5 design things to do on your holiday break: Dec. 26-Jan 8

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1) Lari Pittman: Declaration of Independence

Colombia-raised, LA-based painter and beloved UCLA art teacher Lari Pittman has been a presence in the L.A. art scene since the early 1990s. Now you can find an eye-popping retrospective of the artist's work at The Hammer, featuring 80 paintings and 50 works on paper, many of them huge, most of them layered with rich color, texture and symbolism. 

Influenced by the AIDS crisis and the punk scene of the early 1990s, Pittman's paintings explores themes -- love, sex, feminism, gender, citizenship and race -- that resonate today. The interest he receives from younger artists, says Pittman, makes him now "a church elder of sorts." His works are also saturated with ornament and decoration. Shown above is Pittman in his "non-modernist" Orangerie (adapted from a 2010 installation at his longtime gallery Regen Projects) which features works on paper against vividly-patterned walls. 

While there, explore a room-size installation by Max Hooper Schneider. His idiosyncratic sculpture juxtaposes natural and man-made objects in surprising and contradictory ways, informed by his background in landscape architecture and marine biology. 

When: Exhibition runs through January 5, 2020

Where: Hammer Museum, 10899 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles 90024

Tickets: Free. Read more about the exhibition and related events here.

2) With Pleasure: Pattern and Decoration in American Art 1972–1985

At a time when the international art world favored cynicism and aloofness, the Pattern and Decoration movement celebrated the patterns, colors and materials traditionally associated with feminine decorative crafts and was critically received, and commercially successful, from the mid-1970s to the mid-1980s. Now MOCA has mounted an ambitious show of work from the movement. 

With Pleasure: Pattern and Decoration in American Art 1972-1985 traces the movement’s broad reach in postwar American art by artists widely regarded the core of the movement: Valerie Jaudon, Joyce Kozloff, Robert Kushner, Kim MacConnel and Miriam Schapiro; as well as artists whose contributions to Pattern and Decoration have been underrecognized, such as Merion Estes, Dee Shapiro, Kendall Shaw and Takako Yamaguchi. The show also enfolds artists who are not normally considered in the context of Pattern and Decoration, such as Emma Amos, Billy Al Bengston, Al Loving and Betty Woodman. 

When: Exhibition runs through May 11, 2020

Where: MOCA Grand Avenue, 250 S Grand Ave, Los Angeles 90012

Tickets: General admission $15; click here for more information.

3) Natural History of Horror: The Science of Scary

This exhibition at the Natural History Museum gets creepier than fiction with the real-life inspirations for many of the Hollywood boogeymen we love to scream at. Part history, part haunted house, Natural History of Horror: The Science of Scary reveals origin stories for the world's most iconic movie monsters. In a dark room flickering with hidden surprises, you'll learn about the half human, half monster myths and the re-discovery of an ancient species thought to have inspired the Creature from the Black Lagoon. Did you know that Frankenstein was likely based on the real 19th century 'animal electricity' experiments by Dr. Luigi Galvani - or that the terrifying monster in The Mummy came from a mistranslation of the hieroglyphics in King Tut's tomb? Finally, the granddaddy of them all, Dracula, hearkens back to centuries-old vampire legends to explain the spread of disease - and learn about the breakthrough medical discoveries that chipped away at this folklore. 

When: Now through April 19, 2020

Where: Natural History Museum, 900 Exposition Blvd., Los Angeles 90007

Tickets: General admission $14

4) Cross Colours: Black Fashion in the 20th Century

The California African American Museum puts the spotlight on an LA-based fashion line that exemplified street style 30 years ago. Cross Colours: Black Fashion in the 20th CenturyCross Colours explores the impact of the urban apparel line founded by Angelenos Carl Jones and T.J. Walker that exploded when Will Smith paraded the bold hues and designs in the 1990 first season of The Fresh Prince of Bel Air. Curators Tyree Boyd-Pates and Taylor Bythewood-Porter explore the brand's role in breaking color barriers in the field of men’s apparel. 

When: On show through March 1, 2020

Where: Corner of Figueroa Street and Exposition Boulevard, west of the 110 Freeway. Enter parking lot at 39th and Figueroa (Cash only parking: $12; $15 after 5pm); or Ride Expo Line to Expo Park/USC.

Tickets: Free. Click here for more information about the museum.

5) Soft Schindler

In 1949 Pauline Schindler, estranged from her architect husband but living in half of the house they built together, painted her side of the interior salmon pink. To R.M. Schindler, Pauline's intolerable act violated a sanctum of modernism and his desire for honest expression of natural materials. Whether to spite him or whether she just liked the color, this exhibition, curated by Mimi Zeiger, interprets her act as softening our rigid design perspectives and opening space for plural narratives of contemporary art and architecture.

Zeiger has invited designers -- including AGENdA agencia de arquitectura; Tanya Aguiñiga; Design, Bitches; Bettina Hubby; Leong Leong and Bryony Roberts -- to reflect on the "incompleteness of binary ideas in architecture, sculpture, and design" with sculpture, collage, ceramics and other interventions in the celebrated space.

When: Exhibition runs through Feb. 16, 2020

Where: MAK Center for Art and Architecture at the Schindler House, 835 North Kings Road, West Hollywood 90069

Tickets: General admission $10; more information here.