5 Free Art Shows You Should See in L.A. This Week
Przemek Pyszczek's Playground Structure (Stacked Worm) (2016)
Courtesy of the artist and Nicodim Gallery
This week, a former punk musician channels Pee-wee's Playhouse and a Berlin-based artist puts an eerie spin on playground equipment.
For her current show at apartment gallery Park View, J. Parker Valentine excavated some of her late mother’s old source material and artwork. She projected a slideshow from her mother’s archive against a muslin sheet that she also drew on, putting a layered landscape in the top left corner, and then she hung a painting her mother never finished in the walk-in closet. A leopard is climbing a tree, a snake wrapping itself around him. Loopy graphite lines overlay the scene. Similar graphite marks appear above milky-white paint in two of Valentine's paintings, which lean in a corner of the main room. Unlike her mother’s work, Valentine's scene includes no zoo animals, but there’s still a formal, noticeable resemblance. It's sweet but also loaded to see that lineage play out across artworks made by two women bonded by blood and history, especially given that Valentine's mother never saw any of the art Valentine made as a working artist. 836 S. Park View Street, Unit 8, Westlake; through Feb. 28. (213) 509 3518, parkviewparkview.com.
Goop and glam
When artist Seth Bogart, formerly the frontman of the punk band Hunx and His Punx, installed his “televisual” set in the basement gallery at 356 Mission last year, it was like a mix between Pee-wee’s Playhouse, a vintage toothpaste commercial and an underground night club. Fake commercials made by Bogart played. Bogart is doing a live show at the Echoplex, with live techno by Geneva Jacuzzi and a set that will likely be vampy and memorable. Apparently there will be "lots of surprise guests!” 1154 Glendale Blvd., Echo Park; Fri., Feb. 19, 8 p.m.; $11.50. theecho.com.
Bronze aliens and loose limbs
Roughly painted limbs — arms, legs, breasts — intersect bold, straight-edged rainbows in Marty Schnapf's new paintings at MaRS. Some of these painting are too nicely composed, so reminiscent of old-school abstractionists like Kandinsky, that their garishness gets lost. But the ones that work best feel like battle scenes in which good taste rapidly loses ground. Then there are the bronze sculptures sitting on pedestals and looking like the kind of aliens that fabulists might have drawn up a century ago, before computer graphics infected our imaginations. Smooth horns grow out of rough bodies dotted with heavily lidded eyes. 649 S. Anderson St., downtown; through March 5. (323) 526-8097, marsgallery.net.
Berlin-based artist Przemek Pyszczek riffs on child's play in his current show at Mihai Nicodim Gallery. Candy-colored metal jungle gyms cover the floors and playful metal grids overlay the color-block paintings on the walls. One such grid consists of shapes resembling trees in a field. It all seems pleasant enough at first. But the jungle gyms lean or lie on the floor and have missing rungs. They’re not really functional. The paintings have a dark side, too, given that Pyszczek based their compositions on low-cost prefab housing complexes in his native Poland. The thing that most drives home the show’s creepiness is the series of crumpled metal car parts scattered in and around the playground equipment. The artist has printed glossy family photos on this metal, so a smiling child’s face might appear on the apparent leftovers of a car wreck. 571 S. Anderson St., Ste. 2, downtown; through March 5. (323) 262-0260, nicodimgallery.com.
Totems for the lighthearted
The snaky, human-sized plaster sticks that stand in the back of Evan Holloway’s current exhibition at David Kordansky look vaguely alive. Rusty batteries protrude from them and they’re grouped together so it seems as if they’re a tribe of some sort, maybe a tribe en route to a sports game. Goofily totemic is probably a good way to describe the work of Holloway, an L.A. artist who’s influenced many younger peers but hasn’t had a solo gallery show here since 2004. In this show, a leaning tower of craggy heads, one with a light bulb for a nose, stands next to an ultra-modern, abstract looping monument. It looks like marble but isn’t. Instead it’s made of fiberglass and epoxy, and has a stick of burning incense sticking out of its side. The only thing that detracts from the eccentric mood is a sculpture of plants under lamps, so obviously illustrative and movie set–like that you might accidentally start to think the show makes sense when the best parts actually don’t. 5130 W. Edgewood Place, Mid-City; through March 26. (323) 935-3030, davidkordanskygallery.com.
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