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

MacArthur Park Lake is currently being filled with more than 3,000 huge balls hand-painted by thousands of people.EXPAND
MacArthur Park Lake is currently being filled with more than 3,000 huge balls hand-painted by thousands of people.
Armella Stepan

This week, a disc jockey causes controversy in a West Adams performance and a gallery downtown self-destructs.

Amusement park
MacArthur Park Lake looks as if it belongs in an amusement park. It’s been filled with more than 3,000 gigantic balls, each hand-painted by thousands of schoolchildren and volunteers. The project, organized by public arts group Portrait of Hope, is meant as a “visual makeover” and “revitalization” of the historic but somewhat gritty family park. There is something pleasantly optimistic about seeing the colorful, friendly balls floating there, in a part of L.A. where, despite dramatic improvements over the past decade, police sirens are heard too often. 2230 W. Sixth St., Westlake; through Sept. 30. (310) 474-5141, portraitsofhope.org.

Homage to the devil
Vector Gallery opened in Historic Filipinotown on Aug. 8, exactly 46 years after the Manson family’s brutal murder of pregnant actress Sharon Tate and her friends Abigail Folger, Wojciech Frykowski and Jay Sebring. Charles Manson’s face appears in the gallery’s storefront window, part of an inaugural show by artist JJ Brine. A plastic sign on the gallery’s shimmering floor suggests butchering white Americans for art’s sake may be a worthy idea. Gold-painted mannequins, metallic paper and satanic signs are everywhere. A framed, neon portrait of Condoleezza Rice leans on the floor against a golden ladder. Even when the space is locked, the lights are on, so you can peer in. 3217 Beverly Blvd., Westlake; ending date TBA. (213) 509-4101, vectorgallery.tumblr.com.

Still from the premiere of The Harmers at David Lewis Gallery in New York
Still from the premiere of The Harmers at David Lewis Gallery in New York
Photo by Elise Gallant

Call-in confrontation
In The Harmers, a 35-minute play by artists Marianna Ellenberg and David Zuckerman, the deliberately offensive host of a call-in radio show butts heads with a lipstick feminist and a maid addicted to Valium. The show has a live, sometimes dissonant score., and conversations about sexual politics and class issues get deep and strange. After Friday’s performance, artist Max Maslansky will interview the cast and creators for a live episode of his podcast, Riffin’. 4300 W. Jefferson Blvd., #1, West Adams; Fri., Sept. 4, 8 p.m. (323) 641-0454, joanlosangeles.org.

Short and sweet
For five years, artist Alex Miller has been writing film reviews using no more than five words. On Elysium: “Poor white guy. Ouch.” To celebrate his fifth anniversary, Miller asked a group of artists to make “five or less” art. A video or performance might last five minutes or less; a sculpture might be five or less inches long. Joel Kyack, who did puppet shows on the 10 freeway a few years ago, and Bettina Hubby, who set up the Rock and Eagle shop in Eagle Rock in 2012, are among artists participating. 242 S. Broadway, downtown; Fri., Sept. 11, 8 p.m.-mid.; $5. 5orless.com.

Bringing the house down
When you visit the Ibid. London & Los Angeles website, you’ll find a live-feed of its current exhibition. The gallery might be empty of people, or you might see a guest or two wandering through, stepping over stray arrows on the floor. The arrows are left over from a recent performance in which an archer aimed at crosses painted on the walls between artworks. A few arrows are in the side gallery, which smells of oil because Amir Mogharabi dripped oil on his paintings and the floor. One large canvas leans right into a messy hole in the drywall. There’s a bit of a destructive impulse behind this show, “Tree House Down.” The gallery likely will be moving soon, and this last exhibition in its Santa Fe location — the closing date is still in flux — is part of its disassembly process. The camera remains on until the gallery goes dark. 675 S. Santa Fe Ave., downtown; through Sept. 26. (323) 395-8914, ibidprojects.com.

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