This week, a mechanic burns bridges because he's crazy about a Mustang and an artist makes a quilt of masks.
5. Mind-changing massage
The Institute 4 Labor Generosity Workers and Uniforms (ILGWU) is hosting a night of performance called Surface Tensions. Artist Liz Nurenberg will employ her soft, strange sculptures, which sometimes look like a cross between medical equipment and flotation devices. The massages Molly Shea offers will promote positivity toward women, and, wearing a quilt of masks, Jemima Wyman will take on roles of recent masked protesters like Anonymous and Pussy Riot. 346 E. Third St., Long Beach; Thursday, June 19, 7 p.m. ilgwu.wordpress.com.
4. Not that naughty
A nerdy man in glasses with parted wavy hair keeps reappearing in Josh Mannis' “Sexus” exhibition at Thomas Solomon Gallery. The man's sitting naked next to a woman, reading manifestos with a cityscape looming behind him. Or he's dancing next to an ice cream cart with a flapper who has her hand around his penis. But the drawings always read as pleasantly tame despite their risqué quirks. 427 Bernard St., Chinatown; through July 12. (323) 275-1687, thomassolomongallery.com.
3. The car comes first
Ed Ruscha, the L.A. icon known for bold pop paintings and for photographing every building on the Sunset Strip, made a film in 1975 called Miracle. In it, a mechanic gets progressively more obsessed with getting the '65 Mustang he's working on to run, standing up a girlfriend (played by Michelle Phillips of The Mamas and the Papas) and then alienating a friend. “What are you doing over there? A heart transplant?” the friend jokes before being stiffed. The film plays on a screen in a hallway as part of Kayne Griffin Corcoran's “Surface to Air” exhibition. 1201 S. La Brea Ave., Mid-City; through March 8. (310) 586-6886, kaynegriffincorcoran.com.
2. Pictures that get the point across
The Getty's exhibition about Yvonne Rainer, the uncompromisingly unromantic dancer-turned-filmmaker, works so well because of the photographs. They convey such a sense of experimentation and earnestness that you don't necessarily have to read the statements laid out in vitrines or watch the film footage – though you definitely should – to understand why so many dancers and artists cite Rainer as the one who showed them dance could resonate with their real lives. 1200 Getty Center Drive, Brentwood; through Oct. 12. (310) 440-7300, getty.edu.
1. Touchy antagonist
In stories that still circulate about dark-haired, distinctive-looking John Altoon, who died too young in 1969, he tells students that they should go give Hiroshima a call, because things in real life are bigger and darker than learning to draw. Or, when French wunderkind Yves Klein visits L.A. and says in a lecture that there we have “inner and out eyes,” Altoon, annoyed by the pretension, yells, “There are inner and outer assholes, and you're all assholes.” It's all there in his show at LACMA, the sensitivity and the indignation. There's also his obsession with the erotic: Shapes look like body parts that have lost their way, and one series of drawings turns conventional magazine ads into sarcastic sexual fantasies. 5905 Wilshire Blvd., Mid-Wilshire; through Sept. 14. (323) 857-6010, lacma.org.
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