This week, a drab Ivanka Trump scarf inspires a performance piece about refugees, and a Paris-founded gallery pays tribute to its new L.A. home with a show called "I Love L.A."
The silent enabler
The largest crate that ever came into LACMA’s galleries held Robert Grosvenor's sculpture Untitled (yellow), or so said curator Stephanie Barron a few nights ago at a preview of "Los Angeles to New York: Dwan Gallery, 1959-1971." Grosvenor’s sculpture, a futuristic abstraction in bright-yellow aluminum, hangs from the ceiling and juts across the space without ever touching the ground. Dwan showed the original version of it in her Los Angeles gallery in 1966, and LACMA’s show highlights the impressive scope and ambition of Dwan’s program. She helped artist Michael Heizer dig two huge gashes in the Mojave Desert and helped Charles Ross build his templelike star chamber in New Mexico. Later, after she opened her New York space, she showed the conceptual, wry and strange work of Lee Lozano. (There was a dearth of female artists in Dwan’s repertoire, however, as there have been in so many programs run by women as well as men.) Dwan cared about her artists and their work deeply and rarely broadcast her own influence. Few know that her patronage made the United States’ most iconic land artworks possible. She never liked talking much about art, as she explained during a talk she gave at LACMA on March 14. She was interested instead in the gestalt, the whole immersive experience of the artworks she loved. 5905 Wilshire Blvd., Mid-Wilshire; through Sept. 10. (323) 857-6000, lacma.org.
Hobnobbing with rhinestones
Praz-Delavallade's debut exhibition in Los Angeles is a love letter to the city, organized by two dealers who initially admired L.A. art from afar. It includes work by artists such as Jim Shaw, Jim Isermann and Marnie Weber, who have been making and showing since the 1970s and who consistently make clichés seductive (Isermann’s work, for instance, pays homage to and parodies California midcentury minimalism). Then it includes work by artists who have only been working and showing this past decade, much of it visually lush even when it’s political. Matthew Brandt’s Hillary Clinton Greets Employees at the Mirage in Las Vegas, L.A. Times, 11.05.16 is exactly what it sounds like it would be: a depiction of hands reaching out to be taken by a candidate. Only Brandt has crafted the entire image out of colored rhinestones rather than pigment — election season theater painstakingly created from cheap bling. Amanda Ross-Ho’s three Untitled Apparatuses, each more than 6 feet long, are silky sleep masks big enough to hide an entire body. 6150 Wilshire Blvd., Carthay; through May 13. (323) 509-0895, praz-delavallade.com.
One 6-foot-high image in longtime L.A. artist Uta Barth’s current show at first looks like a painting when you see it hanging at 1301PE. In fact, it’s an especially sharp photograph of the white-painted exterior wall of Barth’s studio. The sunlight makes the subtle inconsistencies of the paint job apparent and, as with much of Barth’s best work, the image’s quietness has more intensity than serenity. It requires your attention and demands that you acknowledge all its mundane but idiosyncratic details. 6150 Wilshire Blvd., Carthay; through April 22. (323) 938-5822, 1301pe.com.
Just for show
The title of Kim Schoen’s show at Moskowitz Bayse comes from a book with no content and no pages. “Hawaii,” the book’s spine reads in a buoyant font. The book originated in a factory near the Black Forest in Germany that makes only book covers. The titles of these books are invented as needed. A motorcycle trip through the Pyrenees inspired one title, the factory’s proprietor explains in the understated, hypnotic film Schoen made for the exhibition. Tropical fish inspired another. Often, the factory provides books for trade shows or furniture showrooms, but once a man called with a special problem: His wife had left him and taken all the books, and he needed to fill his bare shelves. So he ordered a collection of made-up titles with nothing between the covers. Schoen’s film and photographs — all elegantly composed, minimal depictions of these empty objects — have a permanently open-ended quality: There’s no way these books, made to adapt easily to any situation, can tell a conclusive story. 743 N. La Brea Ave., Fairfax; through April 22. (323) 790-4882, moskowitzbayse.com.
Ivanka's peach-colored scarf
Artist Lara Salmon’s mother accidentally acquired an Ivanka Trump scarf with “a boring peach hue,” as Salmon writes in the description of her upcoming performance at POST. Titled Ivanka Loves Refugees, the performance will last about three hours and Salmon likely will invite audience interaction. The artist has done work about the refugee crisis before — for her recent "Refugee Notes" project, she invited people to write notes to refugees on her skin and had one of them permanently tattooed (“Pride and dignity were her clothes,” the tattoo says in Arabic). This upcoming performance, she writes, “is just another attempt to rewrite reality” by someone who protested Trump’s “travel ban” at LAX and frequently finds news coming out of the Middle East and Washington, D.C., unnerving. 1206 Maple Ave., #515, downtown; Sat., March 25, 7 p.m. postlosangeles.org.