• Hans Richter, Cohesion II, 1970, metal on painted wood, 32 3/4 x 20 3/4 x 2".

    “Hans Richter: Encounters”

    Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA)
    5905 Wilshire Boulevard
    May 5–September 2, 2013

    Curated by Timothy O. Benson

    Long before the touch screen, Hans Richter was making screens that touch. Rectangles lunge at the spectator in his abstract film Rhythmus 21 (1921), confounding figure and ground; collaborations with Viking Eggeling and Kazimir Malevich promised the convertibility of all signals and sensations, electronic and tactile, into a universal code. LACMA’s major retrospective will include these works along with nearly 150 others—from collages to wall reliefs—in which resolute materialism vied with totalizing sensation and perceptual change augured political revolution. In Ghosts Before Breakfast (1928), for instance, Richter cuts loose and lets fly a gaggle of bowler hats, in a Dadaist upending of vision, objecthood, and Weimar bureaucracy. But unlike contemporary invocations of “animism,” which often merely tame objects into subjects with a veiled anthropomorphism, Richter’s animation heightened the alterity of the world—its alien and unknowable roil.

    Travels to the Centre Pompidou—Metz, France, Sept. 29, 2013–Feb. 24, 2014; Martin-Gropius-Bau, Berlin, Mar. 27–June 30, 2014.

  • Urs Fischer, KITTINGER/ZAWACKI/YUTZY (detail), 2012, one of three components, silk-screen print on mirrored glass, UV adhesive, aluminum, glass, polyacetal, screws, 25 1/4 x 15 3/4 x 6 1/8", overall dimensions variable.

    Urs Fischer

    The Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA)
    250 South Grand Avenue
    April 21–August 19, 2013

    Curated by Jessica Morgan

    The Swiss-born artist Urs Fischer’s gigantisms and tricksterish transformations will take over LA MoCA’s two most sizable spaces—Grand Avenue and the Geffen Contemporary—for his first true US retrospective. Among the forty-some works on view, his 2004–2005 house of bread, the melty wax replica of Giambologna’s Rape of the Sabine Women from the last Venice Biennale, and a new addition to Fischer’s series of squeezed bits of clay enlarged to Brobdingnagian proportions—this one to be forty-five feet tall—will flaunt the sculptural tumescence that has made the artist both a crowd and commerce favorite of the past fifteen years. If such ambition framed Fischer as emblematic of the messier, punkier heroic excess of the precollapse 2000s, Tate curator Jessica Morgan’s show offers a chance to reconsider it all with postlapsarian eyes. And while New York’s darlings are often LA’s bêtes noires, Fischer’s masterful rescalings and material magic appear to have been granted the commodious space that the artist’s oeuvre demands.

  • Mark Leckey

    Hammer Museum
    10899 Wilshire Boulevard
    August 31–December 8, 2013

    Curated by Ali Subotnick

    In the five years since he won the Turner Prize, British artist Mark Leckey has taken increasingly strange and ever more productive turns. Moving away from the subcultural narratives of his (rightly) celebrated work of the early 2000s, Leckey’s more recent videos, installations, and performative lectures have adopted a freewheeling, associative approach that conjures up connections between radically distinct cultural and scientific phenomena. The Hammer will now mount Leckey’s largest institutional exhibition in the United States to date, with roughly fifteen new works, including the video Pearl Vision, 2012, shot during the artist’s recent residency at the museum. The show, described by the artist as a kind of “distorted memoir,” promises to amplify his prevailing interest in objects, their histories, and the ways in which we negotiate them in an increasingly mediated and technologically determined world.

  • Jef Raskin with an installation of his “Bloxes,” University of California, San Diego, 1969. From “Everything Loose Will Land.” Photo: David Wing.

    “Everything Loose Will Land”

    MAK Center for Art and Architecture, Mackey Apartments
    1137 South Cochran Avenue
    May 9–August 4, 2013

    Curated by Sylvia Lavin

    What brings together Alison Knowles’s House of Dust, 1971; Judy Chicago and Miriam Schapiro’s 1971–72 Womanhouse; Jef Raskin’s cardboard “Bloxes”; the Studio Watts Workshop; Bernard Tschumi’s “Sanctuaries” essay; and Archigram’s Instant City Death Valley project? The answer: Los Angeles in the late 1960s and ’70s—a productively unstable environment, conducive to exchanges between artistic and architectural practices, processes, tools, sites, materials, and even audiences. Lavin’s exhibition and catalogue, under the auspices of the Getty Research Institute’s “Pacific Standard Time” initiative, celebrates such heterogeneity and mixing of artists, architects, media, and concepts as the very conditions for experimentation, recasting the valence of Frank Lloyd Wright’s derogatory quip, “Tip the world over on its side and everything loose will land in Los Angeles.”

    Travels to the Yale School of Architecture, New Haven, Aug. 28–Nov. 9.