He’s thirty six now and has lived in Skid Row for the past six years. When I first came across him he was lying in the middle of the sidewalk, barley able to move. His friend told me he tried smoking synthetic marijuana, something that’s going around Skid Row. They told me it makes you feel awful and unable to move. When I asked them, then why use it? They said, they didn’t have anything else to do. [Read more…]
Archives for June 2019
at Petzel Gallery, NYC (through June 15)
Reviewed by Phoebe Hoban
Ross Bleckner’s luminous canvases of the 1980s and 90s, often rendered in grey and evoking distant galaxies, possess an otherworldly light, which is apt, since many of his paintings of that time memorialize those lost to the relentless onslaught of AIDS.
Bleckner, whose first show in five years is on exhibit at the Petzel Gallery through June 15, is still making elegiac, gauzy images of loss. But this time, the loss that plagues us is, sadly, self-inflicted: our current political and social divisiveness, and more portentously, the plight of our planet, that Garden of Eden we have managed to more or less destroy. [Read more…]
Because of his self-anointed position as the ambassador of all jazz, Wynton Marsalis served as musical advisor on Ken Burns’s episodic documentary on the genre for PBS. By deleting any real discussion of the music’s experimental arm, it was understood to be a death blow for avant-garde jazz. At that point, the entirety of jazz was atrophying, despite Marsalis’s acclaim. He attempted to cut off what he deemed an unneeded appendage to save the body he loved. Marsalis has further slashed at free jazz in the ensuing years, perhaps unable to believe his initial assault did not mortally wound the sound. [Read more…]
Crushow, washing one of his dogs here, is an artist living in Skid Row who cares deeply about the community. In the short amount of time I hung out with him, residents walking past all came up and said hello. He has a couple of dogs he keeps and a litter of pups that he’s selling. The dogs are very well cared for and even have there own IG page. [Read more…]
As if dreams of buildings, rooms, floor plans, and landscape had landed within his abstract works, Guillermo Kuitca’s often mysterious images take viewers into a world entirely different from our own. At LA’s Hauser & Wirth, Kuitca’s works collapse, repeat, and spatially shift the spaces they represent, weaving a visual language that is both surreal and yet recognizable, evoking both past and future and an impossible present. The exhibition offers viewers a robust variety of the Argentinian artist’s work, including lustrous mixed media on paper images that represent performance spaces such as the Hollywood Bowl, Staples Center, and the Sydney Opera House, among others. [Read more…]
Deborah Roberts’ impassioned exhibition memorializes Black boys who lost their lives from the social injustices of false accusations for murders they did not commit. This solemn exhibition is predicated on African American literature and takes its title from James Baldwin’s non fiction essay, “Many Thousands Gone” (Notes of a Native Son, 1955). [Read more…]
A rustic single-handled basket stands before me and a wintry spring surrounded by rocks with rough faces dusted in snow. Emerald colored water, possibly melted precipitation tinted by algae, has pooled inside the basket’s basin. This impression of nature is strong; but I am not outside. I’m at Keshiki: The Landscape Within Contemporary Japanese Ceramics from the Brodfuehrer Collection, inside Japan House Gallery in Hollywood. [Read more…]
“I was floating off the ground from all the electricity running through me, then it blasted me right out the window, forty feet through the air, all the way to the sidewalk on the other side of the street. When I woke up I smelled something burning. Then I realized it was me. I was on fire!” Cricket recounts his story of how he earned his scars. He tells me he used to be a “fence jumper”, going into old buildings and pulling copper to sell. He went into a master room in an abandoned warehouse and grabbed a big ground wire while holding his wrench. “There was so much electricity in there, that the room was humming. You could just feel it. Next thing I know I’m floating off the ground and seeing neon green. Then my eyes flashed twice and I was out.” After being blasted out the window and catching on fire, he woke up again, long enough to try and put himself out, and then passed back out. Two months later he woke up in a hospital bed. He tells me the entire time he was in a coma he was having one long dream where doctors performed experiments on him, but he was still in Skid Row. Cricket lives in Skid Row currently, but he’s not a fence jumper anymore. Now he sells and trades goods on the streets like bikes and clothes. As he says, far less dangerous pursuits.
The idiosyncratic, stream-of-consciousness, large-scale oil paintings by the Bay Area painter Squeak Carnwath are personal ruminations on everything from politics to urban anxieties and parental concerns (“PAReNTS BEWARE homework is BAD”) [sic], to name just a few of the issues that rise to the surface, unbidden like half heard conversations or bad dreams. Though the exhibition at The Frederick R. Weissman Museum on the splendid Pepperdine Campus is entitled How the Mind Works, it really could be called Notes To Self.
Piles of discarded needles are a common sight to see when walking around Skid Row. Some areas are worse than others, but nowhere is completely void of used syringes on the ground. [Read more…]