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

Raffi Kalenderian's The Tennis Player (2016)EXPAND
Raffi Kalenderian's The Tennis Player (2016)
Courtesy of the artist and Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects. Photo: Jeff McLane

This week, one artist mimics psychoanalysts while another paints invisible athletes. 

Tennis ghost
The woman in skates and a blue sequined dress in Raffi Kalenderian’s The Figure Skater could either be at the center of a full arena or alone in some dark blurry rink. Either way, she looks as if she’s about to fall backward and a spray of white marks — ice chips, perhaps — rises up in front of her. Another of Kalenderian’s painting in “For the Dead,” his show at Susanne Vielmetter Projects, features the shoes, headband, shirt and shorts of a runner moving across an expanse of whites, grays and bright orange. The runner has no limbs. A third painting shows a phantom tennis player, his limbs also gone as his racket, socks and crisp white outfit move without him. It’s kind of comical and kind of apocalyptic, the ghost figures carefully rendered against loose, rough abstract environments. 6006 Washington Blvd., Culver City; through Aug. 27. (310) 837-2117, vielmetter.com.

Sweeping up 
Old worn brooms, acquired on the cheap, lead from the entryway into Alexis Smith’s show “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” at Honor Fraser. Smith, who has been giving domestic imagery a wry edge since the 1970s, collaborated with poet Amy Gerstler on this installation. Cinderella appears on the wall, dancing with her prince, except she has a broom with blue bristles over her face. In the back room, two pink baby-bottle nipples have been attached to either side of a traditionally painted ship. Text beside the painting reads “Gin was mother’s milk to her,” and a bottle of Bombay Sapphire gin sits on the floor. 2622 S. La Cienega Blvd., Mid-City; through Aug. 27. (310) 837-0191, honorfraser.com

Money meets fire
William E. Jones’ video in “The Long Take,” a two-person show at LACA, features banknotes from a wide range of countries, some of them former colonies. The most recognizable currencies, from capitalist superpowers (like the United States, U.K. and European Union), are missing. Often, the notes show figures working, lifting loads, tending fields. Mariah Garnett’s video in the adjoining room features labor, too. Men in Northern Ireland build huge piles of palettes and tires, for bonfire making, and then, moments later, massive fires rage. It’s hard to tell if the fires are celebratory, rebellious or political. Maybe they're all three. 2245 E. Washington Blvd., downtown; through Aug. 27. (213) 935-0740, lacarchive.com

Unicorn problems 
Jean Lowe made papier-mâché replicas of yellow, ruled paper pads in the mid-2000s, wrote on them and called them Doctor’s Notes. They read as quick summaries of patient interactions. There’s one about a middle-aged, well-off guy who gambles and shoplifts but doesn't address these behaviors because the specter of global warming looms. Another patient obsesses over procreation and one, it seems, has “serious problems drawing unicorns.” Lowe’s work appears in Rosamund Felsen’s “Celebratory Closing Show,” the send-off for a gallery that has persisted since the 1970s. Other gems include Marcia Roberts’ minimally striped expanse of purples and glowing red on canvas and Patrick Nickell’s Sometimes It’s Hard to Hear the Cold Hard Truth, a wall-hanging sculpture that resembles a multitongued, pastel-colored monster. 1923 S. Santa Fe Ave #100, downtown; through Sept. 1. (310) 828-8488, rosamundfelsen.com.

Exhibition that won't stay still
“Everybody Come Stand at the Altar,” the first exhibition at the newly opened, artist-run space PSSST, performs for you. Lights come on and off, slowly, drawing the focusing to different sculptures or images in the room. A spotlight lingers long enough on Deana Lawson’s photograph Altar — an image in which many religious traditions and relics mingle — that you start to notice the bills rolled up everywhere; money serves as a loaded, decorative throughline. Jesse Fleming’s film, in which a snail crawls up and over a razor's edge as drums beat, plays on one wall for a while. PSSST’s opening coincides with heated, ongoing conversations about the role of art spaces in the Boyle Heights neighborhood, so it’s good that the show is more probing and ephemeral than assertive. It closes with a reception this weekend. 1329 E. Third St., Boyle Heights; Sun., July 31, 2-5 p.m. (323) 515-9447, pssst.xyz. 


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