Counting down California’s most exciting cultural happenings in 2015.
At the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, “Gravity and Grace: Monumental Works by El Anatsui” sheds light on the Golden State’s growing commitment to international art with metal and wood topographical pieces by the Ghanaian sculptor (through June 28). The GAP’s founders, Doris and Donald Fisher, share their collection of contemporary treasures for “American Icons: Masterworks from SFMOMA and the Fisher Collection” at the Grand Palais in Paris (April 8-June 22). Meanwhile, LACMA’s 50th Anniversary spring gala festivities (April 18) include an exhibition of birthday gifts for the museum from major collectors: Jane and Marc Nathanson (p.96) have donated pieces by Lichtenstein, Rosenquist and Warhol, among others, for “50 for 50: Gifts on the Occasion of LACMA’s 50th Anniversary” (April 26). At UCLA, Matthew Barney and Jonathan Bepler’s film River of Fundament debuts on the West Coast, reimagining Norman Mailer’s novel Ancient Evenings, with performances by Paul Giamatti and Maggie Gyllenhaal (April 25). If you miss the flick, the corresponding exhibition of sculptures, photographs and vitrines inspired by the film hits MOCA later this year (Sept. 13-January 2016). Startup Art Fair, in San Francisco, takes a disruptive approach to the art fair, giving unrepresented artists a chance to show their stuff (May 1-3). “Portraits and Other Likenesses From SFMOMA” at the Museum of the African Diaspora emphasizes the museum’s increasing international scope as it showcases figurative art influenced by Africa, the U.S., Europe and beyond (May 8-Oct. 11). At the Orange County Museum of Art, multimedia show “Alien She” chronicles the punk feminist Riot Grrrl movement’s impact on current innovators (through May 24). Back in L.A., MOCA’s Annual Gala honors Los Angeles’ beloved John Baldessari this year (May 30). The Crocker Art Museum in Sacramento brings together nearly 80 paintings by Monterey County classicist David Ligare (June 7-Sept. 20). At the Hammer, travel further afield with the The Afghan Carpet Project, a partnership between the nonprofit AfghanMade and six female artists, who journeyed to Kabul and Bamian in 2014 and worked with local female weavers to produce carpets from their designs (June 13-Sept. 20). While you’re there: Everyone is talking about the upcoming “Mark Bradford: Scorched Earth” exhibition, replete with new paintings inspired by the 1992 L.A. riots and a multimedia rework of comments by Eddie Murphy from his ’83 concert film Delirious (June 20-Sept. 27). At the Pasadena Museum of California Art, “Someday Is Now: The Art of Corita Kent” (June 14-Nov. 1) displays printmaking work from a Sister of the Immaculate Heart of Mary—a nun whose ’60s pop-inspired prints interweave revelation and revolution. The local sculptor and founding director of the Watts Towers Art Center who passed in 2004, Noah Purifoy, gets a moment in the sun at BCAM with the monograph exhibition “Junk Dada” (June 7-Feb. 28). Textile artist and co-founder of the very hip High Desert Test Sites, Andrea Zittel, collaborates with the Palm Springs Art Museum for “Eye on Design,” a collection that layers textiles with white boxes to question the role of decorative objets (through July 12). As the year fades into fall, art lovers will find the scene amping up: LACMA’s major Frank Gehry retrospective (Sept. 13-March 20); the big opening—finally—of The Broad museum (Sept. 20) with Broad’s killer postwar and contemporary collection as the first show; The de Young’s 10th anniversary of its new building coupled with “Breguet: Art and Innovation in Watchmaking” (Sept. 19-Jan. 10); ArtSpan opens up emerging and established artists’ studios at S.F.’s Hunters Point Shipyard and Islais Creek Studios for collectors willing to pound the pavement (Oct. 17-Nov. 8); The Hammer Gala and the LACMA Art + Film Gala. It’s going to be a whirlwind.