5 Artsy Things to Do in L.A. This Week, Including Politically Charged Dollhouse Building

Jess, The Enamord Mage: Translation #6 [detail] (1965)
Jess, The Enamord Mage: Translation #6 [detail] (1965)
Courtesy PMCA

A photographer documents his eccentric, glamorous parents obsessively and a group of women host a utopia building workshop.

5. Dinner can mean a lot
Artist Orly Olivier’s work is almost all about food and heritage, particularly the heritage of her Jewish-Tunisian family. She is cooking this weekend at Clockshop while Chris Silver, a PhD student who was formerly acting director of the Inter-Agency Task Force on Israeli Arab Issues, is spinning records from his collection of Jewish musicians from Tunisia, Morocco and Algeria. Scholar Sarah Abrevaya Stein will talk about her experience in Algeria, looking for Jewish historical sites. Guests will have a meal, while delving into specific cultural histories, which sounds homey and heavy. 2806 Clearwater St., Frogtown; Saturday, Nov. 15, 7 p.m. (323) 522-6014, clockshop.org.

4. Dollhouse utopias aren't just toys
The medieval French writer Christine de Pizan, whom feminist forerunner Simone de Beauvoir idolized, was essentially a 15th-century women’s right activist. Her Book of the City of Ladies, in which she imagines a utopian city in which women are appreciated and included, inspired the collective Necessary Habits to organize a workshop at Echo Park space Gal Palace: A Gal Palace for Gal Palace. Anyone, woman or not, can come and build miniature, dollhouse-style versions of their own utopias. 131 S. Rampart Blvd., Westlake; Sunday, Nov. 16, 12 p.m. galpalaceLA@gmail.comnecessaryhabits.com.

3. Garage garden
Roni Schneior, the first artist to show at garage-turned-gallery Diana, attached a photograph of herself to a globular ceramic pot she made. The photo, taken at the school she works at, looked foreign, not like a representation of her, and it somehow seemed right to have it hovering strangely above a now wilted plant. It sits on the floor across from two paintings of plants against pinkish skies, in which the green acrylic leaves comes off the canvas like they’re growing. The show, called “I Can See You Can You See Me,” balances earnestness and casualness in a satisfying way. 3048 Cazador St., Glassell Park; on view  Sunday, Nov. 16, 2-6 p.m., 3048diana@gmail.com.

Upcoming Events

2. Mom, dad plus the Valley
The late Larry Sultan, whose LACMA retrospective just opened, photographed his father and mother with the same curious distance he employed when photographing porn stars in the valley, which says a lot about his work. It’s all about style, posture and personality, but it’s best when those personalities have some moral ambiguity to them, so that the humanity of a subject doesn’t distract you from Sultan’s fantastic eye for detail. 5905 Wilshire Blvd., mid-Wilshire; through March 22. (323) 857-6000, lacma.org.

1. Paint-by-numbers the heavy duty way
Jess Collins, a Bay Area painter who went just by Jess, made these dense, textured “Translation” paintings in the mid-1960s, that were based on collages he made. He could combine book illustrations or black and white photographs then “translate” them to panels using a paint-by-numbers kind of approach. The results, a number of which are on view at the Pasadena Museum of California Art’s show about Jess, his partner Robert Duncan and their “circle” of artists, are like storybooks condensed onto a single plane. One, The Enamored Mage, has a tiffany lamp on the right hand side that’s so vibrant it’s hard to look away. 490 E.Union St., Pasadena; through Jan. 11. (626) 568-3665, pmcaonline.org


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