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

Emily Mast's INDEX (2015) performed at Silencio in Paris
Emily Mast's INDEX (2015) performed at Silencio in Paris
Courtesy of Bénédicte Karyotis

This week, an army of probably inedible lollipops lines a gallery wall in Hollywood, and a ceremony downtown tries to counter the energy of a powerful, sinister old-boy's club convening at approximately the same time.

5. Perfect beach body
Painter Linda Stark’s Fixed Wave shows the torso of a woman with bright green flesh and blue waves across her crotch — waves in place of a bush. Her Fallopian tubes and ovaries are lightly visible and silver beads drop down her stomach. Although explicit, it mostly feels freshly confident. It hangs in Thomas Duncan’s current group show, “Calisthenics,” behind a much more casual, floppy sculpture by the artist B. Wurtz. He’s put three plastic bags over wood and wire posts — two of the bags look like ghosts, one like a checkered mask. 6109 Melrose Ave., Hollywood; through Aug. 15. (310) 494-1177, thomasduncangallery.com

4. Avant-garde Gumby
Gumby, the clay-animation character Art Clokey developed in the 1970s, performs a 45-minute piano concert in Drew Heitzler’s video California Medley. It’s playing in the upstairs galleries at Blum & Poe, as part of Heitzler’s show “Pacific Palisades.” Gumby tries his hand at Arnold Schoenberg and Frank Zappa and, occasionally, turns to look at the camera. The video, made by editing together and manipulating vintage footage, pays homage to California weirdness pretty well: An animated icon invented in SoCal by a wayward Midwesterner plays atonal music composed by expats who escaped war-torn Europe for L.A. and by a psychedelic SoCal rocker preoccupied with European composers. 2727 S. La Cienega, Culver City; through Aug. 22. (310) 836-2062, blumandpoe.com

3. Temporary living sculptures
For five hours on Saturday, performers at China Art Objects will be acting as sculptures, striking poses or doing small movements or actions. It’s part of artist Emily Mast’s INDEX, a temporary artwork she put together by borrowing bits and pieces from past performances she's staged (which have involved absurdist breakdancing, mimes and talking parrots). This time, the gestures likely will be more abstracted than ever — and there might be painted bodies waving flags. Visitors can stop in at any point. 6086 Comey Ave., Culver City; Sat., July 11, 1-6 p.m. (323) 965-2264, chinaartobjects.com

2. Lollipops and human hair
“The Slick and the Sticky,” curated by poet Vanessa Place at Various Small Fires, has an audio guide, which is unusual for a gallery exhibition. More unusual is that the audio guide plays in the outdoor corridor leading to the gallery’s main entrance. So you can stand up against the corridor’s wall and hear Place’s voice describing, for instance, artist Lisa Jarrett’s installation as “a study in survival.” In Jarrett’s artwork, called How Many Licks, small balls of dark human hair are encased in clear lollipops, all of them inserted into small holes in the gallery wall. The hair is safe — unless, of course, someone starts licking. The works such as this, which strike a balance between composure and bodily exposure, are the best in the show. 812 N. Highland Ave., Hollywood; through Aug. 8. (310) 426-8040, vsf.la

1. People should care
A friend of a friend once saw Hulk Hogan running through Sonoma County woods in July, around the time members of the Bohemian Club, a powerful-men-only club, were congregating at their campground for an annual two-week gathering. The meetings have been happening since the late 1800s, when tycoons and politicians commandeered a club started by artists; plans for the Manhattan Project, the research that led to the creation of the atom bomb, apparently were hatched at the 1942 meeting. Each year, the Bohemians purportedly begin their meeting with a "Cremation of Care" ritual, where a coffin is burned in effigy. This weekend, around the time the Bohemians burn care, artist Eliza Swann will be staging a "Resurrection of Care" ceremony. Hers takes place downtown at Coaxial Projects, the same night a show of video art opens there. 1815 S. Main St., downtown; Fri., July 10, 8 p.m. (213) 536-8020, coaxialarts.org

Catherine Wagley on Twitter

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