It has to be harrowing to put together a tribute exhibition on short notice. The risk of triteness is huge. Thankfully, MOCA's tribute to Mike Kelley, the intensely influential artist who died on the last day of January, doesn't feel official or scripted. It presents what the museum has by the artist and lets the work speak. There's the Empathy Displacement series, in which Kelley confined handmade stuffed animals to black boxes with single, prisonlike windows, then painted their likenesses on canvas. There's the great Silver Ball installation, a hanging aluminum mass with holes on its backside through which you can peer to see knotty, red-tinted landscapes. There's also a room of work Kelley gave MOCA, with items by raw, adventurous performer Johanna Went, funnily garish Marnie Weber, and Kelley's mentor, Douglas Huebler, who Kelley once said proved “art is forward-looking.” 250 S. Grand Ave., dwntwn.; through April 2. (213) 626-6222,

Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays-Sundays. Starts: Feb. 18. Continues through April 2, 2012

LA Weekly