An actor in East Hollywood has an existential crisis, a photographer in WeHo breaks all the rules, and a mechanical ice bag travels to Japan.
5. I thought my life would be different
“Blurring and Its Opposite” at Agency begins outside on the sidewalk, where Justin Lowman painted a multicolored neon border around the front edges of an otherwise gray electrical box. Similarly colored sand lines the sidewalk cracks leading up to the gallery and continues into the cracks in the gallery’s concrete floor. The colored sand ends right before getting to Adrian Paules' concrete blocks and Katie Sinnot’s mostly white, geometric alterations to the back wall. But controlled subtlety devolves into crisis in the back, where Lee Sargent, the actor in Jayson Kellogg’s film This Is Me, questions everything (“I though my life would be different,” he says, repeatedly). 4911 Clinton St., East Hollywood; through April 18. (818) 415-7619, agencycontemporaryart.com.
4. Famous photo defacer
German painter Gerhard Richter has combined abstraction and photo-realism since the 1960s, before he was one of the world’s highest-grossing living artists. Back then, his black-and-white paintings of newspaper photos often would blur into oblivion. Sometime in the 1990s, Richter started painting with thick oil over colored photos. These painted photos, a number of which are on view Hannah Hoffman, tend to be small — the biggest is 5×7 inches. They’re also funny and casual, like offhand experiments by someone who has bigger things on his mind. In one, a stroke of orange over a suited man’s face looks like a ceremonial headdress. 1010 N. Highland Ave., Hollywood; through April 18. (323) 450-9106, hannahhoffmangallery.com.
3. Bleacher seats
Mariah Robertson installed tasteful wood bleachers in M+B’s concrete-floored gallery. This way, visitors to her exhibition “Photography Lovers' Peninsula” can feel comfortable staying a while, looking at the dramatic photographic experiments she makes by spilling or mixing photo chemicals, overexposing her glossy paper and tearing the work. Despite Robertson’s irreverence, or because of it, many of her framed pictures really do look like “Art,” wildly abstract in the way an especially vibrant neo-expressionist painting might be. The best ones are quirkily shaped, such as the narrow, blood-red and blue 257 with its curved edge — they look more like delicate organisms than photos or paintings. 612 N. Almont Drive, West Hollywood; through May 2. (310) 550-0050, mbart.com.
2. Dead rappers in the museum
In 2012, New York–based artist Kevin Beasley, barefooted and wearing a black cap and white button-up shirt, sat on the floor of the Museum of Modern Art’s atrium surrounded by gear. He live-mixed a cappella tracks by dead rappers — Biggie Smalls, Tupac — slowing them down, distorting them. He did this while a line of people nearby waited to see Edvard Munch’s The Scream. The loudness and violence of the music understandably angered some; the museum received one letter saying Beasley should never be allowed in the building again. The artist will be at Art + Practice in Leimert Park, talking about his work. 4339 Leimert Blvd., Leimert Park; Saturday, April 11, 3-4:30 pm. (323) 337-6887, artandpractice.org.
1. Car money and culture clash
Two weeks ago, LACMA announced that Korean car company Hyundai would be giving tens of millions to the museum, enough to help fund a number of projects, including the Art + Technology Lab that LACMA launched last year. The new program, which helps artists realize tech-involved projects, is based on an old one, launched by LACMA’s first modern-art curator, Maurice Tuchman, in the late 1960s. That project, meant to pair artists with high-tech corporations to produce innovative work, was like a culture clash. Corporations and artists, it turned out, had quite different values, and a number of projects imploded as a result. The exhibition up now in a small room on the second floor of the Ahmanson Building documents some of the implosions and the successes, such as Claes Oldenburg's gigantic mechanical ice pack. Museums have become exponentially better at navigating corporate culture in the decades since. 5905 Wilshire Blvd., Mid-Wilshire; through Oct. 18. (323) 857-6000, lacma.org.
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