As the international art world descends on Los Angeles for Frieze week, we’ve highlighted some of the best art on view beyond the art fairs—in museums. From a glimpse into the life and work of the late polymath Milford Graves to an in-depth survey of South African artist William Kentridge’s oeuvre, plus the last days of Uta Barth’s beguiling photographs, here are the museum shows we’re looking forward to in the City of Angels.
“Tala Madani: Biscuits” at the Geffen Contemporary at MOCA
through February 19, 2023
MOCA presents 15 years of the Tehran-born artist’s sketches, paintings, and animations, in her first North American survey show. With the patriarchy, the canon of art history, and law enforcement firmly in Madini’s scope, “Biscuits” is wickedly funny, timely, and long overdue.
“Milford Graves: Fundamental Frequency” at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles
through May 14, 2023
Milford Graves may have been best-known as a percussionist, but to call him only that is a disservice to a man who was a true polymath in every sense. As his obituary noted, he was “also a botanist, acupuncturist, martial artist, impresario, college professor, visual artist, and student of the human heartbeat.” The West Coast presentation of this show, which originated at New York’s Artists Space, features archival documentation, film, music, and the artist’s effusive sculptural assemblages.
“Uta Barth: Peripheral Vision” at the Getty Center
through February 19, 2023
For those in Los Angeles for the weekend only, it’s the perfect time to catch the final days of Uta Barth’s work on view at the Getty. A true California artist, her photographs capture the unique light and space that filters through the city.
William Kentridge: In Praise of Shadows at the Broad
through April 9, 2023
The Broad is giving over the entire first floor galleries to the 35-year career of William Kentridge, in the South African artist’s first major museum show in Los Angeles in more than 20 years. Set against a backdrop designed by Sabine Theunissen, more than 130 works by Kentridge rendered in his signature charcoal drawings, theatrical sets, and animated films provide a personal lens through which thorny socio-political issues are explored.
“Fabric of a Nation: American Quilt” at the Skirball Cultural Center
through March 12, 2023
Works by more than 40 artists including Sanford Biggers and Bisa Butler stand out in this survey, which tells the story of America through quilts. As the show notes, “Whether produced as works of art or utilitarian objects,” the quilts “impart deeply personal narratives of their makers and offer an intimate picture of American life.”
“Coded: Art Enters the Computer Age, 1952–1982“at LACMA
through July 2, 2023
From experimental works made with hefty machines and analog works depicting algorithms to the rise of digital art made entirely online, creatives have been drawn to computers for decades. This show explores the rise of technology and how artists have interpreted its promises and perils.
“Regeneration: Black Cinema 1898–1971” at the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures
through July 16, 2023
Taking its name from a 1923 movie, “Regeneration” explores the role of Black creatives from cinema’s inception in America through the Civil Rights movement. Through photographs, drawings, original costumes, and restored reels, the exhibition spotlights forgotten, overlooked, and suppressed films and filmmakers.
“Adee Roberson and Azikiwe Mohammed: at the California African American Museum
through May 7, 2023
Occupying CAAM’s atrium, “because i am that” is a two-person show that, across its six-month run, is inviting a range of collaborators to bring musings on Black creativity into the space. Curated by Essence Harden, the conversation between Robertson and Mohammed includes paintings, video, and sculpture.
“Bridget Riley Drawings: From the Artist’s Studio” at the Hammer
through May 28, 2023
Behind every Riley painting is a series of exploratory and probing drawings. As her first West Coast show in 50 years reveals, the black-and-white optical works are no less beguiling. The Hammer’s exhibition offers visitors a chance to track the British artist’s development from her student work in the 1940s through today.