12 Cool Art Exhibits to Check Out in LA Before They Disappear

Don’t miss these pop-up art exhibits in LA, ranging from dioramas to quilts, a bamboo installation, and more.

Fabric of a Nation: American Quilt Stories
Photo courtesy of Skirball
Photo courtesy of Skirball

From our award-winning restaurant scene, to the stunning beaches and iconic hikes, there’s always something to do in LA. And if you’re feeling the need to experience the city’s artistic gems, there’s plenty to discover. There are the classics like LACMA and the Natural History Museum, and cool, modern art museums that are always guaranteed to have something weird and wonderful on display. But if you want to tap into LA’s constantly changing art scene and get acquainted with an artist you might not otherwise have encountered, pop-up art exhibits are the way to go. From never-before-seen works to video installations, quilts, dioramas, and more, we’ve compiled a list of 12 must-see shows to whet your cultural appetite. Just don’t put off visiting because these works won’t be on display for long.

Lezley Saar: Diorama Drama
Photo courtesy of the artist and Walter Maciel Gallery

Sunday, October 2, 2022—Sunday, January 8, 2023
Craft Contemporary (Mid-Wilshire)
Step inside the fantastical mind of Lezley Saar at Craft Contemporary. The Los Angeles artist builds upon her childhood fascination with dioramas and transforms the museum's gallery into a series of worlds-within-worlds, complete with painted tapestries, totem sculptures, collages, altered books, and other mixed media works. To create the exhibition, Saar drew upon work from the last 25 years of her storied career as well as new pieces made specifically for the show. Visitors can expect to delve into recurring themes of her work—race, gender, neurology, and sexuality.
How to book: Tickets can be purchased at the museum.
Cost: General: $9; students, teachers, seniors, and children under 10: $7

Luis Flores: Because of You, In Spite of You
Photo courtesy of Craft Contemporary

Sunday, October 2, 2022—Sunday, January 8, 2023
Craft Contemporary (Mid-Wilshire)
Also showing at Craft Contemporary is this monster truck rally meets museum that serves as artist Luis Flores’s first solo museum exhibition. Through hand-crocheted and bronzed sculptures, the artist recreates elements of the destructive, competitive automotive sport of colossal proportions as a metaphor for his relationship with masculinity and his optimism for a better world for his children.
How to book: Tickets can be purchased at the museum.
Cost: General: $9; students, teachers, seniors, and children under 10: $7

Collidoscope: de la Torre Brothers Retro-Perspective
Photo courtesy of the Cheech Marin Collection and Riverside Art Museum

Through January 22, 2023
The Cheech (Riverside)
Make a trip out to the Inland Empire and get lost in the prismatic works of Einar and Jamex de la Torre in this retrospective that covers over 30 years of the artistic duo/brothers’ career. The exhibition features more than 70 mixed-media works, including blown-glass sculptures and installation art, plus some of the artists’ latest lenticulars that transform into different images as the viewer moves.
How to book: Purchase tickets online.
Cost: Adult: $15.95; seniors, educators, college students, and children (13-17): $10.95; military and children 12 and younger: free

Justen LeRoy: Lay Me Down in Praise
Photo courtesy of the artist

Through January 21, 2023
Art + Practice (Leimert Park)
In a powerful three-channel film installation, multidisciplinary artist Justen LeRoy asks “how the scream, moan, and melisma—also known as the vocal run— provide a sonic route toward Black environmentalism.” Taking clips of performances by Black artists and images of volcano eruptions, tectonic motions, and other geological activity, LeRoy links Mother Earth’s tumultuous moments with Black resistance and liberation. Lay Me Down in Praise is co-presented by the California African American Museum and Art + Practice.
How to book: Advanced reservations are not required.
Cost: Free

Chloë Bass: Wayfinding
Photo courtesy of Pulitzer Arts Foundation

November 17, 2022–March 12, 2023
Skirball (Brentwood)
Wander around Chloë Bass’s Wayfinding, an expansive outdoor exhibition featuring mirrored billboards and sculptures, as well as site-specific audio artwork that encourages visitors to traverse the gamut of human emotions from compassion and desire to anxiety and loss. You can also see Bass’s work at Art+Practice in Leimert Park as part of #sky #nofilter: Hindsight for a Future America. The photography, text-based, performance art, and public sculpture project is a culmination of her ongoing project, #sky #nofilter, for which she captured images of skies to mark the time leading up to the 2016 US Presidential Election.
How to book: Reservations are recommended and can be made online.
Cost: General: $18; Seniors, students, and children over 12: $13; Children 2-12: $13; Children under 2: free

Fabric of a Nation: American Quilt Stories
Photo courtesy of Skirball

November 17, 2022–March 12, 2023
Skirball (Brentwood)
If you thought quilts were just a bed covering, think again. Fabric of a Nation aims to share the fascinating stories behind 300 years of American quilt making. Featuring works by more than 40 artists, the exhibition is a celebration of the often-forgotten art form, its longstanding history, and the creators who continue to evolve the craft.
How to book: Reservations recommended through their website.
Cost: General: $18; Seniors, students, and children over 12: $13; Children 2-12: $13; Children under 2: free

LIFE CYCLES: A Bamboo Exploration with Tanabe Chikuunsai IV
Photo courtesy of Japan House

Through January 2023
Japan House (Hollywood)
Take a stroll alongside a 70-foot-long bamboo fixture and become mesmerized by the work of contemporary artist Tanabe Chikuunsai IV. To create his largest project yet, the artist used 15,000 woven bamboo strips held together with only tension. The result is an intricate and dramatic site-specific, immersive installation that twists and winds around the gallery.
How to book: Walk-ins are accepted.
Cost: Free

Messy Desk in the Cloudy Wonderland
Photo courtesy of the Corey Helford Gallery

Through October 22
Corey Helford Gallery (Downtown)
Float amongst the cutest, cuddliest clutter you could possibly imagine, all created by Hong Kong-based artist Jane Lee aka Messy Desk. She creates a colorful world of joyful characters and animals that make it impossible to feel anything besides incredible happiness. As her artistic name implies, Lee’s work appears disorganized, however, further inspection reveals charming characters, stories, and treasures waiting to be discovered like an adorable Where’s Waldo?
How to book: Walk-ins accepted.
Cost: Free

Post Graffiti
Photo courtesy of Yubo Dong, Ofstudio Photography

Through October 22
CONTROL Gallery and BEYOND THE STREETS Flagship Store (Hancock Park)
School yourself on the evolution of graffiti through the visual works of artists who were there at the beginning. The exhibition will take you on a journey as you see the progression of the craft, from letter-based graphics to figurative and abstract forms. See the ambitious pieces from an international community of street artists like FUTURA2000, CRASH, Eric HAZE, LADY PINK, Kenny Scharf, and more.

Tala Madani: Biscuits
Photo by Elon Schoenholz

Through February 19, 2023
The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA (Downtown)
Be fascinated, curious, and repulsed all at the same time with paintings and animations by Iranian artist Tala Madani. In an exhibition that spans 15 years of her work, she confronts her audience with the uncomfortable aspects of cultural taboos and outdated power dynamics, all with a healthy dose of irony and humor.
How to book: Advance timed-entry tickets are required. Reserve tickets through the website or by calling 213-633-5351 between the hours of 11 am–5 pm Wednesday–Sunday.
Cost: Free

Judith F. Baca: World Wall
Photo courtesy of the SPARC Archives

Through February 10, 2023
The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA (Downtown)
For the first-time-ever, see the complete presentation of Judith Baca’s World Wall: A Vision of the Future Without Fear. Beginning in 1987, the project is a collaboration between Baca and a team of international artists who translated their ideas of world peace into visual art. The monumental piece considers the role that art plays in activism.
How to book: Advance timed-entry tickets are required. Reserve tickets through the website or by calling 213-633-5351 between the hours of 11 am-5pm Wednesday—Sunday.
Cost: Free

The Emergence | Ruthanna Hopper
Photo by Robiee Ziegler, courtesy of Hotel Figueroa

Through March 2023
Hotel Figueroa (DTLA)
The Hotel Figueroa continues its ongoing series of showcasing the works of local women by exhibiting 20 original pieces by LA-based artist Ruthanna Hopper. The Emergence is about the artist’s experience of emerging from a dark winter season and welcoming the possibility of change that each new season brings, as well as processing her unresolved responses to life in order to synthesize past experiences.
How to book: No advance tickets required. Walk-ins accepted.
Cost: Free

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Keisha Raines is what happens when the entire Scooby Doo gang becomes one person. She’s currently trying to manifest becoming Martha Stewart’s bff. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram @ReishaKaines.