Elaine Cameron-Weir, dressing for altitude (2017)
Elaine Cameron-Weir, dressing for altitude (2017)
Courtesy the artist and Hannah Hoffman Gallery

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

This week, oversized cyborg legs occupy a Mid-City exhibition, and a longtime L.A. artist obsesses over the moon.

Bondage
“Will you be getting your metal on?” Glamour magazine asked in a piece about how chainmail dresses became a 2017 trend. The chainmail dress in Elaine Cameron-Weir’s current exhibition, “wave form walks the earth” at Hannah Hoffman, is more medieval and hardcore than anything model Kendall Jenner recently wore. Cameron-Weir’s steel dress hangs from metal cables, with leather straps draped over the shoulders and pewter body casts of two breasts and an abdomen attached in the appropriate places. Elsewhere in the show, silvery sandals with toe indentations in their surfaces hang from leather, and steel and leather grids confine billowy, beige silk parachutes. The objects in this show are gorgeously stoic and fierce yet forcibly restrained. 1010 N. Highland Ave., Hollywood; through Nov. 4. (323) 450-9106, hannahhoffmangallery.com.

Inside their heads
The shadow of a head appears through glowing blinds, floating right above a wooden desk. The set resembles something out of a vintage detective film, so the shadow seems like some sort of omen. Peek behind the blinds and you’ll find it’s just a suspended cardboard cutout of a classic bust, lit from behind. William Leavitt, who’s been working in L.A. since the 1960s, used the sets in this exhibition at Honor Fraser for a recent film, Cycladic Figures, but the only hint the press release gives is that, like most of his films, this one brings sci-fi to SoCal. The objects and accompanying paintings set a mood, however — they’re familiar and still uncanny. In the set called Faraday Cage (2016), a lawn chair sits under a teepee’s wooden frame inside a cozy living room. His painting Design Team (2017) shows a pristine, minimal brown and white interior inside the shapes of two busts, as if such perfect design exists only inside their heads. 2622 S. La Cienega Blvd., Mid-City; through Oct. 21. (310) 837-0191, honorfraser.com.

Dibs on the moon
Billy Al Bengston “doesn’t give a shit about what you think about these paintings,” says the press release for his current show at Various Small Fires. He’s only ever “given a shit about what his close circle” thought. Whether he cares if we care or not, the moon paintings that hang in his show, called “It Is the Moon Doggie,” are exuberant, bright and cheesy in just the right ways. Bengston, a longtime Angeleno, says his inspiration for these was a motorcycle ride with a buddy, artist Ed Ruscha. The moon was beautiful, and Bengston called dibs on it. Now moons float on big canvases above sunsets or against dark blue sky. Some are flat, others so thick and textured that you want to touch them. Grids and lines of yellow, green or blue intersect the canvases, and these extra design elements sometimes seem endearingly excessive. 812 N. Highland Ave., Hollywood; through Oct. 28. (310) 426-8040, vsf.la.

Cyborgs watch TV
Ad Minoliti, based in Buenos Aires, painted bent, stylized, feminine legs on the walls of Cherry and Martin for her current show, "G.S.F.C. 2.0 (Geometrical Sci-Fi Cyborg)." The legs have eyes on either their calves or knees. Three sets appear to hold up a trio of photographs of modernist interiors. Another set of especially large legs converges on a corner, where a saturated, cartoonish painting of an enchanted garden hangs. Two paintings rest on pillows on the floor, facing a flatscreen TV. Both have single eyes floating near the center of pastel-colored landscapes. Minoliti calls paintings like these her cyborg paintings, but not just because of the single eyes at their centers. The title also comes from her process: She sketches the scene, then photographs it, prints the photograph onto canvas and then paints over it, so that they’re half machine-made, half handmade. 2712 S. La Cienega Blvd., Mid-City; through Nov. 4. (310) 559-0100, cherryandmartin.com.

Books for all
The USC Fisher Museum’s exhibition of Mexico-based James hd Brown’s work includes a number of artist-made books, some of which he made with friends — collages and originals prints included in the pages. Brown, whose handcrafted rugs, sculptures and paintings are all equally idiosyncratic, also co-runs a press in Oaxaca called Carpe Diem, where he makes books for and about other artists. He’ll lead a bookmaking workshop this week with photographer Graciela Iturbide (who has made a book with Brown's press), and all participants can come away with their own handmade book. 823 Exposition Blvd., Exposition Park; Tue., Oct. 17, 5:30 p.m.; free. (213) 740-4561, fisher.usc.edu.

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