• John Altoon, Untitled, 1965, ink, pastel, and airbrush on illustration board, 30 x 40".

    John Altoon

    Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA)
    5905 Wilshire Boulevard
    June 8–September 14, 2014

    Curated by Carol S. Eliel

    In 1971, reflecting on John Altoon’s notability, Walter Hopps remarked that “anyone hanging around art in Southern California after the war had at least vaguely heard of Altoon, if they hadn’t met him.” The Ferus Gallery lion was as renowned for his giant personality as for his venturesome work. Yet if Altoon’s career was cut short by his early death in 1969 at age forty-four, he was an art-historical casualty as well: He was not, for example, included in the important 1981 exhibition “Seventeen Artists in the Sixties” at LACMA. The museum now offers a kind of belated recompense with Altoon’s first major retrospective, which will chart his considerable influence via seventy works (and, in the catalogue, testimonies from Paul McCarthy, Monique Prieto, Monica Majoli, Laura Owens, and Barbara T. Smith). Look for paintings that filter Abstract Expressionism through SoCal atmospherics and for drawings in which ribald phantasmagorias emerge from the liveliest of lines.

    Travels to the Rose Art Museum, Brandeis University, Waltham, MA, Oct. 8–Dec. 21.

  • “Tony Greene: Room of Advances”

    MAK Center for Art and Architecture, Mackey Apartments
    1137 South Cochran Avenue
    June 19–September 7, 2014

    Curated by Judie Bamber and Monica Majoli

    With AIDS hard on his heels, Los Angeles–based artist Tony Greene completed a prodigious amount of work before his death at age thirty-five, in 1990. But though cherished by his colleagues and the object of a posthumous cult of young artists transfixed by his legend, he fell into critical limbo in the confusing decades that ensued. The tide, however, is turning. Just this spring, fellow CalArts students Catherine Opie and Richard Hawkins shepherded their friend’s art into the Whitney Biennial; in Chicago, a concurrent show at Iceberg Projects pairs Greene’s finely worked mixed-media objects with new pieces from contemporary artists attuned to his precedent; and now, at the MAK Center’s ultramodernist Schindler House, two more friends of the artist—painters Bamber and Majoli—will organize the most comprehensive display of Greene’s work to date. All artists should be so well served by their survivors.

  • Emily Mast, B!RDBRA!N (Epilogue), 2012. Performance view, Public Fiction, Los Angeles, August 16, 2012. Photo: Anrita Haendel. From Made in L.A. 2014.

    Made in L.A. 2014

    Hammer Museum
    10899 Wilshire Boulevard
    June 15–September 7, 2014

    Curated by Connie Butler and Michael Ned Holte

    Featuring two-hundred-odd works from only thirty-five participants, Made in L.A. 2014 (like all regional-survey shows) will no doubt provide ample grounds for outrage over its omissions and inclusions. But the roster of artists and artist-run organizations assembled for the second edition of the Hammer Museum’s biennial of Los Angeles art seems like a fair recapitulation of the city’s current state of affairs.The show will include Wu Tsang, Judy Fiskin, and Jibade-Khalil Huffman, who have each taken some corner of Southern California as subject or setting, as well as KCHUNG, a Chinatown radio station, and the journal/project space Public Fiction—both important nodes in the city’s intimate art communities. Can we speak of an art distinctive to Los Angeles? Maybe not. But every two years, I guess we will. Catalogue essays by Matias Viegener, Jarett Kobek, and the curators should help frame whatever cohesions and tensions may surface.