This week's list offers artists making rules, breaking rules or trying to figure out what the rules even are. It also includes a walking tour.
5. War against the photograph
Around 2004, painter David Hockney, famous for slick, smart renderings of SoCal swimming pools and uncomfortably posed socialites, regressed. He began taking easel and paints out into the Yorkshire woods, marrying impressionism with plein air. He did this because he'd become convinced painters as far back as the Renaissance had used mirrors and lenses to aid their work. Since the 1400s, he figured, no one has just looked without the help of equipment. Bruno Wollheim's film David Hockney: A Bigger Picture, which screens at LACMA this week, follows Hockney as he tries to escape the influence of the camera. 5905 Wilshire Blvd.; Mon., March 19, 7 p.m.; $10, $7 for museum members. (323) 857-6010, lacma.org.
4. St. Patty's Day songwriters and spiritualists
Woody Guthrie once lived in Echo Park, and Aimee Semple McPherson, the eccentric lady preacher with a congregation of tens of thousands, built her magnificent Angelus Temple there in the 1920s. Even earlier, at the turn of the 20th century, a religious group cordoned off the Semi-Tropical Spiritualist Tract, a strip of land that cuts into Elysian Park and remains a wildlife habitat. On St. Patrick's Day, the Echo Park Time Bank — whose members use time as currency, exchanging a ride for computer help, for instance — will host an Echo Park walking tour. It leaves from Taix restaurant, stops at quirky cultural landmarks, and ends back at Taix for beer. 1911 W. Sunset Blvd., Echo Park; Sat., March 17, 11 a.m.-2 p.m.; free. (213) 973-2265, echoparktimebank.com.
3. Big hole
In 1968, in a park in Japan, artist Nobuo Sekine and friends dug a hole 7 feet deep and nearly 9 feet wide. They didn't have permission, but no one official noticed until they'd molded the removed earth into a cylinder of the same dimensions and placed it beside the hole. Sekine says when they finished working, they stood and stared: “The power of this object … rendered everybody speechless.” In the garden of Culver City's Blum & Poe gallery, Sekine has dug another hole and again placed the removed earth beside it. The show, “Requiem for the Sun: The Art of Mono-Ha,” features this and other ambitious, ambiguous sculpture from postwar Japan. (Also check out our art feature on Mono-ha) 2727 S. La Cienega Blvd.; through April 14. (310) 836-2062, blumandpoe.com.
2. YouTube nation
Natalie Bookchin spent two and a half years culling, categorizing and editing YouTube clips in which vloggers, newscasters and “experts” comment on black men (Obama, O.J., Henry Louis Gates Jr.) who have somehow offended. Now, an embarrassing but engrossingly familiar collection of clips plays in an all-black gallery at LACE on 18 staggered monitors. Sometimes only one or two people are speaking. Sometimes you're bombarded: “He's a black man in a white house”; “If he wasn't black then, he's black as hell now”; “Kobe Bryant was in the same situation a couple of years ago”; “Here's my birth certificate.” 6522 Hollywood Blvd., Hlywd.; through April 15. (323) 957-1777, welcometolace.org.
1. Jumping through hoops
Like its title, “When the Skin Gets Pinched” feels delicate and dangerous. The collaboration between L.A.-based artist Davida Nemeroff and New York-based Cara Benedetto includes images of female high-jump champions in midair, draped over yarn, suspended in painted hoops or pinned to a pole. Then there are photographs of spilled blood, wrinkled bedsheets and hoops hung on their own, twirling. A blue sheet of cellophane on the far wall has text on it, describing intimacy as if it were a game. 418 Bamboo Lane, Unit B, Chinatown; through March 24. youngartgallery.com.