5 Free Art Shows to See in L.A. This Week
Mai-Thu Perret, Les guérillères III (2016)
Photography by Brian Forrest. Courtesy of David Kordansky Gallery.
This week, amateur cartographers map whiteness and a festive cemetery springs up in Arlington Heights.
You have to look up at the female warriors in Mai-Thu Perret’s show Féminaire at David Kordansky Gallery. Standing on a chest-high white plinth, they’re a motley bunch. One, made of papier-mâché and fabric and wearing camouflage, sits beside her dog. Another has dark, glazed ceramic limbs and stands with legs apart. Some hold colored plastic guns. Perret, based in Geneva, calls these sculpted warriors Les guérillères after the 1969 novel by French feminist Monique Wittig. In the novel, a war between the sexes rages, and the females, helped by some sympathetic men, fight and live almost euphorically: They tell secrets that “provoke full-throated laughter,” “leap onto paths” and sing to goddesses. Perret’s warriors, in contrast, appear more on guard, perhaps not as certain they will win whatever battle approaches. 5130 W. Edgewood Place,Mid-Wilshire; through July 1. (310) 558-3030, davidkordanskygallery.com.
Third world comeback
Ever since Ana Mendieta’s 1985 death and ever since her husband, sculptor Carl Andre, was acquitted of her murder, friends and supporters have protested Andre’s museum exhibitions. Many still believe Andre played a role in Mendieta’s 34-story fall from a New York apartment and also want to ensure Mendieta’s own art isn’t marginalized. Since the Andre retrospective opened at MOCA’s Geffen Contemporary in April, artists around the city have made an effort to pay tribute to Mendieta. In 1980, the Cuban-born artist curated an exhibition called “Dialectics of Isolation: An Exhibition of Third World Women Artists of the United States,” which explored how women of color could engage with a whiter, wealthier feminist mainstream. This weekend, four artists — dancers Rebeca Hernandez and Crystal Sepúlveda and performance artists Angie Jennings and Artemisa Clark — will do their own, one-night “Dialectics of Isolation” show, paying homage to Mendieta through performances that explore belonging and not belonging. 410 Cottage Home St., Chinatown; Fri., June 23, 7 p.m.; free. humanresourcesla.com.
Games in the graveyard
The Paris tombstone shared by philosophers Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir has lipstick kiss marks all over it, left by adoring fans. It looks quite whimsical in contrast with the seriousness of the minimal, off-white stone. In Lorien Stern’s show at Ochi Projects, a series of ceramic tombstones offers comparable levity. One stone has a leaping pony on it. Another is painted to resemble a watermelon, little black seeds floating across its front and back. Oversized flowers, a duck and a laughing black-and-white alligator share space with the tombstones — it’s like a cemetery merged with a mini-golf course. 3301 W. Washington Blvd., Arlington Heights; through July 2. ochiprojects.com.
Rosha Yaghmai titled her current show at Kayne Griffin Corcoran "The Courtyard," inviting viewers to stay a while. The lit benches in the middle of the room make it possible for one to sit and stare indefinitely at the weird, human-sized silicone curtains Yaghmai has hung from steel hooks. A mostly blue sheet of silicone called Imitation Crab features a pinkish-orange rectangle at its center, which projects pinkish-orange light onto the wall behind it. The material it’s crafted from — the same stuff used to make, for instance, breast implants — has such a bodily, fleshy quality that it’s hard to resist the urge to touch. The show also includes a series of stand-alone totems, all called Pipe because each consists of resin-encrusted found objects attached to rusty pipes. A clear sheet of resin with multicolored corrective lenses embedded in it casually hangs over one pipe’s bent top. 1201 S. La Brea Ave., Mid-Wilshire; through July 8. (310) 586-6886, kaynegriffincorcoran.com.
Cartography for consciousness-raising
European-made maps have for centuries positioned the north upward, an unnecessary convention (north doesn’t have to be up) that ensures Europe always remained literally on top. Racial and cultural bias have influenced map-making in countless other ways (depicting the continent of Africa, for instance, as smaller than it really is). So why not make maps of bias and its effects? At the Women’s Center for Creative Work, the group called the School of Otherness will offer a workshop on “mapping whiteness.” They’ll briefly contextualize whiteness historically and present certain map-making strategies, and then participants will work on their own cartographic experiments. Supplies are provided and no cartography experience is required. 2425 Glover Place, Elysian Valley; Sat., June 24, 2-5 p.m.; free. womenscenterforcreativework.com.
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