Surely black, but so lively one cannot catch its true hue. Volcanic glass cooled too fast to crystalize, scientists never can quite call it a mineral or capture its color too closely. Depending on the angle of shimmer however, approximates exist.
Named by Pliny the Elder as Obsius Lapsis, after a dubious claim that it was discovered by a Greek of that name, the gem gained its "d" from a printer’s error. The Aztecs called obsidian itzli, a force that found form in the macahuitl.
A wood sword... [more]
Me and You and Everyone We Kind of Know: Made in L.A. 2014 by Christina Catherine Martinez Juan Capistran, Danielle Dean, Harry Dodge, Lecia Dole-Recio, Public Fiction, Kim Fisher, Judy Fiskin, Magdalena Suarez Frimkess, Michael Frimkess, Mariah Garnett, Samara Golden, Piero Golia, Tony Greene, Marcia Hafif, Channing Hansen, Jibade-Khalil Huffman, Barry Johnston, Gerard & Kelly, Devin Kenny, Gabriel Kuri, Caitlin Lonegan, Tala Madani, Max Maslansky, Emily Mast, Jennifer Moon, Brian O’Connell, Harsh Patel, Marina Pinsky, KChung Radio, Sarah Rara, A.L. Steiner, James Kidd Studio, Ricky Swallow, Clarissa Tossin, Wu Tsang at Hammer Museum
June 15th, 2014 - September 7th, 2014
Comedian Emily Joyce, dressed in a 14th-century bonnet and dress, rolls her eyes, hard. Sticking her thumb out in a gesture of one-dimensional 1990s sarcasm, she paces KCHUNGtv's makeshift set in the lobby of the Hammer Museum. The on-site camera editors are hushed. I walk in just as a big laugh is dying down.
“But seriously folks," she continues, "you gotta watch out who you're makin' out with these days ‘cause we got this Black Plague going around. Nothing more embarrassing than h... [more]
Pay attention or you might miss something. Confoundingly both vague and precise, slightly anemic but convincing enough to pass a physical. Rey Akdogan de-brands and de-materializes that which may be most familiar to a consumer, triggering a visual asphyxiation, that will have you gasping for the nearest billboard.
Akdogan here takes the logos of the international German-based discount supermarkets Aldi Markt and Aldi Sud as her point of departure. Aldi operates in seventeen countries worldwid... [more]
A girl snaps her own photo in a dressing room, each mirror perfectly angled to show every surface at once. The back and sides are hanging out with the front; her eyes are multiplied to better see the new multitude of herself. She's peeled and spread out, projected onto the picture plane of her phone like those flattened globe maps that make the earth look like a bubbly 'M' scrawled on a middleschooler's notebook.
There's something almost folk-arty about it, isn't there? Depiction that doesn... [more]
Whether we express ourselves through slogans on a t-shirt, music, or conversation, we are essentially tragically—often comically—groping in the dark, giving our best guess, clumsily trying to make connections with each other, with nature, and with ourselves. Fleeting or faulty, the mere attempt to make them can lead us to the most authentic and intimate moments life brings. Stanya Kahn’s work here is full of restless encounters between people, desperately casual and casually ser... [more]
Most of the rituals of living life are laid bare in the Museum of Contemporary Art's retrospective of Mike Kelley at the Geffen. Traumas bubble up from the basement of our pasts. Memory is found to be faulty and capable of being reorganized by desire. Patterns of life held dear today are found to have disturbing origins in history of violence and exploitation. All delivered with laughter, diabolical and absurd, the kind that comes from camp's exaggeration and annihilation of form. Kelley was rauco... [more]
It was a very nice hospital. It had a view and a private sitting area in the room. I had tubes sticking out. Some to drain fluids, others to pump fluids in. I was given observation and pain management, modern medical euphemisms for the twin social ailments of boredom and drugs. I ended up staying an extra night. Doctors often keep business hours and no one else was authorized to release me. Either as apology or just further negligence, I was treated to an extra night of pain management, melting a... [more]
“You will hear people say that poverty is the best spur to the artist. They have never felt the iron of it in their flesh. They do not know how mean it makes you. It exposes you to endless humiliation, it cuts your wings, it eats into your soul like a cancer. It is not wealth one asks for, but just enough to preserve one's dignity, to work unhampered, to be generous, frank, and independent. I pity with all my heart the artist, whether he writes or paints, who is entirely dependent for subs... [more]
Who needs the sun?
The dappling of sunlight through the branches of trees plays on pavement with incredible beauty. The shifting leaves shift light and the ground brightens and shadows with each rustle like the ambient waves of a gentle lake reflecting a midday sun.
Coming out of photography, artist Anthony Pearson here etches plaster to mimic the play of light. He used to solarize photopaper and sometimes cast bronzes out of that. All very process oriented, swirling and tweaking the formal r... [more]
Remember the ritualistic daubing of perfume in preparation for a type of tryst, a slow, light movement on fingertips over the erogenous zones—perhaps more crass, but no less spiritual in its fervor—when one either anticipates, or more likely hopes to conjure the promise of carnal knowledge.
Maybe no one actually does this. The last person I saw do this to herself was a celluloid bimbo in a horror movie. Rest assured, she got hers in the end, according to the gospel of this moralistic genre, but... [more]
If you've ever heard the song 'Stay' by Rihanna, a song that Patti Smith covers sometimes during live performances, then you know the power of a few short piano riffs. There's a bridge in 'Stay,' Rihanna sings, “when you never see the light it's hard to know which one of us is cavin.’” Cavin’ as in caving-in. We cave in when feeling becomes all too intense, whether by longing, astonishment, or joy. In Rihanna's ballad 'Stay' and in aspects of the three-person group show... [more]
FAIRWAYS: ALAC, LA ART BOOK FAIR, AND PARAMOUNT RANCH
Andrew Berardini rounds up the weekend's events
Polar vortex is only a distant poem to Los Angeles. Uttered on the news by harried meteorologists with names like strippers, the weather here is droughty for caring locals, simply sunny for everybody else. Yes, one of the many good reasons we live in Los Angeles is the definite lack of polar vortices. Not a few of the farflung, chilled by arctic weather, flock to Los... [more]
Polar vortex is only a distant poem to Los Angeles. Uttered on the news by harried meteorologists with names like strippers, the weather here is droughty for caring locals, simply sunny for everybody else. Yes, one of the many good reasons we live in Los Angeles is the definite lack of polar vortices. Not a few of the farflung, chilled by arctic weather, flock to Los Angeles this weekend, for one of our three fairs, two for art and one for art books. Not quite an Art Basel Miami Beach (mercifully)... [more]
A trifecta of weekend-long events descends on Los Angeles this weekend: the straight-laced Art Los Angeles Contemporary, the sophomore iteration of the wildly successful LA Art Book Fair, and taking place in an old movie lot in the Agoura Hills, once-home to the faux adventures of countless Hollywood cowboys, the Paramount Ranch Art Fair will make its debut. Whereas emerging galleries at established fairs are designated by geo-political booth assignments like 'SE-207, basement floor (bring flashlight)', the thirty-plus participants will stake... [more]
A Hard Edge Barely Contains Them by Ed Schad Karl Benjamin, Lorser Feitelson, Frederick Hammersley, John McLaughlin at LACMA - Los Angeles County Museum of Art
December 21st, 2013 - June 29th, 2014
It may be hard to find, but Dave Hickey did a little catalogue for Karl Benjamin in 2007 (published by Louis Stern Gallery) that contained a sort of palate cleansing line that bears repeating. Actually it bears writing out in pen or maybe even reserving a little space on your pegboard:
“One need only consider Abstract Expressionism, for just a moment, as just another style to see with a great deal of clarity that, in the Post World War II period, geometric abstraction, or op art, or hard edge pain... [more]
And so it’s over. This year we watched Raspberry Posers in converted parking garages and sex-cult leaders at art fairs, floating heads and racecar book covers speed on by, paperbag haikus and spectral light shining on terrible beauty. All of it we saw like dancing mirages in the strange country of Los Angeles.
To finish up 2013, we decided to pluck some of our favorite words from the gang of writers in Los Angeles this publication has found itself proud to host. We are not sullying the new wi... [more]