5 Free Art Show to See in L.A. This Week

Magdalena Kita, Californication (Happy Lovers)EXPAND
Magdalena Kita, Californication (Happy Lovers)
Courtesy of the artist and Charlie James Gallery

Two L.A. artists stage a creepy Father's Day film installation in Chinatown, and a German artist presents a sexualized SoCal fantasy. 

Fully exposed
In the long leadup to her current show at Charlie James Gallery, Cologne, Germany–based artist Magdalena Kita binge-watched Californication, the show in which David Duchovny stars as an alcoholic sex addict who’s always driving up and down Pacific Coast Highway. But Kita’s own version differs significantly. Women are the protagonists and they’re much less self-conscious and confused than Duchovny’s character. One of Kita’s women stands on a Cadillac in the shower. Another sits on the toilet, wearing a lacy bra. One gives head to a man who’s almost small enough for her to hold in her hand. The women don’t always seem empowered or satisfied, just unembarrassed and fully engaged with their sexuality. 969 Chung King Road, Chinatown; through July 16. cjamesgallery.com

Daddy drama
On Father’s Day, artists Paul Pescador and Maura Brewer will re-examine and interpret an iconic father-son drama, The Shining. Pescador and Brewer call their film, which will play on three channels, Dad Dad Dad. One channel reinterprets the relationships between characters, including the alcoholic father and clairvoyant son, and the Steadicam that Stanley Kubrick used to film them in his 1980 film. The second channel uses puppets and Styrofoam props to re-stage scenes from the movie, and the third combines original footage with the artist's handmade doppelgängers, so live action and puppeteering overlap. The installation is up for five hours only. 410 Cottage Home St., Chinatown; Sun., June 19, noon-5 p.m. humanresourcesla.com

Hippie aesthetics
The paintings in Sam Gilliam’s "Green April" have a lithe, psychedelic bigness that feels very new. Acrylic color bleeds across them, and some drape like thick, bunched-up curtains. It would be easy, on first glance, to assume they were made now, at a moment when tie-dye palettes and an undone aesthetic are entirely en vogue. But they were made in the 1960s and '70s, when Gilliam was a young African-American artist involved in the civil rights movement and painting in D.C. Back then his hippie sensibility merged with an abstract expressionist's boldness would have read differently. He wasn’t following the rules. His stained canvases were more process-oriented and accident-prone than the macho abstractions that preceded him, his approach too messy to fit in with his more precise, minimalist contemporaries. His paintings still have some of their anarchic energy, and they feel happily outside of time. 5130 W. Edgewood Place, Mid-Wilshire; through July 16. (323) 935-3030, davidkordanskygallery.com.  

Bedroom altars
Artist Carmen Argote collaborated on her current show with her sister, Alejandra Argote, arranging a collection of handmade altars and intimate objects across the floor of Commonwealth and Council’s main gallery. The show is called “Alex’s Room,” because so many of the objects in it are on loan from the room of Alejandra, who goes by Alex. The altars, based on façades of buildings near where Alex lives in Boyle Heights, are dollhouse-sized and covered in small figurines and souvenirs. On the walls, Argote has hung collages, photographs of herself or Alex in her room wearing a mask, duplicated and layered on top of one another so that images repeat — a leg or certain toy might appear three times. Looking at them is like having vertigo, seeing double and triple of everything. 3006 W. Seventh St. #220, Koreatown; through July 6. (213) 703-9077, commonwealthandcouncil.com.  

Romancing a car
A snake hangs from a pole, casting a shadow on dry dirt, in one of Justine Kurland’s photographs. All of the images in "Auto Parts," Kurland’s show at Kayne Griffin Corcoran are romantic; they could be scenes from a Western mystery movie where dialogue is sparse. Mechanics would be the likely protagonists. In another of Kurland's images, a James Dean look-alike caresses the underside of his red sedan as if it’s a lover. In a third, tires hang like wreaths near garage doors. 1201 S. La Brea Ave., Mid-Wilshire; through July 30. (310) 586-6886, kaynegriffincorcoran.com

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