This week a library on a raft floats in Echo Park Lake, and an artist populates his Hollywood exhibition via email chain letter.
Blum & Poe keeps putting on these exhibitions of unquestionably attractive paintings by lesser-known Korean or Japanese artists. Most of these artists worked in the 1950s through the '80s, in a style that has since become particularly revered — minimal, delicate grids or monochrome paintings with methodically destroyed surfaces. The show up now features work by members of the Korean Dansaekhwa group interspersed with American minimalism, so that we can marvel at how like us the Korean artists are. However, despite the pat premise, the images by Kwon Young-woo in particular, of paper that's cracking open or torn and yellowed just so, have an irresistibly simple, poetic pull. 2727 S. La Cienega, Culver City; through March 12. (310) 836-2062, blumandpoe.com.
Books on boats
This weekend, a library will be floating in the middle of Echo Park Lake. Sarah Peters, an artist-based in Minneapolis, has been bringing her floating libraries to urban lakes since 2013, mostly in Minnesota. She likes the idea of books being distributed on water, given that water and paper don’t typically mix. Artists from all over have donated to the library’s collection and L.A. sculptor Bob Dornberger built this particular raft. This weekend, library patrons can rent a paddle boat ($10 an hour) and paddle out to read. Echo Park Lake, Echo Park; Thu.-Sun., Feb. 11-14, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. (213) 483-8761, machineproject.com/2016/events/the-floating-library-on-echo-park-lake.
Artist Tony Oursler has been showing his hyper, hallucinogenic videos and sculpture since the 1970s. In recent years, like so many artists, he’s found digital innovations particularly compelling. He did an exhibition last year about facial-recognition technology, which involved oversized cutouts of faces with data points in place of features. At Redling Fine Art, he’s doing something a bit more random and, potentially, intimate. The show he organized there pivots on the proliferation of a chain letter Oursler wrote and emailed to a few artists. Those artists were responsible for submitting an image file and forwarding the letter to others. A large-format printer sits in the middle of the gallery, a table with staple guns and other construction material behind it. So far, two images hang on the wall, one of a grainy silhouette. When you walk into the gallery, it’s not initially clear if the show’s open or still being installed — until you realize it’s both. 6757 Santa Monica Blvd., Hollywood; through March 12. (323) 378-5238, redlingfineart.com.
A portrait of Aaron Fowler’s mother is probably the centerpiece of his current show at Diane Rosenstein. (Apparently he didn’t tell her he was doing this, and so, opening night, she saw the installation and gasped.) Called “Mom Knows,” the portrait is a wall-sized, unwieldy sculpture that swallows up one of the side galleries. “Mom” has pink Superman symbols all over her face, pixelated because an oversized print has been affixed to the panels Fowler stacked together. Hair weaves fall below the big hat she wears, made of thick, clear plastic and decorated with felt bills from real, normally sized hats. Around her neck is a rope, with a self-portrait of Fowler attached to it. She dwarfs the round-bearded face assembled from broken mirrors. Is this a nightmare, or is there comfort in being around such a powerful figure’s neck? It’s not clear. Much of the work in the show similarly dances between celebration and nightmare, as intimate scenes become gritty, layered, monstrous sculptures. 831 N. Highland Ave., Hollywood; through March 12. (323) 462-2790, dianerosenstein.com.
Laure Prouvost, a French artist who currently lives in a trailer in the Croatian desert, had spent little time in L.A. before arriving for a six-week residency last spring. During those six weeks, she assembled a cast of teenagers, none of whom were actors, and enlisted them to drive around downtown. It’s quintessential L.A., the kind of sun-drenched leisure scenes and listless talk someone who knows the city from Sofia Coppola and Bret Easton Ellis could easily re-create. The film, which has a hip-hop soundtrack by L.A.-based WYNN, plays on a screen in front of two surprisingly comfortable car seats, installed in a chloride blue pool of resin. Visitors can walk on the resin, which has pineapples, iPad screens and other debris embedded in it. Then they can sit in the middle of this pool of conscientiously collected urban trash while watching a youth-filled fantasy. 2245 E. Washington Blvd., downtown; through April 9. fahrenheit.flaxfoundation.org.
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