Lisa Lapinski's My Little Chair (2017)
Lisa Lapinski's My Little Chair (2017)
Courtesy of the artist and Kristina Kite Gallery

5 Free Art Shows to See in L.A. This Week

This week, an artist gives tiny sculptures away in West Adams and a late 19th century epic about a murdered prostitute gets a contemporary reboot.

Hobby heroines
Holly Hobbie dolls wear bonnets, braids and patchwork dresses. They look like they're straight out of the 1850s, though they first emerged on the market in the 1970s. In the first novel written about the character, Holly Hobbie is a ghost whose been stuck in a painting since 1803. Lisa Lapinski’s Holly Hobby (the name spelled differently) is a protagonist in the artist's current show at Kristina Kite, called “Holly Hobby Lobby,” but Holly doesn’t appear. Instead, the show consists of the character's stuff: wooden bows that stand up inside white grids laid out on the floor. Bows may be feminine things, but these are angular and geometric versions. Wooden Shaker-inspired pegs run all along the gallery walls and one peg replaces the face of My Little Chair, a sculpture based on a character named Little My from Tove Jansson’s children’s books. Lapinksi’s sculpture is shaped like a children’s chair. Her red lap is the seat. Her chest and akimbo arm the back. The legs end with her pointy black booties, though they dangle, since she hangs on the wall. She has a tight red bun, and looks defiantly, cartoonishly old-fashioned as she presides proudly over a room of well-crafted semi-abstractions. 3400 W. Washington Blvd., Arlington Heights; through Nov. 4. (323) 643 4656, kristinakitegallery.la.

Blowing covers
La Raza magazine, published in L.A. from 1967 to 1977, featured a remarkable range of charged photographs during its relatively short life. There are images of plain-clothes policemen surveilling Chicano rights gatherings, which were published to blow the officers’ cover. There are photographs of marches and Brown Berets getting arrested during the high school walkouts of 1968, also called the Chicano Blowouts. Not all of the images are credited, but Daniel Zapata took the one of protesters with flags marching a long a rural highway in 1971. One woman pushes her baby in a stroller. A wide selection from the La Raza archive hangs at the Autry now.
4700 Western Heritage Way, Griffith Park; through Feb. 10; $14. (323) 667-2000, autry.org.

Take it away
The grid of ceramic rectangles running along the back wall of Molly Larkey’s show at Ochi Projects now has quite a few missing pieces, one of which is on my counter. Larkey wants people to take them — she’s titled the artwork (and the show) a shape made through its unraveling, and it’s a collaboration with her viewers. The show wouldn’t look the way it does without all of us stopping by and taking something away. Among the other sculptures on view are friendly, linen-covered steel shapes, each about eight feet tall. The one called stall (2017) has geometric limbs doubling over themselves and reaching up toward the ceiling. 3301 W. Washington Blvd., Arlington Heights; through Oct. 21. ochiprojects.com.

Dangerous liaisons
Serial killer Jack the Ripper partly inspired German playwright Frank Wedekind to write his “Lulu” dramas in the 1890s. A young woman named Lulu is rescued from a life on the streets by a rich man named Dr. Schon, who makes her his lover. By the end of the first play in the series, Lulu has killed the doctor, though he'd first given her a gun and told her to use it on herself. In the second play, she’s working as a prostitute — and a client named Jack kills her. Artists Zoe Aja Moore, Liz Toonkel and Amanda Jane Shank have been reimagining the Lulu dramas. They’ve already done a series of performances for only male-identified audiences in women’s bedrooms across L.A. This week, they’ll be working during the day, turning the Automata theater into an evolving installation, then performing at night. You can visit the installation for free anytime; reservations are required for the performances. 504 Chung King Court, Chinatown; Tue., Oct. 3, 8 p.m.; free-$12. (213) 819-6855, performancepractice.la/portfolio/lulu.

Birthday candle rainbow
Marcos Lutyens’ Trancefiguration (2017) consists of a lit box on a pedestal with a small, smoking volcano inside of it. You sit on a chair in front of the box, put on headphones, then listen to a hypnotic voice lead you through a meditation. The artwork appears in the back room at JOAN, beneath the stairs. It’s part of “More Light,” a group show curated by one of JOAN’s three founders, Gladys-Katherina Hernando. The show is about perception and light, but loosely. In a vitrine near the front door, Astri Swendsrud has arranged piles of never-lit birthday candles, organizing them by color so that they become a lush wax rainbow. Adam D. Miller’s Astral Marker (Mummy 4) (2017) is a regal-looking reddish winged icon on a perfectly yellow pedestal. 4300 W. Jefferson Blvd. #1, West Adams; through Oct. 29.(323) 641-0454, joanlosangeles.org.

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