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Five fall art exhibitions to see in Los Angeles

From German film to a kitty who isn't a cat, here are our top five picks for LA museum shows this fall.

By Sara Fay |

Fall in Los Angeles signals a change in the city (bye for now, tourists) and an influx of new art exhibitions that show what LA culture is really made of. Seek refuge from the hottest days of September and October—or from what-should-we-do boredom when family comes to call—in a cool museum gallery surrounded by incredible art. From Pasadena to the beach and everywhere in between, there's a lot to see at LA museums this season. We offer our five picks for must-see art exhibitions this fall.

RECOMMENDED: Best things to do in fall in Los Angeles

Follow Sara Fay on Twitter: @sarafay


Haunted Screens: German Cinema in the 1920s

This fall and spring, you're in for a treat at LACMA. With the purchase of a general admission ticket, you'll gain entrance to the museum's exhibition dedicated to German Expressionist cinematic works, such as The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari and M. In this collaboration with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (LACMA's soon-to-be next door neighbor), see set stills, posters and manuscripts from 25 movies, including those gathered by film historian and author of The Haunted Screen Lotte Eisner. If you don't mind a shorter visit, come after 3pm to get in for free with proof of LA residency.


Hello! Exploring the Supercute World of Hello Kitty

After the shocking announcement that Hello Kitty is not (gasp!) a cat at all, you're going to want to take a closer look (just to make sure and, you know, draw your own conclusions) at this fun exhibition at the Japanese American National Museum. Celebrate Hello Kitty's 40th anniversary/birthday with this retrospective at JANM. Curated by Christine Yano—author of Pink Globalization: Hello Kitty’s Trek Across the Pacific—and Jamie Rivadeneira—founder and owner of pop culture-inspired boutique JapanLA—the specially-ticketed exhibit will combine both rare archived products and contemporary mixed media works. Mark your calendars for Hello Kitty Con too (it's happening) at the Geffen Contemporary, super close to the JANM.

Art, Photography

Sink or Swim: Designing for a Sea Change

This photography exhibition at the Annenberg Space centers around how architecture all over the world that responds to climate change, specifically, rising sea levels. See innovation in architecture from waterfront communities all over the world: sea walls in Japan, flood management archictecture in the Netherlands, delta communities, buildings that float, innovative private homes, and more. Curated by Frances Anderton, KCRW radio host and architecture writer, the exhibition will feature images from the archives of noted photographers Iwan Baan, Stephen Wilkes, Paula Bronstein, Jonas Bendiksen and Monica Nouwens, and new works commissioned for the show (a first for the Annenberg Space). There will also be a documentary film that features interviews with the photographers, architects and scientists.

Art, Pop art

Andy Warhol: Shadows

You'll recognize Andy Warhol's style immediately in "Shadows" (1978-79), a series of 102 handpainted and silkscreened prints of photographs of shadows seen in The Factory, the artist's studio. The panels alternate between negative and positives of the shadows. The size of this work is staggering, and that's the reason you should see it. MOCA is only the second institution ever to feature the full collection of paintings. "It is a very rare event to be able to experience the complete work as Warhol intended,” said Philippe Vergne, MOCA's director. See it for free every Thursday from 5-8pm.


Hollywood Costume

The last stop of this exhibition's world tour is at the upcoming Academy Museum of Motion Pictures—in the Wilshire May Company building next to LACMA. It's a collaboration between the Academy and the Victoria and Albert Museum, London. See some of the film world's most well known costumes in person, and get to know the designers who made them a reality. In addition to the 150 costumes in the original show, the Academy will add 50 more to this exhibition from its collection, including Dorothy's ruby slippers and her blue gingham dress. Watch the trailer (for the exhibition, of course—it is the Academy after all) and make sure to book your time-slot tickets in advance.