Hey LA! We’re back with our monthly guide. From stellar solo shows on Alison Saar and Sadie Barnette to group shows that soak in the summer revelry, you can choose your own adventure with the art around town right now.

Elisa Wouk Almino


Edgar Arceneaux: Skinning the Mirror

Edgar Arceneaux, “Skinning the Mirror #11” (2021), silver nitrate, acrylic paint, and glass on canvas (image courtesy the artist and Vielmetter Los Angeles, photo by Jeff McLane)

When: through August 21
Where: Vielmetter Los Angeles (1700 S Santa Fe Ave #101, Downtown, Los Angeles)

Silver nitrate is used in the manufacture of mirrors, but Arceneaux transforms it into a painting medium, creating reflective, fractured, and battered abstractions. The artist’s mother passed away from dementia while he was working on this series, and it reflects the painful breakdown of memory and recognition that he witnessed. Thwarting the mirror’s function to provide an accurate reflection, Arceneaux instead offers poetic sites for contemplation of loss and mourning.

Making Waves: Ocean Ecology & Craft

Courtney Mattison, “Coral Sea II” (2015), glazed stoneware and porcelain (photo by Courtney Mattison)

When: through August 21
Where: Craft in America Center (8415 West 3rd St, Beverly Grove Los Angeles)

This group exhibition gathers craft-based artworks that honor the ocean and its buoyant, exquisite ecosystem. From reefs and corals to shells and frozen waters, Making Waves is as much a celebration of underwater life as a warning to its fragile state during climate change. In line with this message, several featured artists recycled the materials for their works and produced them in a carbon-neutral way.

Channa Horwitz: The Language Series

Channa Horwitz, “Language Series — 3 Circles and 2 Squares” (2005/2021), wall mural,  252 x 288 inches (photo by Matt Stromberg/Hyperallergic)

When: through September 4
Where: François Ghebaly (2245 E Washington Boulevard, Downtown, Los Angeles)

The late Angeleno artist Channa Horwitz spent her career creating serially derived drawings and paintings whose rigid structures were a vessel for her signature rhythmic vibrancy. Her colorful grid-based works were intended to be read as interpretative scores for musicians and dancers, bridging the static object and performative space. The Language Series focuses on one of her earliest bodies of work, originally conceived in 1964, and completed between 2003 and 2011, two years before her death. Using a pared-down palette of white, black, and orange, applied to simple shapes and numbers, we can see Horwitz working out the beginnings of her lifelong obsession with new forms of communication.

Ernest C. Withers: I’ll Take You There

Ernest C. Withers, “Lionel Hampton, who played the drums and vibraphone, performs at the Hippodrome” (ca. 1950s), archival pigment print (© the Ernest C. Withers Family Trust, image courtesy Fahey/Klein Gallery, Los Angeles)

When: through September 4
Where: Fahey/Klein Gallery (148 N. La Brea, Fairfax, Los Angeles)

Photojournalist Ernest C. Withers documented the breadth of African-American life in the South during the mid-20th century. From the Civil Rights movement and the emergence of Rock ‘n’ Roll to high school proms, football games, and other markers of everyday life, Withers’s images provide a window onto a time of social, political, and cultural upheaval. The exhibition I’ll Take You There is presented in conjunction with his recently published book, The Revolution in Black and White.

Michelle Carla Handel: Rubber Mirror

Michelle Carla Handel, “Sucker” (2018), ceramic, rubber, fabric, vinyl, fabric dye, wood, 18 x 27 inches (photo by Matt Farrar)

When: through September 5
Where: Five Car Garage (Santa Monica, Calif., address upon request)

Michelle Carla Handel’s objects exist in the indeterminate space between painting and sculpture, formal and fanciful. Using a range of materials including rubber, ceramics, textiles, and photography, Handel keeps the viewer guessing, playing with texture, scale, and depth, inviting long looks. Housed in this garage-cum-gallery, her mixed-up aesthetic experiments seem right at home.

Wish You Were Here

(image courtesy Anat Ebgi, photo by Matthew Kroening)

When: through September 11
Where: Anat Ebgi (6150 Wilshire Boulevard, Carthay, Los Angeles)

Anat Ebgi has a great track record of putting on thoughtful and cohesive group shows. Wish You Were Here — alluding to the sign-off on a letter or postcard — gathers vibrant paintings of everyday life by Hernan Bas, Alejandro Cardenas, Hulda Guzmán, Soumya Netrabile, and Caroline Walker. August feels like the right time for these dreamy, moody images of families lounging at home, friends dancing in gardens, and fantastical landscapes.

Natsuyasumi: In the Beginning Was Love

Installation view, Natsuyasumi: In the Beginning Was Love at Nonaka-Hill (image courtesy Nonaka-Hill)

When: through September 11
Nonaka-Hill (720 North Highland Ave, Hollywood, Los Angeles)

If you want to soak in that summery vacation feel, Nonaka-Hill is the place for you. Natsuyasumi: In the Beginning Was Love features 11 contemporary artists working in Japan who depict the pleasures of hanging with friends, drinking outside, and going to concerts. In the words of Nonaka-Hill, the images “resemble someone else’s phone camera roll after a summer well spent.”

Ruben Ulises Rodriguez Montoya: Ex Situ Canis Latrans

Ruben Ulises Rodriguez Montoya, “Tlahuelpuchi” (detail) (2021), Tlahuelpuchi is an Aztec vampire that can turn into mist. (image courtesy Murmurs Gallery) 

When: August 15–September 26
Where: Murmurs (1411 Newton Street, Downtown, Los Angeles)

Composed of fur, fabric, hide, bone, and trash, the sculptures of Chihuahua-born Ruben Ulises Rodriguez Montoya resemble fearsome monsters or mutant beasts. Look closer and you’ll see hubcaps and oryx horns. Rodriguez Montoya draws on Aztec mythology, ideas of ecological justice, and sci-fi dystopianism to create these hybrid creatures that speak to the complex identity of those with roots on both sides of the border.

Alison Saar: Of Aether and Earthe

Alison Saar, “Hygiea” (2020), mixed-media installation, dimensions variable (image courtesy the artist and LA Louver, photo by Ian Byers-Gamber)

When: through December 12 (Armory); September 1–December 19 (Benton)
Where: Armory Center for the Arts (145 N. Raymond Avenue, Pasadena, Calif.) and Benton Museum of Art (120 W. Bonita Avenue, Claremont, Calif.)

Of Aether and Earthe, a two-venue retrospective of the work of Alison Saar, features over 30 years of the LA-based artist’s sculptures, installations, paintings, and drawings, highlighting her explorations of the duality of body and spirit. The Armory Center for the Arts focuses on her sculptures of Black, female figures, carved out of wood or hammered out of pieces of scrap tin ceiling. She surrounds them with metaphorical objects like antlers, water jugs, butterflies, invoking mythical histories. The Benton Museum will feature sculptures, paintings, and drawings, as well as a 12-foot-tall figure of the Yoruba goddess Yemaja, mother of all living things who controls the waters.

Sadie Barnette: Legacy & Legend

Sadie Barnette: Legacy and Legend at the Benton Museum of Art at Pomona College, co-organized with Pitzer College Art Galleries at Pitzer College (photo courtesy Fredrik Nilsen Studio)

When: through December 18
Where: Benton Museum of Art (120 W. Bonita Avenue, Claremont, Calif.) and Pitzer College Art Galleries (Lenzner Family Art Gallery, Atherton Hall, 1050 N Mills Avenue, Claremont, Calif.)

Sadie Barnette mines her own family’s radical history and fuses it into a utopian vision of Afrofuturism. Based at two venues, Legacy & Legend will feature new work from her ​FBI Drawings series at the Benton Museum. Using the 500-page surveillance file the FBI kept on her father, who founded the Compton chapter of the Black Panther Party in 1968, Barnette reclaims these documents with decorative elements, colorful interventions in the stark black-and-white text. Meanwhile, the Pitzer Galleries will feature a living room installation covered in holographic vinyl, glitter, and spray paint, an exuberant celebration of communal, domestic space.

Matt Stromberg is a freelance visual arts writer based in Los Angeles. In addition to Hyperallergic, he has contributed to the Los Angeles Times, CARLA, Apollo, ARTNews, and other publications.

Elisa Wouk Almino is a senior editor at Hyperallergic. She is based in Los Angeles. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.