What: The Yanomami, an indigenous group that lives on the border between Venezuela and Brazil, existed in near-complete isolation until the early 20th century, when deforestation began, followed by climate change, threatening their way of life. Swiss-born Brazilian photographer Claudia Andujar, 88, has spent more than five decades photographing its members. A selection of the several thousand pictures she’s taken comprise this retrospective, which shows how Andujar sees the Yanomami: as people. She employs techniques including double and long exposure or colored filters to convey their experience. One room in the exhibition focuses on the tribe’s spiritual rituals; Andujar documented trembling shamans while shaking her camera. —Tiffany Jow
What: As the main video in Parker Ito’s tender, bewitching solo exhibition concludes, it shows a glowing Los Angeles skyline while Bobby Jameson croons. “All I want is my baby,” he sings, with Mick Jagger backing him. Elsewhere in the room, orchids sit in pots. Two large paintings depict flower bouquets, more bottles, and a butt plug, perhaps traces of a vanished gathering. Everything here seems to be slowly growing, decaying, piling up, or slipping away. An overhead projector presents a website with the date, the time, and a message: “Currently there are 377,411 unread emails in my inbox.” (That number ticks up occasionally.) Soon the video’s showing more shots of L.A., and spare electronic music is playing. It’s repeating itself, but it’s a new day—melancholic, electric, and alive. —Andrew Russeth
What: “Double, double toil, and trouble! Fire burn and cauldron bubble!” Only such a menacing chant can capture the smoldering energy of this barnburner of a show. Its subject is irresistible—“witchy” art—and the work on view from scores of artists are as rare, exciting, and mind-bending as the delicacies that fill the stew of the occult women in Macbeth. Its organizers, photographer Laurie Simmons and curator Dan Nadel (both connoisseurs of the strange), deliver thrilling sights. There is a gargantuan Judith Bernstein painting of, well, fulsome penises surrounding an even larger vaginal form, a pedestal stacked with Greer Lankton’s meticulous dolls, and a four-panel altar-like piece from 1968 by the superb Juanita McNeely that shows nude women engaged in some mysterious psychosexual rites (one squats and bleeds onto the ground). And that’s just scratching the surface! If I could have, I would have spent hours here while visiting Los Angeles, but there was, alas, a plane to catch. —A.R.
What: Before visionaries of immersive art, like Yayoi Kusama and James Turrell, became household names, Lucio Fontana was masterminding ambienti spaziali installations that explored how science and technology warp human perception of space. Few of these environments, which the late Italian artist completed between 1948 and 1968, have survived to the present day—they were routinely destroyed after the exhibitions ran their course. Thanks to the Fondazione Lucio Fontana, which preserves the artist’s legacy, nine meticulous reconstructions are on display at Hauser & Wirth Los Angeles. They provide new insights into Fontana’s ability to craft 3D environments via experiments in neon light and shadow. —Ryan Waddoups
What: For more than seven decades, working in relative obscurity, the Venezuelan-born, Santa Monica-based artist Luchita Hurtado experimented with numerous styles, making geometric abstractions and self-portraits with cosmic motifs. Prime examples: some of the 99-year-old’s self-portraits, which peer straight down or across her own body, or up to a glimpse of sky, reflecting how she viewed the human body as one with the world. (She developed this perspective after seeing the first photographs of Earth from space, taken in 1946.) Alongside a bevy of paintings, drawings, and prints, the show includes a partial reconstruction of Hurtado’s only solo exhibition in Los Angeles prior to 2016—a 1974 display of large-scale paintings at the city’s Woman’s Building. —R.W.
What: Photographer Pieter Hugo documents people on the periphery of society, including deceased AIDS victims, gang members, and survivors of the 1994 Rwandan genocide. He tries to take a photo of someone shortly after meeting them, so as to capture a glimmer of tension: Subjects in his portraits gaze directly into the camera, challenging viewers to confront their preconceptions. In this exhibition, named for a Spanish folk song about a cockroach that’s lost its legs, the South African artist turns his attention to Mexico, where he took the images of death, sexuality, and spirituality on view. Curiously, the most powerful photographs don’t feature a human face at all: Rico, Oaxaca de Juárez (2018) zeroes in on a man’s tanned, scarred arm, while in Spring Blossom, Mexico City (2019), a cactus’s single fuchsia flower serves as a beacon of hope. —T.J.
What: The title of this solo exhibition by Philadelphia artist Becky Suss refers to the philosophy of Lucy Sprague Mitchell (1878–1967), a pioneer of early childhood education who championed literature that told stories of children’s everyday experiences (as opposed to fantastical, foreign ones). One of her students, Margaret Wise Brown, applied this method in her classic 1947 book Goodnight Moon. In a similar vein, Suss, who’s known for painting meticulously detailed architectural interiors at a lifesize scale, reimagines interiors from children’s books in this show. Her renderings of scenes from books that she read as a child and plans to read to her son—including Cheaper by the Dozen, Number the Stars, and James Baldwin’s little-known children’s book, Little Man, Little Man—suggest that certain narratives stay with readers long after growing up. —T.J.
What: Born in Miami to Cuban parents, José Parlá painted on walls throughout his hometown during childhood. After supporting himself by designing album covers and concert fliers for local hip-hop artists, he studied painting at the Savannah College of Art and Design in Georgia before landing in the Bronx. The borough’s rap roots helped steer his artistic trajectory, which has been marked by a commitment to addressing issues like gentrification and structural racism. His first solo museum exhibition, titled “It’s Yours,” after a song by influential Bronx rapper T La Rock, features large-scale abstract paintings that resemble the ever-evolving layers of city walls. They speak to human movement, the textures of neighborhoods, and the traces people leave behind. —R.W.
Where: National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington, DC
What: Graciela Iturbide has been photographing her native Mexico for more than 50 years. She always uses black-and-white film and natural light—an approach that underscores her work’s pure, raw subject matter, which includes indigenous cultures and elaborate community ceremonies. This exhibition, organized by the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, divides 140 photographs into nine themes. Everything captured by Iturbide’s lens looks dignified, especially plants and animals. My favorite of her images (sadly, not in the show) is of an ivory goat, adorned with a headdress of flowers that is laying, eyes closed, on a concrete slab. It’s a picture of tranquility until you read its title: La danza de la cabrita, antes de la matanza (The Little Goat’s Dance, Before the Slaughter), La Mixteca (1992). Such fleeting moments of beauty, even in the face of cruelty, are what Iturbide does best. —T.J.
What: In a video trailer for this show, a Japanese girl wearing a purple crane-covered kimono stands as another woman, presumably her mother, kneels behind her to adjust the obi, or belt, on the ensemble. Once she’s finished, the girl puts on her shoes: knee-high leather combat boots, with punk rock buckles and towering rubber platforms that Lady Gaga would envy. Kimonos aren’t the unchanging, traditional garment you might think they are, the shot says—they’re an ever-evolving fashion statement. To explicate that point, the V&A has assembled more than 300 kimonos of all kinds, from a regal cerulean number from 1905 to one worn by Freddie Mercury around his home. There are also kimono-inspired garments, like the threadbare robe Obi-Wan Kenobi wore in Star Wars, a crimson cloak John Galliano made for Madonna, and a Kusama-esque wrap coat by Duro Olowu. Juxtaposing those examples with 19th-century woodblock prints of kimono-clad courtesans, the show positions the garment as a malleable medium that reflects the mores of the time it inhabits. —T.J.