This week, a master Viennese painter depicts herself as a rabbit downtown and an artist from Amsterdam turns his Hollywood show into a well-sponsored ping-pong event.
Alexei Pavlovich Solodovnikov’s 1955 painting The Divorce depicts a relatively well-dressed man sitting on a courtroom bench, staring ahead as his wife and child cry and huddle together in the background. Presumably, the man has just terminated his marriage. The painting currently hangs at the Wende Museum as part of the show “Questionable History,” curated by Joes Segal. Two labels on the wall flank the painting, each offering a different interpretation. The painting confronts the man's “urban modernity” and suggests “progress comes with sacrifice,” explains one label. The other label declares that the painting “fundamentally criticizes the effects of so-called ‘progress’ and ‘modernization,’ ideological catch words in Soviet society.” Similar dueling wall labels “explain” every work in the show, all of which were created during the Cold War, an exercise that shows how slanted and loaded official interpretation can be. 5741 Buckingham Pkwy., Ladera Heights; through March 31, 2017. (310) 216-1600, wendemuseum.org.
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Knives with names
Erika Vogt’s “Eros Island: Knives Please Rise,” her current show at Overduin & Co., features larger-than-life weapons made of polyurethane. These colorful, unwieldy weapons lean against a gallery wall and Vogt, whose sculptures often double as props in performances that may or may not ever play out in real time, named them: Joan Knife, Astrid Knife, Richard Knife. Honeycomb-shaped sculptures reminiscent of brass knuckles appear in the show too, although everything is cartoonish and exaggerated, making the objects more endearing than menacing. 6693 Sunset Blvd., Hollywood; through Oct. 22. (323) 464-3600, overduinandco.com.
The centerpiece of artist Wu Tsang's show at 356 Mission is an onscreen romance, a film in which Tsang’s frequent collaborator boychild plays Qiu Jin, a feminist Chinese revolutionary executed in 1907. Tsang plays Qiu Jin’s close female friend, calligrapher Wu Zhuying. The gorgeously produced film keeps cutting to scenes of women with knives, doing martial arts. Then we see Tsang and boychild staring lovingly at each other, lost in their romance. Near the back of the room in which the film plays is a coffin-sized box holding a neon sculpture: “You sad legend,” the neon says, its accusatory, indulgent tone contrasting the heroic, uncritical beauty of the onscreen love story. 356 S. Mission Road, Boyle Heights; through Nov. 6. (323) 609-3162, 356mission.com.
A ping-pong table stands right in the middle of the gallery in “Your Logo Here,” Jonas Lund’s current show at Steve Turner. At the opening, people played against a ball-spitting machine while a gallery assistant picked up the stray white balls. Those who weren’t able to attend could watch the “game” live-streaming on Facebook (the “game” is always live-streaming, whether or not people are playing). A court made up of banners advertising art magazines, art fairs, galleries and beer brands surrounds the table. These businesses and organizations are sponsoring Lund’s show, having made some kind of economic exchange with the artist (not necessarily monetary). Jerseys on one wall are ads, too, as are Plexiglas panels installed on the opposite wall. Everything is red, white, blue and purple, commercially upbeat and patriotic. 6830 Santa Monica Blvd., Hollywood; through Oct. 8. (323) 460-6830, steveturner.la.
Self-portrait as rabbit and razor
Maria Lassnig painted herself as an amoeba floating inside a television screen, as a rabbit-nosed, froglike thing and as a headless being with a figure that looked like a chair. She would abstract her body — and bodies in general — in seemingly grotesque ways, but the results would somehow be charming. One painting in the current survey of the late Viennese painter’s work at Hauser Wirth & Schimmel, called Naval Boat, is a particularly weird, virtuosic gem. Two gray legs hold up a belly and a boat-shaped torso, with a pink open mouth at top but no face. Instead of a head, Lassnig has painted a pink and purple object that resembles a multiblade Gillette razor. 901 E. Third St., downtown; through Dec. 31. (213) 943-1620, hauserwirthschimmel.com.