5 Art Shows to See in L.A. This Week
Kenny Scharf #8 (2016)
Courtesy Honor Fraser Gallery, Photo Joshua White/JWPictures.com
This week, a sound artist tells stories about coyotes, and a longtime artist-entertainer turns TVs into robot heads.
Cords in the way
Most of the massive paintings in Mary Weatherford’s new exhibition at Kordansky Gallery, called “like the land loves the sea,” have just one neon rod interrupting her expressionistic pools of color. But her painting Blue Cut Fire (2017) has four slightly curvy vertical rods attached to it. The longest one, bright blue, pleasantly contrasts the oranges, browns and reds behind it, but the cords that connect one rod to another loop across the painting awkwardly, making it look like the back end of some technical operation that's been accidentally exposed. This behind-the-scenes quality gives the painting its levity and thus its charm. Weatherford’s strokes and color sense may be virtuosic but the haphazard energy of the looping cords makes it hard to take virtuosity too seriously. 5130 W. Edgewood Place, Mid-Wilshire; through May 6. (310) 558-3030, davidkordanskygallery.com.
Kenny Scharf remembers a night decades ago outside Club 57, a nightclub in a church basement in New York, when he got into a fistfight with an off-duty cop. His good friend Ann Magnuson remembers the priest who helmed the church approaching the club door; she rushed out to head him off before he saw the giant phallus installed inside. But the priest was relatively open-minded. As Scharf and Magnuson recalled in a recent interview, neighbors would ask the priest why he allowed “evil people” in his building, and he’d say, “That’s where evil people should be, in a church.” On March 11, the night Scharf’s current show opened at Honor Fraser, Magnuson performed and screened videos of herself interacting with Scharf’s new work. Always vibrantly cartoonish, Scharf’s style hasn’t changed much since he began making art in the 1970s. This new show includes a series of old, repurposed TVs. Scharf has turned their backsides into colorfully painted, goofy faces. Some look like robots and others like imaginary house pets. TV head #8 has four eyes that look like fried eggs, a purple snout, nostrils like red buttons and long, thin white teeth. 2622 S. La Cienega Blvd., Mid-City; through April 22. (310) 837-0191, honorfraser.com.
Liz Craft’s Death Rider (Leo), which first appeared in the Whitney Biennial in New York in 2004, now presides over the Hammer Museum's lobby gallery. The bronze, life-size sculpture of a skeleton riding a chopper — rich in detail and solidly built — is probably more comical than sinister, though it’s definitely an ominous presence. The skeleton’s bike has a pine-cone gas tank and beehive engine. A headless, limbless shell of a female figure sits behind him. His head tilted back and his fleshless face grinning, the skeleton looks to be on a joy ride, except a little patch of mushrooms has grown behind the bike’s back wheel. So maybe he’s been going nowhere for a long time. 10899 Wilshire Blvd., Westwood; through April 30. (310) 443-7000, hammer.ucla.edu.
Synchrony and a lone chair
A chair sat in the middle of a wooden floor during Memorias de un No Abrazo, a dance performance Rebeca Hernandez choreographed. Two dancers in white shirts used that chair as a prop for slow, subtle movements, one dancer sitting while the other rested her head on the first dancer’s lap, then calf and then thigh. Eventually, the chair disappeared from the stage, and the dancers moved around as if barely aware each others’ presence, which made it all the more striking when their movements suddenly synchronized. Hernandez and other young choreographers and performers, including Olivia Mia Orozco and Zoe Rappaport, will showcase their work at Human Resources this weekend. 410 Cottage Home St., Elysian Park; Fri., March 31, 7:30 p.m.; $5-$10 suggested donation. humanresourcesla.com.
Machine Projects recommends you bring a pillow and blanket for Coyoteways, a performative lecture by composer-artist Nat Evans. This night of storytelling coincides with the release of Evans' album, also called Coyoteways, based on experiences he had with coyotes while walking the Pacific Coast Trail and on his research into the creature's mythological, trickster character. Evans’ sonic collage Maidu Coyote incorporates sounds from a quiet yet vast-seeming wilderness. If that's any clue, the evening should be meditatively haunting. 1200 D N. Alvarado, Echo Park; Sun., April 2, 8 p.m. (213) 483-8761, machineproject.com.
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