This week, artists contemplate the end of the Mayan calendar, Metro debuts its strange new Gold Line bridge and a group exhibition experiments in portraiture.
5. Live-streaming the end times
The supposed upcoming apocalypse triggered by the end of the Mayan calendar has become a fixation. This weekend, there are end-of-the-world dance parties, dinner parties and one-night-only operas. Artist Jonas Becker, who is interested in end-days myths in general, is taking her camera to Mexico and spending the evening of Dec. 21 driving among Mayan ruins, filming and interviewing spiritual leaders, conspiracy theorists, tourists and others. Her footage will stream live during the concurrent Apocalypse Now? party in a Highland Park storefront. In addition to Becker's live stream, there will be beer by Dry River Brewing, karaoke and drawing supplies for people who want to express their end-of-world sentiments through art. 5118 York Blvd.; Fri., Dec. 21, 8 p.m. (951) 522 – 8573, beckerprojects.com.
4. Cars and shorts
Greta Magnusson Grossman, the designer who became famous for designing a cushioned crib for Sweden's Princess Birgitta and went on to design California modern homes, left Sweden in 1940. When asked by a journalist what she would need for her new California life, she said, “A car and some shorts.” That quote is the title of the current Grossman retrospective at Pasadena Museum of California Art, which includes mainly her furniture — anthropomorphic lamps, low-to-the-ground tables with delicately curved tops, skinny chairs and folding screens. 490 E. Union St., Pasadena; through Feb. 24.(626) 568-3665, pmcaonline.org.
3. Face-cutting and other experiments
The figure in Cris Brodahl's portrait She Knows has a long powerful neck, perfectly mussed brunette bangs but no face — Brodahl cut that out and then reattached the remaining parts. The neck dominates a portrait by Robyn O'Neil, too, but this is because O'Neil's figure, seen from behind, wears a hat that resembles a lit-up fortress and obscures most of her head. Artist-curator Daniel Weinberg selected these and a host of other quirky portraits for “About Face,” ACME gallery's current exhibition. 6150 Wilshire Blvd.; through Dec. 22. (323) 857-5942, acmelosangeles.com.
2. White-collar fantasies
In one of Bonnie Camplin's small new paintings, two black-haired men in business suits are deep into a séance, caressing a stonelike blob of gray. In one of her graphite drawings, a warrior with a long sword and bulky below-the-knee boots wears a snowman mask while a rack of ties hangs behind him and two balding, suited men peer out of a hole in the ground. These accompany other dreamlike, or nightmarelike, drawings in “STW,” Camplin's current show at Michael Benevento. 7578 Sunset Blvd., Hlywd.; through Jan. 12. (323) 874-6400, beneventolosangeles.com.
1. Metro's back-to-the-future bridge
Artist Andrew Leicester calls his design for the diagonal Metro Gold Line overpass that crosses the I-210 in Arcadia “the Foothills Basket Bridge.” This references the leaning, basketlike shapes on top of each of the bridge's supporting columns, which were intended to evoke both traditions of indigenous San Gabriel cultures and the oversized signage that characterizes the valley. The Western Diamondback rattlesnake inspired the bridge's patterned underbelly. Despite its inspirations, or maybe because of them, the bridge looks like an idea of the future that could have come from 1970s sci-fi — weirdly archaic but unlike anything you'd ever expect to see in Arcadia. 210 Freeway between the Baldwin and Santa Anita Avenue exits. (626) 471-9050, foothillextension.org.