Allison Miller's Hour (2014)
Allison Miller's Hour (2014)
Courtesy of the artist

5 Free Art Shows You Should See in L.A. This Week

This week, a show in Hollywood includes only one sheet of paper with just two sentences on it, while a show nearby has more than 111,000 words in it, none of which can be read.

5. Rainbows in rows
There are lots of watermelon-colored, rainbow-shaped half-circles in Hour, one of two fantastic paintings by Allison Miller in “Made by Hand,” the group show in Charlie James Gallery’s basement. They’re aligned in rows, leaning to the right and against a pink background. Lots of other marks, including plus signs and little messy holes, surround the rainbows. Then two-thirds of the way down, the color and patterns fade almost to white. The painting reads as half-finished, well-loved and worn-out. 969 Chung King Road; through May 30. (213) 687-0844, cjamesgallery.com

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4. Too many words 
Artist Ginny Bishton is the one with all those words in her new paintings at Richard Telles, layering them to make shapes that are fuzzy, dense and entirely unreadable. The words come from turn-of-the-20th-century stories featuring female protagonists by writers such as Rebecca West or May Sinclair. Recordings of these stories being read out loud play in the gallery, with stools in the corner for people who want to sit and listen. This makes the show feel sort of like a classroom in a progressive Montessori school. 7380 Beverly Blvd., West Hollywood; through May 18.  (323) 965-5578, tellesfineart.com.

3. Obfuscation art
Walk into Redling Fine Art right now and you won’t see anything, at least not right away, other than the meticulously spaced can lighting shining down at an empty floor. Then you’ll see a single sheet of white paper pinned to the wall closest to the door. There’s one line of text along the top and one along the bottom: “Please Ignore the Message Above” and “Please Ignore the Message Below.” It’s part of a series of shows called “GloMar” that Redling has organized to explore obfuscation, as an idea and a physical experience, and it has an entirely different feel from the work the 75-year-old artist has up at Marc Selwyn in Beverly Hills. There, his messages are drippy, on canvases and in all caps: “OH WELL THAT’S THE WAY IT GOES, WHAT CAN YOU DO?” Redling, 6757 Santa Monica Blvd., Hollywood; through May 9. (323) 378-5238, redlingfineart.com. Marc Selwyn, 9953 S. Santa Monica Blvd., Beverly Hills; through May 30. (310) 277-9953, marcselwynfineart.com

2. A child and a choice
Maggie Nelson's essay published in Harper’s last month, about the process and pain of pregnancy, connected small personal sensations to bigger political problems so affectingly: “Feminists may never make a bumper sticker that says it’s a choice and a child,” she writes at one point, “but of course that’s what it is, and we know it.” The essay was excerpted from the L.A.-based Nelson’s new book, The Argonauts, and a release party for the book, at Pieter performance space, will be a collaborative kind of celebration, with contributions from Nelson’s artist friends. Musician Tara Jane O’Neil will perform, as will choreographer Jmy Kidd and her Sunland Dancers. 420 W. Avenue 33, Unit 10, Lincoln Heights; Sun., May 3, 7 p.m. pieterpasd@gmail.compieterpasd.com

Two of Anne Truitt's sculptures
Two of Anne Truitt's sculptures
©Estate of Anne Truitt / The Bridgeman Art Library. Courtesy Matthew Marks Gallery

1. Less perfect 
Anne Truitt’s sculptures look pristine and minimalistic when you first see them, especially installed in Matthew Marks’ elegant sunlit space. It’s when you get closer that you realize how idiosyncratic they are. The green-on-black paint on the shoulder-high, rectangular wood sculpture Truitt made in 1963 is uneven, and her white wooden columns from 1962 look more hands-on and homemade the closer you get. She just wasn’t going for the same kind of industrial cleanness minimalist peers of hers — artists such as Sol Lewitt or Donald Judd — were. 1062 N. Orange Grove, West Hollywood; through June 27. (323) 654-1830, matthewmarks.com

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