This week, a man becomes a god in a play set in a midcentury landmark and an artist builds an adults-only dollhouse.
5. Sculpting the president
Sculptor Robert Merrell Gage announces, “We know what Lincoln looked like,” early on in the 1955 documentary The Face of Lincoln, then proceeds to describe the different curves in the 16th president's face. As the film continues, Gage talks about Lincoln's life while sculpting a portrait of him. The film screens at the Fischer Museum at USC, where Gage taught when the film was made. 823 Exposition Blvd.; Sat., June 8, 1 p.m.; $15. (213) 740-4561, fisher.usc.edu.
4. For the love of the chase
“Four bowler hats. some coffee cups and neckties have enough (are fed-up) and revolt from 11:50-12 a.m.,” wrote prolific German artist Hans Richter, who fought in World War I, became a pacifist and fled Europe after Nazis labeled him a “degenerate artist” in 1941. “The chase of the rebellious [objects] threads the story.” He was describing his 1928 film, Ghosts Before Breakfast, a stop-motion film in which those “rebellious” hats blow back and forth in uncanny unison and, at one point, men stroke their beards as the beards disappear. Soon they are clean-shaven and stroking air. Excerpts from the film pop up like a catchy refrain in different rooms of Richter's expansive exhibition at LACMA. 5905 Wilshire Blvd.; through Aug. 4. (323) 857-6010, lacma.org.
3. Cutting up books with Maya Lin
When Italian critic Germano Celant published his book about Arte Povera, a term he coined to describe “poor art” made of ravaged materials, L.A. artist Paul McCarthy couldn't afford the book. So he and a friend decided to buy it together, cut it in half and eventually exchange halves. A cut-up book by artist Maya Lin is in “Neo Povera,” the exhibition Harmony Murphy curated at L&M Gallery in Venice. There is also a bag of cellophane by artist Karla Black, big enough to hold six or seven people and hanging whimsically from the ceiling, and a carefully shaped pile of concrete made by Liz Glynn sloping out from the wall. The show's take on “arte povera” is tasteful and spare — a poor man's minimalism. 660 Venice Blvd.; through Oct. 27. (310) 821-6400, lmgallery.com.
2. Surprising structures
The androgynous, ghostlike figures in Richard Hawkins' new “Night Gallery” and “Rainbow Room” painting series at Richard Telles Fine Art stare out at you from frames or from windows that open onto night sky. The walls in Hawkins' paintings are all multicolored, with imprecise, speckled stripes of green, purple, pink and orange running down them. The tall haunted house, made from wood, cardboard and dollhouse parts and on a table in the middle of the gallery, is multicolored, too. Called Smut Palace, it has signs advertising adult entertainment on it but looks quaint and arcadelike rather than sinister. 7380 Beverly Blvd.; through June 22. (323) 965-5578, tellesfineart.com.
1. Personality split
Architect Rudolf Schindler built the Fitzpatrick-Leland house in Laurel Canyon in 1936. The L-shaped house has a swimming pool in the front yard and windows as long as walls. Playwright and performer Asher Hartman's Glass Bang, a drama about a man who becomes so detached from himself that he splits into two and then becomes a dangerous deity, will unfold in the house this weekend. Hartman's plays are eerie, immersive experiences — you move through sets with the characters and occasionally feel you're wandering around inside their psyches. Laurel Canyon Boulevard and Mulholland Drive; June 7, 8 and 15, 8 p.m.; $25, advance purchase required. (213) 483-8761, machineproject.org.