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Datebook: A new biennial focuses on water, paying tribute to the Merzbau, a Barnsdall takeover

A biennial of public art. A takeover of the Barnsdall Art Park. And 1,000 paintings of words that describe women. Plus: A Mexican gallery comes to downtown and an L.A. artist pays tribute to a pair of renowned European Dada-ists. Here are seven events to check out this week:

"Current: LA Water," in locations around Los Angeles. The city's new public art biennial will feature installations around the city by more than a dozen artists focusing around the theme of water. This includes a new film by Kerry Tribe, a sculptural fountain by Edgar Arceneaux, a garden by Mel Chin and an installation by Teresa Margolles, which employs water used to wash sites of violent crimes. The show also includes plenty of events, including film screenings, musical performances, a tea ceremony and a family-friendly workshop that looks at historical issues surrounding water. Opens Saturday and runs through Aug. 15. See the website for location and event information, currentla.org.

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A detail from collaged canvases from Betty Tompkin's "WOMEN Words" series at Gavlak in Los Angeles.
A detail from collaged canvases from Betty Tompkin's "WOMEN Words" series at Gavlak in Los Angeles. (Betty Tompkins / Gavlak)

Betty Tompkins, "Sex Works/WOMEN Words: 1000 Words, Phrases and Stories," at Gavlak. Known for paintings that take graphic images of pornography and give them a distinctly feminist cast, Tompkins has taken on the ways in which women are referred to in our society. An installation of 1,000 paintings features words that describe women — from "babe" to "sis" to "hot tomato" to others that remain unprintable. The show also includes works from her various series devoted to sex and sexuality. Expect up-close views of various body parts — a.k.a. NSFW. Opens Saturday and runs through Sept. 3. 1034 N. Highland Ave., Hollywood, gavlakgallery.com.

"Mertzbau: An Exhibition by Joe Sola featuring Albert Mertz," at Tif Sigfrids. In a show that reads like a turducken of conceptualism, L.A. artist Joe Sola pays tribute to German artist Kurt Schwitters (known for transforming his family home into an all-encompassing architectural installation known as the "Merzbau") through the lens of Danish artist Albert Merz, who was influenced by Schwitters' Dadaist leanings. To achieve this, Sola will create his own architecturally -minded construction — out of 419 salvaged wooden chairs. Opens Saturday and runs through Aug. 20. 1507 Wilcox Ave., Hollywood, tifsigfrids.com.

The collective Gabinete H-E in a scene from their performance, "Destroy All Your Humanity," at the Mistake Room in downtown L.A.
The collective Gabinete H-E in a scene from their performance, "Destroy All Your Humanity," at the Mistake Room in downtown L.A. (Mistake Room / Pรกramo)

TMR as Hub: Páramo, at the Mistake Room. As part of its TMR as Hub series, the Mistake Room is showcasing the works of other cultural platforms — from galleries to artist-run spaces to schools. For this iteration, they are featuring the work of the Mexican collective Gabinete Homo-Extraterrestre (Gabinete H-E) in collaboration with the Guadalajara gallery Páramo. For this, their first Los Angeles exhibition, Gabinete has produced a body of new work that will include a performance that will include a symbolic exhumation of remains from their past projects. Opens Saturday at 7 p.m., with the performance at 8 p.m. and runs through Sept. 3. 1811 E. 20th St., downtown Los Angeles, tmr.la.

Aaron Axelrod, "Dark Matter," at the L.A. Municipal Art Gallery. The artist, also known for his work in concert graphics (he has produced designs for performances by the likes of Radiohead and Madonna), will have a number of his multimedia pieces on view at the gallery. But he is also taking over the entirety of the Barnsdall Art Park — including the Hollyhock House — for a series of psychedelic architectural projections, as well as a surprise performance, for the Breaking Convention Summer Soiree, a fundraiser for Barnsdall. The Summer Soiree will be held Friday at 7 p.m. (Tickets are $75 in advance; $100 at the door.) The gallery exhibition opens to the public on Saturday at noon and will run through Sunday at 10 p.m. 4800 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood, lamag.org and barnsdall.org.

"Be the Cult Leader You Wish to Follow: A Workshop for Artists" at Machine Project. Performance artist Kim Ye leads a tongue-in-cheek session on how to use the tricks of cult leaders to build a following — touching on art-making, group critique and public humiliation. Sounds like a more economical version of art school to me. Tonight at 8 p.m. Admission members/nonmembers $5/10. 1200 D N. Alvarado, Echo Park, Los Angeles, machineproject.com.

"Disappear Here: Music Made in L.A." at the Hammer Museum. The museum has an ongoing concert series tied to its Made in L.A. biennial featuring free shows by L.A. musicians and DJs. This week's show includes performances by Peanut Butter Wolf and Mndsgn. Coming weeks will bring performances by Ceci Bastida and Tokimonsta. Because this is L.A., there will be food trucks. It's the law. Show begins tonight at 7:30. 10899 Wilshire Blvd., Westwood,  hammer.ucla.edu.

FINAL WEEK

Fred Reichman and Eleanor Ray, at the Landing. Artists from opposing coasts (he from postwar San Francisco, she from contemporary New York) produce paintings that ruminate on mundane settings. Reichman depicts spare backgrounds and quiet scenes: A sleeping figure, a brooding cat, an open window. Ray, in the meantime, depicts quiet studios and fragments of urban settings. Through Saturday. 5118 W. Jefferson Blvd., West Adams, Los Angeles, thelandinggallery.com.

José Montoya, "Abundant Harvest: Works on Paper / Works on Life," at the Fowler Museum. Throughout his life, activist, poet and painter Jose Montoya drew — on whatever was at hand: napkins, hotel stationery and notebooks. And in those drawings he recorded the quotidian aspects of Mexican American life in the United States: dogs and children, women and sailors, pachucos and pachucas, the architecture of low-lying Central Valley neighborhoods, industrial warehouses and agricultural settings, as well as the glamorous profile of lowrider cars. It is the first comprehensive look at this vital Chicano artist's drawing practice. Through Sunday. UCLA, 308 Charles E. Young Drive N., Westwood, fowler.ucla.edu.

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ONGOING EXHIBITIONS

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Deanna Thompson, at Kayne Griffin Corcoran. The California painter has a posthumous exhibition (she died last year) that brings together images of isolated desert homesteads and paintings of cars. They are simple works that emanate a vibrating intensity. Through July 30. 1201 S. La Brea Ave., Mid-Wilshire, Los Angeles, kaynegriffincorcoran.com.

Ed Moses, "Moses@90: Phase Two / New Works," at the William Turner Gallery. The L.A. painter has been marking his 90th birthday with various exhibitions and events. After an initial phase ending Saturday that includes works from throughout his career, he is presenting new work at his Santa Monica gallery — abstracted self-portraits and other works, many of which have never been seen. Through July 30. Bergamot Station, 2525 Michigan Ave., Ste. E-1, Santa Monica, williamturnergallery.com.

Deanna Templeton, "What She Said," at Little Big Man Gallery. The Huntington Beach photographer has a one-woman show that explores the nature of moody female adolescence — gathering works that show images of teens looking both demure and defiant. Says Templeton in her exhibition statement: "I see my own struggles, disappointments and bravery in these girls." Through July 31.1427 E. 4th St., Unit 2, downtown Los Angeles, littlebigmangallery.com.

Robert Mapplethorpe, "The Perfect Medium," at the L.A. County Museum of Art and the Getty Museum. A two-part exhibition spread over a pair of L.A. museums explores the photographic legacy of an artist who brought as much grace to images of flowers as he did to S&M. The LACMA portion features early drawings, collages, sculptures, Polaroids, still lifes and archival material. The Getty will present his more formal portraits, along with the infamous "X Portfolio," with its elegant S&M imagery. The LACMA show runs through July 31. 5905 Wilshire Blvd., Miracle Mile, Los Angeles, lacma.org. The Getty exhibit also runs through July 31. 1200 Getty Center Drive, Brentwood, Los Angeles, getty.edu.

"Royal Hawaiian Featherwork: Na Hulu Ali'l," at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. For centuries, long cloaks, capes, and other attire were painstakingly layered with the bright plumage of birds. Today, fewer than 300 examples of these exquisite garments exist — which makes this show of feather works, once donned by Hawaiian royals as far back as the late 18th century, a rare treat. Through Aug. 7. 5905 Wilshire Blvd., Mid-Wilshire, Los Angeles, lacma.org.

Carl Berg, "With a Little Help From My Friends," at the Torrance Art Museum. A series of prints created by the artist showcases abstract music and lyrics from the favorite albums of his family and friends. Also on view is "Grafforists," an exhibition that gathers works by artists preoccupied with the most elemental types of mark-making. At 2 p.m. July 9, the museum will have Berg in house to host a discussion about his work. Through Aug. 13. 3320 Civic Center Drive, Torrance, torranceartmuseum.com.

"Routine Pleasures," at the MAK Center. Michael Ned Holte, who served as curator on the last Made in L.A. biennial at the Hammer, has put together a group show that focuses on artists who value focus and process over producing shiny objets — "termite" art as opposed to "white elephant" art. This includes works from L.A. artists such as Harry Dodge, ceramists Magdalena Suarez Frimkess and Michael Frimkess, sound artist Steve Roden and others. Just the antidote to overheated art market shows. Through Aug. 14. Schindler House, 835 N. Kings Road, West Hollywood, makcenter.org.

Tim Youd, "100 Novels," at Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions. As part of this long-running project, Youd retypes novels by famous authors in locations connected to the works — using the same typewriters employed by the writers. At LACE, he is retyping John Rechy's infamous hustling novel "City of Night" on an Underwood Model S (the typewriter Rechy rented to write his book). Youd also makes related sculptures and paintings that tie in with these performances. He is typing "City of Night" from 10 p.m.-3 a.m. until 3 a.m. Saturday morning at the gallery. He then will retype Rechy's novel "Numbers" at the Fern Dell entrance to Griffith Park from July 6-15 from 11am to 4pm. The sculptures will be on view at LACE through Aug. 14. 6522 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood, welcometolace.org.

"Eau de Cologne," at Sprüth Magers. The gallery has gathered works by five artists key to its development — Jenny Holzer, Rosemarie Trockel, Louise Lawler, Cindy Sherman and Barbara Kruger — all of whom subtly address women's roles in very different ways. The pieces on view date to the 1970s, when many of these figures first began to achieve artistic renown. Through Aug. 20. 5900 Wilshire Blvd., Mid-Wilshire, spruethmagers.com.

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Shio Kusaka, at Blum & Poe. In her second solo show at the gallery, the Los Angeles ceramic artist is presenting a new body of work inspired by existing forms — from beach balls to porcelain animals — all presented on a single pedestal 100 feet in length. Also on view is a new exhibition of the work of Françoise Grossen, the Swiss artist known for her textile and fiber works (who recently has come to the attention of Los Angeles at Hauser Wirth & Schimmel's debut exhibition, "Revolution in the Making: Abstract Sculpture by Women." Through Aug. 20. 2727 S. La Cienega Blvd., Culver City, blumandpoe.com.

"Division: Reflections and Shadows," with Los de Abajo Printmaking Collective with guest artists, at SPARC. Organized by curator Marietta Bernstorff, this exhibition consists of a series of new works by the L.A.-based collective, along with pieces by friends and colleagues, that push the genre while exploring the nature of borders, both physical and imagined. Through Aug. 20. 685 Venice Blvd., Venice, sparcinla.org.

"Sam Maloof Woodworker: Life/Art/Legacy," at the Maloof Foundation. The foundation is celebrating the centennial of the birth of the renowned Southern California woodworker, whose elegant objects and furnishings are in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the L.A. County Museum of Art and the Smithsonian. The exhibition will feature more than 60 objects from throughout the artist's life, including furnishings, drawings, photographs and other ephemera. The show is part of a year's worth of events that will celebrate Maloof's life and work. Through Aug. 27. 5131 Carnelian St., Alta Loma, malooffoundation.org

"Made in L.A. 2016: a, the, though, only," at the Hammer Museum. The third iteration of the Hammer's SoCal-focused biennial keeps things wondrously minimal, featuring thoughtful exhibits by only 26 artists that jumps between art-making styles, ideas and generations — from the powerful totemic wood sculptures of Kenzi Shiokava to the bright, graphic paintings of Huguette Caland to the humorous research-based installation of Daniel R. Small. The show is a testament to the notion that, in Los Angeles, many ideas can bubble to the surface at once. Through Aug. 28. 10899 Wilshire Blvd., Westwood, Los Angeles, hammer.ucla.edu.

"In Focus: Electric!" at the Getty Museum. Electricity: It powers your home, it powers your work and it powers the phone on which you are likely reading this post. This photographic exhibition at the Getty gathers historic images that showcase the allure of light and power. Through Aug. 28. 1200 Getty Center Drive, Brentwood, Los Angeles, getty.edu.

"Art of the Austronesians: The Legacy of Indo-Pacific Voyaging," at Fowler Museum. A look at the legacy of Austronesian-speaking peoples gathers art and artifacts from the Philippines, Indonesia and other points in the South Pacific. This includes nearly 200 works, from wood sculptures to ceremonial textiles to canoe prow ornaments. Through Aug. 28. 308 Charles E. Young Drive N., Westwood, fowler.ucla.edu.

"Duchamp to Pop,at the Norton Simon Museum. Drawing mostly from the Norton Simon's permanent collection, this exhibition looks at the influence Duchamp likely had on generations of artists, from assemblagists to pop painters — figures who have appropriated elements of the everyday world and transformed them into art. Through Aug. 29. 411 W. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena, nortonsimon.org.

"Closing Celebratory Show," at Rosamund Felsen Gallery. On the Los Angeles gallery scene since 1978, Rosamund Felsen is bidding farewell to her space with this group exhibition featuring works from her stable of gallery artists — which includes figures such as painters Karen Carson and Steven Hull and sculptors Jacci Den Hartog and Tim Ebner — among countless others. On view through the summer. 1923 S. Santa Fe Ave., downtown Los Angeles, rosamundfelsen.com.

Veronika Kellndorfer, "Tropical Modernism: Lina Bo Bardi," at Christopher Grimes Gallery. The German artist explores the work of Brazilian Modernist architect Lina Bo Bardi — among other influential Brazilian designers — in works that place silkscreened photographic images onto reflective glass paneling. The focus, ultimately, is on unusual pairings — of the architecture and Brazil's riotous plant life. Through Sept. 2. 916 Colorado Ave., Santa Monica, cgrimes.com.

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Ken Price, "Drawings," at Matthew Marks Gallery. The gallery is displaying more than 40 drawings from the estate of the artist, one of the largest West Coast presentations of the famous ceramicist's work on paper. He produced often whimsical and otherworldly renditions of mundane objects, as well as sketches for possible sculptures. The exhibition will also feature a small selection of the three-dimensional works. Through Sept. 10. 1062 N. Orange Grove Ave., West Hollywood, matthewmarks.com.

"Revolution in the Making: Abstract Sculpture by Women, 1947-2016," at Hauser Wirth & Schimmel. The debut exhibition at the city's newest gallery tackles more than half a century of sculpture by women, featuring key works by important international figures (Louise Bourgeois, Lee Bontecou) and key California artists (Ruth Asawa, Clare Falkenstein). Pieces range from the ethereal (Lygia Pape's golden threads) to downright hilarious (Lara Schnitger's lacy/cat/fur assemblage sculptures). Altogether, the show offers an alternative to the narrative of the macho man postwar painting scene that has so dominated the story of 20th century art. Through Sept. 4. 901 E. Third St., Los Angeles, hauserwirthschimmel.com.

"Gronk's Theater of Paint," at the Craft and Folk Art Museum. The Los Angeles artist Gronk (born Glugio Nicandro) is widely known for his career as a painter, conceptual artist and for his work with the inventive 1970s collective Asco. He is also a longtime set designer, one who has built and painted elaborate sets for performances, plays and avant-garde operas, including works by the celebrated director Peter Sellars. This exhibition that tracks a long-running practice that melds art and architecture with the theatrical. Through Sept. 4. 5814 Wilshire Blvd., Mid-Wilshire, Los Angeles, cafam.org.

"Claire Falkenstein: Beyond Sculpture," at the Pasadena Museum of California Art. The 20th century California artist, whose name has is circulating once again after being included in the debut exhibition at Hauser Wirth & Schimmel, is now the subject of her own retrospective, tracking her entire career, from the 1930s to the '90s. (She passed away in 1997.) The artist, who worked in San Francisco and Los Angeles — as well as Paris — produced prints and murals, among other works, but she is best known for her sculpture: in particular, her often gritty assemblages made out of wire studded with chunks of glass. Through Sept. 11. 490 E. Union St., Pasadena, pmcaonline.org.

Danielle Abrams, "Quadroon," at the Grand Central Art Center. A reference to someone who is one-quarter black, the term "quadroon" gets at the absolutist ways in which race is viewed in the United States. (Someone who is part black is regarded simply as black.) Abrams is part Jewish and part African American, and in this video installation, she picks apart the myriad elements — beyond simple ethnicity and race — that come together to make up any one person's identity. Through Sept. 11. 125 N. Broadway, Santa Ana, grandcentralcenter.com.

Hito Steyerl: Factory of the Sun, at the Museum of Contemporary Art. A video installation by the German artist takes the viewer into a dystopia where the movements of workers are harvested to create artificial sunshine. The piece, which debuted at the Venice Biennale in 2015, is a mash-up of contemporary communication, told as video game, news report documentary film and Internet video. Through Sept. 12. MOCA, 250 S. Grand Ave., Los Angeles, moca.org.

Alex Da Corte, "A Season in He'll," at Art + Practice. An exhibition by the New Jersey-born conceptual artist includes a series of works inspired by French poet Arthur Rimbaud's influential prose poem, "A Season in Hell," which explores topics of morality, desire and death. In video and in sculptural installations — works that employ banal consumer goods and pop cultural tropes — Da Corte takes on these topics and others, touching on issues of identity, alienation and instability. Through Sept. 17. 4339 Leimert Blvd., Leimert Park, Los Angeles, hammer.ucla.edu and artandpractice.org.

"Reflections on the Self," at the California African American Museum. Drawn from the museum's permanent collection, this wide-ranging exhibition looks at the representation of the self, examining the idealized and mythicized ways that artists have portrayed pop and cultural icons, from Malcolm X to Thelonious Monk to a New Orleans grand marshal. Also on view at the museum is "Oh Snap! West Coast Hip Hop Photography," which will feature an array of hip-hop artists who came up in the '90s, such as Ice Cube, Tupac Shakur and others. Through Sept. 18. 600 State Drive, Exposition Park, Los Angeles, caamuseum.org.

Fast Forward: The Architecture of William F. Cody, at the Architecture and Design Museum. A new exhibition looks at the career of one of Palm Springs' most notable Modernist architects — known for a range of designs (some quite flamboyant) that included homes, condominiums, commercial centers and the temple-like El Dorado Country Club for a clientele that included Frank Sinatra, Walt Disney and Bing Crosby. Through Sept. 25. 900 E. Fourth St., downtown Los Angeles, aplusd.org.

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"MOLAA at Twenty: 1996-2016," at the Museum of Latin American Art. The Museum of Latin American Art in Long Beach is celebrating two decades in existence with a show that draws from the museum's permanent collection of more than 1,600 objects. These include works by renowned Modernists Joaqun Torres-Garca and Wifredo Lam, Argentine conceptualist Len Ferrari as well as contemporary figures such as Alexandre Arrechea and Patssi Valdez. Through Jan. 1. 628 Alamitos Ave., Long Beach, molaa.org.

"Senses of Time: Video and Film-Based Works of Africa," at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. For one of its long-term installations, the museum has gathered works of video or film by contemporary African artists that explore the body and the looping nature of time. This includes pieces by figures such as Yinka Shonibare, Sammy Baloji, Berni Searle, Moatax Nasr and Theo Eshetu. Through Jan. 2. 5905 Wilshire Blvd., Mid-Wilshire, lacma.org.

"Non Fiction" at the Underground Museum. An emotionally charged exhibition curated by the late Noah Davis, in collaboration with the Museum of Contemporary Art Los Angeles brings together works that explore issues of race and violence. This includes important works from MOCA's permanent collection by artists such as Robert Gober, Kara Walker, Henry Taylor and David Hammons. Through March. 3508 W. Washington Blvd., Arlington Heights, Los Angeles, theunderground-museum.org.

"Geographically Indeterminate Fantasies," hosted by Providence College Galleries. Don't worry if you're nowhere near Providence College in Rhode Island. A new digitally-minded exhibition by the art writing team at Art F City features more than two dozen works by artists who use animated GIFs to create work — from Brenna Murphy's dizzying electronic architecture to Jacolby Satterwhite's pulsing alternate universe. It's the sort of thing that will encourage you to spend quality time online (and away from awful Facebook). pcgalleries.providence.edu.

"Islamic Art Now: Part 2" at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Contemporary works from LACMA's permanent collection by 20 artists who live in or have roots in the Middle East look at questions of society, gender and identity. Runs indefinitely. 5905 Wilshire Blvd., Mid-Wilshire, lacma.org.

Find me on Twitter @cmonstah.

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