Art This Week in Culture

If You’re in Los Angeles for Frieze, Don’t Miss These 10 Gallery Exhibitions

Paul McCarthy & Ben Weissman, Never Digested #6, 2006. Image courtesy of the artists and Hauser & Wirth.

“Cognitive Surge: Coach Stage” by Paul McCarthy & Benjamin Weissman
The Pit 
When: February 24 – April 6
Why It’s Worth a Look: Spanning three decades, the profound friendship between Weissman and McCarthy has cultivated a fertile ground for artistic exchange. Central to their exploration is a fascination with the depths of the unconscious mind—a realm replete with the abject, the grotesque, and the surreal. 
Know Before You Go: The paintings “PEEE” and “Coach Stage” by Paul McCarthy, featured in "Cognitive Surge: Coach Stage” exhibition, were created during a live performance at Berlin’s Volksbühne in 2015. 

"David Byrd"
Where: Matthew Brown
When: February 22 – March 30
Why It’s Worth a Look: Byrd’s tenure as an orderly in the psychiatric ward of the Montrose Veteran's Administration Medical Hospital deeply influenced his artistic vision, and allowed him intimate glimpses into the struggles and routines of those living with mental illness. His work, characterized by a muted palette, depicts the silent battles and fleeting moments of beauty that define the human experience.
Know Before You Go: The exhibition includes pages from Byrd’s handmade manuscript, a project that chronicles his three decades at the VA hospital. The pages are filled with graphite sketchbook drawings, colored pencil recreations of his paintings, and original handwritten observations. 

Trulee Hall, Octopussy, 2024. Image courtesy of the artist and Françoise Ghebaly.

"She Shells" by Trulee Hall
François Ghebaly
When: February 22 – March 30, 2024
Why It’s Worth a Look: Hall's “She Shells'' is a multifaceted exploration of ecofeminism set against a backdrop that reimagines the beach and its inhabitants as extraterrestrial-like characters. Through performance, video, music, puppetry, and CGI, the artist investigates the symbiotic relationship between women and water, drawing parallels between the treatment of women and the natural world. 
Know Before You Go: The show also features Three Flavors, a work depicting a girl band's popsicle orgy beachside. Before the revelry's end, life-sized popsicles join in on the fun.

“The Huntress” by Dorothy Hood
Where: Carlye Packer
When: February 24 – March 23
Why It’s Worth a Look: Hood's paintings are an integral part of surrealist history, even if they were written into the record retroactively. The artist was an instrumental figure in bridging the American and Mexican art scenes, engaging deeply with the avant-garde circles that thrived in Mexico City post-World War II at a time when women's contributions were largely overlooked. Her drawings, a lesser-known aspect of her oeuvre, are now on display in “The Huntress,” a show intent on giving Hood her dues. 
Know Before You Go: The artist’s integration into the Mexican art scene was enhanced by her relationship with José Clemente Orozco, a fellow creative well-known for championing his female counterparts.

self-evident truths” by A'Driane Nieves
Where: Various Small Fires
When: February 27 – April 6, 2024
Why It’s Worth a Look: In her debut exhibition with the Gallery, Nieves's paintings burst with unrestrained energy. The  compositions are the product of a therapist's suggestion to channel unresolved feelings into a positive outlet. There, the artist could work through trauma tied to childhood abuse and emotional suppression. As such, Nieves's paintbrush frequently moves in wild, unexpected directions, matching the turbulence of her inner life on the canvas.
Know Before You Go: The exhibition's title recalls a famous quotation from the U.S. Constitution: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal…" Whose, Nieves wonders, truth are we adhering to?

Robert Mapplethorpe, Dennis Speight, 1983. Image courtesy of the Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation.

"Robert Mapplethorpe: Animism, Death, Violence, and Conquest"
Morán Morán
When: February 24 – March 23
Why It’s Worth a Look: Morán Morán unveils an exhibition curated by Jacolby Satterwhite, showcasing the iconic photography of Mapplethorpe. The show pairs human figures with potent symbols of power, belief, and transcendence—ranging from weapons and religious artifacts to machinery and facets of the natural world. “Animism, Death, Violence, and Conquest” raises pressing questions about roles played by faith, power, sexuality, and technology in the molding of human societies.
Know Before You Go: Mapplethorpe had a profound fascination with the natural world and its symbolic power. This interest is on full display here, a different approach to an artist who once proved controversial enough to have the galleries displaying his work charged with obscenity.

boutique O” by Omari Douglin
Matthew Brown
When: Opening February 23
Why It’s Worth a Look: Matthew Brown unveils an evocative exhibition that explores themes of identity, self-expression, and the depths of the color black. Douglin transforms each gallery booth into a self-contained thought, clothing items serving as touchpoints for the artist's shifting ideas. Mannequins, posed in their elegant attire, become silent narrators, telling competing stories of individuality and the societal implication of our consumeristic tendencies.
Know Before You Go: Central to Douglin’s narrative is the mannequin as a mirror. The artist leverages the sculpture's close resemblance to human presence, allowing it to reflect human behavior and desires.

“It’s not true!!! stop lying!” by Nora Turato
Where: Sprüth Magers
When: February 28 - April 27
Why It’s Worth a Look: Turato’s first solo exhibition at the Los Angeles gallery involves performance, video, wall-mounted works, and artist books. The centerpiece of the exhibit, pool 6, consists of a live performance and the premiere of a new video work, alongside enamel panels and site-specific wall paintings. Her panneling, complete with phrases like “I NEED SOME HEALING” and “this isn’t me,” engage with questions of how to maintain one's own well-being and authenticity in our digital age.
Know Before You Go: Turato has collaborated with designers Sam de Groot and Kia Tasbihgou to create a unique slab of serif typeface featured in all of this exhibition’s works, specifically designed to echo the tone of her performance, which will take place Feb. 27. 

Jane Corrigan, The Noise Upstairs (Creep), 2015. Image courtesy of the artist and Sea View.

The Noise Upstairs” by Jane Corrigan
Sea View
When: February 25 - March 30
Why It’s Worth a Look: The Canadian-born, New York-based artist offers a journey through the tumultuous purgatory of adolescence in which feminine and androgynous figures navigate the world. Drawing inspiration from horror films, personal memories, and the works of Honoré Daumier and Francisco Goya, Corrigan’s paintings masterfully balance morose symbols of death and darkness with unexpected undertones of humor and tenderness.
Know Before You Go: The exhibition's title, “The Noise Upstairs,” is inspired by Corrigan’s exploration of Carl Jung’s concept of the “shadow self.” It also references the tortuous sounds of our minds at work. 

“Beil Lieb” by Olivia van Kuiken
Where: Château Shatto
When: February 24 - April 6
Why It’s Worth a Look: “Beil Lieb” treats the medium of painting not just as a tool for representation, but as a space for theoretical and physical exploration. Here, van Kuiken takes apart and rebuilds her works with the same rapidity with which the human body both grows and decays. In her paintings, the boundary between her human figures and their environments dissolve.
Know Before You Go: A central theme of “Beil Lieb” is its dialogue with Unica Zürn’s post-Dadaist work The Trumpets of Jericho, 1968. In a number of the pieces on display, van Kuiken's settings are pulled straight from the book's pages.