There’s a bit of a common thread running through this month’s list of exhibitions in Los Angeles, drawing upon the craft and conceptual history of textiles, costume, and fashion design to express new ideas around self-fashioning. There are also plenty of shows that are decidedly not about any of those things, from sound art by Latinx artists to photographs documenting the effects of the Cold War. Read on ahead for our April picks.
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When: through April 16
Where: LaPau Gallery (3006 West 7th Street, Koreatown, Los Angeles)
The first US solo presentation of Dorian Ulises Lopéz Macías, Hasta Que Te Conocí features over a decade’s worth of the artist’s candid, intimate, and celebratory portraits of Brown Mexicans. The hour-long video installation — a compilation of cell phone footage, video clips, and analog and digital photography, set to the beats of a techno mix soundtrack produced especially for the occasion — makes for an intensely personal and hypnotic viewing experience.
When: through April 16
Where: Steve Turner (6830 Santa Monica Boulevard, Hollywood, Los Angeles)
Each one of the over 70 objects in Kevin McNamee-Tweed: Fiction Workshop is a storybook in and of itself. Whether in the form of a sculpture, drawing, or one of the artist’s signature small-scale ceramic paintings, each work functions like a mini vignette: a doodle of a character here, a pastoral scene there. Together, they combine to create a universe in which the moon and sun wave in greeting to one another while a wooden figure rows out to sea, hearkening back to the whimsy and nostalgia of children’s fables.
When: through April 23
Where: GAVLAK (1700 South Santa Fe Avenue #440, Downtown, Los Angeles)
Over the past two decades, Lisa Anne Auerbach has gained recognition for her textile works woven with political messages and slogans. Her newest body of work, most of which was made in the course of the past year, reflects the messy state of current affairs: In these works, political language and meaning disintegrate, with the medium turned in on itself, literally unraveling.
When: through May 7
Where: Vielmetter Los Angeles (1700 South Santa Fe Avenue #101, Downtown, Los Angeles)
Central to Genevieve Gaignard’s multidisciplinary practice is her self-portraiture. À la Cindy Sherman, Gaignard often turns the camera on herself in order to examine the complicated dynamics of seeing and being seen through the lens of race and gender, particularly given the artist’s identity as a biracial woman. Strange Fruit centers the US’s long history of racial violence, calling into question how race and gender both play into the narrative imagery of genteel beauty.
When: through May 29
Where: ONE Archives at USC in collaboration with USC Visions and Voices, USC Pacific Asia Museum (PAM), and South Asian American Digital Archive (SAADA) (909 West Adams Boulevard, University Park, Los Angeles and 46 North Los Robles Avenue, Pasadena)
This multi-site project highlights a marginalized group within a marginalized group: the queer South/East Asian diaspora. Spread across two institutions, the exhibition comprises both a look at the archive of Satrang, an organization supporting queer South Asian communities in Southern California, and a presentation of newly commissioned works by three artists-in-residence, Prima Jalichandra-Sakuntabhai, Vinhay Keo, and Pamila Matharu, whose works question and queer the concept of the archive itself.
When: April 30–July 30
Where: Vincent Price Art Museum (VPAM) (1301 Avenida Cesar Chavez, Monterey Park, Los Angeles)
A major undertaking in examining sound in Latinx art, VPAM’s upcoming exhibition assembles over 30 Latinx artists and collectives, spanning the punk poetry and sound experimentation of Gerardo Velazquez (who was also one of the founders of LA punk band Nervous Gender) to the very contemporary pop-music-video-performances of transdisciplinary artist and musician Martine Gutierrez. From the looks of the artist list, featuring well-known names such as Allora & Calzadilla, Raven Chacon, Guillermo Gómez-Peña, and Gala Porras-Kim, among many others, Sonic Terrains in Latinx Art is a show not to be missed.
When: through July 30
Where: 18th Street Arts Center (3026 Airport Avenue, Santa Monica, Los Angeles)
Curated by artist Maru García, Radical Propagations / Propagaciones Radicales brings together five artists whose work falls outside of mainstream art production under what could loosely be categorized as social practice, such as maintaining community gardens and seed archives or working towards food and healing justice. By proposing the labor behind environmental activism as artwork, García moves beyond the aesthetics of nature to explore the radical possibilities of plants.
When: through September 4
Where: California African American Museum (CAAM) (600 State Drive, Exposition Park, Los Angeles)
Born in the border town of El Paso, Troy Montes-Michie looked at collage as a pathway for the artist to make sense of the collision between cultures. Since then, collage has remained central to his practice as a way of stitching together disparate identities and ideas. Montes-Michie’s first museum solo exhibition considers the Black male body, using collage to refashion and construct new forms of selfhood.
When: April 24–October 9
Where: Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) (5905 Wilshire Boulevard, Mid-Wilshire, Los Angeles)
Perhaps no other designer had quite the taste for drama as Lee Alexander McQueen. The theatricality of McQueen’s runway shows was legendary, as was the designer’s tendency towards dark imagery, often drawing upon the horror and the romance of the Victorian Gothic era. Lee Alexander McQueen: Mind, Mythos, Muse — the first West Coast exhibition on the designer and couturier — traces McQueen’s influences throughout art history, juxtaposing his designs with artworks from the movements that inspired him.
When: April 10–October 23
Where: Wende Museum (10808 Culver Boulevard, Culver City, Los Angeles)
Current events in Ukraine bring renewed attention to LA’s quirky and sorely underappreciated museum dedicated to all things Cold War, with their upcoming show, entitled Martin Roemers: Relics of the Cold War, only serving to further underline the importance of understanding the history of that era. The exhibition features the work of Dutch photographer Martin Roemers, who traveled extensively throughout Europe documenting the aftermath of the Cold War between 1998 and 2009. His images, which capture the impact of war upon the region’s architecture and landscape, are powerful visual reminders of the lived consequences of global politics.
Editor’s Note, 4/1/2022, 2:00PM EDT: An earlier version of this article included an outdated list of artists participating in Sonic Terrains in Latinx Art. This has been corrected.