Michael Queenland’s “The MORL or NYC-Apartment” at LA>

Michael Queenland has re-created the floor plan of his New York railroad apartment in the gallery space, which he has decorated and furnished with borrowed, found and made items. Here he explores the relationship between a domestic space and an exhibition space, as well as ideas of display and functionality of the objects within. Queenland’s investigation is playful and fluid; like a theatrical stage, it feels somewhat impermanent. In some ways, the installation is a collection unto itself, a massive still life of sorts, with a hot-pink fedora on a footstool, bunches of bananas, a framed photograph of cats, candlesticks and modern chairs. Inspired by the Museum of Romantic Life — a shrine to French writer George Sand, with many of her personal belongings and ephemera — Queenland’s installation is full of artifacts and culture signifiers, both high and low.

2640 S. La Cienega Blvd., L.A. | (310) 559-0166 | www.laxart.org | Tues.–Sat. 11 a.m.–6 p.m. | Through October 27

Whitney Bedford at Cherry and Martin

Whitney Bedford’s new show focuses on five large paintings of Harry Houdini. These works on paper carry a palpable tension, showing the great master midtrick, still chained, not yet free. For the most part, they are black-and-white images taken from well-known photographs; from a distance, they seem very graphic, but Bedford, truly a painter, employs some Baconesque paint blurring — for instance, in the depiction of Houdini’s hands struggling with the shackles. She also uses red accents to further an element of disquiet in a scene already rich with pressure. There’s also a referent here to the culture of celebrity: one who has become a mythic persona, expected to make magic. Bedford also explores mortality and heroics in these works, as well as in her shipwreck diptych, which is installed in a corner.

12611 Venice Blvd., L.A. | (310) 398-7404 | www.cherryandmartin.com | Wed.–Sat. 11 a.m.–6 p.m. | Through October 27

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