A still from Olaf Breuning's film Home II (2007)
A still from Olaf Breuning's film Home II (2007)
Courtesy Michael Benevento and the artist

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

This week, a funny mechanical cloud travels back and forth along the ceiling of a Hollywood gallery, and MOCA exhibits a letter from an offended priest. 

5. Westward expansion
The Manifest Destiny Billboard Project, organized by artist Zoe Crosher and the nonprofit Los Angeles Nomadic Division, started a year and a half ago, when billboards designed by artist Shana Lutker were installed in Jacksonville, Florida, the eastern terminus of Interstate 10. Like a slow chain reaction, billboards by different artist were installed along subsequent stretches of the highway until now, when, finally, the project has reached L.A. You’ll see artist Matthew Brannon’s boards, in which stylized snakes appear in advertising spoofs, if you drive to the ocean along the I-10 West, and you can see all 10 “chapters” of the project in a temporary exhibition (LAND's website also has a list of related events happening this weekend). 6840 Santa Monica Blvd., Hollywood; Wed.-Sun., June 24-28, billboards up through July. (646) 620-8289, nomadicdivision.org.

4. Cement leg
Everything in “cold cups of boiling water,” the current group show at ltd Los Angeles, is toxic, or made of potentially toxic material. Jesse A. Greenberg’s resin wall works are multicolored resin objects that look as if they barely survived a fire. They’re brittle and bulging, and grimy. Anton Lieberman’s Maniac Beach includes a dismembered, pock-marked cement leg inside a rectangle of green neon that lifts up off the floor to perfectly frame two standing, lidless plastic water bottles. 7561 Sunset Blvd., #103, Hollywood; through July 31. (323) 378-6842, ltdlosangeles.com

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Jesse A. Greenberg's Face Scan 4 (2015)
Jesse A. Greenberg's Face Scan 4 (2015)
Courtesy of the artist and ltd Los Angeles

3. Teasing cab drivers
The big ovals of photographic wallpaper in Olaf Breuning’s current show at Michael Benevento are funny in a desperate way: A woman wears a yarn crown with brown-skinned and peach-skinned plastic babies dangling from it. Above her, another woman, who doesn’t smile, holds a sign asking why people complain about life when it’s so beautiful. But Breuning’s Home videos, playing on a loop in the second gallery a few doors down, are the most compelling, and offensively comic. A tall redhead with unnaturally intense blue eyes paints his face yellow, holds orange juice and poses next to New York cabs. He tries to get himself attacked by mud people in a fake jungle, too. 7578 & 7556 Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood; through July 30. (323) 874-6400, beneventolosangeles.com.

2. Rain parade
A bright red track curves along the ceiling in Gracie DeVito’s show “Das Cloud” at Tif Sigfrids, stretching from the back office to the gallery’s entrance. Whenever a mechanical, bulbous white cloud starts wheeling its way along the track, water rains down from the cloud's belly. The water lands directly on the miniature self-portrait DeVito sculpted, a version of herself in a cloak and only one high-heeled shoe, cowering underneath a stack of red conference chairs that are far bigger than she is. The water misses those chairs and also misses the miniature blender on the floor. After the cloud makes its way all the way to the door, then turns around and heads back again, some water still trickling out, the floor has to be mopped. So the cloud is like a clownish, high-maintenance performer that leaves a mess behind. 1507 Wilcox Ave., Hollywood; through June 30. (323) 907-9200, tifsigfrids.com.

1. Mary is pro-choice
A T-shirt MOCA sold in its gift shop in the early 1990s read “Mary Is Pro-Choice.” This disturbed a Catholic woman who visited the museum, and she told her priest about it. The priest wrote a letter to the museum, explaining that the Virgin Mary was not actually pro-choice. This letter is in a glass case on the ground floor of "Tongues Untied" at MOCA PDC, an exhibition that coincides with the 25-year anniversary of West Hollywood’s founding; it documents programming and activism MOCA supported during the AIDS crises. The centerpiece is upstairs: Marlon Riggs' gorgeous 54-minute film about “black men loving black men,” as the original poster said. “Do not feel shame for how I am. I chose this tribe of warriors and outlaws,” says the smooth-voiced narrator at one point, as a man in white silk dances on-screen. 8687 Melrose Ave., West Hollywood; through Sept. 13. (213) 621-1745, moca.org

Catherine Wagley on Twitter

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