This week, a collector prays for more art and a composer explores negative YouTube energy.
5. God willing
Art collector Danny First has been making benches — they're black and would be nondescript if not for the bold prayers written across their backs. “Oh, Lord Won't You Buy Me a Grotjahn?” says one in all-caps red letters, referring to the Mark Grotjahn whose concentric, mildly mind-bending abstract paintings now command high prices. Other benches single out other hard-to-come-by artists: “Oh, Lord, Won't You Buy Me a Basquiat?” or “Won't You Buy Me a Richter?” A suite of the benches sits in Maloney Fine Art's back courtyard right now. 2680 S. La Cienega Blvd.; through Aug. 31. 310-570-6420, maloneyfineart.com.
4. Through the looking glass
Nevio de Zolt's Window, a new lightbox video by artist Brian Bress, is both meta and mundane. You first see the bangs, long hair and shoulders of a girl who looks like she's been drawn on drywall, only her face has been busted in. Through the hole where her features should be, you see a tall, shuttered Italian window. At first a woman's very large eyes are reflected in the glass. Then a professorial man opens the window and looks from right to left, not too urgently. If he knows he's being watched, he doesn't care. Bress' Window is on view at Cherry & Martin, in a group show that also includes two sculptures by artist Nathan Mabry: a funny terracotta bat and wolf, both perched on almost-pretentious walnut pedestals. 2712 S. La Cienega Blvd.; through Aug. 31. (310) 559-0100, cherryandmartin.com.
3. Funny face in a serious case
Shayne Ehman's sculpture The Dead Bodies of Humanity looks, sounds and initially feels darker than it actually is. It's a wooden box with a blue velvet interior, which has small magnifying glasses evenly spaced inside. The specimens are too small to make out until you lean forward and put your eye near each glass. Then what you're staring at are googly-eyed, goofy faces, like the kind you might put on a sock puppet. Ehman's Dead Bodies box features in “Apparatus,” a group exhibition loosely about the human form, curated by artist Tim Barber at M+B. 612 N. Almont Drive, W. Hlywd.; through Aug. 31. (310) 550-0050, mbart.com.
2. Intrinsic logic
There is sometimes a sous chef in New York–based artist Darren Bader's exhibition at Blum & Poe, and sometimes not. Or so an official-looking sign set up on a Persian carpet in the middle of the gallery announces — I have not yet seen a chef and it's hard to know what one would do there. But there are newish Kindle Fires on the wall, one displaying a saturated image of Bryan Cranston sleeping in a bright green sleeping bag and another showing a birdhouse jumping rope. A Coney Island–worthy rickshaw stands behind the carpet amidst a variety of other objects, all arranged in a manner too intentionally to be accidental but too intuitively to make perfect sense. 2754 S. La Cienega Blvd.; through Aug. 31. 310-836-2062, blumandpoe.com.
1. Internet haters set to music
Composer Daniel Corral, whose work probes the weirdness of 21st-century living, has written a libretto called Dislike, about the most disliked YouTube video of all time. It digs into the vitriol and quirkiness of YouTube comments and premieres this week as part of REDCAT's NOW (New Original Works) series. It includes performances by accordion orchestra Free Reed Conspiracy and by the People's Microphone Camera, a group of artists and performers inspired by the Occupy movement's use of the people's microphone. 631 W. Second St.; Aug. 8-10, 8:30 p.m.; $18. (213) 237-2800, redcat.org.
Catherine Wagley on Twitter:
Public Spectacle, L.A. Weekly's arts & culture blog, on Twitter: