Mar 082018

#Dysturb is a group of photojournalists who paste large-size posters in cities around the world, focusing on under-reported stories with the intention of getting this information to a wider audience. In addition to their public projects, they also have a quarterly print journal.

I first saw their work in Newcastle, UK (pictured above) as part of The Newbridge Project’s Hidden Civil War, a month of programming by various artists around the city in October of 2016.

#Dysturb’s current project is #WomenMatter, focusing on the fight against all types of violence against women. On International Women’s Day 2018, the group will be celebrating their fourth anniversary with a free discussion of this project, as well as their other work and the role of paste-up campaigns in contemporary documentary practice at ICP Museum in NYC.

May 202017

Julius von Bismarck’s Good Weather at Marlborough Contemporary is an interesting meditation on man’s desire to control nature. The first half of the exhibition focuses on Bismarck’s attempts to capture a lightning bolt with the rockets pictured above. In a side room there is a mesmerizing video of a storm rolling into a jungle and the lightning that he used for his experiment. The second half of the gallery focuses on pressed plant species and chickens.

In the press release his process for achieving these flattened works is described in detail-

Like a Colonial scientist, von Bismarck has collected plant species from jungle. Rather than pressing tiny flowers in a notebook, the artist has pressed large plants and entire palm trees into flattened specimens. Heated to a precise 250 degrees in an enormous custom-built oven and a 50-ton hydraulic press, the plants are completely dehydrated without losing their verdant coloration, and squashed astonishingly flat. They are then backed with thin stainless steel to maintain their shape for presentation.

This exhibition closes 5/20/17.

                                                                                       No title (room, panic doors), 2013-14

At Gagosian gallery is Robert Therrien’s first show in New York in ten years. The artist, well known for his sculptures of massive tables, chairs and plates, is now creating rooms and new objects- which include drops, a bow, and a flagpole. The rooms are the works that stand out most, both in scale and in the disconcerting feeling of environments that should feel more normal than they do.

From the press release-

Despite their verisimilitude, Therrien’s rooms impede the viewer’s ability to engage with space in any comfortable way.  Meticulously assembled features of common industrial design allow one to stand in front of architectural vistas. Elevated above ground level and cut away to show interiors that, like dioramas, become impenetrable replicas of reality, each is like a mise-en-scène or readymade. No title (room, panic doors) (2013–14) presents a set of doors in a room filled with fluorescent light. In No title (paneled room) (2017), tambourines rest silent on the floor of a room luxuriously paneled in hardwood, and a ladder leads to a trapdoor in the ceiling. Each room transports the viewer out of the gallery and into a new narrative situation, prompting connections between material details and their subconscious associations. By making use of everyday things that are often overlooked, Therrien situates the viewer in familiar territory, then allows the objects to demand reassessment as instruments of subjectivity and of consciousness itself.

This exhibition closes 5/26/17.

For a room of a different sort, there is Gabriel Lester’s Nevada at Ryan Lee gallery, in which various sections of a wall sized installation light up as assorted voices tell their stories.

                                                                                        Nevada, 2017 (image courtesy of Ryan Lee)

From the press release-

Questions of presence and absence resurface in Nevada, the second component of this exhibition. Nevada confronts the viewer with a floor to ceiling modular wall. Carefully selected objects that correspond with the individual stories combined in Nevada’s multilayered narrative occupy each compartment. Guided by light and sound, the viewer navigates the histories of a series of anonymous characters that find themselves locked out of the world they used to inhabit. In an effort to escape the parallel world in which they have come to dwell, each character attempts to understand the nature and cause of their own existence. Considering personal memories and local histories of migration, mining, gambling, nuclear test sites, and mysterious locations like Area 51 and the Nevada triangle (an area in the California-Nevada desert where numerous aircrafts have vanished), Lester’s Nevada probes the tensions that link the seemingly distinct characteristics of this place to a number of characters looking for a way back to a life they have lost.

The exhibition opens onto a room of low-resolution LED panels showing internet-sourced images of near extinct animals and their habitats. The two rooms feel like separate exhibitions but are brought together by their shared qualities of losing one’s place in the current world.

This show runs until 5/20/17.

Mar 042017

                                                                         (above work by Sandra Low, Steve Seleska, and Amy Kaps)

Currently at Walter Maciel Gallery is With Liberty and Justice for Some, for which the gallery invited artists from across the country to do 8×8 inch portraits of individuals who came to the United States as immigrants- including historic subjects, personal friends, relatives, strangers, and sometimes self portraits. The gallery is also donating a portion of each sale to various non-profit groups including ACLU, Planned Parenthood, The Trevor Project, Center for Reproductive Rights, and the LA and SF LGBT Centers. Also showing at the gallery is I.D. Please!, with works by artists Hung Liu, John Bankston, Lezley Saar, John Jurayi, Maria E. Piñeres, Nike Schröder, Dana Weiser and Monica Lundy, who have all developed studio practices based around notions of identity.

This exhibition closes 3/4/17.

Also closing this weekend in Culver City-

Egan Frantz’s The Oat Paintings at Roberts & Tilton

(image via Roberts & Tilton)

And at Kopeikin Gallery are Ardeshir Tabrizi’s Observations in Linear Time (palm tree), and Jason Engelund’s Meta-Landscapes and Visual Ambient Drones (blue).

(images via Kopeikin)

Dec 212016

42125_01_web3        Blue, 2016 (image via Matthew Marks Gallery)

42166_01_web3 The dead baby boy USA, Berlin, December 2015 / Shadow of baby, Berlin, December 2015 (image via Matthew Marks Gallery)

41994_01_web3-1Motherlove: Ayla and Tjioe in a Berlin bar, New York, June 2016 (image via Matthew Marks Gallery)

Nan Goldin currently has two exhibitions in New York City. The Museum of Modern Art is showing The Ballad of Sexual Dependency, a slide show of almost 700 images Goldin took documenting her life and the lives of those around her, starting in the 1970’s and continuing through 2004. The show has taken place in various iterations throughout the years and includes a soundtrack with music from The Velvet Underground and James Brown among others. While it plays you watch the people in these images party, fight, get married, have children, and sometimes, like Goldin’s good friend Cookie Mueller, die, all in a span of about 45 minutes. It’s hard to see these photos and not be left wanting to know more as you are drawn into this intimate world.  This exhibition runs until 2/12/17.

It’s interesting to see the work at MoMA and then to see Nan Goldin:blood on my hands, at Matthew Marks Gallery. It is the first public exhibition of her drawings as well as her new “grid” photos. The small drawings come from diaries Goldin has been keeping since childhood. They are often disturbing but the content adds insight into the personal life and thoughts of someone who has already shared so much. You can also see parallels in the drawings and her photo work, in terms of both content and style.

The photos in the exhibition are large pieces, each created around a specific color, and each taking up a wall in the gallery. The images that combine to make them are from different places and time periods and yet they flow as if they were always meant to be arranged with each other. The results are more contemplative then her other work and an interesting progression.  This show closes 12/23/16.


Dec 102016


Carrie Mae Weems currently has two exhibitions in Chelsea at Jack Shainman Gallery’s spaces. Included in the work at the 24th Street space is All the Boys (2016), in which slightly blurred images of young black men wearing hooded sweatshirts are placed next to text panels that include information, some of it redacted, about the black victims of police violence. While those images are more subtle, the most affecting piece in the exhibition is the video All The Boys: Video in Three Parts. It includes some of the cell phone footage from several of the recent deaths of black men at the hands of police, including Eric Garner and Philando Castile, and is incredibly difficult to watch. This is interspersed with funeral scenes, the dreamlike image of a man running on a treadmill with a clock in the background, and Weems’ calm voice speaking over the scenes.



In the 20th Street space are images that will be more familiar to those aware of Weems’ previous work Roaming and Museums and is an interesting contrast to the work in the other gallery. In Scenes & Take (2016), she places herself, with her back to the viewer, on the sets of various successful television shows created by and starring black people, including Empire and Scandal. She then includes commentary in text on the side of the images.

In a recent interview with the New York Times she mentions the reasoning behind this focus on Hollywood-

I decided to go and stand in spaces where I think significant transformations are taking place in television as a way of pointing, trying to understand the role of black actors. Directors like Lee Daniels and Shonda Rhimes are laying the foundation for what can be imagined within the context of American culture. Most people go for their programming to paid television, so there’s an economic shift. Network television has been left to poor people.

Both these exhibitions close Saturday 12/10/16.

Apr 162016

© Eleanor Macnair (image courtesy Kopeikin Gallery)


Untitled, 1975 © William Eggleston


© Eleanor Macnair (image courtesy Kopeikin Gallery)

Nan one month after being battered 1984 Nan Goldin born 1953 Purchased 1997

Nan one month after being battered, 1984 © Nan Goldin (image courtesy

Currently at Kopeikin Gallery are Eleanor Macnair’s delightful Play-Doh recreations of famous photographs (I’ve included the original photos for comparison, they are not in the show).  In the second part of the gallery is Michael Lange’s serene series Wald/Fluss (Forest/River).

WALD | Landscapes of Memory forest in Germany (image courtesy of Kopeikin Gallery)

This exhibition closes 4/16/16.

Mar 252016

“4995” (image courtesy of Regen Projects)


“4600” (image courtesy of Regen Projects)


“0521” (image courtesy of Regen Projects)

For his current solo exhibition Choreograph at Regen Projects, James Welling combines his images of architecture and landscape (common in his previous work), with photographs of dancers to create beautiful dreamlike worlds. Welling once studied dance at the University of Pittsburgh before stopping after a year to go to CalArts, and his continued love of dance is evident in the work.

The process for the creation of these layered images is explained in the press release

To create these works Welling photographed over a dozen dance companies in New York, Philadelphia, Ottawa, and Los Angeles. The dance photographs were then merged with photographs of architecture (buildings by Frank Lloyd Wright, Marcel Breuer, and Paul Rudolph) and landscape imagery (western Connecticut, southern Florida, and Switzerland) in Photoshop’s fundamental red, green, and blue color channels, which are basic to all color photographs. The resulting electronic files were altered by the artist using Photoshop’s Hue and Saturation layers to create complicated, multi-hued photographs, which were then printed on rag paper using a 10 color Epson Stylus Pro 9900 inkjet printer.

For more information on how he achieved the look of the photos in Photoshop, there is a booklet at the front desk that contains a breakdown of the color channels and a list of each color adjustment layer.

This show closes 3/26/16.


Nov 282015

Melinda Gibson


Grete Stern


Carolle Benitah

Her First Meteorite, at ROSEGALLERY, is a wonderful selection of photographic collages by Carolle Benitah, James Gallagher, Melinda Gibson, Ken Graves, Stéphanie Solinas, Annegret Soltau, and Grete Stern. The work included in the exhibition ranges in time period from the late 1940′s to present day. Each of the photographers included brings a unique perspective to the different ways a photograph can be altered to create an effective image.

This exhibition closes 11/28/15.

Sep 122015

Thomas Demand

Catherine Opie

Florian Maier-Aichen

Perfect Likeness: Photography and Composition, organized by UCLA art department professor Russell Ferguson and currently at the Hammer Museum, is an engaging exploration into the concept of creating a photograph.

From the museum’s statement:

When we say of a portrait that it is a perfect likeness, we mean not just that it accurately delineates its subject. There is a further implication that the image penetrates beyond surface appearance to give us some deeper sense of the person depicted. The same logic can be applied more broadly. There was a time when it seemed a plausible goal for the artist to resolve a picture so conclusively that the result of his or her work would potentially transcend simple representation to reveal the essence of the subject. Today such a project might seem naïve.  We are glutted with images. What single picture might separate itself from this flood? Any such attempt to make such a work will lead inevitably to the question of composition. This issue is perhaps most urgent for artists working in in photography, a medium that now pervades every corner of daily life. The exhibition Perfect Likeness: Photography and Composition looks at artists’ work with carefully composed photographic images.

The images chosen for the exhibition are often not exactly what they seem on first glance. Thomas Demand’s Diving Board is actually a model created in cardboard and paper. Florian Maier-Aichen’s La Brea Avenue in the Snow was inspired by a historical photo which he then created by drawing in snow on to his photo of Los Angeles houses and adding cars from different eras. Catherine Opie’s portrait of artist Lawrence Wiener appears at first like a Rembrandt painting but it’s the details within the image that draw you in for another look.

There are so many incredible images in the exhibition, it’s hard not to want to talk about them all. Check it out this weekend for free with two exhibition tours given by Russell Ferguson on Sunday (it closes 9/13/15).

(images via Hammer Museum and Art in America)

Jul 182015



Closing Sunday, July 19, “Larry Sultan: Here and Home,” is the first retrospective of the California photographer.

In the video below, fellow artists and former students describe what it was like to learn from Sultan and his work.

Definitely a must see exhibition. To see more of Larry Sultan’s work check out his website-

(images via LACMA tumblr)