Los Angeles art exhibitions: the best shows to see in July

Read our pick of the best Los Angeles art exhibitions to see this month, from Mickalene Thomas at The Broad to Ed Ruscha at LACMA

Los Angeles art exhibitions to see now ED RUSCHA / NOW THEN at LACMA
(Image credit: Courtesy of the artist)

It’s the perfect time to dive into Los Angeles art exhibitions. With the recent inaugural edition of Design Miam.LA, in May 2024, many world-renowned artists and patrons are keenly focused on the City of Angels. From institutions such as The Broad downtown to Gagosian in Beverly Hills, and independent gallery Southern Guild from Cape Town – now in Melrose Hill – Black artists are being celebrated, from newer voices to award-winning filmmakers and authors, with first-time national exhibits, retrospectives, and group shows.

In other summer art news, we uncover a hidden gallery gem in a beachside hotel; a pictorial nod to a famous filmmaker; and continuing exhibits from the Eastside to mid-city, and the Westside focusing on realism and abstract themes – whether covering the vast local culinary landscape of LA or exploring environmental challenges and works that focus on upcycling. And, for those willing to head south to the OC, a major retrospective of a French fashion icon awaits.

These are the best Los Angeles art exhibitions to see this month.

Los Angeles art exhibitions: what to see in July 2024

'All About Love'

The Broad, downtown LA, until 29 September 2024

Mickalene Thomas Afro Goddess artwork

Mickalene Thomas, Afro Goddess Looking Forward, 2015

(Image credit: Mickalene Thomas)

It seems that all eyes in the artworld are currently fixed on this dynamic Black creative voice and she wants you to think about love in new and profound ways. ‘Mickalene Thomas: All About Love’ is the artists’ first major international tour and is focused on celebrating Black feminist creative practices and critical perspectives, while offering frameworks for communal care. Spanning two decades, over 80 works from the New York-based artist, including her trademark use of rhinestones, mixed-media painting, collage, installation and photography, are on view now until 29 September 2024.

Co-organised by the Hayward Gallery, London, and in partnership with the Barnes Foundation, Philadelphia, the exhibition shares its title and several of its themes with the vital text by feminist author bell hooks, in which love is an active process rooted in healing, carving a path away from domination and towards collective liberation.

In conjunction – and including live music, such as by popular rapper Flo Milli, therapeutic workshops, comedy, concerts, and a night of films by LGBTQIA+ directors – The Broad will showcase women, Black, and queer creative voices within the context of Mickalene Thomas’ international exhibition. The best part, admission is free on Thursday evenings.

thebroad.org

'Those Were the Days'

UTA Artist Space, downtown LA, until 20 July 2024

Those were the days, Blitz Bazawule, courtesy of the artist

Blitz Bazawule, ‘Those were the days’, installation view

(Image credit: Blitz Bazawule)

‘Those Were the Days’ at Serkit Studios in downtown Los Angeles is a presentation of new paintings and site-specific installation by multidisciplinary artist Blitz Bazawule, who also directed the 2023 musical film The Color Purple. The series was inspired by nostalgia and Bazawule’s memories of black-and-white photos that lined the walls of his childhood home in Accra, Ghana – images of his family dressed in their Sunday best which grew into a strong desire to recreate those moments. Later, while on tour in Morocco, Bazawule stumbled upon a vintage photograph of a woman standing in the very same place as he was at that moment, but 50 years before. ‘I held up the photograph and spun around until it lined up with the same mosque nearby and a light bulb went off right there. I realised that the juxtaposition of the old photograph and the new background had birthed something new. Something more timeless,’ said Bazawule. ‘I imagined vintage photographs held against a modern, vibrant background. This created a time loop, connecting the past with the present.’

utaartistspace.com

'Social Abstraction'

Gagosian Beverly Hills, 19 July – 30 August 2024

Amanda Williams, CandyLadyBlack (This Stuff Is Starting Now), 2023, Oil, mixed media on wood panel. Courtesy of Amanda Williams

Amanda Williams, CandyLadyBlack (This Stuff Is Starting Now), 2023

(Image credit: Jeff McLane. Courtesy of the artist and Gagosian)

Gallery director Antwaun Sargent has put together a two-part group show, ‘Social Abstractions’. Sargent’s first engagement with this idea of social abstraction, which will address the interconnections between artmaking and social consciousness, was born at Frieze LA 2024. Antwaun is hoping this exhibition will shine a light on a new generation's perspective on the topic of abstraction.

Featuring an intergenerational group of Black artists including Kevin Beasley, Allana Clarke, Theaster Gates, Cy Gavin, Alteronce Gumby, Lauren Halsey, Kahlil Robert Irving, Devin B Johnson, Rick Lowe, Eric Mack, Andy Robert, Cameron Welch, and Amanda Williams. The day after opening, on July 19, a special performance by renowned choreographer and dancer Kyle Abraham will take place inside the exhibition. The Beverly Hills gallery exhibit will be followed this fall with a ‘sister’ exhibition of other works by these artists in Hong Kong.

gagosian.com

‘Winfred Rembert: Hard Times’

Hauser & Wirth, DTLA, Arts District, until 25 August 2024

Cotton Pickers with Overseer ca. 2006 Acrylic paint on carved and tooled leather

Winfred Rembert, Cotton Pickers with Overseer, ca. 2006

(Image credit: Sarah Muehlbaue)

At the original complex in the DTLA arts district, late American artist Winfred Rembert (1945 – 2021), dedicated the last 30 years of his life to creating a striking visual memoir, working in his signature medium of carved and painted leather. In the artist’s Pulitzer Prize-winning author memoir, Chasing Me to My Grave, he describes the cotton fields as his very first memory. Hard Times (2003) is one of many paintings that depict the workers bent over endless rows of white tufts that dot the landscape. The sculpturally carved and painted leather here bear painstaking detail – each worker’s clothing is adorned with carefully crafted seams, featuring intricate bevelling that adds unexpected depth.

hauserwirth.com

'Daniel Turner'

Hauser & Wirth DTLA, Arts District, until 25 August 2024

Daniel Turner exhibition inside Hauser & Wirth

Installation view, ‘Daniel Turner’, Hauser & Wirth, Downtown Los Angeles, 30 May – 25 August 2024

(Image credit: Keith Lubow. ©Daniel Turner. Courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth)

Also downtown, New York-based artist Daniel Turner, in his first solo exhibit with the gallery, created a series of paintings, drawings, sculptures and film by salvaging, transforming and recontextualizing materials extracted from the Mandalay Generating Station, a decommissioned power plant located 60 miles northwest of Downtown Los Angeles. Established in themid-20th century, the Southern California Edison-operated facility supplied the region’s electricity needs through natural gas-powered thermoelectric generation until its closure in 2017. Turner’s transformation of remnants from the electrical echoes a calibrated process of material distillation and site-responsive reflection.

hauserwirth.com

'Angel Otero. That First Rain in May'

Hauser & Wirth West Hollywood, until 25 August 2024

:Installation view, ‘Angel Otero. That First Rain in May,’ Hauser & Wirth West Hollywood 29 May– 24 August 2024 ©Angel Otero. Courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth

Installation view, ‘Angel Otero. That First Rain in May’, Hauser & Wirth West Hollywood 29 May – 24 August 2024

(Image credit: Paul Salveson. ©Angel Otero. Courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth)

At the West Hollywood gallery location, Puerto Rican artist Angel Otero, in his first exhibit with the gallery, That First Rain in May, converges magical realism and abstraction through personal recollections of his upbringing. Woven through new paintings and sculptures in which technical innovation becomes the means for conveying memory through materiality, Otero mines his own history to make sense of the current moment, animating everyday objects and environments that are loosely based on the domestic spaces of his youth.

hauserwirth.com

‘ED RUSCHA / NOW THEN’

LACMA, mid-city, until 6 Oct 2024

ED RUSCHA / NOW THEN at LACMA

Ed Ruscha

(Image credit: Courtesy of the artist and LACMA)

Continuing through the fall, ‘ED RUSCHA / NOW THEN’ is the first comprehensive, cross-media retrospective of the artist in over 20 years. The exhibit traces the iconic artists’ methods and familiar subjects throughout his career. In 1956, Ruscha left Oklahoma City to study commercial art in Los Angeles, where he drew inspiration from the city’s architectural landscape including parking lots, urban streets, and apartment buildings. The artist holds a mirror to American society by transforming some of its defining attributes, including consumer culture and entertainment to the ever-changing urban landscape.

lacma.org

‘To live and dine in LA / You taste like home'

Anat Ebgi Gallery, mid-city, until 17 August 2024

To live and dine in LA / You taste like home by Kate Pincus Whitney

Kate Pincus Whitney

(Image credit: Courtesy the artist and Anat Ebgi, Los Angeles / New York. Photos by Mason Kuehler.)

Inspired by the unparalleled diversity of LA’s dining scene and the power of cuisine to convey and transcend politics, culture and identity, Kate Pincus Whitney’s new show, ‘To live and dine in LA / You taste like home’ is a love poem to the city’s diverse and gastronomic treasures. Each painting represents a different neighbourhood, and the tables hold the depth of variety found in each corner of the city. Covering both sacred shrine and intimate celebration, she offers gratitude to a childhood raised in the kitchen by her mother and grandmother, and she invites the audience to take part in this history.

anatebgi.com

'Water & Flower'

Wilding Cran Gallery, downtown LA, until 27 July 2024

artwork of picnic table, sprinkler and rainbow

Olivia Hill, Picnic Table With the Sprinklers On, 2024

(Image credit: Courtesy of the artist and Wild Cran Gallery)

‘Water & Flower’ celebrates summertime in Los Angeles while exploring a dialogue between the mundane and the majestic. Curated by Michael Slenske, this body of work draws inspiration from active water systems, land art, the tradition of Southern California pool painting, and the Dutch Golden Age, with transforming floral still lifes of the world’s fleeting nature, the passage of time, sensuality, the afterlife, and the dance of light and shadow, revisited through a modern prism.

Participating artists include Billy Al Bengston, Lily Clark, AJ Collins, Francesca Gabbiani, Robert Gunderman, Olivia Hill, Salomon Huerta, Jasmine Little, Moral Turgeman, Liz Walsh, Sterling Wells and many more.

wildingcran.com

‘Bruts’

David Kordansky Gallery, mid-city, 2 July – 24 August 2024

blue artwork

Herbert Gentry, On The Way, 1984

(Image credit: Courtesy of the artist and David Kordansky Gallery, Los Angeles)

‘Bruts’, curated by Rashid Johnson, brings together an eclectic selection of works by artists spanning eras and cultures – from Jean Dubuffet and Aloïse Corbaz, major figures of Art Brut, a term invented by Dubuffet to describe ‘raw art’ made outside of fine art traditions; to 20th-century modernist and expressionist artists including Herbert Gentry, William Hawkins, Bill Traylor, and Peter Voulkos; to contemporary artists such as Huma Bhabha, Mark Grotjahn, Thomas Houseago, and Dana Schutz – to explore the ways in which artists have resisted and challenged accessible modes of representation and to interrogate ideas of artistic value. Johnson is questioning artistic training and skill – how do we value skill? What is skill? And how do we determine who’s an ‘outsider’ artist and who is not.

davidkordanskygallery.com

‘Flight Paths’

Lisson Gallery, mid-city, until 17 August 2024

oil painting

Sarah Cunningham, Flight Path, 2024

(Image credit: Courtesy of the artist and Lisson Gallery, Los Angeles)

British artist Sarah Cunningham presents a new body of work entitled Flight Paths for her first solo show with the gallery. Named after a diptych that seemingly defies gravity, this presentation captures the painter’s soaring, spontaneous gestures in full flow. In the two panels of Flight Path (all works 2024) and throughout this exhibition, Cunningham explores aerial and bodily movements, flipping directions and orientations.

lissongallery.com

‘Frontman’

Gallery 33, Santa Monica, until 31 July 2024

painting

Billy Zane, ‘Frontman’, at Gallery 33

(Image credit: Courtesy of the artist and Gallery 33, Santa Monica)

This in-the-know contemporary gallery is tucked away inside the recently refurbished The Georgian hotel, dating back to 1933. For the current exhibit, American artist (and former actor) Billy Zane presents a series of dynamic abstract expressionist paintings in his latest show, ‘Frontman’. The show will include ten works emphasising his long-standing theme of upcycling and transformation, incorporating found objects and used materials to highlight his commitment to sustainability. Zane’s ‘empathy as alchemy’ philosophy bleeds throughout all areas of his practice, from art to film, and beyond.

gallery33sm.com

‘Accidentally Wes Anderson: The Exhibition’

Santa Monica Art Museum, until 3 August 2024

photographs on gallery wall

‘Accidentally Wes Anderson: The Exhibition’

(Image credit: Courtesy Accidentally Wes Anderson: The Exhibition, and Santa Monica Art Museum)

‘Accidentally Wes Anderson: The Exhibition’ is a photo exhibition featuring over 100 photographs that recreate the iconic Wes Anderson aesthetic using points of interest from all over the world. After being widely received in Seoul, Tokyo, and London, you can now view this best-selling book and famous Instagram account brought to life in Santa Monica through an IRL exploration of real-life locations from all seven continents, through the lens of Wes Anderson.

santamonicaartmuseum.com

‘Yves Saint Laurent: Line and Expression’

Orange County Museum of Art, 3 July – 27 October 2024

mannequins in YSL

Installation view: ‘Yves Saint Laurent: Line and Expression’, 2023, Musée Yves Saint Laurent Marrakech, Morocco. The show is now travelling to Orange County Museum of Art

(Image credit: Courtesy of Musée Yves Saint Laurent Marrakech, Morocco. Photo: Marco Cappelletti. © Yves Saint Laurent)

Fashion buffs will want to travel 30 miles south from Los Angeles, for ‘Yves Saint Laurent: Line and Expression’, which recently launched at OCMA. Travelling from the Musée Yves Saint Laurent Marrakech and Musée Yves Saint Laurent Paris, on loan from the collection of the Fondation Pierre Bergé-Yves Saint Laurent in Paris, ‘Line and Expression’ marks the first presentation in Southern California of Yves Saint Laurent’s stunning and legendary practice.

ocma.art

Carole Dixon is a prolific lifestyle writer-editor currently based in Los Angeles. As a Wallpaper* contributor since 2004, she covers travel, architecture, art, fashion, food, design, beauty, and culture for the magazine and online, and was formerly the LA City editor for the Wallpaper* City Guides to Los Angeles.