How did we get from the popular romantic vistas made by Edward Weston, Ansel Adams and Minor White, all crashing coastlines and monumental mountain peaks, to the stark typologies of suburban anonymity, like tract homes and industrial parks? The shift had an international impact. Here's one account of the transformation.

Oct. 1: Pacific Standard Time: Crosscurrents in L.A. Paintings and Sculpture, 1950-1970, J. Paul Getty Museum

Nine years in the making! Forty-seven artists! Seventy-nine paintings, sculptures and mixed-media works! A spine for the behemoth "PST" series, this is the Getty's flagship exhibition of L.A.'s first generation of international-grade artists. The show is bound to be at least somewhat controversial, if only for who's in and who's not.

Oct. 2: Under the Big Black Sun: California Art 1974-1981, MOCA

With the presidential fall of Richard Nixon and rise of Ronald Reagan as its cheeky California brackets, the show examines a publicly placid but conceptually rich artistic period — the setup for the creative explosion of the 1980s. The blowout includes about 125 artists. Meanwhile, that titular "black sun" suggests a less-than-cheery interval.

Oct. 2: Now Dig This! Art and Black Los Angeles 1960-1980, Hammer Museum, UCLA

David Hammons, one of the most important American artists of the last 35 years, is also the most well-known of the show's 35 African American painters and sculptors. The eye-opening surprise, however, might turn out to be the late assemblage master, Noah Purifoy (1918-2004).

Oct. 30: Best Kept Secret: UCI and the Development of Contemporary Art in Southern California, 1964-1971, Laguna Art Museum

UC Irvine was formally founded — literally in the middle of nowhere, just off the brand-spanking-new 405 freeway — in 1965. But in no time flat the Orange County school's art department attracted an impressive roster of artists and critics and developed notable students, artistically comparable to UCLA or Yale today. The list includes Michael Asher, Chris Burden, Vija Celmins, John Coplans, Robert Irwin, John McCracken, Bruce Nauman, Barbara Rose, Alexis Smith, Frank Stella and more.

Nov. 13: Naked Hollywood: Weegee in Los Angeles, MOCA

The golden age of notorious New York crime and street photographer Weegee, born Arthur Fellig (1899-1968), is generally dated from before World War II. In 1947 he moved to L.A. to work in Hollywood, turning his camera on stars, strippers and studio back-lots. Usually dismissed as selling out — odd for a guy who previously toiled for the New York tabloids — this period of his work hasn't been closely examined before now.

Nov. 17: 46 N. Los Robles: A History of the Pasadena Art Museum, Pacific Asia Museum

When curator Walter Hopps' retrospective of French iconoclast Marcel Duchamp opened on Oct. 8, 1963, the little Pasadena Art Museum went from being a virtual unknown to a national trailblazer. The Pacific Asia Museum, housed in PAM's old Chinese-inspired building, will chronicle its full history, from modest roots in 1945 to spectacular flameout in 1974.

Dec. 3: It Happened at Pomona: Art at the Edge of Los Angeles, 1969-1973, Part 2: Helene Winer at Pomona, Pomona College Museum of Art

Hal Glicksman, examined in Part 1, went from Pasadena Art Museum exhibition designer to adventurous curator, specializing in Light and Space art. Afterward Helene Winer, now co-owner of New York's prominent Metro Pictures gallery, continued the escapade with a focus on post-Minimalism and Conceptual art.