5 Free Art Shows You Should See in L.A. This Week

Joseph Holtzman's installation at the Hammer Museum
Joseph Holtzman's installation at the Hammer Museum
Photo by Brian Forrest

This week, a Nike shoe features in a Cypress Park screening, a cushy, colorful couch is right at the center of a Westwood exhibition, and pseudo cat furniture is the highlight of a downtown show. 

5. Beware the pink man
The Israeli graffiti trio Broken Fingaz spent nearly a month working on their show "Journey Galactiko," in the high-ceilinged Spring Street space set to be London-based Howard Griffin Gallery’s downtown L.A home. Rafters are still visible, walls are scruffy and there’s a freshly built wood temple you can enter in the middle of the room. Images hang on walls of a big, bald, lithe pink man who emerges from wombs and somersaults around the cosmos. Maybe because of the space’s rough-and-tumble nature, and maybe because the door is often propped open, the show feels as if it could easily spill out on the street. 410 S. Spring St., downtown; through July 25. (213) 478-1202, howardgriffingallery.com.

4. Cat furniture
The lighting in Belgian artist Michiel Ceulers’ show at Nicodim is unusually dim and yellowish. Paintings that are intentionally grimy and glitter — some actually have glitter on them — cover the walls of the main room. Those in the “Puberty Painting/Snake Skin” do look like snakeskins, but in an inexact, gooey way. That Ceulers manages to make Nicodim’s high-ceilinged, airy new space feel muggy is an impressive feat. You can almost imagine a kitty-litter smell emanating from the pink Plexiglas boxes on the floor, part of Ceulers’ “Cat Furniture” series. Even the tiniest of cats would be claustrophobic in these boxes, filled with odd sculptures that resemble scratching posts or climbing trees. 571-B S. Anderson St., downtown; through July 18. (323) 262-0260, nicodimgallery.com.

3. Dancing alone in grocery aisles 
Boris R., a series of nomadic performance events organized by Sarah Bay Gachot and Paul Gachot, debuts with a screening/performance called Gulp. Artist Paul Pescador, who will screen footage of himself dancing in a grocery store while reading dialogue he wrote, coordinated the lineup. Each of the eight artists involved has about five minutes. Danielle Dean, always interested in the look and feel of advertisements, will screen a short starring a Nike shoe. Artist-choreographer Brian Getnick will perform, briefly, as an old magician, a character he’s been exploring. 2601-2603 N. San Fernando Road, Glassell Park; Thu., July 9, 7:30 pm. sp@stupidpills.orgborisr.org.

Barbara Rossi's Double Crossing Lonesome Valley (1981)EXPAND
Barbara Rossi's Double Crossing Lonesome Valley (1981)
Courtesy Loudhailer and the artist

2. Formally funny
Chicago artist Barbara Rossi was a nun before she decided, at age 28, to study painting. Her work, almost from the beginning, had a ritualistic humor to it. The painting, Double Crossing Lonesome Valley (1981), is almost perfectly symmetrical and the two blue, yellow and pink figures look like a cross between cartoon flowers and ornate urns. This painting inspired the title of the show curated by artist Sayre Gomez at Loudhailer, “Meanwhile in Lonesome Valley." It hangs in back, anchoring a room full of funnily formal work: Liz Craft’s grid of tiles with a face hidden in the black background; Orion Martin’s warped ceramic bust with big eyes and peach-colored lipstick. 2648 La Cienega Ave., Culver City; through Aug. 1. (323) 369-1594, loudhailergallery.com.

1. Gaudy on purpose
New York–based Joseph Holtzman covered the walls of the Hammer’s project gallery with green felt, painted the ceiling green and placed two Christmas-colored couches in the middle of the floor. The upholstery is imprinted with images from Grant Wood’s kitschy 1931 painting The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere, and they’re the kind of couches you sink into (you're allowed to sit on them). So Holtzman’s 70-pound-plus abstract paintings — done on marble slabs, defiantly folksy and framed in rough wood — are never the show’s centerpiece. They're just one more idiosyncratic part of a texture-filled environment. 10899 Wilshire Blvd., Westwood; through Sept. 20. (310) 443-7000, hammer.ucla.edu


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