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]
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 in... [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. Caesar A... [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 the... [more]