arts calendar los angelesFor the final installment of the paper’s Arts Calendar, I leave you with thirteen things to put on your save the dates list for SS24. Area museums especially have some incredible programs coming up—hometown heroes and international icons, engagement with science and histories reimagined, public spaces activated and classics refreshed, avant-garde operas and independent art fairs and glitter in the park. It’s going to be amazing. Thank you, art lovers, for coming along on this incredible journey all these years. See you out there!

thirteen things

Ed Ruscha, Standard Station, 1966 (Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Museum Acquisition Fund, © Ed Ruscha; Photo © Museum Associates/LACMA)


ED RUSCHA / NOW THEN at LACMA. Ed Ruscha has consistently held up a mirror to American society by transforming some of its defining attributes—from consumer culture and popular entertainment to the ever-changing urban landscape—into the very subject of his art. In 1956, Ruscha left Oklahoma City to study commercial art in Los Angeles, where he drew inspiration from the city’s architectural landscape—parking lots, urban streets, and apartment buildings—and colloquial language. As his first comprehensive, cross-media retrospective in over 20 years, ED RUSCHA / NOW THEN traces Ruscha’s methods and familiar subjects throughout his career and underscores the many remarkable contributions he has made well beyond the boundaries of the art world. April 7 – October 6;

Maurice Sendak at the Skirball April Maurice Sendak Where the Wild Things Are 1963 watercolor on paper 9 ¾ x 11 ©The Maurice Sendak Foundation

Maurice Sendak: Where the Wild Things Are, 1963, watercolor on paper, 9 ¾ x 11 in (©The Maurice Sendak Foundation)

Wild Things Are Happening: The Art of Maurice Sendak at the Skirball. Celebrating the work of Jewish American artist Maurice Sendak, creator of acclaimed children’s books like the iconic Where the Wild Things Are (1963), this groundbreaking exhibition adds new depth to audiences’ understanding of Sendak’s life—as a child of immigrants, a lover of music, someone with close personal relationships—and how it dovetailed with his creative work, which drew inspiration from writers ranging from William Shakespeare to Herman Melville. With more than 150 sketches, storyboards, and paintings, plus portraits he made of loved ones, archival photographs of family members, and toys he designed as a young adult, the exhibition brings Sendak and his work to life in three dimensions. Opens April 18;

LEE QUIÑONES at Charlie James April

Lee Quiñones (Courtesy of the artist and Charlie James Gallery)

Lee Quiñones: Quinquagenary at Charlie James Gallery. A celebration of the 50th anniversary of the legendary career of New York artist Lee Quiñones, which began in his teens with bold, whole-car subway pieces and handball court murals bearing his trademark “LEE.” As part of the Fabulous 5 crew, Quiñones pioneered a particular East Coast style that found its zenith on the moving metal canvases of the MTA. The artist continues to innovate in paintings and drawings that employ the aesthetic vocabulary of graffiti in works that are tightly controlled, compositionally complex, and socially engaged. These works straddle the line between gallery and street, pairing tags and graffiti writing with bold, expressionist painting. Quiñones honors the tools of the artform, using spray paint and paint markers to create layered abstract compositions. April 20 – May 25;

Mickalene Thomas at The Broad May Image Credit Mickalene Thomas Din avec la main dans le miroir et jupe rouge 2023. Rhinestones acrylic and glitter on canvas mounted on wood panel.© Mickalene Thomas

Mickalene Thomas: Din avec la main dans le miroir et jupe rouge, 2023. Rhinestones, acrylic and glitter on canvas mounted on wood panel (© Mickalene Thomas)


Mickalene Thomas: All About Love at The Broad. The first major international tour of this pioneering artist’s work makes its debut at The Broad with over 80 works created by the artist across the last 20 years. Well known for her large-scale acrylic paintings of Black women in states of leisure and repose using rhinestones, a central material in her practice that symbolizes the complexities of femininity, the exhibition highlights how Thomas has mastered and innovated within several disciplines, from mixed-media painting and maximalist collage to installation and sumptuous photography. The exhibition shares its title and several of its themes with the pivotal text by feminist author bell hooks, in which love is understood as an active process rooted in healing, carving a path away from domination and towards collective liberation. May 25 – September 29;

Simone Leigh at LACMA May Simone Leigh Martinique 2022 courtesy of the artist and Matthew Marks Gallery © Simone Leigh photo by Timothy Schenck

Simone Leigh: Martinique, 2022 (Courtesy of the artist and Matthew Marks Gallery, © Simone Leigh, photo by Timothy Schenck)

Simone Leigh at LACMA. The first comprehensive survey of the richly layered work of this celebrated artist, LACMA’s presentation features 20 years of Leigh’s production in ceramic, bronze, video, and installation, as well as works from her 2022 Venice Biennale tour de force. Over the past two decades, Leigh has created works exploring questions of Black femme subjectivity and knowledge production. Addressing a wide swath of historical periods, geographies, and traditions, her art references vernacular and hand-made processes from across the African diaspora, as well as forms traditionally associated with African art and architecture. Accompanied by a major monograph, this exhibition offers visitors a timely opportunity to gain a holistic understanding of Leigh’s complex and profoundly moving work. May 26 – January 20;

The Industry at MOCA June

The Industry


The Industry presents The Comet / Poppea at MOCA. The Comet / Poppea brings together seemingly disparate worlds connected by stories of cultural transformation. It juxtaposes Claudio Monteverdi’s L’incoronazione di Poppea (The Coronation of Poppea), an Italian opera from 1643 unfolding among the social divisions of ancient Rome; and the world premiere of The Comet, based on the 1924 science-fiction short story by sociologist and Pan-Africanist civil rights activist W.E.B. Du Bois. Set in 1920s New York, the story depicts a Black man and white woman as the only survivors after a comet hits Earth. Presented on a turntable divided in two halves, these worlds unfold simultaneously, with the stage’s rotation creating a visual and sonic spiral for audiences—inviting associations, dissociations, collisions, and confluences. Performances June 14-23;

Magdalena at REDCAT June Photo by Maria Baranova. 1

Magdalena (Photo by Maria Baranova)

Beth Morrison Projects presents Magdalene at REDCAT. Magdalene is a chamber opera in 13 movements—a wild meditation on transformation and desire scored by the collective voice of fourteen women composers. Set to Marie Howe’s poems, the opera invites an audience into the interior world of the archetypal figure Mary Magdalene—enlarging her to bend time and space, she appears as a woman alive now, who strives to heal the unyielding split between the sacred and the sexual. Encountering her life in flashes—wandering through a hotel, lighting birthday candles, making love in the ocean—Magdalene finds transcendence in the mundane to finally become the subject of her own story. Performances June 4-8;

June Community drum dance circle facilitated by Diana Wallace and Eboni Adams at Heal Hear Here May 2023 Photo by Monica Orozco

Freewaves: Community drum + dance circle facilitated by Diana Wallace and Eboni Adams at Heal Hear Here, May 2023 (Photo by Monica Orozco)

LA Freewaves presents FEMMES. Thirteen artists perform a free public Happening in the LA State Historic Park, under a full moon on the Summer solstice. With roller skates, fire headdresses, roses, banners, a horse, projectors, spices, stories, loop peddle, goo, and glitter, the evening explores contemporary femme-forward spirit magic. This audacious and auspicious event engages Angelenos to experience empowered feminine energy, while aiming to excite all attendees’ inner wishes and embodied connection to the majesty and miraculous surrealism of nature. Saturday, June 22;

Armory August Nikesha Breeze Stages of Tectonic Blackness Blackdom 2021. Video still with Nikesha Breeze. Image by mk. Courtesy of the artist.

Nikesha Breeze, Stages of Tectonic Blackness: Blackdom, 2021. Video still with Nikesha Breeze. (Image by mk. Courtesy of the artist)


From the Ground Up: Nurturing Diversity in Hostile Environments at the Armory. What happens when populations that depend on international supply chains for basic needs are systemically cut off from food production? And when power grids fail, and reservoirs dry up? For decades, artists, writers, and scientists have imagined the consequences of severe disruptions to the economy and the environment. Taking inspiration from the seed—one of the smallest but most powerful mechanisms for change—From the Ground Up presents works by 17 contemporary artists who confront the specter of global environmental disaster and disruptions in food production. The artists also explore technology, histories of contested spaces, and Indigenous understandings of nature as they imagine alternative, sustainable futures and issue calls to action. August 9 – February 23;

NOMAD August TheRiverOfTime 2 SeanNoyce 2021

Sean Noyce: The River of Time at NOMAD 2021

Torrance Art Museum presents TRYST / NOMAD. The world’s largest art fair and symposium for alternative galleries and artist-run initiatives from around the world, TRYST presents a range of diverse artistic voices and collectives groups, from the newly founded to the historic and established grassroots art spaces. NOMAD is an innovative contemporary art pop-up, with a sculpture, installation, and performance focused program highlighting independent artists in a dynamic landscape of engaging installation and performance vignettes. The unoccupied medical building at Del Amo Crossing will host works by emerging, mid-career, and established contemporary Southern California based artists, plus programs and activations all weekend. August 24-25;


Indigenous Stories are All Around You, 2023. Kilma S. Lattin and Catherine Eng, Beyond the Metaverse with OurWorlds, QI Gallery, Qualcomm Institute, UCSD, 2023 (Photo: Alex Matthews)


The Getty’s Pacific Standard Time: Art & Science Collide. PST ART: Art & Science Collide creates opportunities for civic dialogue around some of the most urgent problems of our time by exploring past and present connections between art and science in a series of exhibitions, public programs, and other resources. Project topics range from climate change and environmental justice to the future of artificial intelligence and alternative medicine—and exciting, futuristic, innovative, research-driven, imagination-powered projects, exhibitions, publications, and events happen with hundreds of galleries, institutions, public spaces, and websites across the Los Angeles region all season, powered by almost $20 million in dedicated grant monies. Programs begin Labor Day weekend;

Crossing Over Art and Science at Caltech 1920–2020 at Caltech Septe

Crossing Over: Art and Science at Caltech, 1920–2020

Crossing Over: Art and Science at Caltech, 1920–2020 at Caltech. Crossing Over considers how scientists use visual culture, examining the roles images and artists have played in scientific institutions. Far from depicting information impartially, scientific images make arguments, persuading viewers to accept particular theories and interpretations. Spanning 100 years, two global pandemics, and four venues across campus, Crossing Over mines the Caltech archives for objects, images, and stories illustrating the complex interchange between science and the visual arts at this influential institution. Three contemporary Los Angeles artists—Lita Albuquerque, Ken Gonzales-Day, and Hillary Mushkin—contribute original, site-specific installations. September 14 – December 7;

Light experiments for Olafur Eliassons upcoming exhibition at The Museum of Contemporary Art Los Angeles 2024. Photo by Olafur Eliasson. Courtesy Studio Olafur Eliasson. Sept

Light experiments for Olafur Eliasson’s upcoming exhibition at MOCA. (Photo by Olafur Eliasson. Courtesy Studio Olafur Eliasson)

Olafur Eliasson at MOCA. Icelandic-Danish artist Olafur Eliasson presents a new site-specific installation made for The Geffen Contemporary. In line with Eliasson’s career-long exploration of light and color, geometry, and ecological awareness, the installation will playfully engage with material and immaterial qualities of the building. A series of large-scale optical devices designed specifically for the Geffen will reflect on the architecture of the Geffen, as well as the atmosphere of Los Angeles. Visitors will encounter a dazzling range of patterns, colors, and materials that harness the laws of geometric optics to address feelings of embodiment, perception, and shared experience. September 2024-July 2025;


Ed Ruscha Adios 1969

Ed Ruscha: Adios, 1969






















































Editor’s note: The disclaimer below refers to advertising posts and does not apply to this or any other editorial stories.


Advertising disclosure: We may receive compensation for some of the links in our stories. Thank you for supporting LA Weekly and our advertisers.