This compact show of works from MOCA’s collection is a superb, concise précis on the sometimes-baffling ways that contemporary art objects live and function. Working with the museum’s curators, the Los Angeles–based artist Gala Porras-Kim has installed, for instance, two editions of the same Felix Gonzalez-Torres sculpture—a string of lights—next to one another in different ways, one hanging, the other pooled on the ground. (Owners are allowed to determine how they are displayed.) Nearby, a long pink fluorescent light glows. A Dan Flavin? Absolutely not, a label explains. It’s being held by the museum to one day become a Flavin sculpture—when a light from an existing piece burns out. The issues of conservation and artist intent examined here are fascinating, but Porras-Kim is also asking bigger questions. How do artworks change over time? How do we know what we are actually seeing? And how should that make us feel? —Andrew Russeth
Installation view of “Open House: Gala Porras-Kim” at MOCA Grand Avenue. Courtesy the Museum of Contemporary Art. Photo by Jeff Mclane.