Joshua Johnson, “Portrait of a Woman,” (date unknown), oil on canvas, 24 1/4 x 22 1/2 inches (© Joshua Johnson; image courtesy Blum & Poe, Los Angeles/New York/Tokyo and Shin Gallery, New York)

This month, we’re looking back to look ahead. A show exploring the Feminist Art Program at Redcat features contemporary artists responding to its legacy, while Alison M. Gingeras has curated a diverse, revisionist survey of portraiture at Blum & Poe. Dan Levenson mines the catacombs of modernism to see what new strategies can be gleaned at Praz-Delavallade, while Don Edler’s show at Hunter Shaw Fine Art takes in the epic sweep of Western history and beyond to try to make sense of humanity’s impending doom. At Timothy Hawkinson Gallery, Rachel Martin offers personal interpretations of traditional Tlingít art, and at Diane Rosenstein Gallery, Joe Ray’s new space-age resin works harken back to his early experiments with Light and Space from the 1960s.

Installation view of Dan Levenson: Recent Work (photo by Simon Cardoza, courtesy Praz-Delavallade)

Dan Levenson: Recent Work

The State Art Academy, Zürich (SKZ) is a fictional modernist Swiss art school, the brainchild of artist Dan Levenson. As part of his ongoing invented history project, Levenson fabricates paintings and design studies ostensibly created by made-up students, alongside their workbenches and storage boxes. Levenson meticulously ages these objects, creating faux-finished emblems of a lost, utopian past. His latest body of work related to SKZ features paintings with hypnotic circular patterns as well as monochrome black canvases, referencing subsequent periods of bygone modernism.

Praz-Delavallade (
615o Wilshire Boulevard, Mid-Wilshire, Los Angeles
Through October 14

Installation view of “Pictures Girls Make”: Portraitures (2023) at Blum & Poe, Los Angeles (© the artists; photo by Evan Walsh, courtesy the artists and Blum & Poe, Los Angeles/New York/Tokyo)

“Pictures Girls Make”: Portraitures

Taking its title from Willem de Kooning’s alleged dismissal of his wife Elaine de Kooning’s portrait practice, Pictures Girls Make aims to reframe portraiture as an egalitarian and accessible genre. Curated by Alison M. Gingeras, this robust survey examines who has historically made portraits and of whom, finding that, despite its traditional association with those in power, portraiture has allowed for a surprisingly democratic experience regardless of race, status, or gender. The artists include Benny Andrews, Joan Brown, Robert Colescott, Alice Neel, Fairfield Porter, Umar Rashid, and many more.

Blum & Poe (
2727 South La Cienega Boulevard, Culver City, California
Through October 21

Abel Guzmán, “el placer de comer la fruta prohibida” (2022), colored pencil, crayon, and marker on brown paper, and board with a mahogany wooden frame, 25 x 19 x 2 1/4 inches (image courtesy La Beast Gallery)

serás más macho: Abel Guzmán

Abel Guzmán draws on Catholic themes, mysticism, and intimate corporeality to create visually enthralling transgressions against the heteronormative status quo. The drawings in serás más macho range from suggestive still-lifes to depictions of queer subjectivity, often joined with religious imagery such as mandorlas, which are common in Guzmán’s Mexican-American heritage. The show also features crystalline vessels made from pipe cleaners and saline solution that appear to channel the erotic energy generated in the two-dimensional works.

La Beast (
831 Cypress Avenue, Cypress Park, Los Angeles
Through October 21

Maria E. Piñeres, “Marcel Ibarreche (Cypress Av. LA)” (2015), cotton floss on plastic mounted on wood panel, 20 1/2 x 21 1/2 inches (image courtesy Walter Maciel Gallery)

Maria E. Piñeres: Deep Cuts

Deep Cuts covers 20 years of embroidery paintings by Colombian-born artist Maria E. Piñeres. The survey exhibition features series that depict pin-up models and celebrities, sleazy pinball arcades from old Times Square, female wrestlers engaged in sport, and personal portraits of loved ones. Early fashion-based works featuring nude male figures set against patterned backgrounds allude to the textile-based roots of her practice.

Walter Maciel Gallery (
2642 South La Cienega Boulevard, Culver City, California
Through October 28

Joe Ray, “Cupcake” (2023), acrylic, spray paint, and steel on canvas (triptych), 120 x 169 inches (photo by Robert Wedemeyer, courtesy the artist and Diane Rosenstein Gallery, Los Angeles)

Joe Ray: Fifteen Columns

Throughout his long career, LA-based artist Joe Ray has been hard to pin down, from his early association with the Light and Space movement in the 1960s to his subsequent work in photography and performance, and his role as a member of the seminal African-American art collective Studio Z in the 1970s. Fifteen Columns features new cast resin works, including vibrant columns placed throughout the gallery that bridge architecture and installation, a painting that continues his series of “Nebula” skyscapes, and a futuristic vehicle for transporting bits of plastic remnant to the cosmos called “Lunar Kart” (2023).

Diane Rosenstein Gallery (
831 North Highland Avenue, Hollywood, Los Angeles
Through October 28

Rachel Martin, “Killer Whale Woman I” (2023), graphite and colored pencil on archival paper, 22 1/2 x 14 3/4 inches (photo by studio photography, courtesy Timothy Hawkinson Gallery)

Rachel Martin: This ain’t my first life, won’t be my last

Rachel Martin (Tlingít) engages with heritage, family, and everyday life through her evocative drawings that mix the symbolic and the personal. With the evident imperfections and subtleties of her hand-drawn method, Martin juxtaposes Tlingít imagery with contemporary material culture so that stylized Northwest Coast motifs coexist with Converse sneakers or bodies with painted nails and patterned clothes. Her hybrid images point to the relationship between cultural and personal memory — and how individuals navigate it.

Timothy Hawkinson Gallery (
7424 Beverly Boulevard, Fairfax, Los Angeles
Through October 28

Don Edler, “Skull (After Holbein)” (2023), plastisol textile ink on panel, 12 x 12 inches (image courtesy Hunter Shaw Fine Art)

Don Edler: A Nightmare on the Brains of the Living

Borrowing its title from a quotation by Karl Marx, A Nightmare on the Brains of the Living presents the most recent work in Don Edler’s continuing investigation into the intersection of technology, climate catastrophe, Western culture, and the potential end of the Anthropocene. Linking the early human desire for fire with our contemporary unquenchable exploitation of natural resources, Edler casts a skeptical eye on claims of techno-utopianism. His vision is expressed through a multi-faceted installation incorporating appropriated images from art history and mass media, wax-covered human and homo-erectus skulls, and a large panel bearing the ominous image of a guillotine.

Hunter Shaw Fine Art (
5513 Pico Boulevard, Mid-Wilshire, Los Angeles
Through October 29

Sonia Romero, “Tree Full of Life” (2005), block printing on washi paper and acrylic on canvas, 36 x 36 inches (photo by Ruben Diaz, courtesy the artist and Laband Art Gallery)

Sonia Romero: Taken Root

Taken Root features more than 50 works spanning two decades created by LA-based artist Sonia Romero. The exhibition showcases her direct, graphic style, which incorporates aesthetic elements of her Mexican-American heritage and adapts the look of papel picado, traditional Mexican cut paper designs, in prints, paintings, tiles, and laser-cut steel. Romero’s commitment to the accessibility of art is also highlighted, with a focus on five of Romero’s public artworks, located on streets and public transit stations across Southern California.

Laband Art Gallery at Loyola Marymount University (
1 LMU Drive, Westchester, Los Angeles
Through December 9

Photograph taken at the US/Mexico border by AMBOS project photographer Gina Clyne (image courtesy AMBOS)

Ordinary People

Ordinary People focuses on six LA-based art groups that are driven by social justice, community engagement, and the potential for art to bring about change. The organizations featured are the People’s Pottery Project, which supports formerly incarcerated women, trans, and nonbinary people through a nonprofit ceramic collective; AMBOS Project, which addresses issues on the US-Mexico border through art and activism; Crenshaw Dairy Mart, an Inglewood-based art space dedicated to abolition, art accessibility, and communal solidarity; as well as QUA – LGBTQ Ukrainians in America, Tlaloc Studios, and Slanguage Studio.

Long Beach Museum of Art (
2300 East Ocean Boulevard, Long Beach, California
October 6–January 14, 2024

Installation view of The Feminist Art Program (1970-1975): Cycles of Collectivity at Redcat (Roy and Edna Disney CalArts Theater) (photo by studio photography, courtesy Redcat)

The Feminist Art Program (1970-1975): Cycles of Collectivity

The Feminist Art Program (1970-1975): Cycles of Collectivity draws links between pioneering feminist artists and teachers of the 1970s and later generations of artists engaging with their legacies. The exhibition mines archival material to examine early feminist pedagogical models, including the Feminist Art Program founded by Judy Chicago at Fresno State College in 1970, an expanded program organized by Chicago and Miriam Schapiro at CalArts the following year, and “Womanhouse,” the iconic installation these educators created with their students in 1972. Alongside this historical perspective, the exhibition features contemporary artistic responses from CalArts alumni AK Jenkins, Andrea Bowers, Gala Porras-Kim, and Suzanne Lacy.

Redcat (
631 West 2nd Street, Downtown, Los Angeles
Through January 21, 2024

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.

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