5 Artsy Things to Do in L.A. This Week: Totems That Could Be on Sesame Street

Park Seobo's Ecriture No. 5-80 (1980)
Park Seobo's Ecriture No. 5-80 (1980)
Courtesy of the artist and Blum & Poe

This week, big, formal objects are weirder and better than they at first appear, and MOCA's new chief curator takes the stage.

5. Poetry and painting minus gravitas
Spencer Longo has work involving loofahs and suspended white sneakers at artist-run Levy Delval in West Adams. John Roebas has some low-hanging, monochromatic abstractions. Three L.A. poets — Andrew Choate, who’s good at humorous non sequiturs, as well as Joseph Mosconi and Keith J. Varadi — will read amongst the art. 4619 W. Washington Blvd., Culver City; Fri., Oct. 3, 7 p.m. (213) 948-8386, levydelval.com.

4. Blank white sign
In “Informal Forms,” curated by Tel Aviv–based Noam Segal at Aran Cravey, includes a searing drawing by Karl Haendel of a guy in a hoodie with a white, blank sign around his neck and another drawing of two kids, one grinning with rifle in hand, with silhouettes of adults behind and the silhouette of what must be a prone deer in front. There’s half a circle cut out of the drawing of the kids, which is a theme in this show: unusual shapes and unexpected empty spaces. 6918 Melrose Ave., Hlywd.; through Nov. 1. (323) 591-0036, arancravey.com.  

3. Making big things light
The seven brightly colored, solid wood totems Lisa Williamson has arranged at Tif Sigfrids call to mind that Feist appearance on Sesame Street, where the singer performed, surrounded by silly creatures, a version of a song that in other contexts is all about losing love. Williamson’s 6-foot-tall Long Stretch, a narrow pink cylinder with a hollowed-out blue rectangle at its center, would be all about what’s missing if the levity of the colors didn’t distract. 1507 Wilcox Ave., Hlywd.; through Oct. 25. (323) 907-9200, tifsigfrids.com.

Upcoming Events

2. The new chief
The week before Helen Molesworth, previously based at Boston’s Institute of Contemporary Art, was appointed MOCA’s chief curator, I was listening repeatedly to the audio of a 2008 lecture she gave. It was about museums’ frequent failure to show work by historic feminist artists and what should change. It had an open-minded feel, even as Molesworth addressed misogyny, bad painting and prejudices, her own included. She’s starting her L.A. job this month and speaking here. 250 S. Grand Ave., dwntwn.; Thu., Oct. 9, 7 p.m.; RSVP recommended. (213) 621-1745, moca.org

1. Not quite following the rules
Park Seobo’s Ecriture paintings from the 1970s, with pencil marks arranged in lines or grids and drawn obsessively across a gray painted surface, look like handwriting exercises by a conscientious student who’s completely lost track of the assignment. At Blum & Poe, they’re hanging a few inches from the wall, because Seobo has inserted white-painted screws that stick out an inch or two from all four corners of the frames’ backsides. He then suspended the paintings using wires so they float screw's-distance from the walls. There’s other work in “From All Sides,” a show of monochromatic paintings made by a distinguished group of Korean artists in the 1960s and '70s, which combines obsessive elegance with off-kilter, figuring-it-all-out energy. 2727 S. La Cienega Blvd., Culver City; through Nov. 8. (310) 836-2062, blumandpoe.com


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