This week, a photograph angers a rock star, an artist compares Fox News with CNN and an iconic sculpture returns to the building it inspired.
5. Red state, blue state
Artist Jonathan Horowitz has split the Hammer Museum's lobby gallery down the middle. A blue rug is on one side, a red one on the other. Between the rugs, two televisions hang back-to-back. The one facing the blue rug broadcasts CNN's election coverage, while the one facing the red broadcasts Fox News. President Obama's portrait hangs between the carpets, too, but a Romney portrait will replace it if Obama loses the Nov. 6 election. In addition to regular museum hours, the gallery will stay open during each debate and on Election Night. But last week, during the first debate, the competing TV feeds made it near impossible to hear the candidates and when a visitor went to turn Fox News down, a museum staffer scolded her. The artist later said he plans to just play CNN during debates. On Thursday, when the vice presidential candidates face off, will Horowitz's installation still feel divided or will it feel like blue has the upper hand? 10899 Wilshire Blvd.; through Nov. 18. (310) 443-7000, hammer.ucla.edu.
4. Neon prophet
On Twitter, nearly 50,000 people follow a Jenny Holzer impersonator who mostly tweets aphorisms or pithy political commentary lifted from the real Holzer's artwork. But while Holzer, an artist who works in words she broadcasts on billboards and neon signs, has never come off as comforting, her Twitter impersonator somehow does. "Humor is a release," read a recent tweet, and it seemed sagelike. The same message scrolls across an LED sign on the wall at L&M Arts in Venice right now, written in pulsating neon green. It appears right after the words "Humanism is obsolete," which puts "humor" in a darker context. The whole show, which dashes through three decades of Holzer's career, is forebodingly terse like this, even while it's flashy and high-tech.660 Venice Blvd.; through Oct. 27. (310) 821-6400, lmgallery.com.
3. Hard rock art
Axl Rose fought with his wife, Erin Everly, two decades ago and, in the heat of the moment, vandalized his own garage. Or so suggested photographer Laura London, who lived nearby and photographed the garage with the words "Sweet Child 0' Die you R 1 of many nothing special" spray-painted across it. This, of course, is a warped revision of Guns N' Rose's "Sweet Child O' Mine" lyrics. Axl Rose's lawyer says London's story is nothing short of defamation designed to "garner attention" and "line pockets with money" and demands her show at Coagula Curatorial in Chinatown come down, according to a few recent reports. Though language on its website has been tamed, Coagula won't be taking the show down. A blown-up image of the garage in question takes up the whole back wall. It's gritty, angry, life-size and entirely compelling. 977 Chung King Road; through Oct. 20. coagulacuratorial.com.
2. Missing person
The handwritten text on the lobby wall of Patrick Painter, Inc. explains that reclusive, genius rocker, Conrad M., has disappeared. No one knows much about Conrad, it goes on to say, except his friend Rinus Van de Velde, who was so much like Conrad the two were often confused with one another. Rinus Van de Velde is also the name of the exhibition and of the artist who did all the large, intimately detailed drawings in it. It's not clear whether the drawings, each showing the same man sprawled shirtless next to a guitar or sleeping on a sidewalk or digging in an alley, depict Rinus or the presumably fictional Conrad. But this slipperiness is the point. 2525 Michigan Ave., Santa Monica; through Oct. 27. (310) 264-5988, patrickpainter.com.
1. Hypnotist sculptor
Before LACMA officially opened its Resnick Pavilion in 2010, when the building had no interior walls, the museum installed a 50-meter-long floor sculpture by Walter de Maria. De Maria's expansive, mathematical work had partly inspired the building's design, and his sculpture apparently would be used to "test" the Pavilion. The public could view The 2000 Sculpture only on a few designated days, but it's in the Resnick Pavilion's center space again now. Made up of 2,000 11-pound polygon rods arranged in an exquisitely precise, herringbone pattern, it makes the building feel nearly as large as it did before the walls came in; it hypnotizes you if you look too closely for too long. 5905 Wilshire Blvd.; through April 1. (323) 857-6010, lacma.org.
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