Friedrich Kunath's In Freddy's room (study), 2016
Friedrich Kunath's In Freddy's room (study), 2016
Courtesy of M+B and the artist

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

An encased hamburger makes an appearance in a West Hollywood show this week, and a Chicago-based photographer pokes at grand architecture.

Still hungry
Vinny Dotolo, whose newest restaurant project is Jon & Vinny’s on Fairfax, tried his hand at curating for M+B’s new show, “Please Have Enough Acid in the Dish.” Most works reference food, some quite explicitly. Artist Matthew Brandt put two hamburgers in precisely sized Plexiglas boxes. The toppings smear and bleed out from beneath the bun. Friedrich Kunath replaced the sun with a wet, glowing egg yoke in a seductive drawing that includes the words “Still hungry after all these years” — perhaps an homage to Paul Simon (“still crazy after…”) or Richard Simmons, since that was the title of the fitness celeb’s memoir. 612 N. Almont Drive, West Hollywood; through Sept. 2. (310) 550-0050, mbart.com

Saturated ambition
When she was working on her "Architectural Site" series in the 1980s, Barbara Kasten would go into ambitious postmodern lobbies of courtyards and use mirrors, gels and Hollywood lights to turn the architecture into oversaturated, flamboyant abstractions. In the photograph she took in Frank Gehry’s Loyola Law School, three central columns look like they’ve popped out of a psychedelic cartoon. She also took one in New York City’s World Finance Building, in which a staircase is lit celestially and mirrors make the ceiling seem displaced, as if it’s floating in fragments midair. César Pelli, who designed that building, also designed the ostentatious Pacific Design Center, whose MOCA satellite is filled with Kasten’s survey, “Stages.” It’s a show that hovers interestingly between melodrama and dryness — Kasten is precise, drawn to shapes and abstractions, but always poking fun at modernism and monuments. 8687 Melrose Ave., West Hollywood; through Aug. 14. (310) 289-5223, moca.org. 

Dark, weird, cartoon seriousness
Artist-curator Max Maslansky wrote a long paper to accompany the show he organized at Telles Fine Art, called “Tinseltown in the Rain: The Surrealist Legacy in Los Angeles, 1935-1969.” In it, he traces webs of connection — the exhibitions of Frenchmen such as Marcel Duchamp and René Magritte in L.A.; how European émigrés influenced Looney Tunes; how certain L.A. artists literally called themselves post-surrealists because they wanted to be less exotic, more rational than their European counterparts. All those labyrinthine details come across immediately when you see the work in the main gallery, hung salon-style on a single wall. John Altoon’s perversely childish illustrations hang above Marjorie Cameron’s dark, occult-informed romanticism. Beatrice Wood’s funny wood relief of three rear ends is next to a fleshy Charles Garabedian painting that evokes pinup girls and birthday cakes. 7380 Beverly Blvd., Hancock Park; through Aug. 13. (323) 965-5578, tellesfineart.com

Old relics and big hoops
The dumb simplicity of Agathe Snow’s papier-mâché, foil and metal sculptures, which look like massive Hula Hoops with odd, handmade child’s toys stuck onto them, is their appeal. Five of them appear in the current exhibition at Moran Bondaroff, "Eternal," alongside work by 26-year-old Marco Barrera and 81-year-old George Herms. Herms’ sculptures, made between 1968 and 1996, as usual steal the show with their haphazard internal logic and grit. He sets a ladder on top of a cabinet, and combines old newspaper clips, ribbed fabric and a rusty chain to make a relic that he hangs askew. 937 N. La Cienega Blvd., West Hollywood; through Aug. 27. (310) 652-1711, moranbondaroff.com

Sensitive pottery
During Current:LA, the inaugural edition of L.A.’s public art biennial, artist Lauren Bon will host olla-making workshops at Metabolic Studios, which she founded to make environmentally aware, site-specific work. An olla, a ceramic jar that remains unfired, can be used to irrigate plants if it remains unglazed (you bury it in the ground, with the opening exposed, and fill it with water). All clay used will be dug up from the L.A. River corridor. RSVP to ollaworkshop@metabolicstudio.org. 1745 N. Spring St., Chinatown; Thu., July 28, Aug. 4 & 11, 10:30 a.m.-4 p.m. currentla.org/olla-workshop

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