When I wrote about Rebecca Farr’s fourth solo exhibit in November of 2016, I said it was everything. I saw the show immediately following the 2016 presidential election and Farr’s show created a nurturing embrace and a place for soul-and nation-searching. In her fifth solo exhibit at Klowden Mann, Animal Love Thyself, Farr’s exhibition again feels like everything we need in an age that is amidst Trump’s presidency, amidst the wake of #MeToo and #TimesUp, and amidst a time that is more and more against the rights of people who are not hetero, cis, white men [Read more…]
During a time in which eight U.S. states have passed bills to limit women’s rights to abortions, Paula Rego’s Untitled: The Abortion Pastels seem timely and relevant. Made between July 1998 and February 1999, this series of ten works features personal and quietly anguished portraits of women who have just undergone or are undergoing, at-home, illegal abortions. Rego, born in Portugal and living in Britain, was motivated to create this series about her home country after a referendum to liberalize existing abortion laws was proposed and defeated in Portugal during the summer of 1998. She saw this as a rallying cry for change and used her art as a response and motivator. [Read more…]
With the threat of closing the U.S./Mexico border looming, people whose lives do not intersect with the border on a regular basis are thinking more about the border than usual. But before this recent wave of attention, artists have been drawn to the border and have been drawing attention to the myriad issues it raises through performances, street art, public art, photography, and augmented reality (AR). [Read more…]
Revolutionary Cycles is an expansive two-year series of art showing at The 8th Floor, a New York exhibition space run by the Shelley & Donald Rubin Foundation. The series will feature different themes such as issues around surveillance, gender, and media. Curated by Sara Reisman, Revolution from Without… kicks off the first installment of the series focused on the topic of resistance, with this exhibition featuring art from Tania Bruguera, Tony Cokes, Chto Delat, Raqs Media Collective, Kameelah Janan Rasheed, Dread Scott, and Mark Wallinger. [Read more…]
Hauser & Wirth’s exhibit, Dark Years, features three gallery floors of work from painter Luchita Hurtado. Venezuelan-born and Los Angeles-based, Hurtado is 98 years old and beyond deserving of the show and recognition. This is a real celebration story of a life-long artist finally getting her due, with many solo shows in the works for the coming years, including her upcoming exhibit at the Serpentine Gallery in London. [Read more…]
Joseph Tetteh Ashong, known as Paa Joe, is a wood carver famous for his figurative “fantasy coffins” hand-carved in Accra, Ghana. In the 1950s, these coffins, also known in Ghana as abeduu adekai, translated to mean “receptacles of proverbs,” became popular. Kane Kwei first popularized these coffins and Paa Joe apprenticed under Kwei, his mother’s cousin. As some of the first and most famous coffin makers, they are known for making famous these coffins for Ga funerals in southern Ghana. The reference to proverbs makes sense, as artists would visually translate an important proverb or aspect of the dead’s life into a carved physical vessel that carries them into a symbolic journey to the afterlife. [Read more…]
At the start of the month, the Brooklyn Museum opened the exhibit Frida Kahlo: Appearances Can Be Deceiving. It is a massive show, packed with rooms of ephemera, clothing, artifacts, and of course art, based upon both last year’s Frida Kahlo: Making Herself Up at the Victoria and Albert Museum and the original exhibit curated by Circe Henestrosa at the Frida Kahlo Museum in 2012.
Aptly titled, the exhibit is deceiving in its appearance and scope. All three of the past exhibits advertise that they showcase Kahlo’s famed clothing and personal possessions that had been locked away behind closed doors for fifty years, following her death in 1954 until 2004. All boast of being firsts as well: the first exhibit to showcase the clothing (Frida Kahlo Museum), the first exhibit outside of Mexico to do so (Victoria and Albert), or the first to do so in the U.S. (Brooklyn Museum). However, this show is about so much more than Kahlo’s clothing or appearance… [Read more…]
Paige Jiyoung Moon’s solo exhibit, Days of Our Lives, at Steve Turner, Los Angeles, is utterly immersive and compelling. Through minute details both in size (with most paintings averaging just 12 inches in size) and in presenting the everyday, Moon highlights the mundane aspects of life, elevating the ephemeral and making the fleeting more permanent and profound. [Read more…]
The space of The Underground Museum might be what you expect, but it might not be. It is housed in an unassuming storefront on a busy street in Arlington Heights, Los Angeles. As visitors enter, they appear in a small museum gift store, with the usual items expected there: books about featured and past artists, some trinkets, and a sign-in registry for the museum’s mailing list. Just past the entry door and counter is another door. This is a carved wooden door, more like an ornate front door, if memory serves correctly, and here is the true entrance to the museum space and to Deana Lawson’s exhibit, Planes. [Read more…]
at California African American Museum, Los Angeles (through February 17, 2019) Reviewed by Ellen C. Caldwell
Robert Pruitt: Devotion is Houston-born and New York-based Robert Pruitt’s first major museum exhibit in Los Angeles, and it is a must-see and muse-experience. California African American Museum (CAAM) features Devotion in a large interior room, with plenty of light and room for a show with large-scale charcoal works on paper, paintings, sculptures, and installations. [Read more…]
The University of Arizona Museum of Art’s solo exhibition What is the Color, When Black is Burned? The Gold War. Part I features the work of master storyteller, artist, and historian Umar Rashid (also known under the alias of Frohawk Two Feathers).
Chicago-born and Los Angeles-based, Rashid has been sowing his saga of the Frenglish Empire for fifteen years. He began this body of work by imagining the unification of France and England, exploring visually how centuries of colonial history could have played out differently (or exactly the same in many ways) had this union occurred. [Read more…]
Given the current political climate in the U.S., it is no surprise that many artists here are choosing to overtly and directly address politics in their work. At Zevitas Marcus in Culver City, their summer group show Cosmic Traffic Jam does just that, welcoming a wide array of artists of color to use painting to explore politics. [Read more…]
Painter Ria Brodell has gained fame in the way they disrupt and update both the artistic cannon and history itself. In their painted series “Butch Heroes,” Brodell takes the form of traditional Catholic Holy cards depicting saints and martyrs, and instead paints “butch heroes” on a reinterpretation of the cards. Brodell highlights queer heroes from across the world and ages, showcasing and celebrating lesser-known, “butch” (female assigned, but masculine presenting) historical figures.
Brodell’s process is research-based in terms of uncovering these buried histories. Brodell visits archives and libraries, writing textual descriptions of hero and ensuring that these always accompany the images so that this history is also brought to light. [Read more…]
Debra Scacco’s The Narrows is a timely show at Klowden Mann that uses multimedia art to examine the changing immigrant experience and liminal spaces found, created, and realized on the journey to the United States.
Scacco researched this project in the Ellis Island archives, beginning with a residency there in 2012, as she began tying her own personal connections between her family’s Italian immigration story to the larger historical narrative. With her art, she questions the immigration process, the changing roles of race, whiteness, and ethnicity, and the ever-present liminality presented in traversing borders and nationalities. [Read more…]
at Luis De Jesus Los Angeles, and BRIC House, Brooklyn
Reviewed by Ellen C. Caldwell
In Bone-Grass Boy: The Secret Banks of the Conejos River, Ken Gonzales-Day brings his ongoing inquiry of erasure, history, and the history-making process itself full circle. First shown in 1993-96, the updated Bone-Grass Boy made its debut at Luis De Jesus Los Angeles in 2017 and now shows at BRIC House in Brooklyn, NY as part of Reenactment, a group show curated by Jenny Gerow. This updated version of Bone-Grass Boy features Gonzales-Day’s original show, with the addition of new work, reflections, and introductions. [Read more…]
It is obvious from the map, an exhibition at REDCAT organized by Thomas Keenan and Sohrab Mohebbi, showcases a variety of maps, videos, archival material, and other multimedia ephemera that highlight migration, migrant rights, and social justice in both the twenty first century and the age of surveillance. This timely exhibit juxtaposes a variety of maps, ranging from hand-drawn maps passed and exchanged by migrants, to governmental maps used for tracking and surveillance purposes, to artistic renderings that visualize various migrants’ stories, to geospatial mappings. [Read more…]
Multimedia artist Sam Durant is both an activist and artist who uses his work to highlight lesser known and forgotten histories. Through his art, he helps the public to uncover and acknowledge our histories, both in order to understand how we got to the present moment historically and to offer correctives now. [Read more…]