Feb 232019
 

Artist Pierre Daquin’s tapestry “La Vue” courtesy of Galerie Chevalier as part of The 13th Floor project

Several art fairs took over Los Angeles last weekend, two of which used hotels to create temporary galleries and installations.

At the The Hollywood Roosevelt was the first edition of Felix, a free art fair co-founded by Dean Valentine along with brothers Al Morán and Mills Morán (of LA gallery Morán Morán). Galleries took over rooms along the pool, on the 11th floor, and the penthouse.  Starting at the penthouse was The 13th Floor (pictured above), a collection of work by French artists curated by writer Andrew Berardini and presented by The French Committee of Art Galleries and the Cultural Services of the French embassy.

Kenny Schachter had some fun pieces in his room on the 11th Floor including Ilona Rich’s sculptures, one of which was in the bathroom shower (pictured above), and a framed collection of artist Chris Burden’s cancelled checks.

Bodega gallery, from New York’s Lower East Side, had a selection of interesting work including paintings by Alexandra Noel.

Alexandra Noel, “And then the air was filled with 10,000 things (or when a minor piece of wood becomes a missile)”

Grice Bench’s selections included a collection of lovely watercolors by Roger White and a painting placed above the bed by Lara Schnitger.

Work by Lara Schnitger and Roger White

On the ground floor Marc Selwyn Fine Art presented Jennifer Aniston’s Used Book Sale, artist Kristen Morgin’s incredibly realistic ceramic replicas of books she imagines might make up the actress’ collection (the VHS tape is real).

Kristen Morgin’s ceramic books

At a hotel in a completely different part of town was the stARTup Art Fair, taking place at The Kinney in Venice. Here, instead of galleries representing the artists, it’s the artists that set up their rooms and sell their art.  It made for a great experience as the artists were all very friendly and eager to discuss their work. Below are a few highlights from the fair.

Lisa Kairos and Melissa Mohammadi’s work

“Leaf Insects Turn Into Butterflies” by Melissa Mohammadi

San Francisco artists Lisa Kairos and Melissa Mohammadi’s room was filled with really beautiful work. Kairos makes dreamy multilayered paintings based on natural landscapes. She then cuts patterns into the images which adds yet another dimension to the paintings. Mohammadi’s work incorporates botanical and marine life into a meditative world where bright pastels stand out among subdued watercolor backgrounds; highly detailed sections mix with the more abstract. The end result for both artists is work you want to spend time looking at.

Work by Annie Galvin of 3 Fish Studios

Work by Eric Rewitzer of 3 Fish Studios

Husband and wife artists Eric Rewitzer and Annie Galvin of 3 Fish Studios in San Francisco had lots of great, affordable prints. They also teach printmaking and collage classes in their studio.

One of Camilla Magrane’s artworks

Artist Camila Magrane had several pieces in her darkened hotel room that use augmented reality technology to make the works animated and three dimensional when looked at through her Virtual Mutations app. The video above illustrates the effect.

Jeff Horton uses his architecture background to create paintings of urban structures (often larger than what’s pictured above), some of which incorporate wax with oil paint for an added layer.

Other artists work not shown but worth checking out- Margaret Hyde makes ethereal still life photographs of natural objects she finds and combines with water, and Kyong Ae Kim showed a variety of impressive work including her animal skulls cut from multiple layers of drafting film and acrylic paintings combined with hand cut elements.

 

 

 

Feb 172019
 

Currently at Shulamit Nazarian gallery is Trenton Doyle Hancock: An Ingénue’s Hues and How to Use Cutty Black Shoes, the artist’s first solo exhibition in Los Angeles.

From the press release-

The new drawings, paintings, and sculptures in this show expand upon the artist’s saga of The Moundverse, a constructed world that has propelled his artistic practice for the past twenty-five years.

In addition to the narrative tradition of his religious upbringing, Hancock immersed himself in graphic novels, comics, and Greek mythology; at the age of ten, he began creating characters as articulations of his experience as a Black youth in small-town Paris, Texas. In The Moundverse, Hancock has developed an extensive cast: altruistic Mounds, destructive Vegans, and mutated Bringbacks; TorpedoBoy is a tragically flawed hero who serves as the artist’s alter ego; Undom Endgle is a color-wielding goddess who protects young souls, representing the force of the Black women who have affected and supported Hancock over the years. These characters and others explore timeless polarities like good and evil alongside related issues of race, class, identity, politics, and social justice.

Using the fantastical to grapple with the deeply personal has long been at the core of Hancock’s artistic practice. Formally, this is seen in what the artist calls his “rough and tumble” aesthetic: Richly colored tactile surfaces are loaded with objects that range from bottle caps that the artist played with in childhood to bits and pieces of older works that have been rebirthed to create something entirely new. Drawing heavily from the temporal structure of comics, Hancock’s practice seamlessly weaves storylines spanning long periods of time, often within a single artwork. The totality of his practice can be seen as an ever-expanding graphic novel in its own right, articulated through a variety of media.

Laced with personal memoir, Hancock’s Moundverse is a metaphorical space that reflects the everyday world. Several works show TorpedoBoy in mid-stride, clad in football gear, wearing his “cutty black shoes” as he runs from evil-natured Vegans that at times take the aggregated form of a goofy-footed, cloaked member of the Ku Klux Klan (the Paris, Texas, of Hancock’s youth had an active Klan). The malignant force that reaches for this distraught—albeit defiant—central character points to longstanding concerns of systematic racism and oppression.

The exhibition also includes Hancock’s most recurring character, The Mound—a half-plant, half-animal creature that absorbs and processes negative human emotions to bring positive energy to the world. Presented within the exhibition will be two large-scale paintings of Mounds, one standing nearly eight feet tall. In addition, Hancock will present new ink-on-paper works that introduce the first chapter of the artist’s most ambitious drawings to date: Trenton Doyle Hancock Presents The Moundverse. Designed as a traditional graphic novel, this series offers a sequential understanding of the characters and stories that have dominated Hancock’s practice for the past two and a half decades.

An Ingénue’s Hues and How to Use Cutty Black Shoes continues the artist’s exploration of primal forces as they play out in The Moundverse, reflecting our current moment and inviting viewers to consider parallel themes and stories in the world around us today.

This show closes 2/17.

 

Aug 312018
 

Lauren Halsey- The Crenshaw District Hieroglyph Project (Prototype Architecture) 2018

Lauren Halsey- The Crenshaw District Hieroglyph Project (Prototype Architecture) 2018

Currently at the Hammer Museum is Made in L.A. 2018, the museum’s fourth biennial exhibition of artists working in Los Angeles and the surrounding areas. The diverse group of artists included range in age from 29 to 97.  With so many excellent works in the exhibition, it was very hard to choose which of them to highlight. The following are just a few selections from the exhibition that stood out.

Lauren Halsey’s sculptures (pictured above), won the Mohn Award, a jury award which honors artistic excellence. You can also see another one of her sculptures at MOCA, until September 3.

Selection of works by Luchita Hurtado

The paintings above are from the oldest artist showing in the exhibition, Luchita Hurtado. At 97, she is just starting to get recognition for a lifetime of work.

The youngest artist in the show is Diedrick Brackens (shown below) who uses weaving and textile making to tell stories that reflect on cultural and personal narratives from his childhood in Mexla,Texas.

Diedrick Brackens

The most entertaining of the works in the exhibition is OURCHETYPES, created by Jade Gordon and Megan Whitmarsh. Taking up an entire room, it consists of videos, sculptures, and a publication all dealing with issues of self discovery, adulthood, womanhood, happiness, and success all from a tongue in cheek, retro New Age perspective.

Jade Gordon & Megan Whitmarsh, OURCHETYPES

There are also other video installations that are well worth spending time with.  Gelare Khoshgozaran’s Medina Wasi: Connecting Town, was shot mainly in Mecca and Thermal in the Coachella Valley, along with footage from US military bases in the desert that have created towns meant to simulate Middle Eastern towns for troops to have simulated battles in. She combines this with interviews with US veterans who discuss their memories of the landscape when they were in the Middle East. Neha Choksi’s multichannel video installation Everything sunbright, examines our relationship to the sun and includes images from nature, a dance performance, and children making drawings of the sun all tying together themes of birth, life, and death.

This weekend Hammer Museum has programming to accompany the exhibition. On Saturday, taisha paggett will present a series of solo and duet dance performances and on Sunday, composer/performer Carolyn Pennypacker Riggs is assembling a group of mothers to explore the tropes and meanings of motherhood and Von Doog is offering empathic musical readings in the gallery prior to the performance.

This exhibition closes on Sunday 9/2.

 

Aug 252018
 

The Marciano Art Foundation, established by Paul and Maurice Marciano (co-founders of the Guess clothing brand), opened its doors in May of 2017 in Los Angeles and is a great addition to the city’s art spaces. It is currently showing Olafur Eliasson: Reality Projector (pictured above), an immersive kaleidoscopic piece created specifically for this location, with a soundscape created by Jónsi of Sigur Rós. A rotating selection of works from the Marcianos’ permanent collection is also on view as well as Instagram favorite Yayoi Kusama’s With All My Love For The Tulips, I Pray Forever.

The foundation is housed in a former Scottish Rite Masonic Temple and there is a room dedicated to objects that the Masons left behind.

Both the inside and outside of the building retain the symbols and remnants of the Masonic history as well.

It is free to go to the MAF but it is recommended that you reserve tickets online.

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 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.