10 Art Shows to See in LA This September

This month, Los Angeles art offerings ring in the fall season with unorthodox juxtapositions, combinations, and material experimentations that challenge the status quo. Several artists blur the false dichotomy between art and craft, including Teresa Baker, who paints on artificial turf; the Indigenous artists who underscore weaving in The Iridescence of Knowing; and Hildur Ásgeirsdóttir Jónsson, whose own practice involves painted threads woven onto a loom. In a similar vein, Kara Walker’s updates to early American art forms point to rot below the serene surface of polite society, Steve McQueen’s new installation connects an infamous film to a dark story from his family, John Waters desecrates the hallowed halls of the Academy Museum with a half-century of bad manners, and more.

Fiona Connor: Continuous Sidewalk

Installation view of Fiona Connor, “Continuous Sidewalk” (2021–23) (image courtesy the artist and Château Shatto, Los Angeles)

Fiona Connor’s meticulously faithful facsimiles of architectural elements highlight the social functions of our built environment. In the past, the New Zealand-born artist has replicated community message boards and the doors of shuttered clubs, bittersweet reminders of lost gathering spots. For this show, Connor recreated 23 concrete sidewalk squares from downtown Los Angeles, reassembling them to form a fictional urban ramble. After an initial concrete pour, she added graffiti, gum, and other markings that accumulate over time, revealing the sidewalk as an ever-changing spatial chronicle of bodies and bustle, far from a stable, sterile industrial expanse. Due to the weight of the work, the exhibition is held offsite at the artist’s ground-floor studio in Glendale, rather than Château Shatto’s 10th-floor Bendix Building location.

Château Shatto (offsite) (chateaushatto.com)
621 Ruberta Avenue, #3, Glendale, California
Through September 23

Teresa Baker: From Joy to Joy to Joy

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Teresa Baker, “From Joy to Joy To Joy” (2023), acrylic, yarn, buckskin, and willow on artificial turf, 95 x 69 1/2 inches (image courtesy the artist and de boer, Los Angeles)

Teresa Baker’s playful, organic abstractions pull from an eclectic range of sources, reflecting her Mandan/Hidatsa Native heritage as well as various modern and contemporary art movements. Composed of paint, yarn, buckskin, and artificial turf, her shaped wall works are divided into flat planes of color that engage with Abstract Expressionism, Post-Minimalism, and the Pattern and Decoration movements. They also recall the wide-open landscapes of the Northern Plains where she was raised, as well as Indigenous aesthetic traditions, creating a new synthesis tinged with historical friction.

De Boer Gallery (deboergallery.com)
3311 East Pico Boulevard, Boyle Heights, Los Angeles
Through October 14

Juanita McNeely: Moving Through

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Juanita McNeely, “Moving Through” (1975), oil on canvas, 9 panels, 84 x 408 inches total (© Juanita McNeely; image courtesy James Fuentes LLC)

Juanita McNeely’s expansive paintings convey a complex vision of the female body, encompassing sex and death, athleticism and decay, bone and blood. Her figurative works bear a resemblance to the corporeal abjection of Austrian artist Maria Lassnig, or the deadpan directness of the German Expressionists, such as Max Beckmann. Moving Through, the 87-year-old artist’s first solo show in Los Angeles, features three multi-panel works from the mid-1970s, offering Angelenos a long-overdue introduction to her captivating intensity.

James Fuentes (jamesfuentes.com)
5015 Melrose Avenue, Hollywood, Los Angeles
September 8–October 14

Fawn Rogers: GODOG

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Fawn Rogers: GODOG mockup (image courtesy Fawn Rogers Studio)

Fawn Rogers’s upcoming exhibition will feature two paintings of Venetian scallop-backed grotto chairs and two figurative sculptures made from clay, steel mesh, and nails. For the show’s run, Rogers is inviting visitors to collaborate, offering them spray paint, clay, a hammer, and other materials to edit, augment, or deconstruct the works as they wish, the whole thing filmed for a timelapse video. Curated by Michael Slenske, the exhibition-cum-performance asks what inclusive acts of communal creation can reveal about their participants.

Lauren Powell Projects (laurenpowellprojects.com)
5225 Hollywood Boulevard, East Hollywood, Los Angeles
September 15–October 14

Analia Saban: Synthetic Self

Analia Saban, “Circuit Board with Deliberate Lines #4” (2023), ink on ash burl wood, 72 x 72 x 2 inches (© Analia Saban; photo by Jeff McLane, courtesy the artist, Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, and Sprüth Magers)

With wit and material curiosity, Analia Saban’s multifaceted practice examines the relationship between the analog and the digital, the man-made and the digitally produced. Synthetic Self, her ambitious solo exhibition divided between Tanya Bonakdar Gallery and Sprüth Magers, interrogates this connection through myriad media, including woven tapestries, laser-cut encaustic works, and marble sculptures. A recurring motif is the computer fan, a simple piece of technology that enables more complicated mechanisms to take place, but remains powerless against global climate change — in which increased energy consumption undoubtedly plays a role.

Tanya Bonakdar Gallery (tanyabonakdargallery.com)
1010 North Highland Avenue, Hollywood, Los Angeles

Sprüth Magers (spruethmagers.com)
5900 Wilshire Boulevard, Mid-Wilshire, Los Angeles
September 14–October 28

Steve McQueen

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Still from Steve McQueen, “Sunshine State” (2022), HD video, sound (© Steve McQueen; image courtesy the artist and Marian Goodman Gallery)

Marian Goodman Gallery will inaugurate its new gallery in Los Angeles with an exhibition of two works by British artist and filmmaker Steve McQueen. The show will feature “Moonlit” (2016), a sculpture of two large rocks covered in silver leaf, and the US debut of the video installation “Sunshine State” (2022). Juxtaposing scenes from “The Jazz Singer” (1927) — the first “talkie” which infamously includes actor Al Jolson in blackface — with the retelling of an episode of racist violence experienced by McQueen’s father, the work explores the intersection of narrative, identity, and historical trauma.

Marian Goodman Gallery (mariangoodman.com)
1125 North Hudson Avenue, Hollywood, Los Angeles
September 23–November 4

The Iridescence of Knowing

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Still from Sky Hopinka, “Jáaji Approx.” (2015), HD video, stereo, color, duration: 7 minutes, 39 seconds (photo courtesy the artist)

The Iridescence of Knowing features a diverse group of Indigenous artists from Southern California, deconstructing the divide between traditional craft and contemporary art. Curated by Mercedes Dorame and Joel Garcia, the show foregrounds weaving — both as a culturally meaningful artistic practice and a symbol of inherited knowledge and rituals that are passed down through generations, linking ancestral wisdom to the present day. Participating artists include Weshoyot Alvitre, Jessa Calderon, River Garza, Sky Hopinka, Adrienne Kinsella, James Luna, Cara Romero, and many others.

Oxy Arts (oxyarts.oxy.edu)
4757 York Boulevard, Highland Park, Los Angeles
September 14–November 18

Kara Walker: Cut to the Quick, From the Collections of Jordan D. Schnitzer and His Family Foundation

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Kara Walker, “African/American” (1998), linocut, 44 x 62 inches, edition 20 of 40 (photo by Strode Photographic)

For the past three decades, Kara Walker has confronted the shameful legacy of American slavery, racism, and exploitation with stark economy and intentionally disturbing frankness, laying history bare in black and white. Cut to the Quick brings together more than 80 works produced from 1994 to 2019, including paintings, prints, sculpture, film, and the cut-paper silhouettes she is best known for. This survey highlights how tragically relevant Walker’s historically grounded works still are.

USC Fisher Museum of Art (fisher.usc.edu)
823 South Exposition Boulevard, University Park, Los Angeles
September 8–December 9

Hildur Ásgeirsdóttir Jónsson: Infinite Space, Sublime Horizons

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Hildur Ásgeirsdóttir Jónsson, “Fragment” (2018), silk thread and dyes, 114 x 216 inches (photo by Tim Safranek, courtesy Hildur Ásgeirsdóttir Jónsson and Abattoir Gallery)

Iceland-born artist Hildur Ásgeirsdóttir Jónsson combines painting and weaving techniques to create vibrant, hybrid abstractions. Her painstaking process involves painting with dye onto vertical warp threads before they are woven with horizontal weft threads on a loom. Although she has lived in Ohio for the past three decades, Jónsson’s luminous woven paintings recall the crisp, Icelandic landscape, colorful Northern Lights, and aerial island maps. Infinite Space, Sublime Horizons is her first solo show on the West Coast.

Frederick R. Weisman Museum of Art at Pepperdine University (arts.pepperdine.edu)
24255 Pacific Coast Highway, Malibu, California
Through December 10

John Waters: Pope of Trash

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Courtroom scene from John Waters, Cry-Baby (© 1990 Universal City Studios, Inc. and Imagine Films Entertainment, Inc.)

There are few filmmakers whose transgressive irreverence seems more at odds with the cinematic mainstream than John Waters. Considering this, it’s significant that the Academy Museum is honoring the artist with a retrospective showcasing his independent spirit. For 50 years, the auteur — dubbed the “Pope of Trash” by counterculture icon William S. Burroughs — has delighted audiences with his outrageous, boundary-crossing camp and celebration of “bad taste.” John Waters: Pope of Trash takes a career-long view of his oeuvre, featuring costumes, set decoration, props, scripts, posters, photographs, film clips, and more.

The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures (academymuseum.org)
6067 Wilshire Boulevard, Mid-Wilshire, Los Angeles
September 17–August 14, 2024

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