May 192018
 

This weekend head to Hauser & Wirth to check out artist Mark Bradford’s exhibition New Works. His first gallery exhibition in Los Angeles in over fifteen years, the paintings included continue to explore societal issues through his dramatic use of color, and his unique technique- which involves combining layers of printed paper with paint and then cutting into these layers to create intricate patterns and shapes. They are incredible to see in person.

From the press release-

Bradford employs the ‘tools of civilization’ – billboards, merchant posters, newsprint, comics, magazines, and endpapers – to conflate cultural and political forces, and create layers of social commentary in paintings that evoke deep feeling. ‘How we build and destroy ourself are the materials that I’m really interested in,’ the artist once stated, ‘and paper is one of the main ways in which information is displayed.’ Through his rigorous physical approach to the material presence of painting, Bradford has addressed powerful issues of our time, including the AIDS epidemic, the misrepresentation and fear of queer identity, and systemic racism in America. His recent work engages in a broader excavation of American history to raise questions about the preservation of the past and the transference of power.

In the new works on view at Hauser & Wirth, Bradford probes stories found in comic books to question the archetype of the antihero and the influence of the media on contemporary society, while also revisiting misconceptions of black identity and gender as seen in previous works. ‘New Works’ presents paintings that extend the artist’s examination of homophobia and racism in American society, continuing themes explored in Bradford’s multimedia installation ‘Spiderman’ (2015), which was shown at the Hammer Museum in LA in 2015.

Also at the Hauser & Wirth space are two other exhibitions worth checking out- Louise Bourgeois: The Red Sky and Romanian artist Geta Brătescu’s The Leaps of Aesop. All of these shows close 5/20/18.

If you go on 5/19, at 2pm artist Matthew Day Jackson will be in discussing his work with curator Hamza Walker, Executive Director of LAXART.

 

May 052018
 

Will Ferrell and Joel McHale visit the Hammer Museum

What makes an object art? Does an object only have importance with a narrative attached to it? Conceptual art can be challenging. Walking around the exhibition Stories of Almost Everyone, at the Hammer Museum, it’s hard not to share a bit of the sentiment in the above video. There are so many questions to ask. What am I looking at? Is it art? Why? Does the stack of mail being added to every day feel like art (Mungo Thomson’s contribution)? What about the empty postcard rack (Ceal Floyer’s Wish You Were Here)? Does it gain more meaning when you read about why it’s there? These questions are subjective, of course, but some of the works included resonate more than others. Danh Vo (who currently has an exhibition at the Guggenheim Museum) contributes a lit up globe once owned by Robert McNamara, US Secretary of Defense during the Vietnam War. The object itself is beautiful but is given additional meaning when looked at through the eyes of the Vietnamese artist.  Other objects are manipulated, like Fayçal Baghriche’s The clock, which has been sped up to give the illusion of altering time.

In addition to the wall texts, author Kanishk Tharoor contributed a short story that can be listened to on an audio guide or read. As you listen to (or read) the story, the objects now take on a different meaning with their inclusion within the fictional narrative. Does this change your perception of the works? Does it make them resonate more with you? All of this depends, ultimately, on the individual. You’ll have to head to the Hammer to decide for yourself.

This exhibition closes 5/6/18.

 

Apr 282018
 

For his first exhibition, Viewing Room, at Anat Ebgi, Alec Egan has created bright and colorful paintings that capture the viewer’s attention immediately, drawing you into his world.

From the press release-

Fragmented and yet fully whole, Egan tackles the psychology of the domestic interior through a maze of lushly wallpapered rooms. Tulips, a window, a rug, a painting-within-the-painting; these are the clues presented in Egan’s blueprint-key, allowing the viewer to map this imaginary home. The indulgent use of oil paint create textures imbued with a cognitive power, the flatness of the patterns complemented by raised brushstrokes seemingly pushing and pulling one’s gaze. Thick impasto accentuate the dapples found in the floorboards or drywall of this home, the overwhelming quality of Egan’s playful patterns bordering on abstraction through Rococo-esque embellishment.

A pair of socks, boots, glasses; these discarded items wait to be used again, frozen against the wild landscape of the wallpaper, or the duvet-cover, a literal flowerbed. A camouflaging ensues – an upholstered chair all but disappears into the adjacent wall. For all the objects, the absence of the figure is palpable, yet each still-life insists on a haunting human presence and the viewer as witness. There is a sense of escapism throughout, books are featured prominently, and the air is rife with the nostalgia of adolescence and Americana. Swatches on swatches, Egan’s canvases produce an infinite number of windows, chambers and corridors, blending the internal with the external, relishing in their own lurid pattern-making and the comfort of déjà vu.

This exhibition closes 4/28/18.

Apr 282018
 

After Ingres, 2014

Blind Venus (for G),2018

Currently at Walter Maciel Gallery is Katherine Sherwood’s solo exhibition, The Interior of the Yelling Clinic.  The title, according to the press release, takes its name from an organized group of six artists, including Sherwood, “who have an interest in the intersections between war and disability. The Yelling Clinic was created to mix artistic practice with community outreach, art instruction and activism.”

Sherwood’s paintings are influenced by famous European works but also include evidence of physical disabilities (like the cane in Blind Venus, pictured above) and her own brain scans. After a cerebral hemorrhage at 44, the artist lost the use of her right arm and hand and was forced to learn to paint with her left. The nudes mix the personal with the traditional while also challenging notions of beauty and the idealized female form. Adding another dimension to the paintings, they are created on the backs of old art history painting reproductions that she saved from being thrown away by the UC Berkeley Art Department where she taught. The gallery has hung one of her flower paintings (pictured below) from the ceiling so that you can see an example of what is on the other side of the work.

This exhibition closes 4/28/18.

Dec 022017
 

Today, December 1st, is Day With(out) Art, a national day of action and mourning organized by Visual AIDS with arts organizations and institutions in response to the AIDS crisis. It is also World AIDS Day, an international day dedicated to raising awareness of the disease.

In 2014, on the 25th anniversary of Day With(out) Art, Visual AIDS commissioned seven artists/collaboratives to create short videos for a program titled ALTERNATE ENDINGS, which are now available to watch online.  This year Visual AIDS has created another video program –ALTERNATE ENDINGS, RADICAL BEGINNINGS, previewed above.

From their Vimeo channel

Curated by Erin Christovale and Vivian Crockett for Visual AIDS, the video program prioritizes Black narratives within the ongoing AIDS epidemic, commissioning seven new and innovative short videos from artists Mykki Blanco, Cheryl Dunye & Ellen Spiro, Reina Gossett, Thomas Allen Harris, Kia LaBeija, Tiona Nekkia McClodden and Brontez Purnell.

In spite of the impact of HIV/AIDS within Black communities, these stories and experiences are constantly excluded from larger artistic and historical narratives. In 2016 African Americans represented 44% of all new HIV diagnoses in the United States. Given this context, it is increasingly urgent to feature a myriad of stories that consider and represent the lives of those housed within this statistic. ALTERNATE ENDINGS, RADICAL BEGINNINGS seeks to highlight the voices of those that are marginalized within broader Black communities nationwide, including queer and trans people.

The commissioned projects include intimate meditations of young HIV positive protagonists; a consideration of community-based HIV/AIDS activism in the South; explorations of the legacies and contemporary resonances within AIDS archives; a poetic journey through New York exploring historical traces of queer and trans life, and more. Together, the videos provide a platform centering voices deeply impacted by the ongoing epidemic.

Next week on 12/7 (Thursday), MOCA Grand Avenue in Los Angeles will be screening this program followed by a performance by Kia LaBeija and a discussion featuring Reina Gossett and Kia LaBeija in conversation with Day With(out) Art curators Erin Christovale and Vivian Crockett. (this event is free)

In New York it will be screened on 12/4 (Monday) at Schomberg Center for Research in Black Culture with a post-screening discussion featuring artists Cheryl Dunye, Ellen Spiro and Thomas Allen Harris in conversation with curators Erin Christovale and Vivian Crockett. (free but make sure to register as the event at The Whitney filled up quickly)

 

May 202017
 

                                                                         My Madinah. In pursuit of my ermitage…, 2004

Jason Rhoades Installations, 1994-2006 at Hauser & Wirth is a lot of show. It’s a big exhibition with several rooms packed with things. Many, many things. In one room numerous neon expressions for female genitalia hang over a mosque-like environment (above), and in another over countless tourist novelties, bare mattresses, and truck nuts (pictured below).

The earlier work, like My Brother/Brancusi, which was created for the 1995 Whitney Biennial, feels a bit stronger, or at least less controversial.  Photos of Brancusi’s studio and Rhoades’ brother’s room are on the walls, while his version of his brother’s room complete with a tower of donuts (somehow still intact) that alludes to Brancusi’s Endless Column, and mechanical objects, fill the center of the installation.

This description is from the press release of The Creation Myth, 1998, another of the better pieces in the show, and gives an insight into Rhoades thought process behind the work-

The artist sought to understand why, how, and what humans create by exploring Creationist and Evolutionist theories in tandem. The irreverent representation of the human body and brain is structured into levels to suggest our categories of perception: the archetypal, the real, the unconscious and the rebellious. Each of the six nouns in the work’s subtitle (‘The Mind, the Body and the Spirit, the Shit, Prick and the Rebellious Part’) is metaphorically portrayed, while the function of the brain itself unfolds through a calculated combination of readymades and images. A series of stacked tables constitutes the ‘brain,’ in which a ‘train of thought’ – a toy train mounted by a snake’s head and tail – circles. Digestible ‘information’ enters the ‘brain’ in the form of pornography-wrapped logs of wood, representing the physicality of creation. Cut and disseminated, ‘information’ is incessantly processed and reproduced by cameras, mirrors, and computers. Smoke rings erupt from ‘the Asshole,’ a fleeting byproduct of the frenzied machine, a personification of the Spirit, alluding to the pursuit of the ephemeral moment.

If you love his work, the chaotic installations and selfie opportunities will delight you. If not, there is still plenty to think about after seeing the work.

                                                                                             Tijuanatanjierchandelier, 2006

This is a good interview discussing the exhibition with the curator (and former partner in the gallery) Paul Schimmel.

This exhibition closes 5/21/17.

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)

Feb 112017
 

 

                                                                            Rodeo 10, 2016 (Photo credit Jeff McLane)

                                                                       Hillary Clinton, 2016 (Photo credit Robert Wedemeyer)

Karl Haendel’s solo exhibition BY AND BY at Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects, is a collection of  highly detailed drawings mixed with earlier work made in 2000, and a new video piece. Included in the earlier work is State Motto Map, a colorful map of the United States, with each state’s motto labeled on it. Washington State’s motto is Alki, or Al-ki, a Native American word meaning bye and bye, and is where the title of this exhibition is drawn from.

From the press release

In this exhibition, Haendel uses the idea of the portrait to explore contemporary definitions of masculinity, power, and public identity. He undertakes the challenging task of drawing a portrait of what it is to be a man, or perhaps what is expected of men, in images that span a broad range of representations from the heroic to the abject, from the depiction of male achievement in the highest ranks of power to a raw and unsympathetic examination of a middle-aged convicted sex offender. An inquiry into what represents masculinity also requires a look at the conventions of gender representation, as masculinity and femininity have so long been defined, particularly in images, as a codependent set of complimentary traits. In “By and By” Haendel both reasserts and undermines these conventions in heroic portraits of teenage girls riding rodeo, reproductions of murals depicting black civil rights leaders, and a monumental portrait of Hillary Clinton. His drawings and his video work against a tradition of portraiture that collapses individuals into ciphers and symbols that read as shorthand for historical legacies and narrative tropes.

This show closes 2/11/17.

 

(images via Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects)

Apr 162016
 
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Mara De Luca, INDIO, 2015 (image courtesy Edward Cella Art & Architecture)

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Mara De Luca, INDUSTRY, 2014 (image courtesy Edward Cella Art & Architecture)

Today (4/16/16) is the last day to see Mara De Luca’s solo exhibition Driving Sunset at Edward Cella Art & Architecture.

From the press release

An MFA graduate of CalArts, De Luca explores the conceptual and expressive potential of process-driven abstract painting. Her works are informed by her study and re-appropriation of art historical conventions, her visual interpretation of literary sources, and the recurring visual tropes of contemporary high-end fashion advertising. Inspired by Los Angeles’ stark contrasts, a place where beautiful natural landscapes coexist alongside endless freeways and countless billboards, De Luca reveals a depth in the superficiality of surface, and an emotive complexity in formal concision.

The show’s title is a reference to Joan Didion’s novel Play It as It Lays, in which the main character drives around Los Angeles aimlessly while trying to clear her mind. There’s a sense of that sought after calm in these paintings whose colors and dark cloud-like shapes bring to mind the skies and sunsets of California.

Apr 162016
 
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© Eleanor Macnair (image courtesy Kopeikin Gallery)

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Untitled, 1975 © William Eggleston

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© Eleanor Macnair (image courtesy Kopeikin Gallery)

Nan one month after being battered 1984 Nan Goldin born 1953 Purchased 1997 http://www.tate.org.uk/art/work/P78045

Nan one month after being battered, 1984 © Nan Goldin (image courtesy tate.org.uk)

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.