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Julia Roberts on the Side of a Muffler Shop and Five Art Events to See This Week

Nate Lowman's Julia Roberts wall painting on the side of a former La Cienega muffler shop
Nate Lowman's Julia Roberts wall painting on the side of a former La Cienega muffler shop
Courtesy Francois Ghebaly Gallery

More exhibitions are closing right now than opening, as fall museum headliners have all launched and galleries are installing November shows. The best art to see this week feels transitory -- it's passing through on its way to becoming something else.

Here are five art events to see in L.A. this week.

5. Out the Window: Art on Buses

Ditch the car for the bus this week, and be sure to board one that has Transit TVs hanging from the ceiling. Through November, artist-made videos will play on buses on the hour -- you might see Yoshua Okon's film of parking attendants trying out the lotus yoga pose, or Michael Parker's of power pole technicians that look like they're slow dancing in hard hats and harnesses.

Out the Window videos screen on L.A. Metro buses and on out-the-window.org through November 30.

4. Steven Bankhead's Eighteenth Brumaire on Steve Turner Gallery's roof

If you actually look out the window while driving down Wilshire, past Steve Turner gallery across from LACMA, you'll see Steven Bankhead's roof sculpture: a regal horse modeled after an 18th century Jacques-Louise David painting of Napoleon on his steed. It's made out of billboard material and, from the street, looks as flat and flimsy as a drawing, which makes its presence on a mid-city roof confusing and thus compelling.

6026 Wilshire Blvd.; through Dec. 17. (323) 931-3721, steveturnercontemporary.com

3. Illegally Beautiful Julia Roberts

Drive less than three miles south, to Culver City, and you'll see another open-air project: Julia Roberts painted on the side of a former muffler shop, now home to Francois Ghebaly Gallery. Artist Nate Lowman took that ruckus-causing L'Oreal ad of Roberts, deemed illegal in Britain for its airbrushed perfection, and repainted it, adding an extra-overt beauty mark. As art, Roberts' face is certainly legal, but it's creepy that it's advertising nothing other than its own flawlessness.

Artists' paintings will be on the wall at 2600 La Cienega Blvd through 2013 as part of Triple A, a public art project initiated by François Ghebaly, Emma Gray and the Mandrake Bar. Nate Lowman's can be seen through December 30.

2. "Drawing the Line" at the Japanese American National Museum

Matsumi Kanemitsu hid Mickey Mouse ears in his otherwise elegant, fluid prints. The Yonemoto brothers indulged Hollywood's image obsession but made glamor sinister. These and other smart, too-often overlooked L.A.-based Japanese American artists are the focus of Drawing the Line, part of the region-wide Pacific Standard Time project.

369 E. 1st St., downtown; through Feb. 19. (213) 625-0414, janm.org

1. L.A. Woman premiere at 18th Street Arts Center

It has the same title as a Doors song and it's the work of a self-described "rock n' roller" artist, but it looks like Kate Crash's documentary on women artists in this city will be more heady than spectacular. She's interviewed a whole slew of women, from hip, eccentric Nana Ghana to old school virtuoso Simone Forti, and, from what I've seen, the film piles on perspectives to make the category "L.A. woman" knottier than it already is.

18th Street Arts Center, 1629 18th Street, Santa Monica; Wed., Oct. 26, 8 p.m. (310) 453-3711, 18thstreet.org

Follow @cgwagley and @LAWeeklyArts on Twitter.


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