Jesus was from Africa, it would take 1,000 years for European artists to portray the king Balthazar as a Black man. This exhibition looks at the representation of race in European art and particularly in the mid-1400s, during the horrific African slave trade. 

Solo Contemporary Artist Exhibitions

Shikeith, “to bathe a mirror” (2018), five-channel video installation (image courtesy ltd los angeles and the artist)

Shikeith: Rude / Emergencies

When: September 14–October 26
Where: ltd los angeles (1119 South La Brea Avenue, Mid-Wilshire, Los Angeles)

Shikeith’s five-channel video installation “to bathe a mirror” (2018) takes place in sites of refuge or reflection, depicting Black men in the act of creating their own well-being through intimacy, solitude, motion, and prayer. This work and other photographs and sculptures make their West Coast debut at ltd los angeles, presenting possibilities of Black masculinities and queer identity-making grounded in ethics of care.

Enrique Martínez Celaya: The Tears of Things

When: September 13–November 1 
Where: Kohn Gallery (1227 N Highland Ave, Hollywood, Los Angeles)

Drawing inspiration from literature, philosophy, history, and science, the work of artist Enrique Martínez Celaya might seem like it requires erudite knowledge of these fields to understand it, but understanding is less important than allowing his images to confound and push against the impulse to make meaning. Behind the ideas are plenty of mood, memories, and raw emotion. This exhibition of large-scale works follows the recent installation of three major works at the Huntington Library and Botanical Gardens.

Charles Gaines. Palm Trees and Other Works

When: September 14, 2019–January 5, 2020
Where: Hauser & Wirth (901-909 E 3rd St, Downtown, Los Angeles)

Charles Gaines has been making philosophically rigorous, research-based works about aesthetics, perception, and politics since the 1970s, when the line between what was considered conceptual art and Black cultural production was more finely drawn than it is today. As an educator at CalArts, he continues to bridge previous generations of conceptual artists with today’s emerging artists. This exhibition brings together various examples of Gaines’s lifelong experimentation with language, image, and systems, including his series of grid-based photography works and transcription of political manifestos into musical scores.

Theaster Gates, “Analog Branding Studies” (2019) (detail), ink and chipboard on Vandercook press, 17 x 11 inches (copyright Theaster Gates, image courtesy Regen Projects, Los Angeles)

Theaster Gates: Line Drawing for Shirt and Cloak

When: September 14–November 2
Where: Regen Projects (6750 Santa Monica Boulevard, Hollywood, Los Angeles)

Artist Theaster Gates creates deeply felt artworks that span social theory, public policy, and urban economy, often centered on his hometown Chicago. Spiritual truth and material desires collide in the artist’s latest installation. In this exhibition, large metal, stone, and wood structures transform the gallery into a series of line drawings and studio space filled with works made from the artist’s entire wardrobe, extending Gates’s interest in objects and materials shaped by personal experience and Black histories into the world of fashion.

Julie Tolentino, Inhwan Oh

When: September 21–November 2
Where: Commonwealth & Council (3006 W 7th St #220, Koreatown, Los Angeles)

Seoul-based artist Inhwan Oh creates site-specific works about the visibility of individual identities, roles, and desires within and outside of dominant cultures. A surveillance-based installation, “Looking Out Blind Spots,” takes place simultaneously at Commonwealth and Council and across town at Baik Art gallery in the Culver City arts district. Also on view is an immersive performance installation by artist, AIDS activist, and doyenne of the queer club scene Julie Tolentino.

Wanaawna, Rio Hondo and Other Spirits

When: September 21, 2019–March 15, 2020
Where: OCMA (Orange County Museum of Art) Expand (South Coast Plaza Village, 1661 West Sunflower Avenue, Santa Ana, CA)

The Orange County Museum of Art’s third season at its interim exhibition space features six artists from across the Pacific Rim whose works focus on human relationships with the natural world. Carolina Caycedo presents new works from her Water Portraits series, an ongoing project that alters photographs of bodies of water to resemble spiritual visions and sacred imagery. These latest works, printed on fabric and to be used in performances, highlight the rivers and ocean that are part of traditional Tongva territory, including what are now known as the Santa Ana and San Gabriel rivers.

iris yirei hu, “Weaver girl spins two rainbows” (2019) (image courtesy the artist)

iris yirei hu & ivan forde

When: September 21–October 26 
Where: Visitor Welcome Center (3006 W 7th St #200a, Koreatown, Los Angeles)

iris yirei hu’s paintings, fiber works, and installations extend across transnational histories of Navajo and indigenous Taiwanese weaving, chaparral yucca, the Southern Pacific Railroad, and the artist’s Hmong heritage — a sprawling exhibition with stories and materials brought together with close friends and collaborators. On display in a separate exhibition are cyanotype prints, watercolors, and a sound-based work by Ivan Forde, who draws connections between migratory birds, the Odyssey, and St. Christopher, patron saint of travelers.

Sadie Barnette: The New Eagle Creek Saloon

When: September 29, 2019–January 26, 2020
Where: Institute of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (ICA LA) (1717 E 7th St, Downtown, Los Angeles)

Sadie Barnette has described her work as “abstraction in service of everyday magic and survival in America.” The artist is influenced by her father, Rodeny Barnette, founder of the Compton, California chapter of the Black Panther Party. In her ICA LA installation, she recreates San Francisco’s first Black-owned gay bar, the Eagle Creek Saloon, which her father founded and ran between 1990 and ’93. Performers and speakers will activate the installation and invite you to step into this poignant memorial. 

Edward and Nancy Kienholz: The Merry-Go-World or Begat by Chance the Wonder Horse Trigger

When: October 24, 2019–January 18, 2020
Where: LA Louver (45 N Venice Blvd, Venice, CA)

Edward and Nancy Kienholz have sought to channel their rage by exposing the barbarism of American society. The artist duo is most famous for their abject and sordid representations of American life, elaborate installations and assemblage sculptures depicting events like racist lynchings and sexual assaults. This work from 1992, an immersive carousel installation, holds back on some of the artists’ trademark fury, but is no less transgressive in their portrayal of lives from around the world.

Rina Banerjee, “Her captivity…” (2011), Anglo-Indian pedestal 1860, Victorian birdcage, shells, feathers, gourds, grape vines, coral, fractured Charlotte doll heads, steel knitted mesh with glass beads, Kenyan tourist sculptures, apple gourds, 7 x 7 x 6 feet (Cornell Fine Arts Museum, Purchased with funds from the Michel Roux Acquisitions Fund, 2016.20 © Rina Banerjee, image courtesy Rina Banerjee Archives)

Rina Banerjee: Make Me a Summary of the World

When: December 8, 2019–May 31, 2020
Where: Fowler Museum (308 Charles E Young Dr N, Westwood, Los Angeles)

The titles of artworks by Rina Banerjee are more like prose poems that go on for several line breaks across a gallery wall, written to invite curiosity or wonder. Narrative, allegory, and speech amass in these lines, much like the colors, textures, and objects that accumulate in Banerjee’s installations and sculptures. Like its title suggests, this exhibition presents an abstract of the artist’s global travels and cultural experiences—art containing not just one, but a multitude of diasporas.

Photography and Video 

Hoard Inaugural 

When: September 5–October 5 
Where: Los Angeles Contemporary Archive (LACA) ( 709 N Hill St #104-108, Chinatown, Los Angeles)

The artist-run archive LACA reconsiders how we perceive hoarders. Is hoarding a sign of an unhealthy obsession? Or are hoarders actually not so dissimilar from art collectors? This exhibition reveals how class and cultural standing influence our perception of hoarders versus collectors with a series of video works, photography, and VR installations. 

Through Positive Eyes

When: September 15, 2019–February 16, 2020
Where: Fowler Museum (308 Charles E Young Dr N, Westwood, Los Angeles)

For 12 years, UCLA’s Art & Global Health Center has held photography workshops with “the people most deeply affected by HIV to create personal photo essays.” The results are on display here, with the hope to end stigma against people living with HIV/AIDS. A total of 130 people have shared their stories in photography, video, and live storytelling formats. They hail from Mexico City, Rio de Janeiro, Los Angeles, Johannesburg, Bangkok, and other places.

Jasmin (wearing red) and Manisha Singh (white and blue sari) pose at the Baoli at Amer, a water well in the city of Japiur in India’s Rajasthan Thar desert. (photo by Ami Vitale)

W|ALLS: Defend, Divide, and the Divine

When: October 5–December 29 
Where: Annenberg Space for Photography (2000 Avenue of the Stars, Century City, Los Angeles)

This timely exhibition reminds us that countries, cities, and politicians have been erecting walls for centuries. Our relationships to walls have evolved, too. Seventy photographers and artists invite us to conceptualize walls in six different ways: as “Defense,” “Delineation,” “Deterrent,” “Divine,” “Decoration,” and “The Invisible.”

Tom Kiefer, “Cynthia’s CD Collection” (2017) (© Tom Kiefer, Redux Pictures)

El Sueño Americano / The American Dream: Photographs by Tom Kiefer

When: October 17, 2019–March 8, 2020
Where: Skirball Cultural Center (2701 N Sepulveda Blvd, Brentwood, Los Angeles)

From 2003 to 2014, photographer Tom Kiefer worked as a janitor at a US Customs and Border Protection station in Ajo, Arizona, north of the border from the Mexican state of Sonora. There he found in the garbage personal items confiscated from migrants detained by border officials, objects like pocket-sized Bibles, soaps, and water bottles that he gathered and photographed to document their perilous journey into the US. This exhibition displays more than 100 photographs by Kiefer, including interviews with migrants and information about ways to support migrant aid and advocacy organizations.

Stanley Kubrick, “Life and Love on the New York City Subway” (1947) (Museum of the City of New York, the Look Collection, © Museum of the City of New Yorkand SK Film Archives)

Through a Different Lens: Stanley Kubrick Photographs

When: October 17, 2019–March 8, 2020
Where: Skirball Cultural Center (2701 N Sepulveda Blvd, Brentwood, Los Angeles)

We all know Stanley Kubrick for his movies, but less so for his photographs. This exhibition gathers 120-plus images he took when he was as young as 17, working on assignments for Look magazine, capturing the streets and nightlife of New York City. It will be a rare chance to see Kubrick’s still frames, before he set them into motion. 

Shirin Neshat: I Will Greet the Sun Again

When: October 19, 2019–February 16, 2020
Where: The Broad (221 S Grand Ave, Downtown, Los Angeles)

Returning to Iran in 1990 after more than a decade of living in the US, artist Shirin Neshat was shocked to discover the childhood memory of her homeland replaced by religious fundamentalism. Years later, she produced her most famous body of work, a series of black-and-white photographic self-portraits in which she plays the role of militant women during the Iranian Revolution, overlaid with abstract designs and Persian calligraphy. This series, called Women of Allah, is part of a 25-year survey of photography, video, and film works at the Broad, the first major retrospective of Neshat’s work in Los Angeles.

Mati Maldre, “Untitled (Nude Multiple Views)” (1971), gelatin silver print, 7-1/8 x 6 inches (Norton Simon Museum, Museum Purchase through the Florence V. Burden Foundation, © Mati Maldre)

Beyond the World We Know: Abstraction in Photography

When: November 22, 2019–April 6, 2020
Where: Norton Simon Museum (411 W Colorado Blvd, Pasadena, California)

When photography was invented, people were marveled by how it could so accurately capture reality. But eventually photographers wanted to innovate their medium and move beyond pure realism. This exhibition looks at 16 artists in the 20th century who explored abstraction through photography, producing exquisite images that created a visual language of their own. 

Themed Group Shows 

Paroxysm of Sublime 

When: September 18–November 3
Where: Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions (LACE) (6522 Hollywood Blvd, Hollywood, Los Angeles)

Last year’s California wildfire season was the most destructive on record, made worse by atmospheric conditions resulting from climate change and disruption of local ecologies by human development. Philosopher Glenn Albrecht calls the mental or existential distress caused by environmental changes like this “solastalgia,” a response to once predictable conditions taking an unfamiliar or hostile turn. Paroxysm of Sublime includes works by Eddie Aparicio, Carmen Argote, Beatriz Cortez, and other artists who respond to present-day anxieties about climate change and offer alternative paradigms to the natural and built environment.

Juana Valdes, “RedBone Colored China Rags” (2012), ceramic and bone china, 12 x 6 x 4 inches each (image courtesy the artist and Spinello Projects, Miami, photo by Diana Larrea)

RAW: Craft, Commodity, and Capitalism

When: September 29, 2019–January 5, 2020
Where: Craft Contemporary (5814 Wilshire Blvd, Mid-Wilshire, Los Angeles)

Craft Contemporary, formerly the Craft and Folk Art Museum, is now focusing their exhibitions on contemporary artists and crafters. This exhibition spotlights nine artists “who work with commodities as their materials to construct works that reflect upon the history of colonialism, slavery, and globalization.” The fascinating artworks incorporate materials such as salt, copper, tea, sugar, cotton, and indigo.

Loitering Is Delightful 

When: October 31, 2019–January 12, 2020
Where: Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery (4800 Hollywood Blvd, East Hollywood, Los Angeles)

The title of this exhibition draws on an essay by Ross Gay in which he points out how people of color are more likely to get in trouble for “loitering” — or, in his words, “non-productive delight.” This group show of 10 LA-based artists — including Milano Chow, Cauleen Smith, and Megan Whitmarsh — will redefine how we conceive of “loitering” and how the act of idling about may “contain a seed of radical potential.”

Monika Andres, “Name, City, Country” (1988), newspaper costume and banner (© SKD, photo by Jürgen Karpinsk)

The Medea Insurrection: Radical Women Artists Behind the Iron Curtain

When: November 9, 2019–April 5, 2020
Where: Wende Museum (10808 Culver Blvd, Culver City, California)

In Euripides’s version of the ancient Greek myth of Medea, the titular character enacts revenge against her unfaithful husband, going as far to tragically murder her own children in the process. This transgressive figure, among other mythological women, figured largely in the work of Cold War–era Eastern European artists who made work in opposition to authoritarian rule. The Medea Insurrection pairs works by some of these women with those by contemporary artists based in Southern California whose works also veer into the subversive.

Historical Shows 

Assyria: Palace Art of Ancient Iraq

When: October 2, 2019–September 5, 2022
Where: Getty Villa (17985 Pacific Coast Hwy, Pacific Palisades, California)

The height of ISIS occupation of Iraq led to the large-scale leveling of archaeological sites and antiquities, most prominently the bas-reliefs of the ancient Assyrian city of Nimrud, a destructive act of cultural heritage that UNESCO likened to a war crime. In the aftermath, last year’s $31 million sale of an Assyrian relief sculpture on auction raised concerns about private collectors and Western institutions profiting from suffering in the Middle East. This exhibition includes Mesopotamian masterworks on loan from the British Museum, bringing attention to the urgency of preserving and repatriating objects of Iraqi cultural heritage.

Mary Grigoriadis, “Rain Dance” (1974), oil and acrylic on linen, 66 × 66 inches (image courtesy the artist and Accola Griefen Fine Art, photo by Phoebe d’Heurle)

With Pleasure: Pattern and Decoration in American Art 1972–1985

When: October 27, 2019–May 11, 2020
Where: MOCA Grand Avenue (250 S Grand Ave, Downtown, Los Angeles)

MOCA is calling this the “first full-scale scholarly survey” of the Pattern and Decoration movement. It will, no doubt, be a revelatory and delightful show. It features 50 artists — including Joyce Kozloff, Miriam Schapiro, and Merion Estes — who were working in the United States during this time and highlights their diverse influences, from Persian carpets to domestic embroidery.

Peasants in Pastel: Millet and the Pastel Revival

When: October 29, 2019–May 10, 2020
Where: The Getty Center (1200 Getty Center Dr, Bel-Air, Los Angeles)

We generally associated powdery, light pastels with equally breezy subjects, but in the mid-19th century, Jean-François Millet decided to use the medium to portray everyday peasant life. This exhibition displays the pastels of Millet and his contemporaries, questioning “how an artist’s chosen medium affects our understanding of his or her subject matter.” 

Unknown, “Breastplate (Civavonovono)” (early 19th century), black pearl shell, sperm whale ivory, diameter: 9 5/16 in. (Mark and Carolyn Blackburn Collection, Honolulu, Hawaiʻi, photo courtesy Mark and Carolyn Blackburn Collection, Honolulu, Hawaiʻi)

Fiji: Art and Life in the Pacific

When: December 15, 2019–July 19, 2020
Where: Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) (5905 Wilshire Blvd, Mid-Wilshire, Los Angeles)

The largest project on the arts and cultural history of the South Pacific nation of Fiji, this exhibition brings together over 225 items drawn from major international and US collections, including ceramics, sculptures, textiles, photographs, and paintings from the late 18th century to present day. A recently commissioned drua — a double-hulled, wooden sailing canoe once built to be as large as 98 feet long and to carry more than 200 passengers — made with traditional methods and materials will also be on display, albeit a version that’s built at a much smaller scale.


Adam Linder: The WANT

When: September 19–22
Where: Center for the Art of Performance UCLA (340 Royce Dr, Los Angeles, Westwood, Los Angeles)

Bernard-Marie Koltès’s In the Solitude of Cotton Fields stages a confrontation between two nameless characters, known simply as the Client and the Dealer. The play is light on specifics, including what is being sold and negotiated, and heavy on philosophical rhetoric about desire and vulnerability. In choreographer Adam Linder’s loose adaptation of the 1985 play, four actors assume the roles of “Offerers” and “Offerees.” With music by composer Ethan Braun and lighting design by artist Shahryar Nashat, The WANT combines vocal and dance performance into a contemporary opera that is as comfortable referencing French critical theory as it is quoting Missy Elliott.

Still image of Bumi from Hassan Hajjaj, My Rock Stars Experimental (image courtesy Ford Theatres)

Hassan Hajjaj of My Rock Stars Experimental 

When: Friday, October 11, 8pm 
Where: The Ford Theatres (2580 Cahuenga Blvd E, Hollywood Hills, Los Angeles

In his My Rock Stars Experimental series, Moroccan artist Hassan Hajjaj styles and stages musicians from around the world in front of colorful and vibrant backdrops that borrow influences from traditional Islamic art as much as Malick Sidibé, the Malian photographer who famously chronicled his country’s youth fashion and nightlife. Six performing artists — grime rapper Afrikan Boy, singer-songwriter Bumi, Gnawa musician Simo Lagnawi, violinist and singer Marques Toliver, bassist Gail Ann Dorsey, and spoken word artist Omar Offendum — bring the series to life at the Ford Theatres, where Hajjaj’s iconic textile sets will be recreated for the evening of performances.


Forbidden Fruit: The Golden Age of the Exploitation Picture

When: September 20–22
Where: UCLA Film & Television Archive (Billy Wilder Theater, 10899 Wilshire Blvd, Westwood, Los Angeles)

The UCLA Film & Television Archive offers another excellent film series, this time dedicated to independent movies from the 1930s that ignored Hollywood’s Production Code. Sex, drugs, and crimes continued to be featured in these movies which billed themselves as educational. This series promises the “highlights and lowlights,” from Marihuana to Sex Madness 

(image courtesy UCLA Film & Television Archive)

Natural History of Horror

When: October 10, 2019–April 19, 2020
Where: Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County (900 W Exposition Blvd, Exposition Park, Los Angeles)

Just in time for Halloween, this exhibition looks at how scientific discoveries shaped the monster characters of four major movies: Dracula, The Mummy, Frankenstein, and Creature from the Black Lagoon. Learn the stories behind each monster through original movie props and unusual scientific experiments. 

AFI Fest

When: November 14–21
Where: American Film Institute (Various locations in Hollywood, Los Angeles)

This festival offers an excellent array of movies. It has a section exclusively devoted to new filmmakers, another for innovative and technology-driven movies, and one that revisits established directors (often hosting live talks, too). Visit the website closer to the date for a full lineup. 


Acid-Free Los Angeles Art Book Market 

When: November 1–3
Where: Blum & Poe (2727 La Cienega Blvd, Mid-City, Los Angeles)

The Acid-Free Book Market returns for its second year. Originally the event was put together at the last-minute when the 2018 LA Art Book Fair was canceled. While the LA Art Book Fair is now back, the Acid-Free organizers — which include members from New Documents, OOF Books, LACA, Hat & Beard, among others — see it as another opportunity for local (and international) talent to showcase their work. If this year’s edition is as fun as last year’s, it’s well worth the visit. 

With contributions by Abe Ahn and Elisa Wouk Almino.