5 Art Shows You Should See in L.A. This Week
Bunny Yeager, Bunny Self Portrait Viewing Photographs, Miami, FL, 1959.
Courtesy of Bunny Yeager Archive and Gavlak. Photo by Jeff McLane.
This week, a photographer takes virtuosic pin-up photographs of herself, an antique store hosts a pop-up exhibition and the art owned by a deceased, possibly fictional collector goes on view.
Willem de Rooij’s new work at Regen Projects has a cool austerity at first glance. The palm fronds in a vase on a brown plinth look so controlled and regal that you might not initially notice how crisp and dry they are. Every wall work is brownish, smooth-edged and shaped like a triangle, rectangle or rhombus. You have to be standing up close to realize they're not paintings but dense fabrics sewn together with metallic and pinkish and brownish polyester thread. That's the show's most interesting feature: the way careful control and composure downplay the art's up-close dense, dried-up qualities. 6750 Santa Monica Blvd., Hollywood; through Aug. 29. (310) 276-5424, regenprojects.com.
The pre-selfie queen
A fashion model frustrated by the exorbitant fees photographers charged to make prints, artist Bunny Yeager decided to study photography herself, and realized she was quite good at it. She got her first paying gigs by sending her photographs of barely known Bettie Page to Playboy in 1954, and become known for her glamour and pin-up shots of other icons, like Ursula Andress. She also modeled herself, but for her own camera. The self-portraits on view in “How I Photograph Myself” at Gavlak Gallery are so smartly posed and lit that you’d never guess Yeager used mirrors and self-timers to make them. In a few photographs, she’s partly nude or in lingerie. In one of the most striking, she’s wearing a white blouse buttoned up to her neck. She has a Marilyn Monroe haircut and sits on the floor, looking down at the black-and-white photos of nude women laid out around her. 1034 N. Highland Ave., Hollywood; through Aug. 29. (323) 467-5700, gavlakgallery.com.
A group of artworks by Wolfgang Tillmans, Diana Moltzan and others in "Jeff"
Photo by Josh White
Jeff's secret trove
The dubious premise of the current show at Grice Bench makes the art-viewing more fun. All the work in the exhibition apparently belonged to a collector named Jeff — no last name available. Before his recent death, this collector, who may or may not be real, amassed a quirky group of artworks that never left the walls of his home, until now. There’s a globular purple ceramic sculpture by iconic Ken Price next to a hip multicolored, ladderlike totem by Neal Bashor. A gorgeous small photo by Saul Fletcher, of a gem lying on a wood floor, hangs near the gallery entrance. You start to imagine mysterious Jeff as someone seduced by newness but quirky, so that self-consciously cool artwork in his collection is offset by something intimately strange. 915 Mateo St., downtown; through Sept. 12. (213) 488-1805, gricebench.com.
Rearranging the furniture
Every year or so, MOCA reinstalls the art in its permanent-collection galleries, to give audiences a new perspective on the holdings. Helen Molesworth, the museum’s new chief curator, oversaw the current rehang, and there are a lot of unexpected pairings. A cool Roy Lichtenstein painting of meat is next to an aggressive, gestural drawing by the lesser-known Lee Lozano. A colorful print by Sister Corita Kent hangs beside a systematic work by minimalist Carl Andre. The last room includes Valie Export’s Identity Transfer series from 1968, photos of the artist with mascara-streaked cheeks and teary eyes. But she poses cockily, cigarette between fingers, thumbs through belt loops. So the show ends with vulnerability meeting bravado. 250 S. Grand Ave., downtown; through May 28. (213) 621-1741, moca.org.
Elsie’s Watch and Jewelry Repair Shop, a beautifully arranged antique store on Hollywood Boulevard, is now home to an exhibition called “See Through.” An artist collective that goes by the name Solar organized the show, inviting 16 artists to place artworks around the shop’s gems, vintage china or music boxes. All the artworks are small, in jars or under glass domes. Finding them is like a scavenger hunt: Tanya Batura’s tongue-like sculpture in front of a mirror, Christine Nguyen’s hanksite crystal amidst African masks, Veronica Florez’s eerie bust flanked by beaded necklaces. 5177 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood; through Aug. 31. (323) 464-8445, solargroupla.net.
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