10 LACMA Exhibitions to See in 2024

7 min read

Both locals and visitors love the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) for its diverse and ever-evolving collections of art and artifacts that span centuries and cultures. As it does every year, LACMA will host an array of captivating and thought-provoking exhibitions in 2024. In this article, we cover ten of those must-see LACMA exhibitions. From “Dining with the Sultan: The Fine Art of Feasting” to an Ed Ruscha retrospective, this summer promises an exciting season of shows.

Why LACMA is an Essential Summer Outing

LACMA is an essential summer outing for several compelling reasons. The museum is situated centrally in the Miracle Mile District of Los Angeles, CA on Wilshire Boulevard between Fairfax Avenue and Curson Avenue right next to the La Brea Tar Pits. It offers convenient access for both locals and tourists visiting from out of town. Art enthusiasts are repeatedly drawn to its expansive collections, which boast everything from ancient artifacts to contemporary masterpieces. Plus, the museum’s many galleries provide a refreshing retreat from the scorching summer heat.

Beyond its indoor galleries, LACMA’s outdoor spaces further enrich an art goer’s experience. The museum’s iconic Urban Light installation, sculpture garden, and sprawling grounds might not be as extensive as the Getty’s but they are fun to traverse. Plus, food trucks frequently gather around LACMA and the museum hosts a wide variety of performances during the summer—including jazz concerts on the Smidt Welcome Plaza. This blend of indoor and outdoor attractions ensures there’s something for everyone whether they seek air-conditioned galleries or open-air art installations.

In addition to its jazz shows, LACMA curates many special summer events and family-friendly programs for members. These include workshops, film screenings, and other live performances.

Other Attractions in LA’s Miracle Mile District

Along Wilshire Boulevard, you’ll find many museums and cultural attractions beyond LACMA. For example, visitors can head to the Petersen Automotive Museum or the La Brea Tar Pits and Museum—the latter of which offers a glimpse into prehistoric Los Angeles.

The Craft Contemporary (formerly known as the Craft and Folk Art Museum) is another notable cultural institution located in the Miracle Mile district. This district also boasts the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures, which celebrates the history and artistry of cinema in Hollywood and beyond. The area is home to a mix of Art Deco architecture, trendy cafes, restaurants, and shops, too.

10 LACMA Exhibitions to See in 2024

Dining with the Sultan: The Fine Art of Feasting

Ghiyas Shah watching preparations for sherbert (British Library IO Islamic 149, f.66r)

Exhibition dates: December 17, 2023 – August 4, 2024

Building: Resnick Pavilion

“Dining with the Sultan” is a groundbreaking exhibition that explores the connection between Islamic art and food culture. It is the first of its kind. Featuring a vast collection of tableware and art related to food preparation and consumption, it provides insight into the culinary traditions and tastes of Islamic courts.

This unique exhibition extends far beyond the beauty and elegance of Islamic court feasts by underscoring the cultural significance of dining as a shared human experience. In this world, food was not just sustenance but a symbol of cultural identity and social status. Highlights include paintings, textiles, and luxury tableware.

Imagined Fronts: The Great War and Global Media

File:Félix Valloton-Verdun. Tableau de guerre-1917.jpg
Verdun (1917), The Army Museum (Paris), Félix Édouard Vallotton

Exhibition dates: December 3, 2023 – July 7, 2024

Building: Ahmanson Building

The exhibition “Imagined Fronts: The Great War and Global Media” examines the media’s role during World War I—considering how it shaped public perception of this first truly global conflict. Through a diverse collection of 200 artifacts, the exhibition explores how media mobilized support, portrayed the battlefield, connected far-flung participants, and dealt with the war’s aftermath.

It also highlights the contributions of artists, photographers, filmmakers, and soldiers from various backgrounds. This exhibition is a fascinating glimpse into the complex relationship between media, propaganda, and artistic expression.

Vincent Valdez and Ry Cooder: El Chavez Ravine

Exhibition dates: November 12, 2023 – July 21, 2024

Building: Art of the Americas Building

A heartbreaking moment in California history, “El Chavez Ravine,” this collaborative project between artist Vincent Valdez and musician Ry Cooder remembers the displacement of a vibrant Mexican-American community in Los Angeles during the 1950s. “Vincent Valdez and Ry Cooder: El Chavez Ravine” presents Valdez’s powerful painting on a 1953 ice cream truck, which depicts the forced eviction of a Mexican American community to make way for Dodger Stadium.

Commissioned by Cooder to accompany his album about the neighborhood’s history, the artwork juxtaposes the eviction (embodied by Walter O’Malley and a former LAPD Chief) with the ice cream truck. Alongside the materials Valdez used to create this piece, the exhibition explores the artwork’s connection to muralism and LA car culture while highlighting its relevance to ongoing struggles for affordable housing and against displacement.

Painting in the River of Angels: Judy Baca and The Great Wall

Exhibition dates: October 26, 2023 – July 21, 2024

Building: BCAM (Broad Contemporary Art Museum)

This exhibition offers a deep dive into Judy Baca’s monumental mural project, “The Great Wall of Los Angeles.” Spanning half a mile along the Tujunga Wash, the mural is one of the longest in the world and depicts the history of California from prehistory to the 1950s. “Painting in the River of Angels” focuses on Baca’s ongoing efforts to expand and update the mural, incorporating new historical events and perspectives. The exhibition features preparatory sketches, photographs, and video documentation, providing a behind-the-scenes look at the creation and evolution of this iconic public artwork. Visitors will appreciate the mural’s role in fostering community engagement and historical awareness.

Korean Treasures from the Chester and Cameron Chang Collection

File:The Banquet of Seowangmo (Xiwangmu), Queen Mother of the West LACMA  M.2000.15.31a-h (2 of 13).jpg - Wikimedia Commons

Exhibition dates: February 25 – June 30, 2024

Building: Hammer Building

“Korean Treasures” features 35 Korean artworks as part of a significant donation from Drs. Chester and Cameron C. Chang. This collection, which was passed down through the Chang family for over a century, offers a glimpse into Korean art history with pieces ranging from traditional paintings and calligraphy to mid-20th century oils and ceramics from the Goryeo and Joseon dynasties.


Exhibition dates: April 7 – October 6, 2024

Building: BCAM (Broad Contemporary Art Museum)

“ED RUSCHA / NOW THEN” is a comprehensive retrospective of artist Ed Ruscha’s work that spans his entire career. The exhibition (which is the first of its kind in decades) highlights Ruscha’s unique perspective on American culture—examining his exploration of everyday subjects like urban landscapes and colloquial language.

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Featuring a variety of mediums harnessed by Ruscha over the years—including painting, photography, and installations—the retrospective offers a deep dive into his evolution and significant impact on the art world.

Simone Leigh

Exhibition dates: May 26, 2024 – January 20, 2025

Building: BCAM (Broad Contemporary Art Museum)

Co-curated by LACMA and the California African American Museum, Simone Leigh’s first comprehensive survey exhibition showcases two decades of her diverse work in various mediums. Leigh’s art explores Black female identity and knowledge production—drawing inspiration from African diaspora traditions, architecture, and art forms. The exhibition offers a unique opportunity to delve into the depth and complexity of Leigh’s impactful work—accompanied by an important monograph by the artist.

New Acquisitions to the Rifkind Center

Apocalyptic Landscape | LACMA Collections
Apocalyptic Landscape, Ludwig Meidner, 1913, oil on canvas

Exhibition dates: May 18, 2024 – Ongoing

Building: Rifkind Center

“New Acquisitions to the Rifkind Center” showcases over 100 recently acquired artworks from LACMA’s collection of German Expressionist prints and drawings. The exhibition highlights the work of the Die Brücke group and major German artists while also expanding its focus to include more female and international artists active in Germany during the early 20th century.

Magdalena Suarez Frimkess: The Finest Disregard

Exhibition dates: August 18, 2024 – January 5, 2025

Building: Art of the Americas Building

“Magdalena Suarez Frimkess: The Finest Disregard” is the first museum exhibition for the L.A.-based, Venezuelan-born artist Magdalena Suarez Frimkess. Trained in various artistic disciplines across Venezuela, Chile, and New York, Suarez Frimkess is best known for her clay works. The exhibition spans over five decades of her career and includes ceramics, paintings, and drawings. It also features many collaborative pieces created in concert with her husband, Michael Frimkess.

Although typically viewed as separate from the California ceramic tradition, this exhibit challenges that notion and showcases works influenced by art history, popular media, cartoons, autobiography, and everyday humor—many of which are being displayed publicly for the first time.

Josiah McElheny: Island Universe

Exhibition dates: September 12, 2024 – Ongoing

Building: BCAM (Broad Contemporary Art Museum)

This ongoing exhibition features Josiah McElheny’s mesmerizing installation “Island Universe,” which explores the concept of the multiverse through the medium of glass. The installation consists of five hanging chandeliers. Those pictured above were installed in the Moody Center for the Arts but are the same pieces as LACMA’s exhibition. Each light fixture represents a different theoretical model of the universe.

McElheny’s intricate glasswork and precise design of the chandeliers create a visually stunning and intellectually stimulating experience. The exhibition underscores McElheny’s mastery of glass as a medium and his ability to merge art and science in profound and beautiful ways.

Final Thoughts

Summer at LACMA is sure to captivate and inspire visitors with every exhibition and event on its calendar. From comprehensive retrospectives to contemporary installations, LACMA offers something for everyone. Whether you’re a seasoned art collector or a casual visitor, the museum’s rich collection and engaging programs make it a must-visit for anyone in Los Angeles this season.

By Anila Hasnain.