A fictional character's overfull apartment, an exhibit of a late French theorist's art, and Victorian-vaginal video art are among the things to see this week.
Artist Cat Chiu Phillips, who's known for public art installations made with plarn (plastic yarn), is using plastic waste to create a float for the Tournament of Roses parade with the help of students and other volunteers. They’ll use recycled material and do the work at Side Street Projects, a lot in Pasadena. On Dec. 27, they’ll move their creation, already titled Plastic Garden Float, to the Paseo in Old Town, where it will be on view through New Year's Eve. 280 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena; Dec. 27-31. (626) 798-7774, sidestreet.org/my-pasadena.
Stevie Wonder gets a shout-out
For his current show at Mier Gallery, Sean Brian McDonald titled most of the works after musicians. He stacks multiple fleshy pink canvases together, then affixes magazine clippings or other found imagery to the surfaces. Before the works are finished, he drums on them with a drumstick, chipping the paint. You wouldn’t necessarily know he did this from looking at them, though a video above the front desk shows an unseen figure drumming away on an assortment of artworks. The highlights of the show aren’t the pinkish ones but rather white and blue warped rectangles, both titled Stevie Wonder. 1107 Greenacre Ave., Hollywood; through Jan. 9. (323) 498 5957, miergallery.com.
Theorist with a camera
Jean Baudrillard, the French theorist who wrote about simulation and the “hyperreal,” also took photographs. He exhibited them throughout his life, though he always called it a hobby. He titled his images after the places he took them, and usually his photos were dry, zooming in on street-side moments. It’s hard to know if his show at Chateau Shatto would be so interesting were he not famous for talking about things such as the “destruction of the real” and “the aestheticization of the whole world.” Looking at his photographs of a crinkled ad in Rio or the reflection of a car in Bruges, you feel in the know, as if you understand how a man obsessed with omnipresent images wouldn’t be able to resist taking these shots. 406 W. Pico Blvd., downtown; through Feb. 6. (310) 414-7395, chateaushatto.com.
Who would live here?
The furniture store H.D. Buttercup opened a new location last week on Santa Fe, right across the alley from the restaurant Bestia. The store’s founder, Evan Cole, decided to collaborate with Berlin-based gallerist Michael Fuchs to organize an exhibition set up in a fictional apartment on the store’s second floor. Ostensibly the apartment belongs to H.D. Buttercup, who doesn’t actually exist, and it's overfull. A 1960s nude by Philip Pearlstein is above a fake fireplace and next to a reflective wall of purple and pink camo patterns on aluminum by Paul Hosking. There’s no guiding principle. If someone actually lived here, we imagine he'd be the kind of mogul with the money to hire people with taste but no defined aesthetic of his own. That’s not to say the creepy Oda Jaune painting of svelte naked women and children deep in ritual doesn’t look great above the desk. 2118 E. Seventh Place, downtown; through March 26. (213) 223-9800, hdbuttercup.com.
Beautiful baby machine
The current group show at Steve Turner, called “The Real World,” focuses on emerging artists “who developed their practices online.” This should be a squirm-inducing premise, given that both youth and “post-Internet” have become such hackneyed selling points for art in recent years. But some of the video works in the show are edgy enough to grab you. Hennessy Youngman (alter ego of artist Jayson Musson) has been posting art-world how-to videos since 2010. Two of these play on a loop at the gallery, including the one from 2011 in which Youngman talks about how “someone eating and drinking with people in the antiseptic confines of the art gallery is realer than getting drunk in a bar … and contracting herpes.” Ann Hirsch’s video Physical Contractions plays next to Youngman’s. In it she’s sitting in a silky robe, which she opens. Then she starts rubbing her stomach. Then her stomach is growing, a vagina has appeared over her belly, it’s opening, she’s in orgasm and then a baby appears, crawling happily. It’s uncomfortably Victorian: a woman fulfilling her destiny all while sitting still in a sweet pink robe. 6830 Santa Monica Blvd., Hollywood. (323) 460-6830, steveturner.la.