Jesse Benson, Repainting 2 (Miracle Grow) (2017)EXPAND
Jesse Benson, Repainting 2 (Miracle Grow) (2017)
Jeff McLane/Courtesy the artist and Michael Benevento

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

This week, Jesus makes an urban appearance, and refrigerators take on new lives as abstracted monuments.

Who's there?
Jesus is knocking on the United Nations building in Jesse Benson’s painting Repainting 2 (Miracle Grow), just as he did in Harry Anderson's 1961 painting Seventh Day Adventist. In both paintings, Jesus is stereotypically fair, long-haired and dressed in flowing white and beige robes. But in Benson’s, the proportions are different: Jesus is bigger, as big as the UN headquarters, and the lines are softer. Anderson titled his civically minded Jesus Prince of Peace, but Benson reserved that title for a painting in the new room of his show at Michael Benevento Gallery. Benson’s Prince of Peace (2017) is a quaint, rosy-cheeked Kris Kringle, sticking his tongue out to catch a snowflake. The show is full of mythical male father figures, though not all of them as un-conflictedly benevolent. The final room includes four of Benson’s Dad Paintings — these are based on photographs that artist Fred Lonier (also represented by Benevento) made in the mid-1990s. We see religious imagery (an angel guarding small children or the pope addressing a crowd) next to nude pinups, the sort of imagery that might appear in the break room of a devout man who also fully embraces his vices. 3712 Beverly Blvd., Koreatown; through Nov. 11. (323) 874-6400, beneventolosangeles.com.

Check in the fridge
Josh Callaghan’s carved refrigerators are as stoic as any sculptural monument; John Chamberlain’s smashed metal totems come to minds, but these are funnier and more familiar. They’re white and black, typical kitchen design colors. Monument to Space Exploration (2017), the white one shaped like a slim, looming pyramid, is lit so it looks like the refrigerator light is still on inside. If you’re admiring a cut — the fantastic angular windows carved into the three stacked mini fridges, for instance — you might lean close and see the flimsy shelves remain inside. There’s still a bit of grime, and you get that same intimate, connected feeling that you get peering into a new friend’s fridge, only this friend is out there indeed. 2276 E. 16th St., downtown; through Nov. 18. (323) 589-1135, nightgallery.ca.

Spinning forever
In the mid-1980s, artist Skip Arnold decided to perform simple acts, repetitively, for television. He slept, shook his head, played hopscotch, allowed himself to be punched in the stomach and ate olives. A selection of this footage appears in Ltd Los Angeles’ current show of his work, “plus ou moins.” Simply acting has always been his primary art form: doing things wholeheartedly, so that even familiar behaviors become surreal, unnerving or perhaps dangerous. At Ltd, monitors line the walls in the second downstairs gallery and appear on plinths in the upstairs office, older work mingling with new. In Whipping Series, a new body of video work, Arnold spins continuously around his studio nude, cameras capturing him from three angles. 1119 S. La Brea Ave., Mid-Wilshire; through Nov. 3. (323) 378-6842, ltdlosangeles.com.

Hopscotch for all
Harry Gamboa Jr., artist, activist and founding member of the performance troupe ASCO, will be at the Getty this weekend, along with a whole host of collaborators, turning the marble complex into something of a pop-up festival. Boyle Heights–based nonprofit Self Help Graphics will lead a political sign–making workshop, and then Gamboa will instruct guests in acrobatic sign-spinning, so that sidewalk advertising shenanigans can become protest tools. A massive game of hopscotch will play out on the Getty’s gridded floor. The all-female DJ collective Chulita Vinyl Club will perform, and guests can pose and perform in Gamboa’s fotonovela tableaus, loosely based on 1950s pulp fiction and comic books. 1200 Getty Center Drive, Brentwood; Sat., Oct. 28., 6 p.m. getty.edu.

Mozart as a washerwoman
Composer and artist Pauline Oliveros, who died in November at the age of 84, wrote an essay for The New York Times in 1970. “Why haven’t women become great composers?” she asked, then answered that it was because being female made the barrier to entry too high. When she collaborated with artist Alison Knowles on a series of postcards in 1974, each card spoofed a different great man from music history. In their versions, all these male icons were female: Bach was a mother, Mozart was a black washerwoman and Beethoven was a lesbian. The Oliveros tribute that the One Archive will host this weekend is called “Beethoven Was a Lesbian,” an homage to the postcard project. The International Contemporary Ensemble, an artist collective, will perform Oliveros’ experimental scores. (Her scores tended to be simple: For Breaking Boundaries, a performer was instructed to hold down a chord until the sound ended, then break the boundary with another, discordant chord). ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives at the USC Libraries, 909 W. Adams Blvd., University Park; Sun., Oct. 29, 4 p.m.; free with RSVP. one.usc.edu.

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