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... [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
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 har... [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 ne... [more]
During the later 18th century and into the 19th, most of Europe took to the countryside.
It is not clear how the trend emerged, but when people started to walk, they really started to walk. Thomas De Quincey, author of Confessions of an English Opium-Eater (1821), speculated that poet William Wordsworth walked 180,000 miles during his lifetime. Art historian Kenneth Clark, amongst others, located this new fervor in the decline of religion, a spiritual vacuum that found expression in a new belief... [more]
Dianna Molzan's La Jennifer contains all the abject fervor and polite surprise-tinged curiosity of a high school reunion. Is it longing? Is it shock? Is it ardor? An emotion like organized chaos? I asked the paintings, ‘What are we doing here?’ The paintings just shrugged, scrunching the black canvas wrapping a rectangle of stretcher bars (all the paintings maintain their anonymity, each dated 2013 and namelessly Untitled).
A cyclops quintet met my gaze first thing, spotting me from... [more]
A white mannequin lounges stiffly on two saw horses, naked except for a blue-and-white gingham cloth, carefully placed.
Mannequin doesn’t quite capture the pure whiteness of the skin, how careful and articulate are the details or how idealized his looks. Like some Greek statuary temporarily taken down from its pedestal to be cleaned. It’s not Greek though, too particular. Maybe Roman? Not quite tough enough really. Those Romans always added extra brawn to their imperial statues.... [more]
When I downloaded Snapchat onto my phone, I anticipated texted pics of my friend’s private parts. Fresh and naïve, or aloof and repressed, I assumed Snapchat, that’s by extension #selfie culture, had only one thing in mind. Snapchat is an app for text and picture messaging, mostly for cell phones. Everything sent through Snapchat disappears within seconds after being received and opened. If it’s not explicit, why else would you want your pictures to vanish seconds after th... [more]
The last time I got lunch with my friend, he was in the midst of sending applications to McDonalds. Ironically, he was the last person I ever expected this from.
The friend I was eating lunch with is one of the most published artists I’ve ever met, with over ten book covers and at least three big solo releases of his own.
But what has all that done for him? I mean, right now he’s telling me how it’s literally impossible to feed his family and he’s so desperate for money... [more]
“I can close my eyes in a dark room and if there is no outside noise and attraction, plus, if there is no conscious effort on my part – then I can see color, line, patterns, and forms that make up my canvases... I have always copied these arrangements without elaboration.”
—Forest Bess, 1951
I saw my first Forrest Bess at the Hammer in 2008, in Amy Sillman's room in curator Gary Garrell's Oranges and Sardines, a group show composed of artists choosing their favorite ar... [more]
Words like psychedelic get trotted out by acid amateurs at every flickering bulb and swirl of color. Real psychedelic experiences are punishing in their power: a nauseating kaleidoscope; a universe decentered and dismantled; still things gyrate and dancers stay still in a blurry wash of purest energy; atoms are split inside your skull and come bursting through glassy eyes; other humans dissolve into electric atmospheres and social mores collapse into mere theater.
Henri-Georges Clouzot's L'Enfer is truly psychedeli... [more]
A single splash in an ocean of invisible waves, the spectrum of visible light hints just enough radiance to tease the rest. Outside our paltry paintbox of chroma hide rays gamma and long, thermal and micro, radar and TV, radio both AM and FM depending on the shimmy of the music or the monotone of the talk. All this invisible radiance penetrates buildings and molecules, tables and oil tankers, you and me, vibrating the air with ghostly resonance.
Infrared just above and ultraviolet just below,... [more]
Between Reality and Reverie by Christina Catherine Martinez Karen Adelman, Trisha Baga, Cara Benedetto, Scott Benzel, Gabriele Beveridge, Lucas Blalock, Nina Canell, Marieta Chirulescu, Isabelle Cornaro, Lili Reynaud-Dewar w/ Olivia Dunbar, Deanna Erdmann, Brendan Fowler, Erik Frydenborg, Amy Granat, Jibade-Khalil Huffman, Nathan Hylden, Barbara Kasten, Erik Lindman, Shana Lutker, Joseph Mosconi, Alex Olson, Taisha Paggett, Lindsay August Salazar, Rachell Sawatsky, Sara VanDerBeek, Erika Vogt, Flora Wiegmann, Rosha Yaghmai at Public Fiction
September 6th, 2013 - November 27th, 2013
The basic structure of society is not amenable to surrealist states.
Louis Aragon’s vision-soaked stroll through the passage de l’opera in his preeminently surrealist novel Paris Peasant reads like foggy brainspace turned inside out and made into poetry, coloring reality itself with its instability. Umbrellas dance, a lock of flaxen hair—seen only in a flash—mercilessly seduces.
Instability is the reality of The Stand In (Or A Glass of Milk) Phase 1: An Unbiased Teal.... [more]
Autumnal heatwaves in Los Angeles never fail to diminish the refreshing thrust of new energy breezing from art spaces around the city. Summer wilts galleries into group shows and makes museums ever welcome air-conditioned hideouts for long-installs. But the fall, hardly ever cool in September, still brings in new skin for the old ceremony, fresh air before the mildish winter chills, not only in premiering first shows from new artists but also in bringing veterans to the city who rarely exhibit... [more]
A young woman strikes a subtle, learned pose in a short, flippy, drop-waist tunic made of canary-yellow and white checkerboard polyester. She faces the camera head-on with poised stillness, like a model in a live fashion presentation. The image is cropped close around her body, but visible behind her are the whitewashed brick, exposed pipes, and crooked crawlspace grate of a suburban apartment complex.
The dress is a facsimile of one from the Louis Vuitton Spring 2013 ready-to-wear show. Crit... [more]
Eight large, sooty, splotchy paintings strike curious poses upstairs these days—rhombuses and pentagons slide into corners, balance on point, reach the floors and ceilings of the gallery at odd angles. An equilateral triangle painting functions as a “key” to the others. The dimensions are arbitrary, perhaps, but not haphazard. Constructed as echoes and responses to the architecture of the artist's studio, they are elegantly at home in any space; the mental associations and conc... [more]