This week, a museum-sized monster — or signs of one — pop up above MOCA and an alchemist tries to facilitate real conversation about hard things.
Paradise Garage, the space run by artists Pentti Monkkonen and Liz Craft, has taken over the storefront windows in the plaza above MOCA Grand Avenue. It’s part of MOCA’s ongoing “storefront” series, where local art spaces curate that modestly sized, glass-enclosed plaza space. They invited two artists, Switzerland's Anina Troesch and Berlin-based Renaud Jerez, who installed a large image of cartoon monster eyes — a "museum-sized monster" according to the wall text. The eyes look best at night, glowing orange and white, aggressive enough to see from a distance. 250 S. Grand Ave., downtown; through Dec. 18. (213) 626-6222, moca.org.
Artists Wu Tsang and boychild will occupy an imagined, science-fiction world this weekend, when they perform You Sad Legend at 356 Mission. Cellist Patrick Belaga will accompany the artists, who both have the physical charisma of film stars, as they manipulate each other through movement and language. In past versions of this performance, Tsang has been the “voice” and boychild the “mover.” “We have this call-and-response dynamic where I’m narrating through words, compelling her to move a certain way, and she’s reflecting back to me,” Tsang explained in an interview earlier this year. Photographs of past performances are ethereal and minimal, with the artists costumed and moving in otherworldly ways. 356 S. Mission, downtown; Sun., Aug. 14, 8 p.m. (323) 609-3162, 356mission.com.
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Maja D’Aoust, who has trained in alchemy for a few decades and has lectured beautifully on tarot, calls herself the White Witch of Los Angeles on her website. Certainly, her interest in magic is of the nourishing kind and her approach to intuition and criticality appeals to those trying to think differently about creativity. She will lead a discussion along the L.A. river this weekend, called “The Occult Art of Philosophical Dialogue: How to Reason with Yourself and Others.” We collectively struggle to talk frankly about controversy — whether related to racial violence, class or politics — and this discussion is about generating open, unifying dialogue. Frogspot, 2825 Benedict St., Cypress Park; Sun., Aug. 14, 3 p.m. thewellwishers.com.
Right now at REDCAT, efficient black speakers stand on shoulder-high black poles around the gallery. Words come from one and then another, as artist-writer Quinn Latimer reads poems she's written. “Colonies can have colonies too, like a woman,” says the voice from one speaker near the back. “Unexceptional experimental architecture, like a woman.” Blurred black-and-gray photographs, affixed to sheets of MDF taller than a medium-sized person, show tire tracks or shoe treads. Artist Pedro Barateiro made these and the quirky sculptures that hang on the walls: a sponge with a black mask glued onto it, or a metal mug with a fossil growing out of it. The show is both calculatedly minimal and nonsensical, an uncomfortable combination. 631 W. Second St., downtown; through Aug. 18. (213) 237-2800, redcat.org,
The imposing sculpture Teresa Margolles made for Current:LA, the city's first public art biennial, stands at the north end of Echo Park. It's meant to commemorate 100 murder sites in this city, and Margolles went to those sites, marked them with water, then mixed that same water to make the concrete for the sculpture. It's shaped like a bench, as tall as a small house and meant to be a shade structure. It's temporary, but wouldn't it be great if it stayed a while and had another function? Maybe it could be a theater — minimalists versions of Hamlet or an updated West Side Story could play out underneath and around it. Echo Park Lake, Echo Park; through Aug. 14. currentla.org.