This week, an artist unveils a lighthouse in the desert and another finds inspiration in toilet seats.
The father-son team of Jeff and Mike Lipschutz go by Lipschutz & Lipschutz, the name intentionally resembling a family law or accounting firm. They wanted through their current exhibition at MaRS Gallery to explore what they call “post-territory,” a more barren, chaotic time and space beyond the golden age of American progress. The show features both paintings on the walls and sculptures scattered throughout the space. The sculptures, made entirely of found objects, often involve telephone books — one red-painted telephone book sits on a yellowed stand with two blue feet. It looks like a worn-out relic of a pre-digital era, perhaps left behind in someone’s sun-baked backyard. The paintings are more like maps of past and future. Some reference Eagle Mountain, the once-functional ghost town where Jeff Lipschutz grew up, and others reference contemporary debris, like junk filling up an empty desert swimming pool. 649 S. Anderson St., Boyle Heights; through July 22. (323) 526-8097, marsgallery.net.
Seas of sand
Desert Lighthouse, a sculpture by Daniel Hawkins in the Mojave Desert, looks mystical in renderings. It’s white and glowing amidst an arid sea of sand, mountains visible in the distance. Although made for land and not sea, Hawkins’ lighthouse is meant to function just as such structures do: as a beacon for travelers. According to writer Doug Harvey, the artist conceived of the sculpture after an agoraphobic night driving through the desert and feeling lost at sea. It officially opens this weekend, with a sunset reception. RSVP required. 34.957, -117.212, Hinkley; Sat., July 1, 6-9 p.m. desertlighthouse.org/launch.
Have a seat
It takes a moment to realize that you’re looking at toilet seats when you first see Joel Holmberg’s paintings, up now at Michael Benevento Gallery. Initially, they look like flat, whimsical abstractions, rectangles layered over big ovals. But the rectangles are in fact pieces of toilet paper used to cover the seats of a public toilet (Holmberg used as his model for these paintings the communal toilet in his studio building). His work shares space with Tory J. Lowitz, who has been studying ikebana, Japanese floral arrangement. Lowitz's minimal sculptures mimic the gallery’s infrastructure and hold fresh flowers and plants. As you open the gallery door, you’re face to face with a white metal door frame holding a modest plant on a built-in shelf. 3712 Beverly Blvd., Koreatown; through July 8. (323) 874-6400, beneventolosangeles.com.
Heavy petting zoo
Amy O’Neill brought her parents’ kitschy, endearing 1970s television console to Kristina Kite Gallery, where it currently sits in the gallery’s back room, in front of a stack of bean bags, as part of O’Neill’s show “Convex Cornea.” Playing on the TV screen inside the console is a collaged-together 16mm film called Zoo Revolution and the Well Fed Wolf. The heavy metal soundtrack, by the band Orphan, gives the footage a nostalgic but also comically dramatic weightiness. Clips from cartoons and childhood films interrupt footage of a now-closed petting zoo and storybook garden O’Neill used to visit as a child. The film recalls the absurd, anxiety-filled performance and videos L.A. icon Mike Kelley used to make about his teenage years, except O’Neill’s film isn’t angsty. Rather, it’s comfortable with its nerdy quirks and dramatics. Also included in the exhibition are the artist’s “Bean-Bag Flats,” 1970 bean-bag chairs taken apart at the seams and screen-printed with slogans from vintage T-shirts. 3400 W. Washington Blvd., Arlington Heights; through July 15. (323) 643-4656, kristinakitegallery.la.
Fame, loss and minimalist sculpture
The fierce scholar Anna Chave has written extensively about minimalism and about the work of Carl Andre, whose retrospective currently fills the main galleries of MOCA’s Geffen Contemporary. She has interrogated, among other things, the ways in which Andre’s work relates to that of the legacy of his late wife, artist Ana Mendieta. Mendieta’s death in 1985, from a fall out the window of the 34th-floor apartment she shared with Andre, left the art world rattled, and while Andre was acquitted of her murder, questions about her life and career always accompany the institutional attention he receives. Is Mendieta being overshadowed in death? How do feminist artists honor her legacy? “Some male critics have suggested that, as Mendieta’s posthumous reputation grows, ill-feeling toward the more celebrated Andre might accordingly subside; but the reverse may just as easily be imagined,” Chave wrote a few years ago. It’s a bold move by the museum to bring her in; hopefully, her talk will invite incisive, complicated conversation. 152 N. Central Ave., downtown; Thu., July 6, 7 p.m.; free. (213) 621-1745, moca.org.