Right now, the J. Paul Getty Museum in Brentwood is presenting three notable exhibitions — photographs that range from social documentation to magic realism by Arthur Tress and luxurious images by fashion stylist Sheila Metzner, plus the radical graphics of wildly inventive British Romantic painter William Blake (1757–1827). Keyed to antiquities at the Getty Villa at the edge of Malibu are three focused shows, one centered on a nearly life-size gold bust of the Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius, another of papyrus scrolls and linen mummy wrappings that comprise the ancient Egyptian Book of the Dead and a third charting conservation of a surprising 2,800-year-old Greek bronze statuette of an equestrian, excavated in Albania. It’s a rich array.
Our critics and reporters select their favorite TV shows, movies, albums, songs, books, theater, art shows and video games of the year.
How good a year has the Getty had in its exhibition schedule? This good: Three shows entirely different from these are among the 10 that I found most memorable at area art museums this year. A fourth on my list tied into a spring offering at the Getty Research Institute. Impressive.
When 2023 began to unfold, pandemic-induced art museum cancellations and postponements seemed to be behind us, as programming mostly caught up. Here are 10 memorable exhibitions, in chronological order of their opening:
Uta Barth: Peripheral Vision
Getty Museum, Nov. 15, 2022-Feb. 19
Yes, the show formally opened during the busy end-of-year holiday season in 2022, but there was no museum list last year (those pandemic issues) and, since the show continued deep into February, I’m taking the liberty of claiming it for this year. Barth’s radiant, perceptually illuminating photographs are just too good not to accentuate.
Bridget Riley Drawings: From the Artist’s Studio
UCLA Hammer Museum Feb. 4-May 28
How British artist Bridget Riley, 92, went from figure and landscape imagery to her signature geometric abstraction in the 1960s was marvelously unraveled in a large selection of works on paper.
Land of Milk and Honey
The Cheech, Riverside Art Museum, Feb. 25-May 28
Sculptures, installations and other works by more than 40 mostly American and Mexican artists were included in the fifth installment of the always cheeky MexiCali Biennial, this one on the theme of California agriculture — represented as part utopian paradise, part huckster marketing dystopia.
Beyond the Light: Identity and Place in 19th-Century Danish Art
Getty Museum, May 23-Aug. 20
Drawings, oil sketches and paintings showed how Danish artists — especially Vilhelm Hammershøi (1864-1916) — dealt with a traumatic era of military defeat and financial collapse.
Keith Haring: Art Is for Everybody
The Broad, May 27-Oct. 8
Although art is really for anybody, not everybody, the big survey of Haring’s mostly joyful, socially engaged work from the late-1970s and 1980s offered a bracing example of artistic activism, timely for today’s rising authoritarian repressions.
Giacomo Ceruti: A Compassionate Eye
Getty Museum, July 18-Oct. 29
A modest, first-ever American museum show of the unconventional 18th-century Italian Baroque painter (1698-1767) examined the artist’s disarming fusion of genre painting and portraiture in paintings of peasants.
June Harwood: Paintings
Benton Museum of Art, Aug. 23-Jan. 7, 2024
Writing a lead essay for the Pomona College exhibition catalog meant I couldn’t review the Harwood show, but the beautifully concise survey of work since the 1960s by the late geometric Hard-edge painter (1933-2015) merits inclusion on any year-end list.
Barbara T. Smith: Proof
Institute of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, Oct. 7- Jan. 14, 2024
Together with the Getty Research Institute’s fascinating spring exhibition, “Barbara T. Smith: The Way to Be,” the ICA show offers a thorough survey of the wide-ranging six-decade career of the Pasadena-based Conceptual and performance artist.
Advance of the Rear Guard: Ceeje Gallery in the 1960s
Williamson Gallery, Art Center College of Design, Oct. 11-March 9, 2024
The show revives interest in the free-wheeling iconoclasm of L.A.-based artists associated with Ceeje Gallery, too long obscured, including Max Hendler, Roberto Chavez, Charles Garabedian and Joan Maffei.
Paul Pfeiffer: Prologue to the Story of the Birth of Freedom
Museum of Contemporary Art, Nov. 12-June 16, 2024
The digital upheavals of the last several decades — and their disturbing effects on social and political perception — are smartly tackled in Pfeiffer’s video, installation and photographic art.
Source: LA Times