This week, the replica of a war-ravaged Game Boy appears in a Hollywood show, and an idiosyncratic, makeshift ship lights up a Los Feliz window.
Paul Thek once described himself as the “meatman.” The nickname stuck. The late New York–based artist’s solo show at Hannah Hoffman features some memorable meat pieces: Untitled (Meat Cable) is a steel cable that stretches across a corner, with slabs of red-brown wax meant to resemble raw meat attached to it. Thek was good at being simultaneously gross, childish and skillfully virtuosic. One of the show’s highlights is Untitled (Ferocious) from 1971, a plasticine sculpture of a rabbit’s head with feather for an ear, sitting amidst dry foliage in a glass box. It looks as if the rabbit’s fur and skin has been torn away to expose the flesh, yet the creature still appeals in the way an odd-looking cartoon character might. 1010 Highland Ave., Hollywood; through Jan. 7. (323) 450-9106, hannahhoffmangallery.com.
Just enough to remember
There are seven artworks in British artist Oliver Payne’s current show at Overduin & Co., unambiguously titled “Seven Objects.” Payne tells us, via a tape in a recorder we are welcome to carry as we wander, that most people can only recall seven items in a sequence. A jar of jellybeans sits on a pedestal near the front entrance. Behind it, a skewed rendering of Renaissance painter Hans Holbein’s famous skull, stretches across a wall-sized mirror. In gallery two, a cellphone video of an impromptu music festival dance party plays across a large stand-alone screen, which dominates the space. On one side of the screen sits a circle of seven stones, filled in with burned wood. On the other side, resting on a pedestal, is a grimy, melted Game Boy that looks as if it’s been excavated from wreckage. It’s a replica of an actual Game Boy that still worked after being torched during the Gulf War. 6693 Sunset Blvd., Hollywood; through Dec. 31. (323)464-3600, overduinandco.com.
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Stuffed worms made of patched-together fabric hang in the rafters and slink over the temporary wall in German artist Phillip Zach’s exhibition at Freedman Fitzpatrick. Some worms also loop over and around the metal frames of Zach’s polyurethane paintings. Others are stuck hovering in the thick substance, which looks like foaming milk or frosting squeezed excessively from oversized tubes. One particularly good polyurethane painting is deep purple on the bottom half with oozing red on top. The wood, small rocks and seaweed embedded in the red turn the painting into a dystopian landscape of debris caught in lava. 6051 Hollywood Blvd. #107, Hollywood; through Dec. 23. (323) 723-2785, freedmanfitzpatrick.com.
The ship that L.A.-based artist Roni Shneior made for the Finley, the window gallery on a residential street in Los Feliz, is a quaint, quirky contraption by daylight. Ballpoint pens, parts of pipes and other household castoffs serve as its smokestacks and masts. It hovers above the stairwell to the garage, resting on an unpainted wooden disc. At night, however, it turns into a disco ball, the mirrored squares that line its hull reflecting off the walls. It’s an attractive alternative to Christmas lights, one that acknowledges the awkwardness of sentimentality and the unwieldiness of even small voyages. 4627 Finley Ave., Los Feliz; through Feb. 5. thefinleygallery.artcodeinc.com.
Dancing for a green card
A young man is getting his hair cut throughout almost all of Yusuke Ito’s 19-minute video Untitled (Loke Lau), playing in a side gallery at LAXart. A woman who may or may not be his girlfriend cuts it, sometimes in the staged quiet of a filming studio and sometimes in a hectic salon. At the salon, the young man interrogates another hairdresser, who came to the states as a refugee from Iran. She describes her expensive and difficult path to citizenship, which included a trip to Austria and at least $9,000 in fees. The man thinks his path is going to be burdensome too, and then, for a brief interlude, he and his girlfriend/hairdresser dance the Green Rose Hula. The Hawaiian rose, the press release points out, is the color of a green card. 7000 Santa Monica Blvd., Hollywood; through Jan. 7. (323) 871-4226, laxart.org.
Correction: This post was updated to reflect that worms, not snakes, are featured in Phillip Zach's current exhibit.