This week, there are exquisitely intricate, hippie paintings in Culver City and Independence Day performance art in East L.A.
5. Barbecue with Betsy Ross wannabe
Every year, a steep backyard in Alhambra turns into a playground for artists. The Summercamp Project vibe is sort of like being at camp, or a drawn-out show-and-tell session for grown-ups. Artists put up sculptures in the grass, screen videos in a crawlspace under the house or hang photographs in the basement. This year, on the Fourth of July, Christina Pierson, Yoshie Sakai and Vicki Tao will lead karaoke, while Jemima Wyman will try to rival Betsy Ross with the flag she'll produce and Alison DeLapp will display photos of her recent motorcycle sojourns across the United States. Guests are encouraged to bring lawn chairs and things to grill. 3119 Chadwick Drive; Thurs., July 4, 6-10 p.m. summercampprojectproject.blogspot.com.
4. Nicer than The Fountainhead
Actor Gary Cooper had just played Howard Roark, an indomitable purist of an architect, in the film version of Ayn Rand's The Fountainhead when he commissioned A. Quincy Jones to build him a modernist masterpiece. But the home Jones built in Holmby Hills, purchased by art dealer Larry Gagosian in 2010, was gentler than the skyscrapers Roark dreamed of — more rectangles and wide-open views, more pleasant than brash. That smart gentleness pervades the exhibition about Jones' work at the Hammer too. 10899 Wilshire Blvd., Wstwd.; through Sept. 8. (310) 443-7000, hammer.ucla.edu.
3. Mom and dad's side of the story
Right now, if you call 323 Projects, the project space that is actually an answering service, you'll hear Audrey Chan's and Elana Mann's parents talking about their daughters' artistic evolution. Meet the Chans and Manns, as the phone exhibition is called, begins with Chan's mother. She's described as “most qualified to tell you how artist Audrey Chan” came to be, and starts the story early: “During the late stage of my pregnancy, I became very big and the doctor told me I was expecting a big boy.” Then she describes labor: “She was big, and I was in a lot of pain. Her dad had to assist me and he almost broke his back/ I think that's a good foundation. … She came out and grew up into a very strong woman.” It's charming in the way other people's family mythologies often are, and calling in feels sort of like tuning in mid-program to a loosely structured spinoff of This American Life. (323) 843-4652. 323projects.com.
2. Meditation for a short attention span
Two people at a time can lounge on the white cushions inside Metaspace 2 at Nye + Brown, a pod with a raw aluminum exterior and a white Fiberglas interior made by Johannes Girardoni. LED lights emanate from a disc in the ceiling, changing colors, from green to blue to orange. The work recalls the experience of James Turrell's perception-shifting cells and corridors, on view now at LACMA. But in Girardoni's Metaspace, lights shift abruptly and the soundtrack is pulsing, making the experience more immediate than precious. 2685 S. La Cienega Blvd.; (310) 559-5215, nyeplusbrown.com.
1. OCD fantasies
Zach Harris' layered, chiseled, carved paintings look as if they could have been made by an obsessive hippie working out of a cabin in Topanga Canyon. They have to be seen in person, so you can lean in close, back away and lean in again. The nine paintings in Harris' new show at David Kordansky Gallery, “Echo Parked in a No Vex Cave,” are each different enough to be surprising. In Sky Wig on a Painted Table, a languid, large purple mountain, surrounded by a halo of gold, sits above smaller mountains. All around this scene, smooth vertical lines and grooves that look like stretched-out Superman shields have been cut into the white wood background. In Wheel in Picture Light, Harris has painted a small sun with multicolored rays on top of loosely rendered stacks of mountains. It's precise and delicate enough to give you chills. 3143 S. La Cienega Blvd.; through Aug. 17. (310) 558-3030, davidkordanskygallery.com.