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5 Artsy Things to Do

Five Artsy Things to Do This Week, Including Murdered Paintings

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Wed, Feb 22, 2012 at 12:36 PM

click to enlarge Niki de Saint Phalle shooting with a .22 rifle in the Impasse Ronsin, Paris, 1961. - SHUNK-KENDER, © LICHTENSTEIN FOUNDATION
  • Shunk-Kender, © Lichtenstein Foundation
  • Niki de Saint Phalle shooting with a .22 rifle in the Impasse Ronsin, Paris, 1961.

Everything on this week's list is either radical or rebellious, or hopelessly nostalgic about being radical and rebellious.

5. Revolutionizing the Sunset Strip

The original Artists' Tower of Protest, a looming yellow steeple surrounded by artist-designed posters, went up in 1966 at La Cienega and Sunset in direct response to the Vietnam War. One night, painter Irving Petlin, who helped organize the tower, used a broken lightbulb to fend off a vandal. Another night, people tried to burn the tower. "If you were an artist at the time, you were a radical," says Mark di Suvero. He designed the first Tower of Protest and the reincarnation that's now on the corner of Sunset and Hilldale in West Hollywood. The new tower doesn't feel as provocative as the first must have, but it does interrupt the Sunset Strip's ad-heavy veneer. Through the end of March. (310) 559-0166, laxart.org.

4. Feminist soul satisfaction

In 2005, L.A. artists Audrey Chan and Elana Mann posed as life coaches and hosted a "Soul Satisfaction" session. "We're going deep inside of you," said Mann. "Chan is holding your left hand," said Chan. "Mann is holding your right hand," said Mann. Then they led their audience on a spiritually vague journey that ended in song. The two teamed to plan this year's annual Feminist Art Project seminar, and their approach seems particularly down-to-earth. Called Shares and Stakeholders, it's a daylong affair at MOCA. Topics include what it means to be a feminist man these days, how to be a feminist in daily life and strategies for feminist activism. Ahmanson Auditorium at MOCA, 250 S. Grand Ave.; Sat., Feb. 25, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. (732) 932-3726, sharesandstakeholders.com.

3. Light and space mash-up

In artist James Turrell's pieces that he calls Sky Spaces or Ganzfelds, you enter pristine, expensively constructed structures and stare into windows of neon, fluorescent or even natural light that entirely skew your depth perception. But Turrell would never build into a claustrophobic, unassuming Chinatown storefront, where seams in walls are obvious and you can tell where the light comes from. David Abir did for "Renew," his show at Actual Size. He also digitally manipulated mash-ups of Brahms and Persian classical music to imbue the space with a hodgepodge but wholly sincere spirituality. 741 New High St., Chinatown; through March 17. (213) 290-5458, actualsizela.com.

2. Capitalism, the comedy

Comedian Bob Golub, who played the offensive trucker in Goodfellas, has a solution to the deficit. Or so Cake and Eat It, an artist group interested in collectivity and anarchy, insinuates. During its Pop Up Union at the Beacon Arts Building Saturday, Golub is slated to riff on current affairs and, maybe, reveal secrets to fiscal responsibility. Then there'll be a workshop on "femme organizing," though I'm pretty sure anyone can participate ("All femme interpretations welcome," says Cake and Eat It's event page). 808 N. La Brea Ave., Inglewood; Sat., Feb. 25, 6-10 p.m. (310) 419-4077, beaconartsbuilding.com.

1. I kill you, painting!

"As victims, I choose my paintings," said French artist Niki de Saint Phalle, who would suspend balloons of paint or beer cans from her artwork and shoot at them. The bullets would splatter the paint and puncture canvases. Saint Phalle, who died in 2002, held shooting sessions in L.A. 50 years ago and, in her honor, 11 contemporary artists chose their own victim artworks and went to Angeles Shooting Range on Jan. 22 to open fire. You can see the shot-up art -- such as a roughed-up, tar-colored statue by Henry Taylor and red-splotched KKK villains by Noah Davis -- at Here Is Elsewhere Gallery. Also on display: a gorgeous wood altar Saint Phalle built and then assaulted in 1962. Pacific Design Center Blue Building, 8687 Melrose Ave., Suite B-231; through March 23. (310) 904-8966, hereiselsewhere.com

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