This week, urban gardeners double as artist-activists in West Adams, an artist exhibits a giant sweatshirt in Chinatown, and a forgotten, historic church becomes a temporary gallery.
Since 1977, Community Services Unlimited has maintained a little urban farm in South L.A. It also organizes cooking classes and pop-up produce stands. This weekend at the William Grant Stills Community Art Center in West Adams, members will launch a project they call Sankofa, a word from Ghana’s Akan language that means “reach back and get it.” The project narrates the organization's gardening history through video, music, photos and food. A panel discussion will include Will Allen, who formerly played basketball in Baltimore and Belgium and now runs an urban nursery in Milwaukee; and Kadiri Sennefer, a gardening activist who works with the Detroit Black Community Food Security Network. 2520 W. West View St., West Adams; Sat., Oct. 31, 12-3 p.m. (323) 734-1164, wgsac.wordpress.com.
If two people breathe onto either side of the sliding glass door in Marine Projects' hallway right now, words appear slowly ("I love you"). A project by Emilie Halpern, it’s part of a show that includes Emma Gray’s loose, unapologetically spiritual paintings of streakers or women communing in forests. You can touch certain of Galia Lin’s big ceramic vessels, installed upstairs and in the garden, but carefully, because some edges are sharper than they look. The show, installed in an oceanside home, includes only work by women, though you wouldn't necessarily notice this at first — the mood mixes controlled minimalism with whimsy. Address available by request, Santa Monica; through Nov. 21, open by appointment. (310) 392-3649, marineprojects.la.
The only church built by iconic L.A.-based architect Rudolph Schindler is on Compton, an area that changed dramatically after the church’s late-1940s construction. The building fell into shady hands, then into disrepair until nearly two years ago — look through public records and you’ll find odd traces of intrigue (the name of a swindling bishop in cahoots with the LAPD appears on the deed). That’s when a congregation called Faith Build International leased it, making the church presentable and functional again. They’ve since moved out, and now the church is empty and on the market for $1.5 million. Starting Nov. 1, it will be temporary home to an exhibition by conceptual artist Robert Barry, organized by Thomas Solomon Art Advisory. On opening day, Barry will re-stage a performance he did in 1972, where a performer sits at a desk and reads from columns of seemingly disconnected words. 4901 Compton Ave., Central Alameda; Sun., Nov. 1, 12-4 p.m. thomassolomonartadvisory.com.
Sabrina Chou titled her exhibition at Human Resources “HR,” and it does have a slightly clinical, corporate feel. Rather, it feels like clinical objects grew legs, blew themselves up to oversized proportions and then wandered into a boxy dreamscape. A sweatshirt big enough to fit about 10 people at once falls over a metal stand, and a portable soccer goal that must have been made for giants leans in a corner. 410 Cottage Home St., Chinatown; through Nov. 14. (213) 290-4752, humanresourcesla.com.
Finding the fight
William Pope.L wears a towel over his head and often carries his left shoe in his hand throughout his new, 35-minute film Obi Sunt. He wanders through the former mining town of Goldfield, Nevada, revisiting the site of a fight that took place in 1906. “The Fight of the Century,” it pitted a black fighter named Joe Gans against a white one named Oscar Nelson. It lasted 42 rounds, longer than any fight in boxing history, before Gans won. It’s not exactly clear in the film what Pope.L is looking for as he wanders — maybe signs of a forgotten triumph. This show coincides with another of Pope.L’s work in Culver City, at Susanne Vielmetter, and the artist has designed a "directions website" for those who wish to go from one show to the other. Poetic audio clips accompany each turn (“suddenly I know it’s too late, I’m lost in the canopy, alone with ourselves”). 6830 Santa Monica Blvd., Hollywood; through Dec. 5. (323) 460-6830, steveturner.la.