5 Art Shows You Should See in L.A. This Week

Still from "The Campfire Song" by Marnie WeberEXPAND
Still from "The Campfire Song" by Marnie Weber
Photo by LeeAnn Nickel

A new museum documenting the culture of a country that should exist opens downtown and a funny, mystical artist-filmmaker has a one-night retrospective in West Adams. 

5. Slacker anthropology
"What’s Wrong With We?" — a group exhibition at Martos Gallery on Washington Boulevard — wouldn’t be as charming if the gallery were any larger. But given the gallery’s intimate scale, the art, hung high and low and sometimes sitting on shelves, looks like one stream-of-consciousness experiment. It looks like something an anthropology-obsessed slacker, curious but not excited about polish, pulled together (in fact, writer-curator Pierre-Arnaud Doucède organized the show). There’s the childish, yellow-lipped ceramic face by Jennie Jieun Lee and Bruce M. Sherman’s stoneware vase with hands for eyes. 3315 W. Washington Blvd., West Adams; through June 6. (212) 560-0670, martosgallery.com

4. Dot connector
Artist Ed Moses’ old-school abstraction is far more curious than reverent. Early drawings by the longtime L.A. artist, who showed at the iconic Ferus Gallery and appears in all those vintage, macho photos of L.A. art guys in a line, feature in a just-opened LACMA show. They show him to be a connect-the-dots artist, making quirky, earthy grids informed by Navajo blankets and by Dutch painter Piet Mondrian, or cutting holes in wall and ceilings to literally expose East Coast–style geometric abstractions to Southern California sunshine. 5905 Wilshire Blvd., Mid-Wilshire; through Aug. 2. (323) 857-6000, lacma.org

Ed Moses' Untitled (1972)
Ed Moses' Untitled (1972)
Photo by Brian Forrest, Courtesy the artist, Museum Associates/LACMA

3. Invented country, real history
Since 2009, Kenyatta A.C. Hinkle has devoted much of her art-making career to documenting the history of Kentifrica. Kentifrica is a place where the traditions of African-Americans in Hinkle’s native Kentucky converge with traditions of West African people. Its history is Hinkle's own invention, but a convincing one — with an ethnomusicology, rituals, cultural foods, ancient maps on parchment paper and traditional costumes. Perhaps it isn’t an actual place, but it’s a place that accurately reflects what Hinkle and collaborators have observed about the African diaspora, especially the way the history of African-Americans bleeds into and melds with the history of Africans and vice versa. The Kentifrican Museum of Culture opens in a new downtown home this weekend. 1835 S. Main St., downtown; Sat., May 30, 6-9 pm. kentifrica.org

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2. Sculptures like kitchen utensils
Anthony Caro, the British sculptor who died two years ago at age 89, started making “table sculptures” in the mid-1960s. These were far smaller than the wood and metal monuments he’s known for, and he meant them to “relate to a person like a cup or a jug.” There’s a collection of table sculptures by Caro, all from the 1960s, in Gagosian’s upstairs gallery right now, and you might have the urge to pick one up just as you would a small kitchen appliance. All made of metal, and some parts sprayed black or gray, they usually loop or lean off of the pedestals that hold them. One has a long skinny steel arm that bends and curves, then attaches to a shape like a heavy-duty cheese grater. 456 N. Camden Drive, Beverly Hills; through May 30. (310) 271-9400, gagosian.com

1. Bunny, witch and sailor
In a short film artist Marnie Weber made in 1995, a sailor named Destiny finds herself in a wasteland inhabited by blow-up animals. Another film, 1996's I’m Not a Bunny, lasts less than a minute: A bunny, found by a hunter in a forest, refused to admit that she is a bunny. Weber has been making films, nearly always starring women and nearly always magical and eccentric, and composing their soundtracks for two decades now. The screening at the Velaslavasay Panorama this weekend spans those years and also debuts clips from her still-unreleased first feature film, The Day of Forevermore. Its protagonist is a woman who may or may not be a witch. 1122 W. 24th St., West Adams; Sat., May 30, 8 p.m.; $10. (213) 746-2166, panoramaonview.org

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