This week, an artist hides erotic paperbacks inside his paintings, and an unfinished psychological thriller inspires an exhibition in Hollywood.
5. Clean paintings of a dirty novel
Artist Matthew Brannon wrote an erotic novel he calls Leopard, which is also what he calls his current show at David Kodansky Gallery . The novel appears in the show, inserted into a brass slot in the side of each of Brannon's large, minimal paintings, made of black marks that sometimes seem to vaguely depict abstracted human figures on gray backgrounds. The text of the novel also scrolls across one of two monitors in the center of the room. The other monitor shows a woman reading Leopard and barely reacting, not even when Brannon describes a human fountain made up of a series of men peeing into one another's mouths, or other awkwardly abject scenes. People in the gallery don't react much, either — Brannon's turned dirtiness into something cool and cagey. 5896 Smiley Drive, Culver City; through Jan. 18. (310) 558-3030, davidkordanskygallery.com.
4. Uncomfortable precision
Lari Pittman's dense new history paintings at Regen Projects are intricately gorgeous, as his work usually is, the paint applied with almost superhuman precision. But Pittman borrows from handmade craft traditions — textiles, doll-making, silhouette cutouts — which usually creates some rough edges. So when you're looking at his mural-sized paintings, like Flying Carpet With a Waning Moon Over a Violent Nation, with its quilt-worthy patterning behind a line of red circles that turn out to be rifle lenses, their perfectness is the first sign that something's not right. 6750 Santa Monica Blvd., Hlywd; through Dec. 21. (310) 276-5424, regenprojects.com.
3. More women on Wikipedia
After the prestigious Pritzker Foundation failed to recognize Denise Scott Brown, even though she'd collaborated on the work for which her husband, Robert Venturi, won the Pritzker Prize, the Design Observer Group published an essay calling for the “unforgetting” of influential women architects. They said one way to do this was to write or expand these architects' Wikipedia entries. This weekend, the MAK Center for Art and Architecture hosts a get-more-women-architects-on-Wikipedia edit-a-thon, organized by the journal East of Borneo. Participants should create their Wikipedia accounts in advance. 835 N. Kings Road, W. Hlywd; Sat., Dec. 14, 12-4 p.m. (323) 651-1510, makcenter.org.
2. Breaking down the monument
Artist Liz Glynn has spent the last year exposing the often-complex bureaucratic histories of some of LACMA's most monumental sculptures, pulling their grandness closer to earth. Her fourth performance focuses on Smoke, Tony Smith's massive black geometric sculpture in the museum's Ahmanson Building. With the help of a group of performers, who will have black plywood shapes to work with, she plans to rebuild various iterations of Smoke, a sculpture that prompted a Time cover story called “Art Outgrows the Museum” in 1967 when first installed at the Corcoran Gallery in Washington D.C. 5905 Wilshire Blvd., Miracle Mile; Dec. 14, 1 p.m. (323) 857-6010, lacma.org.
1. Jealousy-inspired illusions
Just weeks after French filmmaker Henri-Georges Clouzot began shooting L'Enfer, a film about an insanely jealous husband, his lead actor became ill. Then Clouzot became ill, and his doctors ordered him to stop production. He never finished. But the footage that does exist is full of optical illusions and flashing, spinning color, meant to depict the derangement jealousy causes. The film reminded curator Martha Kirszenbaum of optical and kinetic experiments in art, and her show “The End of the Night” at LACE includes five artists whose work transfixes as L'Enfer does. As you enter, you see Julio Le Parc's spinning fans in a black box, then Isabelle Cornaro's dreamily lit footage of individual bills and coins standing on their sides and looking so substantial it's hard to recognize them. 6522 Hollywood Blvd., Hlywd.; through Dec. 22. (323) 957-1777; welcometolace.org.
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