Detail of Joe Zucker's 1000 Mops (2017)
Detail of Joe Zucker's 1000 Mops (2017)
Courtesy of the artist and Maccarone

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

This week, an art show in San Pedro doubles as a cat adoption fair and an artist brings "Soup" to a Chinatown gallery.

Too many mops
Joe Zucker, the sculptor and painter who has mined his own obsessiveness since the 1960s, spent a year and a half painting mops. He used every color available from paint manufacturer Benjamin Moore, painting 1,000 mop heads in all. Sometimes he dipped a mop head into just one color. Other times, he used multiple colors on one, then twisted, wrung or flattened the head so it would dry in a specific, peculiar shape. He also crafted modules, four mops linked together by their poles to make a square with a colored head at each corner. The project would seem like shtick if it weren't so all-involving, and the idiosyncrasies of the mop heads, which currently fill Maccarone's large white-walled space, grow on you. 300 S. Mission Road, Boyle Heights; through April 1. (323) 406-2587, maccarone.net.

Invisible scientist in a rolling chair
You'll find 3-D goggles everywhere at 356 Mission right now: on the table outside the galleries, on a table inside, on the faces of the people sitting in wheeled office chairs in the main gallery space. Trisha Baga's "Biologue" is a messy-on-purpose show that features cardboard next to canvases that look like cardboard, and a real unkempt desk paired with 3-D footage of an unkempt desk in a film that goes on in a scattered way but has an addictive rhythm. An invisible narrator proves her invisibility by holding up a newspaper, before the film describes the process of mitosis. On an opposite wall, footage of people climbing endlessly up a hill plays without sound, the projected imagery hitting the papier-mâché rocks (also appropriately messy) situated on the floor. Most of the show is inside a dark, black room, but the hallway outside the room is lit and lined with lenticular paintings: dimensional, neon images of wildlife covered with thick swirls and piles of acrylic paint. 356 S. Mission Road, Boyle Heights; through March 19. (323) 609-3162, 356mission.com.

High and low
At the press preview for "Jason Rhoades: Installations, 1994-2006," the impressive new Hauser Wirth & Schimmel show of the late L.A. artist's work, Rhoades' mentor and former teacher, artist Paul McCarthy, spoke about him at length. He made important historical associations but also told the kinds of random stories only a parent figure would find significant. There was that lineage between Rhoades, Mike Kelley and Chris Burden — all L.A. iconoclasts. Then there was that thing Rhoades said once, during a grad school critique, about how one of his classmates' sculptures might look better installed in a truck. This collapsing of the historical and the anecdotal happens in Rhoades' work too: His room-sized installation My Brother/Brancusi, made in 1995, combines images of his brother's room and of the Paris sculptor's studio. Carved modernist monuments stand beside weightlifting equipment. Piles of doughnuts from a doughnut-making machine on the floor maybe aren't so different from a sculptor's wood shavings. 901 E. Third St., downtown; through May 21. (213) 943-1620, hauserwirthschimmel.com.

Horned baby with party hat
All the walls at Henry Taylor's Chinatown space are deep red for Asuka Anastacia Ogawa's solo show there, the better to make the room close in on you as the paintings pop. Most works in the show, called "Soup," are portraits of fantasy scenes that straddle tragedy and humor. A child in a light cocoon that emphasizes the darkness of her smooth skin has horns and wears a party hat. A clown in a spotted suit hovers near the child's arm, holding a white cat. In another painting, a larger child in a surreally shaped party dress holds a scythe as fish swim above her head, a dismembered leg on a chair behind her. 510 Bernard St., Chinatown; through March 15. By appointment, chinatowntaylors@gmail.com.

Art cats meet real cats
In the galleries at Angels Gate Cultural Center, A.L. Steiner's lackadaisically attractive photograph of a puppy in bed and Sarah McMenimen's drawing of stately dogs share space with Davida Nemeroff's photographs of horses, also stately and fleshy. The show, called "Significant Otherness," then has its practical arm in the park this weekend, where a kitty food drive and an adoption day play out along with DJ sets, vegan snacks and performances. Any proceeds and donations benefit Spay Neuter Project L.A. 3601 S. Gaffey St., San Pedro; Sat., Feb. 25, noon-4 p.m. angelsgateart.org/gallery/significant-otherness.

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