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Museums taking time to focus on photos

October 08, 2006|Suzanne Muchnic

Photography exhibitions can be seen in galleries and nonprofit spaces throughout Southern California. Here are some of the fall highlights at museums in the Los Angeles area:

"Advancing the Moment: Recent Works by California Photographers" presents work produced from 2000 to 2005 by some of the artists whose much earlier photographs are in the Norton Simon Museum's "Collectible Moment" exhibition. Planned in collaboration with the Simon and organized by guest curator Donna Stein, "Advancing the Moment" offers more than 60 photographs, many of them large and in color, by artists such as Donald Blumberg, Darryl Curran, Judy Dater, Robbert Flick, Anthony Hernandez, Ellen Land-Weber, Jerry McMillan, John Spence Weir and Henry Wessel Jr. Pasadena Museum of California Art, Saturday through Jan. 7.

"A Fine Experiment: A Tribute to Robert Heinecken" celebrates the contributions of an influential artist, teacher, curator and collector. While forming UCLA's photography department, Heinecken helped to build a collection at the Grunwald Center for the Graphic Arts. The exhibition features works by artists represented in the collection, including Walker Evans, Imogen Cunningham and Garry Winogrand. UCLA Hammer Museum. Ends Dec. 31.

"Wolfgang Tillmans" is the first U.S. retrospective of a prominent German photographer known for reflecting upon ordinary objects and everyday experiences often overlooked in fine art. His trademark pieces are sprawling installations of photographs, inkjet prints and photocopies posted on walls in seemingly haphazard arrangements, open to many interpretations. The show of about 300 works includes a video piece and prints covering the artist's entire career. UCLA Hammer Museum. Ends Jan. 7.

"Masquerade: Role-Playing in Self-

Portraiture -- Photographs from the

Audrey and Sydney Irmas Collection" presents about 30 works by photographers who transform themselves into fictional characters with the help of costumes, masks, wigs and props. Covering a broad swath of history, the show includes works by 19th century masters Roger Fenton and Francis Frith and contemporary photographers Cindy Sherman, Yasumasa Morimura, Claude Cahun and Pierre Molinier. Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Thursday through Jan. 7.

"Long Exposures: Contemporary Photo Essays from the Permanent Collection" explores themes of transition and upheaval in narrative works by Simon Norfolk, Anne Fishbein, Nic Nicosia, Vincent Cianni, Andrew Freeman and Sant Khalsa. Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Thursday through Jan. 7.

"Bill Owens: Suburbia" recalls a period when many ordinary Americans fled the pollution, congestion and crime in big cities, hoping to find a better quality of life in suburban communities. Images of tract homes, Tupperware parties and nuclear families distinguish a body of work drawn from a portfolio complementing the artist's 1973 book "Suburbia." MOCA Pacific Design Center. Ends Oct. 15.

"Ruby Satellite" examines excessive and perverse behavior linked to personal beliefs; photographs, videos and installation by an international slate of contemporary artists, including Paul Chan, Kota Ezawa, Wei Guanqing and Yoshua Okon. California Museum of Photography, UC Riverside, Oct. 28 through Jan. 7.

"Samurai" is a project by Chilean artist Edgar Endress and American artist Mark Stockton, inspired by Japanese anime and culture. They have produced a series of large anaglyphs -- stereo photographs printed in color and designed to be viewed in three dimensions through a chromatic lens -- depicting fancifully costumed members of a Japanese animation club in Trenton, N.J. California Museum of Photography, UC Riverside, Oct. 28 through Jan. 7.

"Ken Gonzales-Day: Hang Trees" continues the artist's investigation into the representation -- and absence -- of Latinos in historical documentations of the American West. His new works were inspired by photographs of Latino men condemned to death by lynching. In digitally altered images of lynchings depicted on postcards he has erased the men and retained the landscapes. Pomona College Museum of Art. Ends Oct. 22.

"Photography Unbound" reminds viewers that photographs can be much more than factual documents or memory catchers. Photo-based works by Robert Markovich, Mary Younakof, Rusty Scruby and Matt Lipps invite a variety of interpretations. Robert V. Fullerton Art Museum, Cal State San Bernardino. Ends Dec. 9.

-- Suzanne Muchnic

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