This week, two artists react to Vegas and a writer lectures on an artist no one has ever heard of.
5. Big plants and basketballs
The first work you see when you enter David Kordansky’s new Mid-City gallery are Jonas Wood's 9- to 11-foot tall paintings of single plants in painted pots against white backgrounds. But if these seem static and unnecessarily large, you’ll get a quirkier, more down-to-earth experience as soon as you turn the corner and wander through the next two galleries. In them, you’ll see heat-of-the-moment ink drawings, such as the one of Shaquille O’Neal, and paintings such as the slightly off-kilter portrait of ceramicist Akio Takamori, working in a full studio on a pot that’s also a self-portrait. 5130 W. Edgewood Place, Hancock Park; through Jan. 10. (323) 935-3030, davidkordanskygallery.com.
4. Jesus loves techno, too
In the trailer for Arjuna Neuman’s new film, Caesium Forest: A Film About Faith, you see a SWAT team outside a hotel room, then a Christian man in a space that looks like a slapdash club, talking about how grateful he is. Later, there will be an explosion in the hotel room and the grateful Christian and friends will lose themselves in a techno party that’s their way of worshipping. Worship, or reverence, is what interested Neuman — sometimes it’s religious, and sometimes the communities he films revere certain technological innovations (such as the space shuttle). He’s debuting the film at Echo Park Film Center. 1200 N. Alvarado St., Echo Park; Sun., Nov. 23, 8 p.m. (213) 484-8846, facebook.com/events/1509829065941772/?pnref=story.
3. Who is Amboy?
Writer Chris Kraus appears in the film made by Cologne-based artist Frances Scholz for her exhibition at Tif Sigfrids Gallery. The film is about an artist named Amboy, who may or may not be real, and Kraus purportedly is lecturing about him. But since Kraus, like everyone else, does not know enough to lecture about Amboy, she based the lecture on an essay she wrote about ambitious and often dark installation artist Jason Rhoades, replacing Rhoades’ name with “Amboy” whenever necessary. She will re-give the lecture in person. 1507 Wilcox Ave., Hlywd.; Tue., Nov. 25, 7 p.m. (323) 907-9200, tifsigfrids.com.
2. Historically savvy mélange
As is nearly always the case with L.A. artist JP Munro’s work, the paintings in his new exhibition, “The Source,” at China Art Objects reward you for getting close. The exhibition feels like an odd amalgamation of colonial history and ancient mythology with some Modernism worked in, and some of the paintings have the dense, woven quality of tapestries. In Fairy Scene, an overfull rendering of a tropical forest populated by mostly nude figures, two men who could be 18th-century businessmen stand off to the side, almost buried by the brush, taking it all in. 6086 Comey Ave., Culver City; through Dec. 20. (323) 965-2264, chinaartobjects.com.
1. Vegas voyeurism
To prepare for their joint exhibition at Young Art, Cara Benedetto and Davida Nemeroff went to Las Vegas together. The idea was that they would make separate work, informed by a shared experience. Benedetto interspersed cards she made herself into a deck featuring sometimes porny pin-up pictures, putting messages on them such as “Her arm looked like a battlefield.” The photographs Nemeroff took of a couple involved in a tense conversation at a run-of-the-mill Vegas bar are pretty affecting. They were originally taken with an iPhone, but Nemeroff rephotographed the images as they appeared on her phone, so you see the crack from her screen. Then she printed them on backlit vinyl so that they glow as a phone’s screen does. 5658 Hollywood Blvd., Hlywd.; through Nov. 29. email@example.com, youngartgallery.com.
Catherine Wagley on Twitter:
Public Spectacle, L.A. Weekly's arts & culture blog, on Facebook and Twitter: