Great video is slated to screen Valentine's Day at the Hammer, and the inspired My Barbarian collective is moving into Human Resources' Chinatown space for a monthlong residency, which can only bring good things.
5. Art or lawn furniture?
Diana Molzan's painting Untitled, shaped like a table and patterned like cheap upholstery, feels cozy even though it's on canvas, and Math Bass's Body No Body Body series of striped canvases draped over easels or sawhorses is like fossilized mammals dressed as lawn furniture. The other work in Overduin and Kite's group exhibition “Il Regalo,” which means “the gift,” is strangely familiar and comforting, too, even if it's impossible to articulate exactly what it's about. 6693 Sunset Blvd., Hlywd.; through March 23. (323) 464-3600, overduinandkite.com.
4. Does Death wear a helmet?
A Grim Reaper-worthy scythe attached to a bicycle seat, a dirt pile on a marble tabletop, a shag carpet that resembles an overgrown swamp, two strippers gawking at a stone muscleman: All these contribute to the quirky, mythological world of “Material Underground,” the group show at Francois Ghebaly Gallery. Patrick Jackson is the only L.A. artist included. The others, among them George Kuchar's brother Mike Kuchar, hail from New York, which, in our year of PST-fueled L.A. boosterism, makes the show feel almost exotic. 2600 La Cienega Blvd.; through Feb. 25. (310) 280-0777, ghebaly.com.
3. Paintings like cartoon Westerns
Ryan Slugget's paintings are just fun. They use crude, loose strokes like those of Phillip Guston (when he painted KKK hoodlums holding cigars between bulbous fingers) but an it's-all-cool attitude like Elizabeth Murray's (when she culled together bright, loony shapes on never-rectangular canvases). They're also huge — sometimes 10 feet tall — with fabric flopping up off them and titles that sound like what poet Billy Collins might choose if he wrote Westerns: Kick Smile, Sad Baby Swipe, Still Life With Horse's Ass. Richard Telles Fine Art, 7380 Beverly Blvd.; through Feb. 25. (323) 965-5578, tellesfineart.com.
2. Perversion, with high production values
Whether they're impersonating MOCA staffers or singing about castration, every time I see My Barbarian perform, I leave with that elated, satisfied feeling you get from spot-on theater. But that doesn't mean I'm not bewildered. The trio — made up of artists Malik Gaines, Jade Gordon and Alexandro Segade — is particularly good at marrying high production quality with total weirdness. Broke People's Baroque Peoples' Theater, the group's half-show, half-residency at Human Resources, opens with a performance Saturday, though no details have been released. 410 Cottage Home St., Chinatown; Sat., Feb. 11, 7-10 p.m.; free; show continues through March 11. (213) 290-4752, humanresourcesla.com.
1. Kinky video art for V-Day
Some of the smarter video artists working right now will be featured in the Hammer's Valentine's Day screening event, “Dirty Looks: Long-Distance Love Affairs,” part of a roaming, New York-based screening series. There's Mariah Garnett, who once impersonated self-obsessed porn star Peter Berlin (“You look just like me,” Berlin said when he saw the film of her as him), and Rhys Earnest, whose Secret Men's Club series turns banal office encounters sinister. Then there are artists no longer working, like Charles Ludlam, who died in 1987 but founded the Ridiculous Theater Company and wrote the ever-popular The Mystery of Irma Vep. If the artists on the program pull through, “Dirty Looks” should explore obsession and affection in a way that starts out kinky but ends up gapingly honest. 10899 Wilshire Blvd.; Tues., Feb. 14, 8 p.m.; free. (310) 443-7000, hammer.ucla.edu.
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