This week, a performance artist explains his risk-taking to his worried wife, and another artist sets a radio play in an imaginary SoCal town.
5. Near L.A. but not in it
The setting for artist Fred Schmidt-Arenales’ short play, co-written with Vienna-based artist Sarah Mendelsohn, is an imaginary midsized town not too far from L.A. that seems conservative but isn’t really. The characters include two women, one of them mysteriously pregnant, and a former marine who's just returned to the imaginary town. It’s meant to be a radio play, so the actors will be reading and not necessarily moving, and the performance will be recorded to play later on KXLU or KCHUNG. It should be kind of abstract at times and tense, even though the script fixates on little things: How do people wear their glasses? What smells bother them? When do they eat lunch, if they eat it at all? 420 W. Avenue 33, Unit 10, Lincoln Heights; Saturday, Feb. 28, 8:30 p.m. (646) 750-5375, pieterpasd.com.
4. No pants
Circa 1985, during the years he spent photographing the Hasidic Jewish community in New York, artist Brian Weil dressed up as a Hasidic man and photographed himself. He’s fully bearded in the images, on view in the Santa Monica Museum of Art’s show of his work. He’s wearing a vest and a hat, and he looks somber, though he’s only in boxer shorts, not actual pants, so the costume is incomplete. Still, there’s something about the urge to try to enter another world completely that you see in his other, grittier photographs as well — in his sex series, where naked bodies erotically interact with animals, or in his photographs of homicide victims, where you feel he’s lost in the world of his subjects. 2525 Michigan Ave., Santa Monica; through April 18. (310) 586-6488, smmoa.org.
3. Think of the children
Artist William Hunt had not yet told his wife that he planned to crash a car as part of a performance when she sat down to interview him for the video on view at Ibid Projects right now. Hunt tells her about the crash as she questions him about why he takes the risks he takes — how can he light himself on fire or free-fall from a roof into a pool? Doesn’t he worry about his two children? His answers, about the honesty involved in testing your limits, hover compellingly on that line between craziness and admirable commitment. (The highly produced, memorable footage of him crashing the car is on view, too). 675 S. Santa Fe Ave., dwntwn.; through March 21. (323) 395-8914, ibidprojects.com.
2. Look before you step
I almost stepped on one of David Musgrave’s sculptures the night his new exhibition at Marc Foxx opened. It’s a little thing made of aluminum, which Musgrave painted beige, and its edges curl up, so that it looks as if it's reaching up from the floor. Like the best work in the show, its shape and placement seem accidental even though it’s been so precisely crafted. 6150 Wilshire Blvd., Mid-Wilshire; through March 14. (323) 857-5571, marcfoxx.com.
1. Extra big nylons
The two paintings that April Street installed in Emma Gray’s Five Car Garage have been screwed into the floor, so they stand up like sculptures. This means you can walk all the way around and appreciate the contrast between the rectangular bigness of the wooden frames and the delicate nylon on which Street paints. Santa Monica, open by appointment; email for address. (310) 497-6895, email@example.com, emmagrayhq.com.
For more things to do in L.A. visit laweekly.com/calendar.
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