This week, one artist debuts a dance inspired by weird tech-industry patents, and another breaks piñatas in public.
5. If you like art on a train
Artist Doug Aitken is an idealist who's good at securing resources. He figured out how to put artists and musicians on vintage train cars traveling from one coast to another, staging art events along the way, for his recent Station to Station project. He's projected lots of films on building façades and collaborated with multiple celebrities – André 3000, Tilda Swinton, Beck. Sometimes, his work feels too smooth and well-resourced to be edgy, but he's always trying to get art out of galleries and museums. At LACMA, he'll talk with MOCA's new director, Phillipe Vergne, about getting art out into the world at large before signing copies of his new book, 100 Yrs. 5905 Wilshire Blvd., Mid-Wilshire; Sunday, June 1, 4 p.m. (323) 857-6010, lacma.org.
4. Presidents and piñatas
Every year, REDCAT supports new projects by performance artists, then debuts them during its “Studio Series” week. This year, one of the most exciting-sounding is artist Sarah Bay Williams' You Are Smashing: A Piñata, in which odd, handmade piñatas will be smashed in front of an audience as specially composed music plays. Another is John Hogan's Chair Piece, a parody of entitlement, based on that notorious speech Clint Eastwood gave at the Republican National Convention, in which he used a chair to stand in for President Obama. 631 W. Second St., dwntwn.; Saturday, May 31, 8:30 p.m.; Sunday, June 1, 7:30 p.m.; $15. (213) 237-2800, redcat.org.
3. Feel before you look
The ridges on the surfaces of Stoney Lamar's tall, leaning, lightly colored wood sculptures, the ones accented by slabs or curls of steel, feel surprisingly smooth. We know this because Lamar, an artist based in Asheville, North Carolina, included a shelf full of “test” pieces in his retrospective, on view at the Craft and Folk Art Museum. You can pick up any of these pieces, experiencing how wood Lamar sandblasted and painted feels different from wood he's left mostly raw. The touching makes looking more fun. 5814 Wilshire Blvd., Mid-Wilshire; through Aug. 24. (323) 937-4230, cafam.org.
2. Owning a finger flick
When certain tech companies patent ideas for devices, they also patent the hand gestures necessary for operating those devices. Apple, for instance, patented the “slide to unlock” gesture. Paris-based artist Julien Prévieux has been collecting these patents for a decade, and he's incorporated the gestures into a new dance for six performers, which he developed with choreographer Rebecca Bruno. Called “What Shall We Do Next?” it debuts at Fahrenheit, where Prévieux has been an artist-in-residence. 2245 E. Washington Blvd., dwntwn.; Saturday, May 31, 7:30 p.m. fahrenheit.flaxfoundation.org.
1. Cool enough to get real
It's her attitude that makes Frances Stark's new show at Marc Foxx Gallery so good. The work looks hip in a slacker sort of way – found images and signage nonchalantly assembled on geometric surfaces, a graffiti-like red circle that strays off a canvas onto the gallery wall, iPhone jokes. But you never feel that Stark is actually trying to be hip. Instead, it just seems that she doesn't care too much about polish, because she's too busy grappling with how all the things that interest her and bother her relate to one another. How do you pay tribute to a brilliant friend who killed himself without romanticizing him? How can you be completely yourself in a text message? How can you include your kid in your art while respecting his individuality? 6150 Wilshire Blvd.; through June 28. (323) 857-5571, marcfoxx.com.
Catherine Wagley on Twitter:
Public Spectacle, L.A. Weekly's arts & culture blog, on Facebook and Twitter: