5 Artsy Things to Do in L.A. This Week: Can Witchcraft Be About Self-Realization?

Dasha Shishkin's Untitled (poop table) (2004)
Dasha Shishkin's Untitled (poop table) (2004)
Courtesy Susanne Vielmetter

A woman with eyes on her rear end stares into the eyes of a man's glass enclosed head in Culver City. A drummer in an evening dress appears in a painting in WeHo. 

5. Artists as deities, or not
As she did with her last one, art writer Sarah Thornton wrote her new book like a skeptic who’s part of the scene, digging into the ways the social lives, friendships and personas of artists do and don’t relate to their art. The book is called 33 Artists in 3 Acts, the artists ranging from Carroll Dunham (Lena Dunham’s dad) to dissident Ai Weiwei and the acts including politics, kinship and craft. Thornton, who will talk about the book at Central Library, writes in the introduction, “Like competing deities, artists today need to perform in ways that yield a faithful following.” 630 W. Fifth Street, dwntwn.; Thurs., Nov. 13, 7:15 p.m. (213) 228-7025, lfla.org.

4. Good witches
The Siren's Temple of Rain Mystery School, aka S.T.O.R.M.S., has a fantastically kitschy website and has offered classes before, based in traditional witchcraft but also bathed in a quirky self-realization language. For instance, the “Resurrection of the Self” class was held in April. This class, on the five elements, will be held at the dance-arts space Pieter in a “ritual performance environment,” which seems to suggest learning will feel ceremonial. 420 West Ave. 33, Unit 10, Lincoln Heights; Sat. Nov. 8, 6-8 p.m.; $21. (646) 750-5375, pieterpasd.com.

3. Vague geography
The best paintings in “Mary, Mary,” New York artist Clare Grill’s show at Diane Rosenstein Fine Art send your mind lackadaisically off in other directions. Plume does this. It’s a small oil-on-linen depiction of what looks like a misshapen, pixelated green landform against an expanse of chocolate brown. Maybe it sends you off on some Carmen Sandiego-style geographical romp, except that every location your mind’s eye visits is a vague abstraction. 831 N. Highland Ave., Hlywd.; through Nov. 29. (323) 462-2790, dianerosenstein.com.

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2. Girl band plus garish abstraction
John Miller’s 1980s painting of two female musicians in baby blue evening dresses doesn’t quite make sense. The guitarist, whose head isn’t visible, stands behind a candelabrum. The gold rays and weird brownish-red foliage in the background recalls other, grittier paintings and sculptures New York-based Miller was making around that time. One such sculpture, a brown and green painted orb covered in glass and protruding from the wall appears along with the girl band painting in “Do It Again!” at Meliksetian Briggs, a small, delightfully incongruous show. 313 N. Fairfax Ave., Fairfax; through Dec. 20. (323) 828-4731, meliksetianbriggs.com.

1. Sassy and divine
Something about the fantasies illustrated in Dasha Shishkin’s paintings and drawings always remind me of the Eloise books, where an impish, stringy-haired little girl runs rampant at the Plaza Hotel. In Shishkin’s work at Susanne Vielmetter, some female figures are missing limbs, many figures have eyeballs on their buttocks and a noses growing out of unexpected places. It’s more sordid in its absurdity, but like in those children’s books, everyone seems endearingly strange and extremely high-strung. Also, Shishkin’s titles are fantastic: saucy tricks for sticky sorts, sassy and divine6006 Washington Blvd., Culver City; through Dec. 20. (310) 837-2117, vielmetter.com


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