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April is beginning to look a little brighter in Los Angeles with cherry trees, increased vaccinations, and museums opening their doors across the city. After a year of closures, institutions can finally share exhibitions that have been sitting in their galleries, including the Made in LA biennial and the exhaustive retrospective of Yoshitomo Nara at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Happy viewing!
—Elisa Wouk Almino
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When: April 5–30
Where: at public sites across Los Angeles
Los Angeles is a city of signs, with neon, hand-painted storefronts, and glaring LED billboards all competing for our attention. Since 2015, the Billboard Creative has been using the city’s already established sign infrastructure to bring art to the streets, placing works by emerging and established artists on billboards throughout Los Angeles. For the month of April, 30 billboards, located on this map, will feature artworks by Ramiro Gomez, Phung Huynh, Calida Rawles, Narsiso Martinez, and others.
When: through May 1
Where: by appointment at Night Gallery (2276 East 16th Street, Downtown, Los Angeles)
Feel Me? is the first solo show at Night Gallery featuring Khari Johnson-Ricks’s delicate and ornate painted cut-paper constructions. His fantastical tableaux feature Black figures in scenes of solidarity, camaraderie, and kinship with each other, moments of celebration and healing along the struggle for liberation.
When: through May 2
Where: California African American Museum (CAAM) (600 State Drive, Exposition Park, Los Angeles)
Genetic data, human hair, childhood keepsakes, and trash fragments are some of the raw materials in artworks by Sula Bermúdez-Silverman, whose exhibition at CAAM takes on legacies of race, gender, religion, and political economy in her family heritage and the African diaspora. Multidisciplinary works from 2014 onward are presented alongside a new series of sculptures commissioned by the museum.
When: April 10–May 8
Where: by appointment at Rele Gallery (8215 Melrose Ave, Beverly Grove, Los Angeles)
For the second exhibition in its new Los Angeles space, Lagos’s Rele Gallery presents paintings by Nigerian artist Ameh Egwuh. Rooted in the writings of psychiatrist Raymond Moody, the dream-like canvases present figures surrounded by birds, balloons, and clocks, floating between two worlds, this one and the next.
When: through May 8
Where: by appointment at the Landing (5118 w Jefferson Boulevard, West Adams, Los Angeles)
The myth of the artist as tortured, solitary loner is one that excludes children. If children do figure into an artist’s biography, it is often as the product of hypermasculine promiscuity (see Picasso). New Iconography: Artists Raising Children, a group show curated by Hyperallergic contributor Daniel Gerwin, counters that stereotype, presenting work by 20 artists for whom domesticity and creativity are not mutually exclusive but intimately connected. The results are both moving and poignant, playful and physically engaged. Artists include Harry Dodge, Amir H. Fallah, Loie Hollowell, Paul McCarthy, Catherine Opie, Umar Rashid, and others.
When: April 9–June 26
Where: Bridge Projects (6820 Santa Monica Boulevard, Hollywood, Los Angeles)
Otherwise/Revival is a group exhibition that explores the influence of the Black Pentecostal Church on contemporary artists. Specifically, the show looks back to a 1906 sermon in downtown LA by Reverend William J. Seymour, who preached on the spiritual power of speaking in tongues, launching the Black Pentecostal Movement. Author and artist Ashon T. Crawley writes about the “otherwise possibilities” created by the worship traditions of the Black Church, thus inspiring the show’s title. Featured artists include Kenturah Davis, Deana Lawson, Sister Gertrude Morgan, Kehinde Wiley, and many others.
When: through July 5
Where: Los Angeles County Museum of Art (5905 Wilshire Blvd, Mid-Wilshire, Los Angeles)
The trademark of a Yoshitomo Nara painting is a small child or animal giving the viewer side eye or shooting a threatening look. These beloved figures with their menacing gaze and stylized cuteness have given the Tokyo-based artist a devoted following around the world. This exhibition, which has been awaiting visitors since last summer, surveys over three decades of Nara’s work, and features a reproduction of his drawing studio and a large-scale, outdoor sculpture.
When: on view indefinitely
Where: LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes (501 N Main St, Downtown, Los Angeles)
afroLAtinidad, which has been installed since early 2020 but never got to open to the public until this month, celebrates the Afro-Latinx community, which is often misrepresented and neglected, particularly in mainstream and institutional contexts. The display features personal objects and artworks from LA’s Afro-Latinx community, including clothing, jewelry, photographs, musical instruments, recipes, and devotional objects.
When: April 17–August 1
Where: Hammer Museum (10899 Wilshire Blvd, Westwood, Los Angeles) and Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens (1151 Oxford Rd, San Marino)
Almost one year after its anticipated opening date, Made in LA finally gets to welcome the public. Co-curated by Myriam Ben Salah and Lauren Mackler, with the Hammer’s Ikechukwu Onyewuenyi as assistant curator of performance, the fifth iteration of the famous Los Angeles biennial is, for the first time, split between two venues: the Hammer Museum and the Huntington. You might want to spread your visit over two days, as there is a lot to absorb, with knockout works by Reynaldo Rivera, Nicola L., Jill Mulleady, and many more.
When: April 24–August 1
Where: Tuesday–Friday by appointment, Saturday and Sunday standby line, at Hauser & Wirth (901 East 3rd Street, Downtown, Los Angeles)
Tupinambá is the first solo exhibition in Los Angeles dedicated to the work of legendary late Brazilian artist Lygia Pape, one of the founding members of the Neo-Concrete movement. The exhibition showcases her Tupinambá series, a group of surreal sculptures covered in red feathers that reflect the artist’s interest in indigenous Brazilian traditions.
When: April 28–September 12
Where: reservations recommended at Forest Lawn Museum (1712 S Glendale Avenue, Glendale, California)
Dating back to 1897, family-run Judson Studios has been a leading fabricator and innovator of stained glass for over 120 years. Their vast body of work can be seen in Frank Lloyd Wright’s Hollyhock House and Ennis House, the mid-century Air Force Academy Chapel in Colorado Springs, and more recently in a 150-foot-long glass work by artist Sarah Cain at the San Francisco International Airport. Stained Glass from Gothic to Street Style features almost 100 stained glass artworks, drawings, photographs, and paintings, presenting a comprehensive portrait of this legendary LA-area studio, still headquartered in the Craftsman-era home and studio of founder William Lees Judson.
This week, LA’s new Academy Museum, the intersections of anti-Blackness and anti-fatness, a largely unknown 19th century Black theater in NYC, sign language interpreters, and more.
Titian’s paintings are masterpieces, with all the complications of the term.
Through “Historic Site,” an 8-foot-tall plaque and Historic Sight, a year-long rotating exhibition in Pittsburgh, the Black Cube Fellows investigate how history is constructed, remembered, and retold.
Lawson’s images, and the ways that she has discussed her process, seem to be actively reproducing the kind of big-dick energy power dynamics of White male artists who also claim mastery over their subject matter.
Jenkins’s new short film, the centerpiece of a MoMI exhibit on The Underground Railroad, uses his signature techniques to confront the viewer.
Romanticism to Ruin: Two Lost Works of Sullivan and Wright memorializes Chicago’s Garrick Theatre and Buffalo’s Larkin Building, which were razed to build a parking lot and a truck stop.