5 Artsy Things to Do in L.A. This Week, Including a Discussion About Whether L.A. Artists Are Too White

Installation view of Sayre Gomez's "I’m Different"
Installation view of Sayre Gomez's "I’m Different"
Photo by Robert Wedemeyer

Self-realization is beside the point in a show in West Adams, while in Chinatown, a group of artists and writers are grappling with the art world's resistance to real diversity. 

5. Small city of cubicles
When you enter “Small Museum for the American Metaphor,” the group show at REDCAT, through a silvery curtain, you find yourself in a bathroom-sized space where you might see a Christopher Williams photograph of the fantastic L.A. Department of Water and Power building or Ettore Sottsass’ Hotel California, a boxy red, green and yellow rectangular cabinet. The exhibition, which is supposed to be about the myth of the American West’s endlessness, is full of little rooms of objects and images, all separated by curtains. Walking through is like navigating customized cubicles. 631 W. Second St., dwntwn.; through Nov. 30. (213) 237-2800, redcat.org.

4. White art all the time
After walking through the "Made in L.A." biennial at the Hammer this spring, L.A. poet Sesshu Foster wrote a scathing blog post titled "It’s [Not] Okay." “[I]t’s okay that the curators at the ucla hammer museum think that ‘minorities’ are best represented by white queer artists,” he wrote, and “it’s okay that all the official museums in l.a. show white art all the time.” It circulated widely via social media. Certain people shared Foster’s anger; others found his characterization unfair. The debate that followed in part inspired the conversation taking place at Human Resources this weekend, called “decolonizing the white box” and moderated by writer-performer Raquel Gutierrez. 410 Cottage Home St., Chinatown; Mon., Oct. 27, 8 pm. (213) 290-4752, humanresourcesla.com.

3. Same but different
The pug on the blue-tinted poster for Sayre Gomez’s exhibition at Ghebaly Gallery is cute, for sure, but not in a very memorable way — you could as easily imagine him on an indie band’s album cover as in a dentist’s office. The poster says “I’m Different,” because that’s the title of the exhibition. And everything in “I’m Different” kind of feels like something you’ve seen before, but all together it’s erratic. There’s the black bark all over the floor, the blue mannequin on a bench, abstract collage next to realist paintings of things like gloved hands and the little sculpted rocks that double as speakers. The rocks all play different songs, so you have to squat down to figure out what’s coming out of a certain one — Jay Z’s "Empire State of Mind," perhaps. 2245 E. Washington Blvd., dwntwn.; through Nov. 22. (323) 282-5187, ghebaly.com.

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2. Love story for the next century
Artist Megan Daalder, who calls herself a “self-styled guinea pig,” wrote an ecological musical set in 2100, in which a human named Eureka falls in love with a synthetic organism. That organism, “the biomass,” a fantastic, human-sized puppet that Daalder constructed out of fabric, is on view Thursdays and by appointment at Emma Gray’s 5 Car Garage. The performances start this week. RSVP to info@emmagrayhq.com for Santa Monica location; through Nov. 10, performances Nov. 6-8, 8 p.m. (arrive at 7:45 p.m.) Performances are sold out but there is a wait list. (310) 497-6895, emmagrayhq.com.

1. No shame in confusion
The Underground Museum’s current five-person exhibition, “My Self Is an Other,” takes its title from a painting L.A. artist Alexandra Grant made by the same name. That painting, which appears in the show, is of symmetrical, mirrored, intertwined words, which are hard to read because of the concentric rays of stripes that engulf them: “I Love My Self,” say white block letters, while green striped letters say “I Was Born to Love.” The painting, like other works in the show, seems confident about its confusion — its best trait is that it’s not afraid to have not figured itself out. 3508 W. Washington Blvd., West Adams; through Nov. 22. (323) 989-9925, theunderground-museum.com.


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