5 Artsy Things to Do in L.A. This Week, Including CIA Cover-Ups and a Car Wreck
Thomas Eggerer’s Heavy Harvest
Photo by Marten Elder
Volunteers are writing overlooked histories into Wikipedia this week, while a group of artists in Hollywood is being intentionally opaque.
5. Heavy-hearted road trip
Artist Julie Shafer drove the same Laramie, Wyoming, path taken by the two men who kidnapped and then killed Matthew Shepard. She started outside the Fireside Lounge, as they did, then stopped at the deer post where Shepard was later found. Each time she took a photo with her pinhole camera, she let the exposure continue until she reached her destination, which means her images are blurs of light and landscape. She’s talking about the project at 2A Gallery this weekend. 400 S. Main St., #2A, dwntwn.; Sunday, Dec. 14, 1:30 p.m. (213) 924-3472, 2agallery.com.
4. Sculpture about nondisclosure
When the CIA responds to a request for information by saying it can neither “confirm nor deny,” that’s called giving the Glomar response. The phrase stems from the CIA’s 1975 refusal to confirm or deny that it was using a ship called the Glomar Explorer to salvage a sunken Soviet submarine. Redling Fine Art is hosting a three-month series of “GloMar” exhibitions, in which artists explore obfuscation, opacity, neutrality and other such ideas. The current instance is almost painfully neutral and obtuse. Jason Kraus has installed a very tall microscope, built from indistinct design materials, while Nate Page has installed railings incomprehensibly made of brick and mortar. 6757 Santa Monica Blvd., Hlywd.; through Dec. 20. (323) 230-7415, redlingfineart.com.
3. Filling Wikipedia's holes
"Unforgetting L.A.," a project launched by the publication East of Borneo to enter more overlooked aspects of L.A. art history into Wikipedia, is convening for another edit-a-thon. This time, the event takes place at the California African American Museum, and the goal will be to write entries for artists and organizations from L.A.’s African-American art history. The Brockman Gallery, run out of Leimert Park for two decades, and architect Jack Haywood are on the to-do list. Wikipedia instruction will be provided for novices who want to help. 600 State Drive, Exposition Park; Sunday, Dec. 14, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. (213) 744- 7432, eastofborneo.org/unforgetting.
2. Perfect wreck
Balancing precision with vulnerability has always been part of Charles Ray’s project, as in the early 1980s, when he would insert his own real human body into minimal steel forms. His newest work, the 12-ton Baled Truck at Matthew Marks, is so impressively precise that it’s almost hard to remember what you’re looking at: a stainless-steel replica of a ruined truck that's been compressed into a unwieldy rectangle. The sculpture resonates with Ray's description of a previous wreck he replicated in 1997. He had gone looking for the right death wreck — a difficult task, it turned out, because not all devastating crashes leave behind smashed metal that’s equally interesting to look at. Once he found his wreck, the process of carving out his own version became “less about death than about perfection,” as Ray recently told art writer Tyler Green. 1062 N. Orange Grove Ave., W. Hlywd.; through Dec. 20. 323-654-1830, matthewmarks.com.
1. Bros do field work
The scene in Thomas Eggerer’s 10-foot-tall Heavy Harvest, the centerpiece of his small show at Richard Telles, doesn’t quite make sense. It’s an army of evenly spaced men working in a field, harvesting a crop that's invisible. The men are all white, and dressed like they’re heading out for a jog, about to go to a baseball game or mowing the lawn on a Sunday. Plenty of them wear baseball caps; a few have taken off their shirts. Three tractors drive toward the painting's bottom end. But Eggerer lays out each element of his painting so confidently that the oddness becomes frighteningly easy to overlook. 7380 Beverly Blvd., W. Hlywd.; through Dec. 20. (323) 965-5578, tellesfineart.com.
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