This week, an odd instrument — a cross between a juicer and a flute — makes its Getty debut and an artist's endearing aunt becomes the premise for a group show.
Rachelle Sawatsky’s current show at China Art Objects, “Reincarnation Clash,” conjures Narnia, Noah’s Ark, pop science and alien fantasies. Her paintings, some of them cut out like illogically shaped puzzle pieces, are almost all pastel-colored, making everything look sweeter than it probably should. In one painting, a plane has gone up in flames and smoke pours from its windows; each plume of smoke forms a bubble with a portrait in it: a woman with a black cat, a woman with cat ears, a cat with a woman’s long hair and a red kangaroo. 6086 Comey Ave., Mid-City; through July 9. (323) 965-2264, chinaartobjects.com.
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!
L.A. artist Carl Cheng started going by John Doe Company decades ago, after his accountant told him he had to become a business if he was going to be an artist, “so the tax people can understand you.” He liked the anonymity of “John Doe.” The artist's work, though, is distinctive. He printed photos on molded plastic in the 1960s and 1970s, creating half-translucent, awkward forms: a man holding balloons, men being pushed around in wheelchairs. Some of these are on view at Cherry and Martin now, in Cheng’s first solo show in more than two decades. So are Cheng’s nature machines, glowing boxes that contain natural substances; his “Erosion Machine” has water and pebbles inside. His 1970 sculpture “Supply and Demand” consists of a grass-covered pedestal and a Venus flytrap and humidifier inside a plastic box. Grow lights abound, and the whole gallery seems like a fantasy laboratory, full of perfect, plastic contraptions with ambiguous functions. 2712 S. La Cienega Blvd., Mid-City; through July 30. (310) 559-0100, cherryandmartin.com.
Bibles and glitter
In the concrete courtyard behind 356 Mission, speakers installed up high amplify a deep male announcer voice reciting austere Biblical lineages. One man begets another, and on and on. This is New York artist Lutz Bacher’s exhibit "Magic Mountain." Inside the galleries, a seductively blue photo of a mountain has been hung from the ceiling so it cuts across the space and extends out onto the floor. Covered in glittery sand, the floor is full of footprints and glitter tracks down into the basement, where a spiky, gray-blue foam growth commands attention. 356 S. Mission, downtown; through July 31. (323) 609-3162, 356mission.com.
Nelson Sullivan’s Aunt Nancy didn’t like to be filmed, so sometimes when the New York-based filmmaker would visit her in his hometown of Kershaw, South Carolina, he would have to pretend his camera wasn’t trained on her. Once, in the ’80s, Sullivan visited Aunt Nancy when she was in rehab for overeating. She told him about a woman who prayed her way out of a violent marriage and an old friend who drove badly. Sullivan’s films, never banal because they're so sincerely curious, are the centerpiece and inspiration for “Aunt Nancy,” the current show at Night Gallery. They play in the center of the space and, on all sides, other works by younger artists explore ideas of influence, intimacy and impulsive expression. Dripping sunflowers by Andy Robert co-exist with Sam Lipp's precise portrait of Michael Jackson, and a frosting-embellished tiered table by Anna Rosen. 2276 E. 16th St., downtown; through June 25. (323) 589-1135, nightgallery.ca.
Do the Juicerina
At the Getty this weekend, artists Michael Parker and Wesley Hicks will showcase their new instrument: the Juicerina. It’s a hybrid between the handmade ceramic juicers Parker makes and the ceramic flutes — called ocarinas — that Hicks makes. The instrument has an eerie, windy sound, and 30 musicians will play it, moving through the museum's galleries, responding to artworks. 1200 Getty Center Drive, Brentwood; Fri., June 10, 6-9 p.m. (310) 440-7300, getty.edu.