5 Artsy Things to Do in L.A. This Week, Including Another Cats Show

View of Richard Hawkins and Marcel Alcala's installation at Night Gallery
View of Richard Hawkins and Marcel Alcala's installation at Night Gallery
Photo by Dawn Blackman

Painters who don't take themselves too seriously fill up a house in the Hollywood Hills, and some good collages are in a group show downtown. 

5. Way too many cats
The last show at 356 Mission consisted of big paintings of stylized flowers by longtime New York artist Alex Katz. "Katz" sounds like "cats," so now the space is hosting "Another Cats Show." It's not meant to be taken seriously. About 300 artists did cat-related projects, which are hung salon-style or exhibited all over the industrial-scale, concrete-floored gallery. Some of the work is hard to justify — what's the point of building a two-story-tall, slapdash cat tower, really? Then there are some gems, such as Melinda Sanders' Annikin Forever, a photograph of a pretty brunette in bed with a cat, which is as unnervingly idealized as the best stock photo. 356 S. Mission Road, dwntwn.; through Sept. 14. (323) 609-3162, 356mission.com.

4. Technology's not interesting
Last year, filmmaker-artist Miranda July did a project where a famous few — Kirsten Dunst, Lena Dunham, the Rodarte sisters — gave her access to their inboxes and she forwarded selected archived emails to a sprawling list of subscribers. Sometimes the emails were interesting; sometimes less so. Technology, in the way July approaches it, has as much potential for  awkwardness as do most other ways in which people try to relate to one another. At LACMA, July talks about her newest, tech-related project: an app that allows you to send a text message meant for a friend to a stranger in your friend's vicinity, who will then verbally deliver your message. 5905 Wilshire Blvd., Mid-Wilshire; Thursday, Sept. 11, 7 p.m. RSVP required. (323) 857-6010, lacma.org.

3. Going with the flow
Renku is collaborative Japanese poetry — traditionally, poets would get together and take turns adding lines. Artist-poet Eve Luckring made a series of super-short videos based on this form, with images and sounds leading into each other intuitively. In one, a shot of an action figure abandoned on a pile of leaves transitions into a view of wobbly, ice-skating legs. Luckring is screening these videos at MOCA, and, in the spirit of renku, she'll be joined by three L.A. musicians, a poet and a sound artist. 250 S. Grand Ave., dwntwn.; Thursday, Sept. 11, 7 p.m. (213) 626-6222, moca.org

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2. Playing with paint
Most of the paintings in "A La Mode: Painted Method," a show organized by art writer and curator Jennifer Li at the Hollywood Hills home of entrepreneur Winnie Lam, are playful. In Samantha Thomas' Picture Plane, white acrylic mimics the shape and look of a paper airplane. Ben Sanders' Bro Ho Dim Sum has a palette worthy of an '80s aerobics video and Erin Morrison's painting of placemats, appropriately called Placemat, is awkward in the best way. Through Sept. 27, by appointment; RSVP for location. (818) 395-8623, l-artprojects.com.

1. Fan art 
It's largely the Richard Hawkins collages, hung against the pitch-black walls of Night Gallery's loungelike side rooms, that make "Trains," curated by sculptor Sterling Ruby, worth seeing. They're crude, obsessive and tender, often with bright red and green paint over pasted pictures of teen heartthrobs or other personalities. It's like gritty fan art made by someone with serious respect for the seductiveness of glossy magazines. 2276 E. 16th St., dwntwn.; through Sept. 27. (323) 589-1135, nightgallery.ca

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