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.

Mar 252016
 
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“4995” (image courtesy of Regen Projects)

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“4600” (image courtesy of Regen Projects)

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“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.

 

Mar 182016
 
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Doppelgangers (in foreground)

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Detail of Doppelgangers

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Home is Where You Are Happy, No.1

 

At Amy Yao’s solo exhibition at Various Small Fires, Bay of Smokes, fear of a polluted and harmfully modified environment play a central role. An industrial manufactured scent fills the gallery, lead blankets are on towel racks and a mountain of rice reveals on closer inspection that it has bits of plastic and pearls (real and fake) mixed in. In this time of GMO’s, toxic water in Flint, and the gas leak at Porter Ranch, it’s hard not to be paranoid about what is really happening to our natural surroundings and how poisonous our daily lives really are, especially in ways we cannot discern. Yao’s exhibition is a creative and at times playful examination of these issues, but the darkness of the theme, like the scent remains a constant presence.

This exhibition closes 3/18/16.

 

 

Mar 172016
 

tfailstreetartlosangeles

Sadly, artist @tfail lost her battle with cancer last week on 3/9/16. I always loved finding her work around Los Angeles.

If you are not familiar with her work, here are some links –

http://tfail.tumblr.com/

http://www.tinastclaire.com/

https://www.instagram.com/tfail/

My deepest sympathies go out to her friends, family, and fellow artist partner @hauntedeuth.

Rest in Peace.

 

Mar 122016
 
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Mom Knows

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Black Flag

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Detail from Black Flag

The mixed media assemblage paintings in Aaron Fowler’s current solo exhibition, Blessings on Blessings, at Diane Rosenstein gallery, are large, highly detailed, and dense with imagery.

From the press release-

Aaron Fowler, who was born in St. Louis and currently lives and works in Harlem, creates mixed-media assemblage-paintings that depict his experiences and the lives of his family and friends in both a personal narrative and an epic journey through contemporary America. The title of this exhibition, which includes twelve portraits, tableaux, and medallions created in the past year, refers to lyrics from “Blessings”, a 2015 song by American rapper Big Sean.

In these sculptural tableaux, Fowler depicts himself as a “mirror character” called The Pilgrim. He employs oils, acrylics and collage – often pixilated ‘photo print-outs’ based on 18th C. American historical painting – alongside objects like Adidas sneakers, CDs, T-shirts, and plastic bags.  The dynamic, large-scale compositions are enacted on discarded domestic materials including shutters, mirrored doors, windows, and card tables.

This show closes 3/12/16.