From a pseudo-sitcom and beachside choreography to feminist nostalgia and midcentury design, this week's list feels particularly well-rounded. (Also check out our preview of Pacific Standard Time's Performance and Public Art Festival, which begins this week).
5. Italy in Westwood
Galleria del Deposito ran for six years, from 1963 to 1969, in an old coal depot in Italy. It showed fantastically geometric, sleekly graphic work and produced a staggering number of limited-edition serving trays (along with ceramics and prints). Eccentric L.A. artist and dealer Eugenia Butler distributed these wares in L.A.; since the nonprofit Los Angeles Nomadic Division is currently bent on proving Butler's brilliance, you can see a selection of work from Deposito at the Italian Cultural Institute in Westwood. The highlights are the brash, fluorescent capes and tunics graphic artist Eugenio Carmi made with fashion designer Rudi Gernreich. 1023 Hilgard Ave., Wstwd.; through Feb. 2. (310) 443-3250, nomadicdivision.org.
4. World's sexiest performance artist
When Andrea Fraser charged a collector $20,000 to have sex with her on video, or faked orgasm while on the Guggenheim Balboa's audio tour, she was interested in art as a catchall for everything else we want. Her newest performance, Men on the Line, debuting at the National Center for the Preservation of Democracy, will be less brazen, more empathetic, but still about desire. She'll re-create a conversation that aired on KPFK in 1972, in which four self-described feminist men talked about their sisters, their lives and their hopes for the women's movement. Were these men harbingers of a more inclusive feminist future or anomalies? 111 N. Central Ave., dwntwn.; Mon., Jan. 23, 7:30 p.m.; donation only, resv. required. (626) 793-1504, westofrome.org.
3. The Joan Didion of beach dancing?
Because Channa Horowitz uses graphs and equations, her drawings can be so absurdly controlled as to seem computer-generated. But somehow her precision isn't alienating. It's endearing, like she's the Joan Didion of drawing who, instead of confining her anxiety to careful sentences, grids it out in colored pencils. Since the 1960s, she's gridded out dancers, too, and at the Annenberg Beach House on Monday, she'll present five dance compositions that should be tightfistedly beautiful. 415 Pacific Coast Hwy., Santa Monica; Mon., Jan. 23, 6-9:30 p.m.; free with resv. (310) 280-0777, ghebaly.com/pst.
2. We are all mythopoetic incubators
The last lecture Jason Brown gave at Machine Project was on L.A.-centric tech paranoia; the one before was on a ghost ship that abducted an Iowa farmer. It's all true, or at least somewhat true, and the eccentricities this haphazard historian dwells on feel like metaphors for bigger things. He'll contribute to Pacific Standard Time with a lecture on L.A. from 1946 to 1981, during which, in his words, the city became “the mythopoetic incubator of a cybernetic ideology.” Machine Project, 1200-D N. Alvarado St., Echo Park; Sat., Jan. 21, 8 p.m.; free. (213) 483-8761, machineproject.com.
1. Desert space colonies can be crazy
Sculptor-writer William Leavitt's play The Particles (of White Naugahyde) plays out like a sitcom and has a vintage plot to go with its mod set: A family of four auditions to live in a space colony. NASA moves them out to the desert, where they spend two weeks anxious and isolated. Leavitt wrote The Particles in 1979, but it hasn't been produced until now. The Annex, 817 N. Hilldale Ave.; Jan. 26-27 and Feb. 2-3, 8 p.m.; free with resv. (310) 273-0603, margoleavingallery.com.