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5 Artsy Things to Do in L.A. This Week: Cocaine and American Hustle Cutouts

Matthew Brandt's dye-on–bubble wrap painting, GAP 4C (2013)
Matthew Brandt's dye-on–bubble wrap painting, GAP 4C (2013)
Courtesy M+B and the artist

This week, a union organizer holds a workshop in an art space, and an artist uses hair dye to paint on bubble wrap.

5. Sci-fi writer loves a land artist

Berlin-based British artist Tacita Dean began corresponding with science fiction writer J.G. Ballard in the 1990s, when she learned that he, like she, was a fan of land artist Robert Smithson. Smithson, best known for his Spiral Jetty, a swirling sculpture in Utah's Great Salt Lake, also had been a fan of Ballard's. Before his death, Ballard reportedly told the artist to treat the jetty as a "mystery her film would solve." Dean's JG screens at the Hammer, and she'll talk about the project this week. 10899 Wilshire Blvd., Wstwd.; Tues., Jan. 5. (310) 443-7000, hammer.ucla.edu.

4. Magic mountain

Artist Jaime Ross, who's interested in myths and has previously done work involving forests and ghost towns, has been corresponding with an inmate from the California Correctional Institute in Tehachapi. That inmate, named Gabriel, apparently had a dream in which he and Ross were lifted from their homes and brought together on a mountain named after him. This is why Ross chose to stage his upcoming performance in the San Gabriel Mountains. All visitors will have to walk about 15 minutes to get to the right place, where Ross will use Western magical rituals to invoke Archangel Gabriel's spirit. Angeles Crest Highway and Mount Wilson Red Box Road, Mt. Lowe, San Gabriel Mountains; Sun., Jan. 19, 3-5 p.m. RSVP by Jan. 16 to rsvp@nomadicdivision.org. (646) 620-8289, nomadicdivision.org.

3. Last delusion

Liz Glynn's [de]-lusions of Grandeur performances began about this time last year. In each one, she has done something to demystify large-scale art by modern masters in LACMA's collection (sculpting replicas of Rodin works on-site, piling up sandbags until they weigh as much as a Richard Serra sculpture). The last event focuses on Donald Judd's five concrete cubes in the museum's East Garden. 5905 Wilshire Blvd., Mid-Wilshire; Jan. 18, 1-3 p.m. (323) 857-6010, lacma.org.

2. Striving for normalcy

The title Matthew Brandt gave his current show at M+B -  "Velvet and Bubble Wrap" - sounds like a spoof on a Victoria's Secret perfume. In fact, it's descriptive. Brandt burned into ivory velvet with acid to make the almost 5-foot-tall renderings of clothed torsos of people with arms crossed. He meticulously colored different layers of bubble wrap with hair dye to make the industrial landscapes that are installed in lightboxes and look like pixelated photos. He also used trace amounts of cocaine to make black velvet panels, but these are less interesting than the others, where irrational amounts of effort and precision have gone into such nondescript imagery. 612 N. Almont Drive, W. Hlywd.; through Jan. 18. (310) 550-0050, mbart.com.

1. Just wow

Sonia Leimer titled her installation at Los Angeles Museum of Art (LAMOA) "Wow!" The museum, built by artist Alice Könitz, is open only on Sundays, and it's the size of a small bedroom. Leimer covered one of its open sides with breakaway glass (the kind used for movie special effects), so looking through from that side is like looking through rain. Inside, Josef Albers - inspired tiered tables have glass-covered images and objects on them. On one tabletop, cut-outs of Jennifer Lawrence and Christian Bale in American Hustle costumes pop up above an image of experimental novelist Brion Gysin's homage to Beats and Buddhists, The Last Museum. While Leimer's installation could benefit from a bit more of Gysin's irreverent energy, the best thing about it is how it invites viewers to walk all the way around and get close. 4328 Eagle Rock Blvd., Eagle Rock; through Feb. 16. losangelesmuseumofart.blogspot.com.


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