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Michael Shaw

Subliminal proselytizing: the bleeding heart’s dilemma   Pick-button-5bf6c1b36c3b74ec8f312c7c9f6f1ae3
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Posted 3/28/10

Jonathan Safran’s Foer’s latest book, Eating Animals - his third, the first non-fiction - delves into factory farming, small animal farm alternatives, and, most notably, the process and culture of choosing – or non-choosing – whether or not to eat animals (whether they be land, air or sea).  After thoroughly ingesting Eating Animals’ well-measured call for thoughtfulness, its call to personal action, I gullibly presumed that a landmark tome had arrived, and that its impact and values would begin re... [more]

104 A Search for Healing in Twenty Ten   Pick-button-5bf6c1b36c3b74ec8f312c7c9f6f1ae3
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Posted 1/29/10

    Most of us have at some point stumbled upon a variation of self-help literature, whether of the more traditional, Letting Go of Anger/Don’t’ Sweat the Small Stuff variety, or, god help us, the 48 Laws of Power and its ilk.  Many moons ago, a guy who was helping me work on a project handed me a tape:  “Listen to this,” he said.  “I think you’ll find it helpful.”  One side was called “What I Believe,” and the other side addressed the dangers of overusing the word “should,” followed by a lul... [more]

Interview with Francesca Gabbiani  
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10/15/09

Los Angeles, Oct. 2009 - In a catalogue essay from a couple years back, Benjamin Weissman puts quotes from a diverse gang of writers (ranging from Walter Benjamin to Gaston Bachelard to Virginia Woolfe) into the mouth of a character he calls Madame Gabbiani. Quotes from De Quincey’s Confessions of an English Opium jump from her lips with the same strange deliberation as a few words on decadence from Gautier’s introduction to Baudelaire’s Les Fleur de Mal. The strange power of the writers invoked re... [more]

Picture_1 Blum and Poe's Inaugural   Pick-button-5bf6c1b36c3b74ec8f312c7c9f6f1ae3
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Posted 10/5/09

Having basically invented Culver City as a gallery district, there’s some justice in Blum and Poe’s  latest expansion from the seemingly biggest shop in town to very literally the biggest shop in town. After months of looking like it was in a state of perpetual construction – the boarded up façade gave no indication of what was going on within – the yawning glass doors finally opened on the gallery’s formal public inauguration last Saturday night. The dense build-up of cars along S. La Cienega... [more]

Img_saldana_18 Saldaña in Mid-Wilshire   Pick-button-5bf6c1b36c3b74ec8f312c7c9f6f1ae3
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Zoë Sheehan Saldaña at Steve Turner Contemporary September 12th, 2009 - October 10th, 2009
Posted 10/5/09

Combining handmade fetishism within a conceptual framework, Zoë Sheehan Saldaña’s exhibition, Ersatz, invests craftwork with a new, troubling presence. The procession of handmade life preservers (ranging in size from adult to child) calls to mind the precision of Kaz Oshiro mixed with the tenderness of Charles LeDray. Oddly, the arrangement of life jackets is followed by a paper towel dispenser on the adjacent wall.  Like the jackets, the paper is handmade, embossed and hand-folded.  A shadow o... [more]

Picture_17 Aitken in West Hollywood   Pick-button-5bf6c1b36c3b74ec8f312c7c9f6f1ae3
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Doug Aitken at Regen Projects September 12th, 2009 - October 17th, 2009
Posted 10/5/09

Still as large as the unbroken prairie horizon of big sky country, the American landscape has changed. The frontier has been parceled to farmers, cities and casinos, crisscrossed with highways, colonized by motels, and dotted with billboards. For Los Angeles-based artist Doug Aitken, as the landscape transforms from one kind of freedom to another, wilderness, which has not yet disappeared, must acclimate to the encroaching colonialism. Aitken’s current two-part exhibition features the video migratio... [more]

Harvey1sm Kamikaze in Downtown   Pick-button-5bf6c1b36c3b74ec8f312c7c9f6f1ae3
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Fumiko Amano, Barbara Benish, Jenn Berger, Tami Demaree, Michael Gomez Burton, Steven Hull, billy kheel, Linda King, Mark D. Lyons, Nathan McChristy, Summercamp's ProjectProject, George Keskeny / John Rose, Danny Shain, Donnie Stroud, April Totten, Osvaldo Trujillo, Evan Walsh, Matt Wardell at PØST September 1st, 2009 - September 13th, 2009
Posted 9/8/09

PØST, the seminal downtown artist-run space, has returned after a four-year hiatus.  During its original run from 1995-2005, artist/director Habib Kheradyar (aka HK Zamani) mounted up to 20+ exhibits each year, including in the elevator if his loft building on East Seventh Place. Zamani made a bold return last April with Erased, in which he took six artists’ works linked to the gallery’s past and still in Zamani’s possession – among them Linda Besemer and Brad Spence – and ‘erased’ them using... [more]

Picture_13 Post-American L.A. in Santa Monica   Pick-button-5bf6c1b36c3b74ec8f312c7c9f6f1ae3
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Group Show at 18th Street Arts Center August 1st, 2009 - September 25th, 2009
Posted 9/8/09

Though of course art has no rules, sometimes it finds itself falling into the terrain of soft sciences like sociology, with which its search for straightforward answers and clean conclusions sidelines certain aspects of art (aesthetics, ambiguity, open-ended inquiry) that, well, makes art art. In the case of Post-American L.A., sociology is used to look at America’s projected shift and decline as seen through Los Angeles, ten years into the future. An intriguing and perhaps even noble venture, the... [more]

Picture_12 Landscape Indexical in Culver City   Pick-button-5bf6c1b36c3b74ec8f312c7c9f6f1ae3
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at Center for Land Use Interpretation May 29th, 2009 - May 29th, 2009
Posted 9/8/09

In order to keep up with building codes and stave off a faintly imagined chaos, buildings taller than 75 feet are required to have a landing spot for helicopters in case of an emergency – hence the preponderance of helipads in downtown Los Angeles. There’s a subtle symmetry to these circles seen from the air.  Due to regulation, each emergency landing area requires a touchdown pad of 50 x 50 feet and within each red circle a number– a 5, 10, 12 – designates the maximum weight capacity in thousan... [more]

Closed On Summer Hours   Pick-button-5bf6c1b36c3b74ec8f312c7c9f6f1ae3
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Posted 7/13/09

Many years ago, when I was a kid, I visited New York for the first time on my own. After a thoroughly stressful first night involving a locked apartment door (turned out the key I broke off in the door was just the key for the building entrance; no one really initiated me into the variety of keys out there and their respective functions). Once settled and night melted into day, I set out to fill my head with culture. Early August, just a little bit of rain that had evaporated by late morning, and thou... [more]

Picture_1 "Paintings"   Pick-button-5bf6c1b36c3b74ec8f312c7c9f6f1ae3
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Chris Martin, Andrew Masullo, James Siena, Michael Tetherow at Daniel Weinberg Gallery June 13th, 2009 - August 22nd, 2009
Posted 7/13/09

Daniel Weinberg’s four-person painting show will have spanned over two months once it winds down on August 22nd, more of a function (hopefully) of being lean & mean in very slow times than a sign of something more economically sinister. Weinberg Gallery's a veteran space from the early 70s with a history, unbroken here, of being the LA gallery for New York artists. “Paintings” is firmly a painter’s painter type of show, not entirely safe for those last holdouts of the anti-painting cabal. And it shows... [more]

Vassell Chris Vasell at Blum & Poe   Pick-button-5bf6c1b36c3b74ec8f312c7c9f6f1ae3
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Chris Vasell at Blum & Poe July 2nd, 2009 - August 22nd, 2009
Posted 7/13/09

In his third show at Blum and Poe, Chris Vasell’s latest body of heroically-scaled paintings are alternately lush, psychedelic and disorienting, continuing a welcome trajectory of resolved experimentation. By way of a series of complex and sophisticated staining techniques (as is often the case with high process painters these days, when it comes to exactly how, he ain’t sayin’), the paintings in Vasell’s  series To the People That Know This is Nowhere (all works 2009, unless noted), initially appea... [more]

450 It is What It is at the Hammer   Pick-button-5bf6c1b36c3b74ec8f312c7c9f6f1ae3
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Posted 5/17/09

          It is What It is: Conversations about Iraq ended this past Sunday at the Hammer. If you happened to go see the Nine Lives show and, during your visit, noticed a rusty, corroded car in the courtyard, it wasn’t the car from the Lisa Anne Auerbach photo in which she’s standing like a pseudo-militant.  It was actually a car from a car bomb in Iraq.  Just in case you didn’t make the connection, as I didn’t.  You can read much more about it here. -Michael Shaw [more]

Refugeecampdarfur Poverty Porn   Pick-button-5bf6c1b36c3b74ec8f312c7c9f6f1ae3
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Nikko Mueller at Angles Gallery April 4th, 2009 - May 23rd, 2009
Posted 5/17/09

        Nikko Mueller’s show, up for one more week, begins with a great title, and goes on to deliver on its promise with a sophisticated suite of twelve paintings.  The name Poverty Porn, on one hand, comes with a certain audaciousness, especially in light of painting titles such as Gaza Strip, Freeways over Projects and reFUgee camp, Darfur. Using the oh-so-democratic tool of Google Earth as the means to his aerial landscapes, Mueller dramatizes his chosen vistas into lushly built-up layers... [more]

Almond-blossom-4984 Obliteration and Memory   Pick-button-5bf6c1b36c3b74ec8f312c7c9f6f1ae3
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Mustafa Hulusi at Patrick Painter Inc. May 2nd, 2009 - May 23rd, 2009
Posted 5/17/09

      Mustafa Hulusi’s first show at Patrick Painter, also his first in Los Angeles, included a group of small, medium and large-scale diptych paintings, tightly executed but barren, despite their luminescence.  One half of each diptych features an op-art, black-and-white starburst, painted in acrylic, while the other features up-close, photo-realistic, oil-painted depictions of almond blossoms, native to the artist’s roots in Cyprus (he’s been based in London since at least the mid-90s). The d... [more]

Interview with Parker Jones  
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4/7/09

ArtSlant’s Michael Shaw sat down with dealer Parker Jones in his new space in Chinatown –which was in the process of light renovation - just prior to Jones’ trip to New York for the Armory Show the following day. Michael Shaw: So let’s start by tracing your gallery history going backwards -  You’re now on the verge of opening your own gallery in Chinatown; your last position was director of Black Dragon Society [a half-block away from his own gallery, Parker Jones, in the former David Kordansky spac... [more]

-2 Gleaners Stone   Pick-button-5bf6c1b36c3b74ec8f312c7c9f6f1ae3
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Posted 2/15/09

          I never would have seen it if I hadn’t known exactly where to look, and it’s only a few blocks from where I live.  Make your way to the intersection of Inglewood and Washington in Mar Vista/Culver City, and head a half block east, where you’ll find it just off the NE corner.  It’s called Gleaners Stone, and it’s a 92 x 44 x 30 inch rectangular block of studio detritus encased in urethane: a vintage ViewMaster circular reel along with assorted woods, foams, plastics, dirt and so on.  N... [more]

Picture_10 Becca Mann at Roberts & Tilton   Pick-button-5bf6c1b36c3b74ec8f312c7c9f6f1ae3
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Becca Mann at Roberts & Tilton January 10th, 2009 - March 21st, 2009
Posted 2/15/09

It’s a safe bet that Becca Mann isn’t a descendant of the Russian imperial dynasty members that she depicts, but after having lived with this group of aristocrats – the Romanovs, the Cheremis – while completing the paintings and drawings that make up this body of work, she’s certainly injected new life into their memory.  Mann has transformed the archival photos of her chosen era - turn of the 20th century Russia – with the similar Victorian-esque, light/white-washed aesthetic she’d brought to Ci... [more]

Muse_detail_email Farrah Karapetian at Sandroni.Rey   Pick-button-5bf6c1b36c3b74ec8f312c7c9f6f1ae3
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Farrah Karapetian at Sandroni.Rey January 24th, 2009 - February 14th, 2009
Posted 2/15/09

          Photograms are alive and well in Farrah Karapetian’s world.  Her Tragic Muse installation was composed of nine sheets of 8’x2’ photo paper pinned to the wall with roughly six-inch gaps between them.  The artist herself stands stiffly in the central panel, a contact print (the only non-photogram of the nine) from a negative roughly 2/3 her actual size (it makes one wonder how big negatives get); while friends/colleagues, in silhouettes both clear and blurred, bright whites sliding... [more]

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