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

Robert Cremean's Detail of Procrustes from PROCRUSTES IN SITU (1992–1997)EXPAND
Robert Cremean's Detail of Procrustes from PROCRUSTES IN SITU (1992–1997)
Collection of Fresno Art Museum

This week, an artist installs a photo triptych in an empty Pasadena lot and dancer-artists revive a performance about the complexities of race. 

Nostalgic collagist
Hannelore Baron, whose family settled in New York after fleeing Nazi Germany, always made work that looked raw and nostalgic. Even in the 1980s, when she was in her 50s, her work looked like it could have been made in 1945 out of scrapped together ends and odds. Right now, a selection of Baron’s later works are on view at Jack Rutberg Fine Arts. All of them are intimately scaled and made of wood, paper or weathered fabric. Sometimes there are traces of representational imagery. They’re intuitively made, like three-dimensional diary entries. 357 N. La Brea Ave., Hollywood; through Jan. 30. (323) 938-5222, jackrutbergfinearts.com. 

Race relations with prizes
Written and directed by artist-dancer Kai Hazelwood, Color Outside the Lines is a trivia show and a dance performance wrapped into one. “About all things racial,” it involves audience participation and a cast of experimental performers (artist Allison Wyper, who teaches classes on movement and collaboration, is one). It debuted last year at the Pig & Whistle Pub and will return to Three Clubs in Hollywood. The idea is to show how ridiculous — albeit seriously real — conversations about race can/should be. Participants can also win prizes. 1123 Vine St., Hollywood; Jan. 8, 8 p.m.; Sat. Jan. 9, 5:30 p.m.; Sun., Jan. 10, 5:00 p.m.; $12. facebook.com/events/1011066982268453.  

Cheetahs and monkeys
The murals in Animal Alley, an alleyway near Echo Park behind Bob Bakers’ Puppet Theater, don’t really look like a cohesive art project. Jason Ostro, who runs the Gabba Gallery, spearheaded the alley painting project. If you wandered through unsuspectingly, you might not even notice all the paintings depict animals as it simply looks like a particularly colorful, eclectic stretch of street. They day I drove through the alley, a family was posing in front of artist Phobik’s painting of a cheetah. Other neighbors were lingering in driveways or chatting near Dourone’s painting of endangered macaque monkeys. The alley behind 1345 W. First St., Echo Park. thegabbagallery.com

She flew through the air
Artist Martin Kersels is throwing a girl in a blue dress through the air in the photographs he installed in an empty lot along North Fair Oaks Avenue in Pasadena. He calls the project 'Tossing a Friend," and it’s part of the Armory Center’s ongoing offsite Roadside Attraction series. You have to know you’re looking for Kersel’s installation, a series of three billboard-size images held up by wooden stilts and strung as an accordion style triptych. Otherwise, you could quickly drive by without noticing Kersel’s dark-haired friend (the artist Melinda Ringer) flying straight up in one image and then out, in another. She looks light as air while Kersel’s, in a blue shirt and sunglasses, looks bulky but elegant. 733 N. Fair Oaks Ave., Pasadena; through Sept. 30. (626) 792-5101, armoryarts.org

Mangled myth
According to Greek myth, the innkeeper Procrustes, a former bandit, helmed the only hotel on the road between Athens and Eleusis. His inn promised beds that fit each person’s form perfectly. To fulfill this promise, Procrustes would bend or maim his guests, changing their bodies so that the beds would be perfect fits. Artist Robert Cremean explores the unsettling myth of Procrustes in his transfixing show at the Pasadena Museum of California Art. A half circle of figures made of plaster and wood is the exhibition’s centerpiece — some of these figures are missing limbs, missing a head, or have sticks in place of legs. They’re not messy, though. Instead they look methodical, minimal, like they’ve been mangled by a perfectly practiced hand. That’s not to make Cremean sound sadistic in the way the mythical criminal Procrstes was. The wall works, including Cremean’s paintings of figures representing the seven deadly sins, are full of handwritten, self-questioning text. He recounts being “frozen in self-pity” or wondering whether lust is his driving force or his greatest vice. 490 E. Union St., Pasadena; through April 3. (323) 938-5222, pmcaonline.org

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