This week, there's a game show-style showdown in Santa Monica, a print fair at LACMA and a film that tours through facets of pre-invasion Baghdad showing in Eagle Rock.
5. Justin Bieber's leftovers
Art Is Shit Editions, a fairly young, L.A.-based art publishing company that produces objects as well as prints, has in its inventory a gold-glazed, headless Virgin Mary Vase by artist Wynn Bauer. It also has a sculpture, made entirely of chocolate, of a brown banana in a hot dog bun. Artist XVALA purportedly made the first of this editioned sculpture, called Justin Bieber's Banana Split: A Memento for Celebrity Exes, based on two moldy items he found when rifling through the star's residential trash. Art Is Shit, or AIS, will be among the exhibitors at the third annual L.A. Print Fair at LACMA this weekend. Its founders will discuss their work on a panel with Karen Fiorito of Buddha Cat Press, another irreverent L.A. publisher, at 4:45 Saturday. Brown Auditorium, 5905 Wilshire Blvd.; Sat., Feb. 23, 12:30-5 p.m.; free. (323) 857-6010, lacma.org.
4. Covert affairs
Mostly middle-aged women in black headscarves and khaki coats bounce their automatic rifles up and down and chant, among other things, “Bush, Bush, listen carefully, all of us love Saddam Hussein” in one of many passages from artist Paul Chan's film Baghdad in No Particular Order. He shot it in Baghdad in 2002 and 2003, before the occupation began. There is some dialogue, but the idea was to keep words to a minimum. “I didn't want to make anti-war pornography or war pornography,” Chan said in 2005. “You realize that in both of those, from CNN to documentaries, there are always voice-overs telling you what you are seeing onscreen. Always.” His film screens at Center for the Arts, Eagle Rock, along with a film by Alice Wang, which explores the effects of her grandfather's undercover work for the WWII Chinese government and Communist party. 2225 Colorado Blvd., Eagle Rock; Thurs., Feb. 21, 8 p.m. (323) 226-1617, cfaer.org
3. Well-dressed nightmares
In one of Justin John Greene's “Fashion Drawings,” a figure in tight pink leggings, a flowing gray coat and flowered hat has the hairy face of a monster. In another, a woman in short orange shorts and an even oranger sweater has a bat on her head. Both of these are in the Control Room show Greene curated, called “The Oldest of Rainbows.” So are 3-D paper women by Bari Ziperstein, with decorative fence rails running down their bodies, and a grainy film by Spencer Douglass in which a crumbling high-rise stands in for Marilyn Monroe. 2006 E. Seventh St., dwntwn., control-room.org.
2. Psychedelic set pieces
There are succulents and squares of colored paper in Brice Bischoff's Glassell Park photographs, and there also are succulents and paper squares on a cabinet in the middle of his “Glassell Park Series” show at Cirrus Gallery downtown. That's the idea: that the photographs will be shown along with their subjects, sources and inspirations. The best of the photos, all taken in Bischoff's Glassell Park studio (hence the series' title), imbue their subjects with a psychedelic kind of mysticism, like the one where a flash of white interrupts a dark cloth draping to the floor or the one where hazy spots of pink and orange light populate the space behind a globular tower of clay. 542 S. Alameda St., dwntwn.; through April 6. (213) 680-3473, cirrusgallery.com.
1. Extreme curating
An applause meter will determine who takes home the trophy Saturday night at 18th Street Arts, when five teams of curators face off in Santa Monica. They will have only minutes to conceptualize a show around a theme assigned to them at random, and the point is to make all the anxiety that accompanies decisions about how to pitch and frame a show or which artists to include happen at a fantastically accelerated rate, in real time. Paris-based artists Ivan Argote and Pauline Bastard, who have organized similar events in New York and London, are behind game show-inspired “Born to Curate,” and they've assembled a range of Greater L.A. curators: Shamim Momin of LAND, Mark Allen and Chris Kallmyer of Machine Project, Mat Gleason from Coagula Curatorial and Idurre Alonso from the Latin American Museum of Art. 1639 18th St., Santa Monica; Feb. 23, 6-8 p.m. (310) 453-3711, 18thstreet.org.