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

Portrait of Lenin by an anonymous artist. The painting has a bullet hole in it, through Lenin's forehead.
Portrait of Lenin by an anonymous artist. The painting has a bullet hole in it, through Lenin's forehead.
Courtesy of ESMoA and Wende Museum

This week, an artist-oracle leads sessions as part of a show about uncertainty and another artist riffs on new-age, self-realization in Chinatown.

Shooting a communist
The first artwork in “Plan” at El Segundo Museum of Art is a photo of Lehman Brothers executives lined up and looking small against the bank’s epic tiled floor. The men aren't actually standing on the tiles, however. They’ve been photographed over different years and then collaged together (some have 1950s haircuts; some look like classic products of the '70s). Later in the show, you'll encounter photographs of Madonna before she was famous and a painting of Lenin sitting peacefully on a bench, created by some anonymous social realist. Lenin has a bullet through his head because an angry Russian barged into a Moscow gallery to give the communist icon his due. “Plan,” which is purportedly about planning or not planning for the future, unfolds like an intuitively assembled curiosity cabinet like so many of the small museum's other exhibits. 208 Main St., El Segundo; through May 22. (424) 277-1020, esmoa.org

Corporate self-realization
Ian James’ exhibition at Metro PCS, the small space he co-runs with artist Matt Siegle, has a cultish, corporate feel. Images of glass, pyramid-shaped skyscrapers spread across one wall, a purplish sky behind them. On the tile floor, clear plastic poles puncture high-resolution, stock-style images (in one image, a woman’s cheek rests against a clean white phone), creating these stool-like, calf-high assemblages. The show, called “Higher Self-Rendezvous,” has a press release that reads like hackneyed brochure, though foul cynicism seeps through at the sentence-level: “When we raise our vibration, everything shits [sic] and the impossible becomes possible.” 422 Ord St., 2nd Floor, Suite D, Chinatown; through April 28. (323) 388-5650, metropcs.la

Orange peel in hot tub
In Brooklyn-based Jamian Juliano-Villani’s painting, To Live and Die in Passaic, a little figure made of an orange peel carries its own flesh (i.e., an unpeeled orange), across the white steps of a pristine hot tub. The painting appears in the new exhibition at Art & Practice, “A Shape That Stands Up,” a painting show that’s perhaps overfull and populated by too many names we already know, but still genuinely sensuous. One painting by L.A.-based Henry Taylor shows a woman with a blank face — she has no features, just an all-brown oval for a head — turning back to stare out at us. 4339 Leimert Blvd., Leimert Park; through June 18. (323) 337-6887, artandpractice.org.

Jocko Weyland's Ridge Lift (2014)
Jocko Weyland's Ridge Lift (2014)
Courtesy the artist and Martos Gallery Los Angeles. Photo by Mike Hansen.

Resort town shenanigans
Jocko Weyland, a Finnish artist based in Tucson, Arizona, set the paintings for his current Martos Gallery exhibition in a resort town called “Incline Village.” The paintings are at once quaint and crass, done in a loosely representational style that occasionally veers toward the cartoonish. Sticks in dirt spell out the word “bowl,” a bear wanders away in waning sunlight and a smiley-faced blob perches on a hill as rain and snow fall around it. A broom pokes out of snow near the ski lift. 3315 W. Washington Blvd., Arlington Heights; through April 23. (323) 643-4758, martosgallery.com

Pop-up fierceness 
The exhibition “Void of Course,” initially conceived as a response to the oft-sensationalized, mischaracterized work of artist and occultist Marjorie Cameron, will be on view at the Women’s Center for Creative Work for two days only. Artists Grace Kredell and Eliza Swann, who met two summers ago during feminist consciousness raising sessions, co-organized the show. All the artists involved are women, many of them quite fierce. They include Margaret Haines, who has written fantastic, quixotic histories of Cameron; and Amy Von Harrington, who designed a deck of handmade tarot cards, and will lead an oracle session on Sunday. 2425 Glover Place, Elysian Valley; Sat., April 9, 6-9 p.m.; Sun., April 10, 12-5 p.m. womenscenterforcreativework.com


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