The extension of a lineage occurs not merely by the repetition of form, but by the intersection of conservation and revolution. Transformation is fundamental to preserving the essence of a given tradition’s rituals and symbols. Therefore, a symbol’s form or essence can outlive the original contextual boundaries that generated its living meaning. [Read more…]
at the Lois Lambert Gallery, Bergamot Station, Santa Monica (through 3 September 2022)
Reviewed by Austin Janisch
The exhibition Reflections On Our Warming Planet, at the Lois Lambert Gallery, signals that the time for reacting to our planetary warnings has now passed. We have transitioned into a new stage, that of reflection. This progression into a period of reflection may at first be difficult to accept. However, such a problematization of our actions through the assembled artworks ultimately proves apt. Conceived by Lucinda Luvaas, the selected participants not only raise awareness of, but also pose a relevant inquiry into the climate crisis of our day. Knowledge of climate change is no longer a novel concept. Awareness of global environmental change not only occupies our consciousness, but has become palpable. As year after year continues to pass with at best proportional reaction, the assembled works act as an archive of what has already been set into motion. [Read more…]
July 2022, Los Angeles
by Margaret Lazzari
“An iceberg is 10% above water and 90% below. When we talk about our work, artists all talk about the stuff above water, but we never talk about all the stuff way beneath the work. Who knows what their work will be until they do it, until they do the investigation, until they get surprised?” –Nancy Kay Turner
This article is about the whole iceberg of Nancy Kay Turner’s artwork, discussing the 10% above but also illuminating some below, including the chance occurrences and unplanned upheavals that shaped her work just as much as her conscious intention form them. –ML [Read more…]
at Rory Devine Fine Art, Los Angeles (through 6 August)
Reviewed by Eve Wood
Albert Camus once famously asked, “Should I kill myself, or have a cup of coffee?” One can only hope that this was a rhetorical question, yet however ironic, it is still a sentiment worth pondering, especially considering today’s current socio-political climate of daily hate crimes, bigotry and mass shootings. Let’s face it — if you happen to have been born into a corporeal, human existence, you will inevitably suffer some sort of trauma, either real or imagined, over the course of your lifetime. Hell, even the act of being born, is enough to scare any living creature back into the womb. Still, we persist because, in the end, as Camus suggests, we must all take solace in the smallest mundane tasks that frame our lives and make them bearable. It’s rare that an artist is a direct conduit to both grief and absurdity simultaneously, yet Georganne Deen is exactly that, relishing in the absolute bizarreness that often encompasses a life well lived. [Read more…]
Art is never made in a vacuum, as all visual iterations must derive from something: a momentary glimpse of refracted light, a train pulling out of the station, a woman lying languorously on a bed. Whatever it is we are witness to, at least in the context of art, it has been done before. The trick is to create a compelling conversation between the ‘now’ and the ‘then,’ to find threads of association, of understanding and celebration.
Nicole Eisenman has always been a renegade maker of things that are at once luminous and sardonic. She is an artist who asks the questions we are too afraid to ponder, and then she answers them for us – with wit, grace and infinite wisdom. Her answers may not always be what we want to hear, but rest assured they are true. Nicole Eisenman and the Moderns. Heads, Kisses, Battles establishes what the catalogue essay describes as an unprecedented dialogue between the artist’s own oeuvre and that of twenty-seven modern artists, including (and perhaps most importantly) Vincent Van Gogh. This, to be sure, is not an easy task, and it is one that could easily have slipped into sentimentality were it not for the fact that there is not one sentimental bone in Eisenman’s body. [Read more…]
JOEUN KIM AATCHIM
사자굴 [SAJAGUL] — THEN, OUT OF THE DEN
at MAKE ROOM LOS ANGELES (through June 4th 2022)
Rachel Reid Wilkie: There seems to be a shamanistic quality to your work. You summon your family members into the architectural space of your paintings and beckon them to dream with you, as a collective consciousness, as a collective dream-body. Did you journey together into the dreamscape? Or did you collect your family memories piece by piece?
Joeun Kim Aatchim: It was piece by piece, or more precisely, space by space, then object by object. [Read more…]
Rose Wylie: Which One, at David Zwirner, NYC (through 12 June)
Reviewed by David Salle
Rose Wylie, who is now eighty-seven, has been painting in the same rural studio in Kent, England, since the late 1960s, but she has only recently shimmered into wide public view. Incredibly, the show of large-scale paintings held last spring at David Zwirner was only her third appearance in New York, and the first in a big-time gallery.
She who laughs last and all that. [Read more…]
For Esmé – With Love and Squalor, at Pace Gallery, Los Angeles (through 21 May 2022)
Reviewed by Eve Wood
How does one represent, let alone quantify hope, hate, grief, love, joy, tragedy, or anything, for that matter, which stands in opposition to something else? Throughout his illustrious career, Julian Schnabel has always been one to take chances, both materially and metaphorically, and this, his newest exhibition at Pace Gallery, Los Angeles, is no exception. Working with molding paste, oil and spray paint on velvet, these thirteen largely abstract paintings function much like a scream under water, their metaphoric power mitigated by abstraction. The result is that, when looking at them, we experience a wide array of emotional responses while all-the-while the deeper hidden content somehow eludes us, yet it is this elusive quality specifically that makes these paintings so ambitious and so unnerving. They are at once abstract yet perniciously narrative. [Read more…]
at Whitney Museum of American Art, Curated by David Breslin and Adrienne Edwards (6 April – 5 September 2022)
Reviewed by Jill Conner
Throughout Quiet As It’s Kept, the Whitney Museum of American Art has finally reached beyond the limitations of the white cube in order to bring 63 artists and collectives together in what has resulted in a cathartically gripping exhibition that is pieced together mostly by artists of Native American, African American, Latino, and Asian descent. By presenting the voices of those who have thrived creatively beyond the filters of Western entertainment and popular culture, Quiet As It’s Kept carries the flair of a cinematic documentary, while calling attention to the ongoing, multi-faceted contexts of American life. [Read more…]
by Jill Conner
There is usually nothing to say in the wake of violent conflict. The history of forms is bound to the dynamic of time, as a rendering of thoughts on survival. Perceptions create and deconstruct what one sees and experiences before them. Sometimes essence is all that we are left with, because words and forms do not effectively inform one another. Within Pavel Kraus’s sculptures and paintings, there is no time like the present. Although his work has been inspired by the structural tenets of the Classical era and the dynasties of Europe, Kraus’s conceptually abstract artworks remain complex and stand as critical responses to the state of disillusion. While utilizing the visual language of abstraction, Kraus attempts to unwind the past. [Read more…]
Leon Kossoff: A Life in Painting, at Mitchell-Innes & Nash, NYC (with concurrent exhibitions at LA Louver in Los Angeles, through 9 April 2022, and Annely Juda Fine Art in London)
Reviewed by Arabella Hutter von Arx
The first painting greeting us in the Mitchell-Innes & Nash exhibition is, aptly, a self portrait. Smaller than the other pieces in the show, monochromatic, it packs the power of dynamite. The man represented closeup looks aghast, terrified even. His eyes stare down with dismay at something off canvas, an abyss? Hell? Malleable, the face is agitated by a chaos of brushstrokes. The boundaries between the head and its surroundings are unclear, as if everything was made of the same substance: mud. Mud, here, is nicely symbolic not only for its biblical intimation — Man being dipped, thrown, trampled in and yanked from the “miry mud” — but the muddiness of mind is also equally appropriate. While his portraits often halted at an opacity in the sitter, Kossoff had a pretty good idea of what he was about: uncertain about everything. He could, he tells us, hold onto nothing solid, either on the outside or the inside. “The important thing is to somehow keep going. This is ‘the straw to which we cling.” This credo, shared in a rare interview, could serve as caption for all of his mature paintings. [Read more…]
Noah Davis, at the Underground Museum, Los Angeles
Reviewed by Ricky Amadour
Directly across from the entrance, an opening statement to Noah Davis, at the Underground Museum, reads “many of the paintings you are about to see were painted in this space.” Smudges, dribbles, and droplets on the floor embody the physical notion of Davis activating the now museological edifice. Until this very writing, The Underground Museum was the gathering space for black culture in greater Los Angeles. As a Delphic entity, Davis predates the popularity of figurative works that are today commonplace in the art world. One cannot escape the imagining of Davis negotiating his thought process, laboring to organize an institution, and sketching together a community that would build its own familiarity and create an indelible mark. Curated by Helen Molesworth and Justin Leroy, this exhibition morphs Noah Davis the man, the architecture, and his paintings, jointly as one indivisible existence.
I walked across Paris to the Palais Éphémère to go to Paris Photo.
Dense with ghosts.
I walked between selves. I walked to the future. I walk. I walked.
by Christopher Benfey
A Wild Note of Longing: Albert Pinkham Ryder and a Century of American Art
at New Bedford Whaling Museum, MA
“American history is haunted by nightbirds in the nineteenth century,” Lewis Mumford wrote in The Brown Decades, his landmark 1931 study of Gilded Age culture. Chief among these nocturnal artists, for Mumford, was the painter Albert Pinkham Ryder, who was given to long, solitary nighttime walks in Lower Manhattan. Born in 1847, Ryder was a virtuoso of turbulent moonlit skies, ships lost at sea, and nightmare images—drawn from Poe, another nightbird, among other sources—that stick like burrs in the memory. In The Race Track (Death on a Pale Horse), inspired by a waiter who killed himself after making a bad wager, a skeletal figure armed with a scythe rides a pale horse, while a menacing snake monitors his progress. “One might call Ryder the Blake or the Melville or the Emily Dickinson of American painting,” Mumford mused, “and thus define, after a fashion, one or another phase of his art; but the fact is that Ryder was Ryder. Like every great artist, he belonged to that rare class of which there is only one example.” [Read more…]
James Castle at David Zwirner, NYC (through 12 February 2022)
by Andrew Martin
Every James Castle picture seems to contain a secret. Approaching one of his works for the first time, you peer into pockets of shadow and smudge, examining the depopulated landscapes and interiors for explanations. Here, an empty rural road, with telephone poles standing like sentries at precise intervals, stretching to the drawing’s vanishing point; there, a cryptic attic space with a yawning doorway, captured on disintegrating paper that is then stitched to cardboard backing with red string. A series of drawings from multiple angles depicts the walls of an unloved upstairs bedroom, which seem to be shadowed by cage-like patterns hovering behind the brooding furniture arranged haphazardly around the space. Another piece shows two empty blue coats standing upright in front of a farmhouse next to an overturned bottle, a spiritual cousin of American Gothic. Even after repeated viewings and an immersion in Castle’s sprawling, insular oeuvre, these works refuse to yield their intentions. Their power lies in their ability to remain in one’s mind like half-remembered dreams. [Read more…]
at Craig Krull Gallery, Bergamot Station (through 19 February 2022)
Reviewed by Eve Wood
The intricacies and inherent beauty of the natural world are rarely celebrated these days, and when artists do turn their attention to the surrounding landscape, the resulting images are usually ones of devastation and chaos — charting the movement of fires, the aftermaths of raging tornadoes, biblical floods and the myriad other requisite depictions of an apocalypse surely at hand. We’re all, it seems, arriving at the unfortunate knowing of a planet changing much-too rapidly due none other than to our own arrogance and our earth-devouring tendencies toward near-total consumption. Climate change, in other words, is now a very real and terrifying reality. [Read more…]
at the Vincent Price Art Museum, Los Angeles (through 5 February 2022)
Reviewed by Johanna Drucker
What is the difference between a wall label and a work of art? The unrelenting didacticism that prevails in current gallery and museum exhibits of contemporary art makes it seem that many curators and artists cannot answer that question. Works serve as mere illustrations of some finger-wagging statement that is itself a recycled thought-form extracted from some current revisionist seminar-speak for the nth time.
But two stunning installations at the Vincent Price Art Museum, at the East Los Angeles Community College, make strong arguments for the way visual art offers illuminating awareness of the multifaceted complexity of current cultural issues. Liquid Light and Golden Hour, quite distinct in their approaches and materials, are each visually smart exhibitions that show ways to understand and interrogate identity, geography, and ecology without reducing them to didactic messaging. [Read more…]
The Third Door:Occult Works of Ray Robinson, at the Buckland Museum of Witchcraft and Magic (through 15 January)
by Christopher Ian Lutz
Burn the Sun
The persecution of the witch is a war of the hours. The Inquisition that charged women with witchcraft was not just about controlling women’s bodies – it was a crusade to extinguish illumination. The Catholic church is a solar religion, channeling divinity through the Son (sun). The sun is the origin of light. Thus, the church considers its institution synonymous with God. As worshipers of the source of illumination, the church claims to be the only true medium of heavenly light. The Morning Star, Lucifer, signifying the master, is not a true source of enlightenment. Its illumination is merely a reflection of the sun. For this reason, the church regards Lucifer as a deceiver of spiritual enlightenment, as is the Moon. The illumination of lunar knowledge is considered an illusion by the church. It is the enlightenment of darkness. It is knowledge absent of the sun, absent of God, the source of knowledge. Therefore, lunar knowledge symbolizes the antichrist, the anti-sun. The female body is considered a vessel, not a source of divinity, and thereby, if filled with false light, she becomes the mother of the antichrist, the antithesis of the holy Madonna. Although it is through the womb of the mother that the sun is born, the church denies the female body as the vessel of divine light. They instead demand her vessel to remain empty, like a virgin. However, the Mother is nature. She is not an astral virgin. She is celestial and terrestrial. She is the creator. She is God. [Read more…]
at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington D.C. (through 31 July 2022)
Reviewed by Nancy Kay Turner
“What are the days for? To put between the endless nights. What are the nights for? To slip through time into another world.” –Laurie Anderson
“Stories are our weather” –Laurie Anderson
Laurie Anderson is a Renaissance polymath whose staggering breadth of knowledge, insatiable curiosity, technical virtuosity and conceptual rigor form the basis for her superb exhibit at The Hirshhorn. Simply titled (though not so simple) The Weather, it is billed as an immersive multimedia experimental exhibit, but really it is an otherworldly investigation into what it means to be a human in this twenty-first century. Intensely personal as well as political, it is a revelation, encompassing eerie video projections, kinetic talking sculpture, operatic oil paintings, invented conceptual violins, complex installations, multiple soundscapes, and everywhere words static and moving painted on floors and walls surrounding the viewer. [Read more…]