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Fall arts picks: Art

September 16, 2011 |  9:40 am

Folding Screen with Indian Wedding and Flying Pole  Mexico, c. 1690. Oil on canvas
Museums and galleries all over Southern California will be filled to overflowing this fall with exhibitions that are part of Pacific Standard Time: Art in L.A., 1945-1980. The Getty-sponsored historical survey chronicles countless nooks and crannies of the first two generations of the region’s art made after World War II. In all, some 60 shows will open over the next six months, offering the most in-depth look imaginable at a woefully underexamined period.

Thanks to New York’s place as the nation’s publishing and art-market capital, we know more about doodles by second- and third-tier New York School artists of the 1940s and ’50s than we do about many major works by any number of first-tier postwar L.A. painters and sculptors. So prepare to be surprised, entranced or otherwise engaged.

That’s not all there is to look forward to, however, either in Los Angeles or elsewhere in coming months. Out of town, the prime attractions include at least one great painter who has already had a number of major retrospectives and another who remarkably has not. In town, there will also be plenty of non-Pacific Standard Time art.

Picasso and Braque: The Cubist Experiment, 1910-12, Sept. 17-Jan. 8
Fifteen paintings and 25 prints chart in detail the intense working relationship between Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque as they took apart painting’s traditional, fixed-point illusionism and rebuilt it to accommodate an eye moving through space and time. Painting would never be the same.
Santa Barbara Museum of Art, $6-$9

De Kooning: A Retrospective, Sept. 18-Jan. 9
Nearly 200 works span Willem de Kooning’s career, from early academic paintings made in Holland before his 1926 move to the U.S. to the limpid abstractions of his final years. Also on view will be a large selection of bronze sculptures and works on paper plus a rarely seen 1946 theatrical backdrop. The exhibition will only be presented at MoMA.
Museum of Modern Art, New York, $25

Roland Reiss: Personal Politics, Sculpture from the 1970s and 1980s, Sept. 18-Jan. 8
In 1975 Reiss put down his paintbrush and began to make small, boxed tableaux often depicting familiar objects in domestic environments and charged with the subtle psychological nuance of morality plays. Infrequently seen in any depth since a LACMA exhibition 30 years ago, they’re like miniature movie sets in which a viewer’s anxious imagination commands, “Action!”
Pasadena Museum of California Art, Pasadena, $5-$7

Two Schools of Cool, Oct. 9-Jan. 22
Not officially part of Pacific Standard Time, the show is nonetheless inspired by it, commissioning collaborations between L.A. artists both long- and newly established. Billed as “a lab that espouses similarities between the generations as well as changes,” it pairs John Baldessari and Shana Lutker, Llyn Foulkes and Stanya Kahn, George Herms and Sarah Cain, Allen Ruppersberg and Amanda Ross-Ho, and Robert Williams and Ed Moses.
Orange County Museum of Art, Newport Beach, $10-$12

Glenn Ligon: America, Oct. 23-Jan. 22
The Bronx-born Ligon, 51, came to the fore during the 1990s, when politically themed painting, sculpture and installation art was widely presented. The artist, gay and African American, is like a velvet ice pick: He makes work that is at once sharply pointed and elegantly poetic — enough so that one of his paintings hangs today in the White House’s private quarters.
Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Mid-Wilshire, $10-$15

Modern Antiquity: Picasso, De Chirico, Léger, and Picabia in the Presence of the Antique, Nov. 2-Jan.16
Modern art had its classicizing moments early in the 20th century as artists dealt with the sometimes traumatic social destabilization of the new era by re-imagining life through a framework of the ancient past. The Getty Villa continues its welcome practice of mounting surprising shows within the context of its Greco-Roman collections.
Getty Villa, Pacific Palisades, Free

Contested Visions in the Spanish Colonial World, Nov. 6-Jan. 29
The intersection of art and power in colonial Latin America is seen through the lens of Mexico and Peru, Spain’s two primary viceroyalties. With a backdrop of Aztec and Inca civilizations, the show promises a nuanced perspective on the ways Amerindians interacted with the Spanish, as represented in more than 150 paintings, sculptures and other works.
Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Mid-Wilshire, $10-$15

Leonardo da Vinci: Painter at the Court of Milan, Nov. 9-Feb. 5
Leonardo has been looked at in many ways, but strange as it might seem, never has a museum organized an exhibition of the Renaissance master’s paintings — until now. Leonardo assumed a salaried position with Ludovico Sforza, duke of Milan, which allowed him freedom to explore. The remaining painted output is small (about 15 works, depending on attributions), but roughly half will be brought together in London for this unprecedented event, along with a selection of about 50 related drawings and a near contemporary, full-scale copy of “The Last Supper” by his pupil Giampietrino (1500-50). No, the “Mona Lisa” remains at the Louvre in Paris, but let’s not ask for the moon.
National Gallery, London, About $26.


More fall arts picks from Times critics and writers

--Christopher Knight

Photo: Unknown, "Folding Screen with Indian Wedding and Flying Pole," Mexico, c. 1690, from the exhibition "Contested Visions in the Spanish Colonial World," Oil on canvas. Credit: Los Angeles County Museum of Art