Now head back toward Gate 1. Notice on the way Janice Ledgerwood's "Campus Cuties" series, which aren't shown to their advantage without her wealth of hysterically pointed background material and boxes of trophy-shaped chocolates. Appreciate them anyway.
It's between Gate 8 and Gate 1 that the exhibition feels truly fleshed-out and yummy. There, the apparently brilliant Susan Schwartz Braig expands on her "COMA" (County Museum of Art) series, which she let us have a taste of back by Gate 12. With diabolically good dollhouses, Braig fashions a world of such appalling nouveau-riche taste that it might as well have been created by a New Jersey mob wife. It's really splendid: a large dollhouse announces an attraction, "Giotto, the Friendly Dolphin," before leading you inside to a parlor velveted and gilded within an inch of its life, guarded by tiny Rambo action figures. The parlor, with embroidered cozies for rugs and fancy light-switch plates for frames, backs onto a shop that reads, "Let COMA's designers help you select a sofa and upholstery fabric to match your new painting," while teeny rolls of fabric spill forth from cabinets. Even more amazing is The Sistine Chapel Re-Creation and Michelangelo Memorial Escalator. In that, little dolls of all kinds wait patiently in a Phantom Menace-length line to enter and see the Sistine ceiling (complete with his putti from the Sistine Madonna—you know, the ones on all the Christmas wrapping paper). Outside, protesting before the patient masses, three dolls in gorilla masks wave picket signs reading, "Only 3 women artists in COMA." They are Guerrilla Girls. Braig does amazing things with linoleum, too. But I didn't get the baseball players.
"Focus VIII: Constructure" at John Wayne Airport, upper level, 18601 Airport Way, Santa Ana, (949) 252-5200. Open daily, 6 a.m.-11 p.m. Through Nov. 28. Free.