5 Art Shows to See in L.A. This Week
David Wojnarowicz's Late Afternoon in the Forest (1986)
The Broad Art Foundation © Estate of David Wojnarowicz
This week, one artist leads a feminist parade in Westwood, and another hangs a minimalist tsunami on a white wall in Hollywood.
Disaster amid the leaves
David Wojnarowicz’s painting Late Afternoon in the Forest (1986) is a grisly fairy tale; gray, brown and green dominate. A beaked skeleton protrudes from the nose of a crashed plane, guts and intestines visible inside the plane’s broken body. A Native American figurine leans awkwardly against lumpy-looking rocks. Skeletons of animals, a satyr and a god float above the forest floor. Visible in the distance, at the painting's top left corner, are columned capital buildings, precise and well-lit, seemingly aloof, willfully oblivious to the mythical destruction happening in the forest. This is the first painting you see when you enter "Creature," a show that takes a grittier, darker approach to the Broad's collection. Another highlight: recent collages by Polish artist Goshka Macuga, who has inserted images of preoccupied young women into photographs of a pontificating Lenin and solemn Marxist men. 221 S. Grand Ave., downtown; through March 19. (213) 232-6200, thebroad.org.
Making fun as a minimalist
"Body Boards," Lisa Williamson’s new show at Tif Sigfrids, is straight-faced but funny, the sculptural equivalent of a well-dressed office girl who pokes fun at her own accidental professionalism without ever breaking into a full-fledged grin. Each sculpture is made of thin, powder-coated aluminum painted in bright colors. Nerves, a work that's nearly seven feet tall, has a deep, not-quite-even green surface interrupted by hot pink, stacked, concentric cylinders that could pass for nipples. A perfectly blue rectangular sheet of aluminum that curves over itself at the top is the most under-control wave imaginable, a beautiful joke called Tsunami. 1507 Wilcox Ave., Hollywood; through Dec. 3. (323) 907-9200, tifsigfrids.com.
Paul Sietsema’s new paintings at Matthew Marks have the precise realism of photographs. They’re minimally composed, mostly white, gray and green. Sietsema’s image of a telephone, for instance, shows a white receiver and cord on top of a white surface. Two other paintings, called 1998 and 1997, resemble plaques in the ground. The dates at their centers seem etched into water-stained stone overgrown with moss. Other paintings depict a palette, map and coffee cup sitting on a newspaper. All together, the work reads as a painstakingly produced, obsessively well-rendered archive of objects that might, in other circumstances, seem inconsequential. 1062 N. Orange Grove Ave., West Hollywood; through Dec. 23. (323) 654-1830, matthewmarks.com.
Still on fire after all these years
A bright orange fiberglass carrot hangs outside the entrance to "L.A. Exuberance," a show that comprises gifts artists gave to LACMA this past year. The museum turned 50 last year, so L.A.-based artist Catherine Opie led a birthday campaign, encouraging her peers to donate their art (she gave her stirring series of photographs from Obama’s 2009 inauguration). John Baldessari made the carrot. He also gave a number of works from his collection, including a painting by Meg Cranston of an eager puppy beneath what is either the sun or a fried egg. The show has a festive mood. Joe Sola’s More Cinematic LACMA on Fire, a video riff on Ed Ruscha’s 1965 painting of the museum in flames, serves as something of a roast: Onlookers gawk as black smoke billows above LACMA’s Ahmanson Building. 5905 Wilshire Blvd., Mid-Wilshire; through April 2. (323) 857-6000, lacma.org.
In summer 2015, in Basel, Switzerland, artist Lara Schnitger staged a parade along narrow brick streets. Women in long black, white and gold dresses led the way, holding on sticks sculptures that looked like innovative corsets or creatures fashioned from discarded nylons. Behind them, men in dark jumpsuits carried a float-sized, haphazardly glitzy goddess. The goddess had a sewn-together banner in place of a head; it said “We Are Sexy.” Schnitger called this performance Suffragette City and she will restage it in Westwood this weekend; her crew of performers will walk through the streets around the Hammer Museum with half-funny, feminine and feminist banners and sculptures in tow. 10899 Wilshire Blvd., Westwood; Sat., Nov. 12, noon-2 p.m.; Sun., Nov. 13, noon-4 p.m. (310) 443-7000, hammer.ucla.edu.
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