This week, Gumby survives Civil War in a Hollywood show, and blindfolded creatures crawl around scaffolding downtown.
5. Can't get the words right
For one half of her exhibition at 356 Mission, Kerry Tribe created a sleek landscape of TV studio equipment — chrome light stands, microphone booms, pillows and other official-looking objects put together in illogical but visually pleasing ways. On the other side is a sometimes childish film narrated by three people with aphasia, a language disorder that can cause people to use made-up words or switch one word for another. A yellow bird hops around a black-and-white landscape as a man haltingly describes his mother. 356 S. Mission Road, Boyle Heights; through May 31. (323) 609-3162, 356mission.com.
4. Objects from a death scene
Artist-performer Jamie McMurry’s one-week exhibition at Human Resources is called “Above Snakes,” after a phrase that originated in the Old West. It means “being alive” — snakes, like dead bodies, are below ground, so if you’re above, you must be doing OK. The show includes brightly colored suits on hangers, each of which McMurry made by pouring buckets of paint over himself at various L.A. locations; and a collection of mundane, damaged objects in specially lit vitrines, each taken from the scene of a death. “Objects that were witness to intense trauma,” is how McMurry describes them. He’ll perform the night of the opening, a one-of-a-kind event called Double Wide, which he’s not describing in advance. 410 Cottage Home, Chinatown; performance Thurs., May 14, 8 p.m.; exhibition runs through May 21. (213) 290-4752, humanresourcesla.com.
3. Sea monsters
J.M.W. Turner, the Romantic British landscape painter preoccupied with storms and the sea, didn’t actually title his 1845 painting Sunrise With Sea Monsters. It was unfinished when he died and left it and many other unfinished canvases to the British government. The title came later, because the red marks near the bottom left resemble a menacing monster face emerging from water below a glowing yellow sky. It’s surprisingly loose and gritty up close, like so many paintings in the Gettty’s sprawling Turner show. 1200 Getty Center Drive, Brentwood; through May 24. (310) 440-7300, getty.edu.
2. Slacker existentialism
L.A. native Raymond Pettibon’s drawings of long-haired punks or comic book characters always have a tossed-off, slacker, surfer feel. But then there are references to Continental philosophy and language poetry. In his current show at Regen Projects, titled “From my bumbling attempt to write a disastrous musical, these illustrations muyst suffice,” drawings of Joan Crawford, John Dillinger, baseball players, drug addicts or Barack Obama include intense, intuitive lines of all-caps text. In one series of sketches pinned to the front wall, clay character Gumby is sort of the existential version of Forrest Gump. He survives the Civil War although six horses are shot out from beneath him, has an identity crisis in the bedroom, gets squished inside a Bible, makes money and then questions capitalism. 6750 Santa Monica Blvd., Hollywood; through May 30. (310) 276-5424, regenprojects.com.
1. Feeling their way around
Three white-haired, blindfolded figures in puffy white coats will be crawling around inside the three-layered, white structure built by Chicago-based artist William Pope.L as part of his show, “Trinket,” in MOCA’s Geffen building. The structure shares gallery space with the 45-foot, 51-star American flag that’s the centerpiece of the show. The industrial fans that keep the flag blowing might cool off the crawling performers a bit, but they’ll still be sweating by the time they’ve spent three hours feeling their way forward or hanging off the scaffolding, acting as if they’re navigating a world that’s completely unfamiliar. 152 N. Central Ave., downtown; Sat., May 9, and Sun., May 10, 1 p.m. (213) 626-6222, moca.org.
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