What mystical visions and artistic insights can dancing an hour per day provide? For Nathan Hayden, a West Virginia-born, Santa Barbara-based psychedelic multimedia artist, this transcendental practice inspires the mind-bending imagery behind his abstracted landscapes, biomorphic ceramic sculptures, and hallucinatory wall murals. [Read more…]
Archives for February 2018
Contemporary cinema is dominated by fast cutting and bombastic visual spectacle. Attuned to the fast times of the present, mainstream filmmaking runs at the pace of its audiences. It is a curious phenomenon considering the average blockbuster is actually quite long. Your typical Marvel film will run to about 2 hours and 15 mins. The recent, magnificent Black Panther features a sharp screenplay and visually rich vistas, yet it is engaging as a work of visceral energy. It rushes headlong through its vision and achieves the feat of making two hours feel like fifteen minutes. Alex Garland’s Annihilation arrives with a different approach, preferring to transcend its genre with a tone that is meditative and focused on creating an environment. [Read more…]
For the sheer pleasure of watching Mcoy Tyner’s fingers work magic and soulful wonder on the keys.
John Coltrane, Mcoy Tyner, Jimmy Garrison and Elvin Jones
at Hauser & Wirth, Los Angeles (Through May 20, 2018) Reviewed by Emily Nimptsch
“My childhood has never lost its magic, it has never lost its mystery, and it has never lost its drama.” ㅡLouise Bourgeois, 1998
Produced in the last three years of her life, the effervescent bubble and flower doodles, rudimentary abstract patterns, and scrawled, Cy Twombly-like swirls currently lining the walls of Hauser & Wirth, Los Angeles, in Louise Bourgeois: Red Sky may seem like this renowned French-American painter, sculptor, and printmaker’s innocent, joy-filled ruminations on childhood, however, a closer look reveals a world of anguish and anxiety. [Read more…]
Judith Bernstein’s work has always been brazenly in-your-face. In the early-to-mid 1970s the self-styled “proto-feminist” was best-known for her huge charcoal drawings of hairy, phallic screws, one of which was censored from a museum show in Philadelphia in 1974, despite a petition signed by Louise Bourgeois and John Coplans. A co-founder of the alternative gallery, A.I.R., which showed only female artists, she more or less disappeared from the art world until 2012, when the New Museum featured “Hard,” a show of her large-scale work, including a 66-foot long mural painted directly onto its lobby windows, followed by two shows at Mary Boone in 2015 and 2016. [Read more…]
From I Used to Spend So Much Time Alone
More than half of the United States’ population thinks “God” has a special relationship with America. This belief in the nation’s exceptionalism provides a basis on which a majority of people can imagine that the United States is exempt from the consequences of its actions. Rules of nature, decorum, civil behavior, and good citizenship in the global community simply don’t apply. This brand of exceptionalism builds on the related concept of individual exceptionalism in which people imagine themselves independent of responsibilities or accountability to such annoyances as speed limits and safety laws, rules and regulations, or regimens of diet and exercise. The fantasy of unlimited personal wealth which currently dominates the national imaginary is the ultimate extension of individual exceptionalism—one is simply a law unto oneself in a system where money legitimates views and actions. And, finally, completing the list, we have human exceptionalism–the hubristic belief that our species is superior to all others, simply by accident of our having achieved a high-level capacity for technological transformation and exploitation of natural resources. Even as we (probably fatally) dis-balance the living systems of the earth, the sense that “we” occupy a place of superior intelligence prevails. Each of these forms of exceptionalism has major liabilities and consequences for the ways the political system in America works and the terms on which self-justification proceeds. Meanwhile, damage continues at a great pace. [Read more…]
Annihilation, directed by Alex Garland
Reviewed by Kristy Puchko
Alex Garland carved out a reputation as a stellar screenwriter with cerebral sci-fi fare like the zombie thriller 28 Days Later, the space-set adventure Sunshine, and the clone-centered romance Never Let Me Go. Then he shocked and awed critics and audiences alike with his directorial debut, Ex Machina. The high-tech fairy tale showed a crisp visual style that played beautifully with Garland’s heady, philosophizing script, and was roundly proclaimed one of the best films of 2014. So it was with great anticipation that critics awaited his follow-up, Annihilation. And while many have breathlessly sung the praises of Garland’s loose adaptation of Jeff VanderMeer’s novel, this critic was left cold. [Read more…]
Of the three artists currently showing at Hauser & Wirth it is fair to assume that Geta Brătescu, the 92 year-old Romanian Conceptualist, is the least familiar to American audiences. Though her work has neither the heady bombast of Mark Bradford’s paintings nor the sinewy lyricism of Louise Bourgeois’ work, Brătescu brings her curiosity and playfulness to an encyclopedic body of work that spans seven decades. Her drawings, films, performances, animations, collages, and sculptures defy a single descriptor as they are based on her wide-ranging visual and literary interests and vary according to the medium but what Brătescu seeks to address in all of her work is the idea of transformation and multiplicity, especially in relationship to the role of the artist. While the exhibit will undoubtedly invite comparisons to Louise Bourgeois’ work because they were both active at the same time and because each gained recognition in a male dominated field, they have very different sensibilities. Where Bourgeois is so poetically expressive about her interior life through paintings, text and sculptures, Brătescu chooses conceptual and experimental genres to create imaginative narratives, her literary references and studio almost always present. Hauser & Wirth provides an opportunity to contrast both artists while introducing a new voice, albeit one that has flourished outside of our orbit for some time. [Read more…]
“Oino,” from the Inji release.
On Domino Record Co, UK
Hopptornet (Ten Meter Tower)
A short film by Axel Danielson & Maximilien Van Aertryck
“Would you jump? Or would you chicken out?”
The excitement that Marvel’s Black Panther has touched off in masses of Black people is undeniable.
It was a cultural phenomenon before it was even released, sparking conversation around Black representation in blockbuster films — particularly the lucrative comic book movie – and the importance of having Black creatives behind the camera as well as in front of it. With a Black director, writer, costumier, hairstylist, etc. and a budget of $200 million (higher than Thor: Ragnarok, for comparison), in many ways, this movie was a first of its kind. The budget and production value of this film has never been seen before, and it appeared that Marvel, now owned by Disney, was clearly addressing criticisms of diversity by throwing their full weight behind the project. Main cast members Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, Angela Bassett, Lupita Nyong’o, Danai Gurira, and newcomer Letitia Wright led a marketing campaign that placed them front and center on magazines and billboards — occasionally dressed as actual Black Panthers and even as Jesus (side note: who else remembers when Kanye West covered Rolling Stone in a crown of thorns and the world lost its shit?). [Read more…]
From Con Todo El Mundo
On Dead Oceans, Austin TX
How do you modernize modern abstract painting? If you are beloved Los Angeles-based painter and collage artist Mark Bradford, you build thick, impasto-inspired canvas surfaces with ten to fifteen layers of paper in the form of attention-grabbing advertisements, photographs, newsprint, magazines, posters, and comic book panels. Shellacked with glue and lacquer, you dry them in the sun, bleach them, and sand them down, partially exposing the forgotten strata below. With Bradford’s wildly inventive, semi-geological paintings, the viewer acts as an archaeologist from some distant future excavating the remains of our modern society. Also acting as socio-political city maps and diagrams of the human body, this MacArthur Fellow’s masterful large-scale fusions of Abstract Expressionism, Pop art, and Street art allow the audience to consider issues of LGBTQ rights, the AIDS epidemic, and systemic racism through the lens of both the micro and the macro. [Read more…]
at the Broad, Los Angeles (through March 13, 2018)
Reviewed by Emily Nimptsch
My work is largely concerned with relations between seeing and knowing, seeing and saying, seeing and believing. Preconceptions which are sort of “knowing” may be placed in doubt or may be affirmed by seeing. 一 Jasper Johns, 1965
In a sudden moment of creative clarity and focus, Jasper Johns awoke from a dream in 1954 with a vision of the American flag dancing around in his head. The then-emerging New York-based multimedia artist knew immediately that he had to paint it. Not having the money for a new canvas, he simply used some old bedsheets instead. Little did Johns know at the time that he was creating an image that would elevate him to the upper echelons of artistic fame and forever alter the course of art history.
Now sixty-four years later, the Broad Museum, the mecca for all things modern art in Los Angeles, is looking back on this celebrated artist’s momentous collection of flag paintings in concert with his later number, target, and map works. Consisting of over 120 paintings, drawings, sculptures, and prints, including many that have never displayed in the city before, this extensive and historically significant collaboration between the Broad and London’s Royal Academy explores Johns’s oeuvre thematically rather than chronologically. This curatorial choice allows the viewer to see works of different eras on the same wall and make unexpected, eye-opening connections. [Read more…]
On Embryo Records, UK
English writer/director Sally Potter has built her reputation on challenging dramas, like the gender-bending Orlando, the revolution-focused Ginger & Rosa, and Yes, a steamy romance with poetic dialogue set to iambic pentameter. Maybe that’s why The Party is so jarring. Though sharply cast and leanly executed, this dark comedy about a band of elitist London liberals feels strangely safe, and ultimately underwhelming. [Read more…]