Los Angeles

Sam Francis

MOCA Geffen Contemporary
152 North Central Avenue
March 7–June 6

If your idea of a great painter is one who shoots for the stars at the expense of frequently falling flat on his face, then Sam Francis is the artist for you. When Francis was on—in big paintings such as The Whiteness of the Whale, 1958, and Blue Balls, 1961—the man was on. But when he was off. . . Let’s just hope that curator William Agee’s 100-plus-work retrospective, which the artist helped plan before his death in 1994, is able to sort major from minor from meaningless. Francis’s reputation might depend on it. Mar. 7–June 6; travel venues to be announced.