This week, an artist stages a tiny exhibition at Central Library and a century-old Rodin sculpture plays a part in an afternoon-long performance.
5. J.J. Abrams inspires an art book
The Lost Issue , the catalog for the “Lost (in L.A.)” exhibition at Barnsdall Park, a show of work by French and Angeleno artists loosely named after the hit TV show Lost, has a disclaimer at the beginning: “This is not a catalog in the way you expect.” It includes a partly fictionalized conversation between filmmaker Michel Gondry and artist Alexandre Singh, in which Picasso and Stanley Kubrick make appearances, and reading it feels like reading a screenplay, with notes and illustrations inserted. Lauren Mackler, who runs the alt art space Public Fiction and put together The Lost Issue, will guide anyone curious through the catalog and its making process this week, and talk about artist-made publications in general. 800 Hollywood Blvd.; Fri., Jan. 18, 7 p.m. (323) 644-6269, lostinla.com.
4. Accidental collectibles
On the second floor of the Central Library, just outside the Annenberg Gallery, there's an ornate wooden case positioned at an angle. Inside is a teeny exhibition of delicate objects that became keepsakes almost by accident: a strip of film, showing the shoes of a girl named Dora, which filmmaker Valentin Bouré had to trim so that his film would fit into the projector; a bottle of oakmoss-derived perfume artist Darius Miksys gave to artist Jennifer Teets; two red sculptures that were meant to be but never were returned to an artist after an exhibition in Sèvres, France; and other things. Jason Hwang, who assembled and arranged these objects, calls the glass-case exhibition “Keeping Is Not Collecting.” 630 W. Fifth St., dwntwn.; through Jan. 30. (213) 228-7000, lapl.org.
3. Downtown drive-by gallery
Carlton Davis had to play ping-pong against then artist, now Oriental medicine specialist Fritz Hudnut, to get him to show in the “Art Dock,” a loading dock on the ground floor of a downtown building artists rented for 6 cents per square foot. This was early in the 1980s, and Hudnut was the first to show in the dock, conceived as a drive-by gallery. L.A. artists kept having Art Dock shows through 1986, some of them stunning, like Neal Taylor and Drew Lesso's “Still Among the Living” installation of red petals hanging in front of dark blue. Davis just finished a raw, loose book about his dock days, called Art Dockuments, which he'll talk about at the Armory Center for the Arts. 145 N. Raymond Ave., Pasadena; Fri., Jan. 18, 7:30 p.m. (626) 792-5101, armoryarts.org.
2. For the love of Venus
Sculptor Auguste Rodin fell in love with an ancient bust of Venus in 1903. It belonged to a collector who had commissioned a version of Rodin's The Kiss — that famous sculpture of naked, lip-locked lovers sitting on a slab of stone — and Rodin saw it on view in London. “You cannot imagine how much this Venus interests me,” Rodin said. “So perfect that it is as disconcerting as nature itself.” But the collector would not give the bust to Rodin, no matter how much money or art the sculptor offered to trade for it. L.A. artist Liz Glynn loves antiquities as much as Rodin did, though she's probably more self-conscious about it. LACMA owns Rodin's work and this week Glynn, with the help of some other contemporary sculptors, will be performing The Myth of Singularity (after Rodin) in the museum's sculpture garden. She'll muse over and mimic the 19th-century sculptor's work and his “delusions of grandeur” right in front of it. 5905 Wilshire Blvd.; Sat., Jan. 19, 12-5 p.m. (323) 857-6010, lacma.org.
A Burn Club that meets in Culver City has a logo made to resemble the pink bar of soap that says “Fight Club” in the movie starring Brad Pitt and Edward Norton. The club has permits to use fire and any “burn act” must be done with a “safety spotter” nearby. So it's controlled but still precarious, because fire is by definition risky. Eben Goff and Rowan Wood have a work called Burn in their collaborative new show at Steve Turner Contemporary, a dark mark under glass with an almost black center and golden brown edges in the middle of white paper. They made this and other works in the show by building the frames and framing the white paper, then going back and using heat and pigment to “burn” the color in through the glass. This backwards approach makes these instinctively shaped, beautifully abstract objects feel like evidence of a compulsion that can't be much more sane than the one behind burn acts. 6026 Wilshire Blvd.; through (323) 931-3721, steveturnercontemporary.com.