This week, the painter who pushed for a "superflat" aesthetic brings his formerly 2-D monsters to the big screen, three artists clean an alt space from floor to ceiling, and a group show makes Night Gallery's big new space feel maze-like in a good way.
5. Mr. Clean as a conceptualist
Starting the morning of April 5, Human Resources, the vintage Chinatown theater-turned-art space, will be cleaned. The designated cleaners, who will use designated cleaning supplies (the press release mentions Mr. Clean), include Hailey Loman, whose wearable sculpture includes a blanket with a plastic sleeping compartment in the middle of it. Sleeping "wearers" of this sculpture look shrink-wrapped, safe in a sterile way. Cleaners also include Gaea Woods, who photographs objects of beauty, and Lucy Campana, who appeared in Opening Ceremony's ethereally clean "Spa Heaven" videos. Cleaning has been an art act before, but often to bring attention to labor hierarchies or gender roles. This time, the primary subject is the elusiveness of being perfectly clean. You can come to watch or help. 410 Cottage Home St.; Sat., April 5-7, starting 11 a.m.; free. (213) 290-4752; humanresourcesla.com.
4. Everyone has a little monster
Takashi Murakami, the Japanese artist who coined the term "superflat" to describe his pristine, anime-influenced paintings of creatures, superheros or smiley-faced flowers, routed most of the budget for his first feature film into special effects. The film, called Jellyfish Eyes, the same title Murakami gives the wallpaper of bubbly pink and green eyeballs he has installed in galleries, starts after a massive earthquake hits Japan. It tells of a surreal city where all children are paired with monsters who start out cartoonishly cute -- they look exactly like they popped out of Murakami paintings -- and grow alongside the children, in some cases turning into behemoths. The film, which includes a Godzilla-like menace and a tween romance, is released April 26 but screens at LACMA this weekend. 5905 Wilshire Blvd.; Mon., April 8, 7:30 p.m.; $10. (323) 857-6010, lacma.org.
3. Where the picture ends, nobody knows
In Brad Eberhard's four-foot oil painting Entrar, a large group of small figures wearing colored shirts, skirts or pants walk along an inclining expanse of greens, while green, blue and mauve shapes loom above them, some dripping down on them as stalagmites might. In Colored Dirt, another group stops to stare at an illuminated, perfectly rectangular section of the stalagmite-like colored shapes around them. So the figures in the paintings, themselves loose collections of color, are looking at a painterly abstraction of their surroundings. In Way Out, space has more or less collapsed and the dripping colors and figures become hard to distinguish from one another. The best of the works in "(dis-solve)," Eberhard's current show at Thomas Solomon Gallery, do this: Turn abstraction into figures and figures into abstractions. 27 Bernard St., Chinatown; through April 20. (323) 275-1687, thomassolomongallery.com.
2. Putting earth in a box so it can break out again
There's an awful story in art-world lore about the marriage of Ana Mendieta, the elegant earth artist, and Carl Andre, the clean-edged minimalist. She fell from a window one night, possibly pushed by him, and didn't survive. Sometimes this seems like a metaphor for how their sensibilities were too violently divergent to be together. But I've always wondered what would have happened if her organic forms had merged with his raw wood and steel ones. Could it have been beautiful? Eben Goff's wall sculptures at Diane Rosenstein, all carefully crafted out of wood, aluminum, wax and brass, feel like the manifestation of a minimalist-earth art marriage. And they are beautiful, arcs interrupting angles and wax settling around aluminum slides. 831 N. Highland Ave.; through April 13. (323) 397-9225, dianerosenstein.com.
1. On the cover of Time twice
In "Made in Space," curated by Laura Owens and Peter Harkawik at Night Gallery, Jedediah Caesar's bricks of resin run along the floor near where the wall meets it. Mungo Thompson's two mirrors that have Time magazine's logo at the top and its classic red border along the edges hang opposite each. This means, if you stand staring into one mirror, you'll look like you're on the cover of Time but you'll also see the reflection of you being on the cover of Time in the other mirror. In a tapestry by Michael Decker, animals cut from T-shirts wear sunglasses. Davida Nemeroff's dreamily blurred photo of a horse's ass hangs on an angled wall, right behind Liz Larner's standing, human-sized sculpture, made of blue and silver tubes so frenetic they look like limbs of a tumbleweed. But if I'd been able to ignore who made what and just experience the show as a shifting landscape of well-made, somewhat surreal objects, I would have. 2276 E. 16th St.; through April 15. (650) 384-5448, nightgallery.ca.
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