A baroness who made art in the 1920s holds her own alongside contemporary artists in a Hollywood group show, and a faucet drips ad nauseam downtown.
5. Taking the long view
Andy Warhol started filming Empire, his eight-hour, five-minute look at the Empire State Building, at sunset on July 25, 1964. He continued into the next morning. Warhol never let anyone show excerpts or parts of the film — the point was to endure the whole thing, to watch time pass slowly. MoMA owns the original 16mm film, and anytime a truncated version pops up, as it did on a DVD released a few years ago, controversy ensues. In conjunction with its exhibition "Andy Warhol: Shadows," MOCA is screening the whole thing Sunday, with a reception after for those who make it through. Mention Empire at the box office for free museum admission; RSVP for reception at moca.org/rsvp. 250 S. Grand Ave., dwntwn.; Sunday, Dec. 5, noon; reception at 7:30 p.m. (213) 626-6222, moca.org.
4. Feminist, misogynist or in between?
When experimental photographer and longtime UCLA professor Robert Heinecken’s retrospective opened at MoMA last year, Karen Rosenberg wrote in The New York Times that the technical open-mindedness and media savvy of Heinecken’s work impressed her, but “much of it looked, and still looks, oblivious to the advent of feminism.” What to make of Heinecken’s use of pornographic nudes or plastic ladies from spreads in men’s magazines? The artist’s retrospective is at the Hammer now, and a group of artists, curators and scholars is asking: Was Heinecken feminist, misogynist or a little of both? Does it matter? 10899 Wilshire Blvd., Wstwd.; Tuesday, Dec. 9, 7:30 p.m. (310) 443-7000, hammer.ucla.edu.
3. Door mouth
Each of Pentti Monkkonen’s 6-foot-tall, rectangular Rue Michael Jackson sculptures has a Michael Jackson nose. Installed throughout Night Gallery’s three-person exhibition “Paris de Noche,” the sculptures have “skin” that consists of marbled squares and wide, blank, glossed-over eyes. They also have colored wooden door panels holding their mouths wide open. They look kind of like a cross between the Mouth of Truth, that perpetually open-mouthed relic in Rome, and a Halloween mask. 2276 E. 16th St., dwntwn.; through Dec. 20. (323) 589-1135, nightgallery.ca.
2. Backed-up drain
There’s a faucet dripping in the middle of the Box gallery right now, from a leaking sink installed on top of a substantial, awkwardly tilted, shoulder-high table. Conceptual artist Howard Fried made this sculpture, called Sociopath, in 1983, and the drainage system is intentionally unwieldy: Water falls into a metal slot on the table but lands in the side farthest from the drain, and also puddles on the table’s surface. A pipe winds all along the gallery walls, though it’s not quite clear what purpose it serves. The inefficiency is both anxiety-producing and transfixing. 805 Traction Ave., dwntwn.; through Jan. 10. (213) 625-1747, theboxla.com.
1. Rediscovered godmother
Baroness Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven, an often-overlooked German artist, acquired her title by marrying a destitute aristocrat. She had a style of painting that seems, in retrospect, far too raw, loose and comic for her 1920s era. But in “Artificial Complexion,” the group show at Various Small Fires, the baroness comes off as a subversive godmother. Her painting of a urinal leaking behind an unopened umbrella, with pink streaks and cursive text in the background, belongs next to Liz Craft’s ceramic lips from 2013. The lips have coins between their teeth and text bubbles on the wall beside them, including one that says “nice panties.” 812 N. Highland Ave., Hlywd.; through Dec. 20. (310) 426-8040, vsf.la.
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