This week, one artist explores shades of cake, and two others make fog from testosterone suppressants.
Self-marriage and pizza by fax
In the final moments of Pippa Garner's video Onboard Trophy Wife, a disembodied hand holds up a sign that says, "Legalize self-marriage." Garner has just married herself, or the self she’d been before transitioning from Phil to Pippa. The video, like the others in the show, is campy but also a weird experiment in efficiency — what could be more streamlined than self-marriage, coupledom uncomplicated by another person? Garner, who studied transportation design in the 1960s, has included compact vehicles in her show at Redling Fine Art. Crowd Shroud is a wheelchair inside a human-sized brown booth — a mobile closet for being out in the world unseen. World’s Most Fuel Efficient Car is a 1972 Honda that’s been emptied of its engine and turned into a peddle-fueled machine. One wry drawing from 1995 depicts semi-helpful life hacks: a pizza-transmitting fax machine and a spoon-apult (“delicious but deadly”) for hurling food medium distances. 6757 Santa Monica Blvd., Hollywood; through June 3. (323) 378-5238, redlingfineart.com.
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Little heaps of gold glitter sit on the floor of Andrea Longacre-White’s exhibition at Various Small Fires, each of them beneath wall-mounted sculptures of real burnt wood and clean, white 3-D printed replicas of wood. These sculptures cradle some glitter, too, though keeping it together in one place is an impossible task. Glitter never stays put. Longacre-White crafted her other sculptures from hardware and exercise and fetish equipment. Fucking Smile consists of shibari rings, used for bondage, and equestrian ropes that fall down the wall, then loop into the shape of a cartoonish grin. Her two Full Stop sculptures — dense assemblages of rings, metal fasteners, ropes and sleek 3-D prints of lilies — hang from the wall vertically, reaching to the floor. They look elegant but also pent up, as if they’re full of energy that wants to explode but can’t. 812 Highland Ave., Hollywood; through May 27. (310) 426-8040, vsf.la.
All kinds of consumption
All the sweets in Nancy Buchanan’s 50 Shades of Cake photographs are gray, brownish or black. They’re funereal and meant to be a bit off-putting. Who wants a wedding cake with black frosting flowers? Buchanan titled her show at Charlie James “Consumption,” a nod both to consumerism and illness (tuberculosis used to be called “consumption”). In a subsequent gallery, Buchanan installed work she started in the late 1990s, updating 19th century landscape paintings by adding in the suburbs that now populate once-open fields or vistas. An army of homogenous houses now sits at the base of mountains Edgar Payne painted in the late 1800s. 969 Chung King Road, Chinatown; through May 13. (213) 687-0844, cjamesgallery.com.
In the 2011 film Encounters I May or May Not Have Had With Peter Berlin, Mariah Garnett appeared under a disco ball dressed as the alt artist and performer who turned himself into a sex symbol. Later she tracked down and talked to the real Peter Berlin, who offered his critique of Avatar (if those character had looked more like Berlin did at his prime, it would’ve been a better movie). In Full Burn (2014), Garnett filmed war veterans who continue to seek extremes as stunt doubles, and another who became a massage therapist. The film's title came from the opening scene, in which a former marine, now a stuntman, sets himself on fire in slow motion. These and others of Garnett’s films screen at the Echo Park Film Center this weekend. 1200 N. Alvarado St., Echo Park; Fri., May 12, 8 p.m.; $5. (213) 484-8846, echoparkfilmcenter.org.
Anti-testosterone fog machine
It’s hard to read and even harder to retain the text on the blue transparent screens set up in Human Resources right now, as part of Candice Lin and Patrick Staff’s “LESBIAN GULLS, DEAD ZONES, SWEAT AND T.” The text addresses colonization, sexuality, trauma and more (the "heinous sin of self-pollution and all its frightful consequences," says the pithiest plaque), but it’s blurred both by the inconsistent lighting and the fog emanating from DIY smoke machines attached to a semicircular structure made from two-by-fours. The fog is actually from botanicals known to suppress testosterone production. Attractive handmade joints containing similar herbs are set out on wooden shelves. Lin and Staff have created an organically anti-patriarchal haze for visitors to wander through. 410 Cottage Home St., Chinatown; through May 21. humanresourcesla.com.