This week, an archive on the oddity of copyright law pops up downtown, and two artists install a sleeping tree in an apartment complex in Los Feliz.
5. A book of text messages
The opening of "Duh Angel Live @ Jenny's" was also a book launch and a performance. People took turns standing on small white pedestals in front of microphones and reading from New York artists R. Lyon and Jessie Stead's Duh Angel, a volume made up of their prolific texts to one another. A live feed of the readers played on a screen behind them. The event was filmed, and if you go now, you'll see footage of people reading text messages about Rubik's Cubes and "butt models" at an impressively relentless pace. Shattered rearview mirrors with rhinestones hang on walls. So do cans with straws protruding from them flattened between sheets of glass. 4220 Sunset Blvd., Silver Lake; through April 18. (323) 741-8237, jennys.us.
4. Epic music video
The two-channel film Khalil Joseph made to accompany rapper Kendrick Lamar’s memoir-ish album Good Kid, M.a.a.d. City showed at the Underground Museum in West Adams and at Sundance last year. Now it's at MOCA. It’s set in Compton. Shots get fired, bodies move backward or hang upside down. It’s like a dream where everyone is familiar, the stakes feel high, everything is careening toward somewhere but you’re not sure where. 250 S. Grand Ave., downtown; through Aug. 16. (213) 626-6222, moca.org.
3. Patriotism on its back
In the back room of his new exhibition at Regen Projects, artist Glenn Ligon has placed two of his signature neon “America” signs face down, so that mostly what you see is not the glow of the blue light but the big black metal backs and the heavy black cords that wind toward the socket in the wall. The night of the opening, a guard in a black suit stood near those sockets, making sure no one tripped and that the sculpture stayed unharmed. It’s all very grave, so it’s easy to forget that the work itself is a kind of funny anti-patriotic one-liner: neon America flipped upside down. 6750 Santa Monica Blvd., Hollywood; through April 18. (310) 276-5424, regenprojects.com.
2. Owning the play
Go to REDCAT right now, and the first thing you encounter is a tall wall of cardboard filing boxes. Once you walk past them, you’ll find a few lines of “forensic tables” on which Kobe Matthys, the founder of Brussels-based project Agency, has neatly laid out “things” as if they’re specimens. Each thing has been somehow implicated in an intellectual property-rights dispute, and a typed paper on a clipboard next to it explains how. Footage of a 1980s Baltimore Orioles game plays on the first table because, in 1985, the Orioles and other baseball teams claimed they owned the “performances” that appeared on telecasts of their games. Players challenged this claim in a Chicago court, arguing that the teams had no ownership over their on-screen movements and performances. It’s easy to get pulled into these absurd-seeming real-world scenarios. 631 W. Second St., downtown; through April 12. (213) 237-2800, redcat.org.
1. Under the sheets
Artists Anthony Lepore and Michael Henry Hayden have put an 8-foot-tall kalanchoe tree to bed in the Finley, the walk-by apartment window gallery in Los Feliz (you have to stand on steps in the front flower bed to see in). A mattress protrudes from the wall above the stairway. Lepore and Hayden have covered it in white, pink and red floral bedsheets, like the kind you might find in your grandmother’s closet, and the tree — a gorgeous tropical thing with a slender trunk — lies with its big leaves on the pillow. Its roots bump up underneath an off-white blanket. 4627 Finley Ave., Los Feliz; through April 18. (617) 794-4530, thefinleygallery.artcodeinc.com.
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