The Best Exhibits at Museums and Galleries in L.A. in January

By Brittany Martin

Otis Kwame Kye Quaicoe, “Daniel Quist,” 2019 Oil on canvas 48 x 36 in (121.9 x 91.4 cm)


We’re blessed with an abundance of museums and art galleries here in L.A., but with so many shows rotating in and out at any given time, it can be hard to keep up. Nobody wants to be the person who only finds out about a cool exhibit when it’s closing down and heading out of town. To help you make the most of your gallery-going, consult our monthly guide to the best museum exhibits in L.A.

Otis Kwame Kye Quaicoe: Black Like Me – Roberts Projects

Opens January 11

This show is the first in the U.S. for Ghanian artist Otis Kwame Kye Quaicoe. The color-saturated oil paintings are portraits, often of strangers the artist sees on the street or social media, that reflect both power and struggle.

Anish Kapoor — Regen Projects

Opens January 11

London-based artist Anish Kapoor brings a collection of new mirror sculptures to Regen Projects, plus he’ll install his massive, reflective Double S-Curve in the space, which originally showed there back in 2006.

Lauren Halsey — David Kordansky Gallery

Opens January 25

Lauren Halsey (one of our People to Watch in 2020) kicks off the year with a show of painted sculptural works, her first solo exhibit at David Kordansky Gallery. Expect to be transported from Mid-Wilshire to the “vivid, mythopoetic hauntscape of South Central Los Angeles.”

Ongoing Exhibits

Christopher Myers: Drapetopia – Fort Gansevoort

Closes February 8

New York City gallery Fort Gansevoort opens a new location in L.A. with his show by New York-based artist and author Christopher Myers. The pieces on display are all textile and sculptural works, many of them inspired by a 15 year project that found Myers visiting juvenile detention facilities around the country to meet with incarcerated young people.

Shirin Neshat: I Will Greet the Sun Again — The Broad

Closes February 16

Artist Shirin Neshat gets her largest museum exhibition to date, with this show created by the Broad. Spend time with over 230 photographs and eight video installations from Neshat’s three-decade career. Much of the work is informed by Neshat’s Iranian heritage, and perspective as a person living outside Iran, closely watching the Green Movement, Arab Spring, 9/11, and other global political events.

Cross Colours: Black Fashion in the 20th Century – The Autry Museum

Closes March 1, 2020

Cross Colours was an emerging brand from a pair of Black L.A. designers when Will Smith started sporting their clothes on screen in early episodes of The Fresh Prince of Bel Air. Soon the brand, always informed by Afrocentrism and progressive politics, became a national sensation. This exhibition dives in on 30 years of the brand, from the vintage textiles that informed the designs, to how the company used fashion as a platform to address social justice.

Disruptors – Petersen Automotive Museum

Closes March 15, 2020

Designers Rem D. Koolhaas and Joey Ruiter turn their innovative, minimalist sensibilities to cars, skateboards, and other objects in this just-opened exhibit. How each of these A-list designers reshapes everyday functional items to be visually and technologically sophisticated is sure to provoke some thoughts.

Julie Mehretu – LACMA

Closes May 17

Another collaboration between LACMA and New York City’s Whitney Museum of American Art, this is the first-ever comprehensive retrospective of the career of Julie Mehretu. The 49-year-old, Ethiopian-born artist makes work that grapples with colonialism, history, capitalism, displacement, and war. The show includes over 70 works, all made since 1996.

Closing Soon

Tokyo Pop Underground — Jeffrey Deitch

Closes January 18

Curated by Tokyo gallerist Shinji Nanzuka, Tokyo Pop Underground examines Japan’s contemporary art and pop culture underground from the 1960s to today. Some of the pieces were not originally intended as fine art, but were designed objects from everyday and commercial life which caught Nanzuka’s curatorial eye. Another theme in the show is artists who were little-recognized in Japan in previous decades because their work was deemed too radical or anti-conformity for their time.

Disembodiment — UTA Artist Space

Closes January 25

Disembodiment highlights recent work from six young, black artists: Jarvis Boyland, Jonathan Lyndon Chase, Jerrell Gibbs, Marcus Jahmal, Clotilde Jiménez, and Vaughn Spann. Curator Marianne Ibrahim Lenhardt says the pieces “upend established narratives around race and identity.”