It’s leftover memories hauled off in a battered boxed, thin with water damage, to the local thrift store and dropped at the backdoor. An abandoned baby, lovingly clad in taffeta and enshrouded in a knit blanket, with nary a note. What, if anything, can be found in the kitsch of capitalism, the leftover detritus of a disposable culture, a transient society? What initial hopefulness and final dejection can be located in their battered bodies? Liz Craft’s excavation of what can be found in the l... [more]
The Province of Provinces by Jared Baxter Scoli Acosta, Kathryn Andrews, Sarah Conaway, Fiona Connor, Kate Costello, Meg Cranston, Roy Dowell, Zackary Drucker, Rhys Ernst, Patricia Fernández, Dan Finsel, Morgan Fisher, Liz Glynn, Mark Hagen, Zach Harris, Channa Horowitz, Pearl C. Hsiung, Vishal Jugdeo, Mimi Lauter, Thomas Lawson, Meleko Mokgosi, Ruby Neri, D'Ette Nogle, Alex Olson, Camilo Ontiveros, Joel Otterson, Karthik Pandian, Laura Riboli, Analia Saban, Brian Sharp, Ryan Sluggett, David Snyder, Jill Spector, Koki Tanaka, Caroline Thomas, CODY TREPTE, Erika Vogt, Lisa Williamson at Hammer Museum
June 2nd, 2012 - September 2nd, 2012
Los Angeles, a city of developers and opportunists, store-front mystics and varyingly legal working-class migrants, is also by some lights a city of artists. The Hammer Museum recently unveiled its first Los Angeles biennial, an inward-looking affair solely showcasing the work of locals.
Can an exhibition thus conceived add up to anything more than narcissism?
Sure, but whether this is possible in LA, a city with a profoundly neurotic self-regard, is a question left open by the biennial dubbed M... [more]
Let us examine the rainbow.
A radiant bend of light that gives pause to even the surliest of sailors, the direct route to concealed honeypots glutted with gold, a divine message to Noah that the rinse cycle was completing its global soak, the rainbow is such an easy handle for spectral forces, sublimity and facile poetry that it may even be too obviously beautiful for us to concoct anything better than it, thus making rainbows the stuff of sappy cards and toddler’s television. It’s hard to b... [more]
I’m not sure if it’s legal. In fact, I’m pretty sure it won’t be. It’s definitely disturbing and highly problematic—beyond sketchy at the same time that it stands out as the most incredibly soul-shaking and thrillingly provocative art proposition I can remember. Or, I should say, that I can’t remember because memory itself (in the actual neurological, chemical sense, not some vague loosey-goosey thematic) is the medium with which this art boldly fucks.
I’m talking about Meghan Shalimar’s i... [more]
Having established himself in LA during the sixties as a highly successful and award-winning graphic designer with credits for huge companies like IBM, CBS, Boeing, and MGM (as well as LACMA), it wasn’t until 1969, in his mid-thirties, that Robert Overby switched gears away from advertising and decided to become an artist. When the switch happened it happened fast and opened a floodgate of parallel outpourings. The trigger was actually a job for CBS in which Overby was hired as an art-buyer. He immer... [more]
Proud Flesh by Kate Wolf HERB RITTS at Getty Center Los Angeles
April 3rd, 2012 - September 2nd, 2012
For people of a certain age, much of the imagery of photographer Herb Ritts is ubiquitous, if not iconic. From album covers (Madonna, with her head thrown back in rapture on 1986’s True Blue) to music videos (Chris Isaak crooning into a smoky cloud abyss and embracing a mermaid-like, sand-specked Helena Christensen as the waves wash over them in Wicked Game) to celebrity portraiture (k.d. lang in a barber’s chair being mounted by a negligee-clad Cindy Crawford, playing the dom) to countless... [more]
Cy Twombly, it's been my experience, was always at a distance. Most of his life, he lived across the world in whitewashed ancient cities. I never met the man, but all accounts point to a dignified august presence. To me, he’s a fantasy of a Roman poet with a bearing full of nature and wind but also philosophy and silence. His paintings, at least institutionally, have at the moment a certified “you have to like this” air that often makes it exponentially more difficult to see them.
I remember being in a collecto... [more]
Henry Darger, R. Crumb, and George Grosz all found themselves, elbow-to-elbow, drinking hard at the same shitty bar.
“Ach! This place is such a stinking pit of depravity!” said Grosz. “Nothing but the most nauseating perverts and prostitutes, corpulent capitalists assfucking priests and army men. Disgusting.” He growled and then took a deep draught of his golden beer, licking the foam off his lip. A roach crawled up to a splash of wet beer on the bar and Grosz brushed it off with a resign... [more]
Strip malls are a particularly fertile place to show art in Los Angeles. In a city often written off as discontinuous, whose art scene grew in part out of a handful of MFA programs that until only a few decades ago were mainly way stations to New York, the site can work to integrate often insular forms of cultural production alongside the 24-hour donut shops, laundromats, and ethnic restaurants that structure a large part of daily life in our metropolis. The space can also be used to reflect on the i... [more]
Appropriately enough, the first thing one sees is Richard Jackson's signature. A series of miniscule points, scored into drywall with small pieces of lead in a presumably tool-intensive application process, form the cursive letters of the name, evoking a playful and dual irony. On the one hand, there's the use of industrial-strength equipment to reproduce the typically effortless and everyday act of signing one's name; on the other, the very hubris of the gesture is deflated by the white expanse... [more]
It is a game made with beautiful hunks of glass and written with chalk on the floor, some kind of conceptual art hopscotch. One probably shouldn't hop though. Each arrangement is a different play on numbers and markers, of how space works in fantastically simple reduction, a theory of sculpture, or so the title implies. I see it, and then I read it. Then I compare what I read to what I see. This a simple one. Glass and chalk. So basic, but with a beautiful simplicity that has that great gush of... [more]
En Pointe by Kate Wolf Elad Lassry at The Hayworth Theatre
March 2nd, 2012 8:00 PM - 10:00 PM
For the various spectacles conjured by a bright marquee on Wilshire Blvd. and promise of ballerinas from the New York City Ballet, Elad Lassry’s performance, Untitled (Presence 2005), which took place last Friday at the Hayworth Theater near MacArthur Park in Los Angeles, was surprisingly succinct. Six very young looking dancers, three men and three women, performed in monochromatic pantsuits (the woman in lilac, the men in emerald) against a moveable set, designed by Lassry, for about twenty minute... [more]
What would it be like to see an Ellsworth Kelly, any Ellsworth Kelly abstraction for the first time? I try to imagine…mostly muteness, blankness, brightness, largeness. I try but it’s hard to know. Maybe I mean it’s hard to remember back to the first encounter because there is so much familiarity built into viewing Kelly’s work. In fact, familiarity and its shades of offness have often seemed to me to be employed as a complex force and mined as a hotspot of thinking in his shapes—part of his g... [more]
In one of his notebook entries, [Bas Jan] Ader jotted an idea for a postcard: "Greetings from Beautiful Ader Falls." More ominously, he wrote, "All is falling." --Bruce Hainley, “Legends of the Fall,” Artforum, March 1999
In the far western hinterlands of old New Amsterdam, just past the fraying edge of the California sprawl, languishes the twilight township of Ader Falls. A phantom truck stop often missed on the long, lonesome interstate between Los Angeles and New York, this forgotten village f... [more]
Yes, we made that. Together and apart, under a spectral influence. There was one soul who started it and another and another, all of it combining and agglomerating, collected compassion, unabashed sentimentality, gratitude and grief. Neither elitist nor crass, all at once scruffy and cleansing, soft and hard. A shrine, maybe, even if it enshrined would handily sneer at his affiliation with such roadside divinity. Not unlike the working class, from which he and many of us come, artists often work with... [more]
Muse in the Mirror by Kate Wolf Louise Bourgeois, Leonora Carrington, Maya Deren, María Izquierdo, Frida Kahlo, Jacqueline Lamba, Helen Lundeberg, Lee Miller, Kay SAGE, Janet Sobel, Dorothea Tanning, Bridget Tichenor, Remedios Varo at LACMA - Los Angeles County Museum of Art
January 29th, 2012 - May 6th, 2012
A painter, draftsman, sculptor, and later, a writer of fiction and poetry. The accomplished Dorothea Tanning, before her death at the age of 101 last Tuesday, saw the success of the suffragists, the emergence of the avant-garde, the fall-out of two world wars, the civil rights movement and just perhaps, the slow transformation in the world at large of her obligatory title as a “woman artist”—a moniker she reportedly detested—to simply, “artist.”
Currently at LACMA, the exhibition In... [more]