Politics, dead Egyptian pets, historical figures, Jean-Luc Godard, anime, pinup girls and charity galore, most of it free. Welcome to the First Half of 2014 Art Preview (in alphabetical order):
BC SPACE GALLERY engages your conscience with the unfortunately titled “Silent But Deadly” (Feb. 24). But photography from James Lerager and Kei Kobayashi, as well as a documentary from Jun Horie, still makes me want to see it. Curator Mark Chamberlain says, “We have gathered some very interesting video and still material from Fukushima that would probably be illegal to obtain today, given the recent crackdown by the Japanese government.” 235 Forest Ave., Laguna Beach, (949) 497-1880; www.bcspace.com. Call for hours. FREE.
Starting Feb. 6, BEALL CENTER FOR ART + TECHNOLOGY will feature “Wall of Sound: New Work by Zimoun,” in which the Swiss artist creates sonic sculptures with inanimate and mechanical objects. 712 Arts Plaza, Irvine, (949) 824-6206; www.beallcenter.uci.edu. Open Tues.-Wed., noon- 5 p.m.; Thurs.-Sat., noon-8 p.m. FREE.
A trio of shout-outs for the BOWERS MUSEUM: Feb. 8 brings “Beethoven: The Late Great,” featuring rare artifacts from the composer, including manuscripts never exhibited on the West Coast. March 22 offers “Soulful Creatures: Animal Mummies in Ancient Egypt.” Thirty mummies! And “Chuck Jones: Drawn From the Far Side” features never-before-displayed drawings from one of the finest animation directors ever (April 26). 2002 N. Main St., Santa Ana, (714) 567-3600; www. bowers.org. Open Tues.-Sun., 10 a.m.- 4 p.m. $10-$15.
COASTLINE ART GALLERY curator David Michael Lee promises handmade books and a paper forest for “STOCK | California,” starting Jan. 31. The mustache-twirling and extreme close-ups of genre westerns inspires the paintings of “Spaghetti | Western,” opening April 4. 1515 Monrovia Ave., Newport Beach, (714) 241-6213; www.coastline.edu/community/ art-gallery. Open Wed.-Fri., noon-4 p.m. FREE.
Orange Coast College's FRANK M. DOYLE ARTS PAVILION gave us impressive works by artists younger than 40 last fall. Now, curator Trevor Norris pays due diligence to his elders with “17@70+,” opening Jan. 29. 2701 Fairview Rd., Costa Mesa, (714) 432-5102; www.occartspavilion.com. Open Tues. & Thurs.-Fri., 11 a.m.-5 p.m.; Wed., 11 a.m.-7 p.m. FREE.
GRAND CENTRAL ART CENTER starts the year on Jan. 18 with “Julianne Swartz and Ken Landauer: Miracle Report.” In the words of the artists, “Our installation will strive to embody some beauty, some hocus pocus and some unexplainable magic.” And while June 7 is far off, that means it gives you more time to clear the calendar for “Flora Kao: Wind House.” I can get lost in decay, so Kao's “life-size rubbing” of a collapsed desert homestead's “debris field” gets me hot in all the right places. 125 N. Broadway, Santa Ana, (714) 567-7233; www. grandcentralartcenter.com. Open Tues.-Sun., 11 a.m.-4 p.m.; Fri.-Sat., 11 a.m.-7 p.m. FREE.
Shed a tear for curator Grace Kook-Anderson's final “ex•pose” show at the LAGUNA ART MUSEUM on Feb. 23, featuring the mixed-media, anti-war pieces of Israeli artist Dana Harel. 307 Cliff Dr., Laguna Beach, (949) 494-8971; lagunaartmuseum.org. Open Fri.-Tues., 11 a.m.-5 p.m.; Thurs., 11 a.m.-9 p.m. $5-$7.
Fullerton's MAGOSKI ARTS COLONY, unsurprisingly, has all sorts of beautiful weirdness to offer. At the Violethour on Jan. 3, Anna Hansen's mural and floor installation “Connections to Earth and Beauty” involves hundreds of tiny found objects from nature. That same day, the Hibbleton hosts “Never Too Late: a Mildred Kouzel Retrospective” in honor of the prolific 91-year-old, while the Eagan Gallery has borrowed hundreds of pieces from LA art collector Enrique Serrato's Chicano art collection. Throughout January, in the Projection Room, director Steve Elkins will be showing several Godard movies, including one of my favorites, La Chinoise. Finally, Art With an Agenda returns on April 4 with “The Beautiful Autism,” an art exhibit about the disease, with all proceeds going to charity. 223/225 W. Santa Fe Ave., Fullerton, (714) 441-1504; www.magoskiartscolony.com. Call for hours. FREE.
The most recognizable woman in art (next to the Virgin Mary and Mona Lisa) appears at the MUSEUM OF LATIN AMERICAN ART on March 15. “Frida Kahlo: Her Photos” offers a rare opportunity to see almost 300 images from the Mexican artist's collection. 628 Alamitos Ave., Long Beach, (562) 437-1689; www.molaa.com. Open Wed.-Thurs. & Sat.-Sun., 11 a.m.-5 p.m.; Fri., 11 a.m.-9 p.m. $6-$9.
Being miserable creates great art, right? Our Best Visual Artist of 2013 Kebe Fox and artist Stephen Anderson answer that hoary question in the duo show “Happy Medium” June 7 at ORANGE COUNTY CENTER FOR CONTEMPORARY ART. 117 N. Sycamore St., Santa Ana, (714) 667-1517; www.occca.org. Open Thurs.-Sun., noon- 5 p.m. FREE.
Throughout February, Q ART SALON features “A Little Hanky Spanky,” a group show featuring dollar bill (and smaller)-sized work along voyeurism themes. 205 N. Sycamore St., Santa Ana, (714) 835-8833; www.qartsalon.com. Call for hours. FREE.
ROTHICK ART HAUS has reduced its output to just a handful of shows this year, all of them must-sees: Pinup artist Gil Elvgren gets a tribute on Feb. 8, and POPzilla presents video game-inspired art in a group show May 10. On July 5, the gallery teams with Bandai to celebrate the rerelease of the anime series Sailor Moon, hosting a group exhibition of international artists for “Moon Crisis: a Tribute to Sailor Moon.” 170 S. Harbor Blvd., Anaheim, (714) 829-8283; www.rothick.com. Open Sat., noon- 5 p.m. FREE.
Dave Barton has written for the OC Weekly for over twenty years, the last eight as their lead art critic. He has interviewed artists from punk rock photographer Edward Colver to monologist Mike Daisey, playwright Joe Penhall to culture jammer Ron English.