Ren Hang | 1987 – 2017
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The Broad, Los Angeles
Reviewed by Nancy Kay Turner
“Man is the only creature that refuses to be what he is.” —Albert Camus
“Creature,” at The Broad Museum, brings together 55 diverse artists whose engaging work, according to the curatorial statement, demonstrates a “representation of the self.” This vague description states the obvious, as art is always crafted of its maker’s fears, obsessions, thoughts, attitudes, neuroses and beliefs. However, let’s examine the word creature. What does the word “creature” conjure? If you are of a certain age, you might automatically think of the cheesy fifties B movies such as, “Creature of the Black Lagoon” or “Godzilla,” our favorite irradiated lizard mutating into a rampaging gigantic freak of nature. Creatures can inspire fear, dread or curiosity. They can be small and terrifying (tarantulas, snakes), or unknown and unknowable like aliens. They can even be invisible like ghosts, goblins or spirits. Real or invented, they populate our imagination and our nightmares. [Read more…]
No one said anything, or even guessed. Everyone waited for it, what could come after abstract expressionism, which had died alongside Jackson Pollock in a senseless, drunken car crash on August 11, 1956. There weren’t any theories on how artists could further the surface of a canvas with paint and tool. The growing meaninglessness of abstract painting merely ramified after numerous aesthetic dead ends. Unquestionably, no American painter could replace Pollock. However, what would come next didn’t need a spokesman, or a macho flâneur with an anger problem for that matter. The art world was about to explode with an androgynous art wave imbued with the spirit of Duchamp, who said: “The whole trend of painting was something I didn’t care to continue” (Tomkins, 2014, p. 100). Many artists of the next generation excoriated the canvas, turned away from the emotive and toward the cerebral. For them, experience became the creator and the artwork. [Read more…]
Neville Wakefield is the Curator and Artistic Director of Desert X, a site-specific contemporary art exhibition ongoing throughout the Coachella Valley from February 25 to April 30, 2017. RIOT MATERIAL spoke with Neville on the eve of Desert X’s launch.
CHRISTOPHER HASSETT: What is it about these artists you’ve selected for Desert X that speak to you personally, or speak to a greater vision you’re trying to articulate through the exhibition, and I refer to them more as an inter-connective group as opposed to distinct individuals? [Read more…]
Desert X, a site-specific contemporary art exhibition in the Coachella Valley, curated by Artistic Director Neville Wakefield, will become the sweeping canvas for work by established and emerging artists, whose projects will amplify and articulate global and local issues ranging from climate change to Tribal culture, immigration to tourism, gaming to golf. The exhibition, which opens to the public this weekend, 25 February, will focus attention on, and create a conversation about, environmental, social and cultural conditions of the 21st century as reflected in the greater Palm Springs area.
In an online roundtable discussion, RIOT MATERIAL spoke with Desert X artists Jennifer Bolande, Glenn Kaino, Phillip K. Smith III, Tavares Strachan about the desert, their driving visions, and their particular installations. [Read more…]
Works On Paper And Sculpture Art Los Angeles Contemporary / Kayne Griffin Corcoran By Christopher Michno
At this year’s Art Los Angeles Contemporary, the international contemporary art fair of the West Coast, the Los Angeles gallery Kayne Griffin Corcoran devoted its booth to a display of 46 works on paper and two mixed media sculptures by David Lynch. The four day affair, running January 26-29, 2017, offered a dense sampling of the 70 year old artist’s drawings and watercolors, the majority of which were dated from 2008 through 2014. Though most of these works have been previously exhibited, it was a welcome reprise, and Lynch’s works on paper addressed threads that also repeatedly emerge in the auteur’s better known film oeuvre—the desire to probe the unconscious mind, the sense of the uncanny, the need to stare directly into the murky depths of humanity’s darkness. But as is the nature of small works on paper, they are quieter than his film work, and more reflective. [Read more…]
Elizabeth Peyton’s portraits of both her friends and members of the cultural elite of her era, (Kurt Cobain comes to mind), first gained celebrity in the mid-to-late 90s. Since then, there has been what one might informally call a Peyton school of portraiture, particularly among young or emerging artists. Peyton herself owes a debt to the great portrait painter Alice Neel, known for her incisive psychological studies, and in fact paid homage to Neel with a nude image of the artist (referencing Neel’s own famous nude self-portrait at age 80.) [Read more…]
Memory is a useful faculty in a painter’s toolbox. It can be used to conjure the color of an emotion or deployed in the pursuit of perspective. It is the mind’s Instagram filter, tinting the images of our past. In the case of Washington-based artist Andrea Joyce Heimer, whose new exhibit, A Jealous Person, is currently on view at Hometown Gallery in Brooklyn (her first New York solo exhibition), memory is wielded as a powerful device for navigating neuroses borne of a set of formative experiences worthy of the Tenenbaum family, and with an equally pleasing palette to boot. [Read more…]
Kerry James Marshall’s Mastry
at Met Breuer, NYC
Reviewed by Prajna Desai
When a much-awaited survey of a leading light finally takes shape, and on hallowed ground, it should be forgiven its hagiographic excesses on grounds of perfect execution. The Met Breuer’s staging of Mastry, the first-ever retrospective of MacArthur Foundation Genius Awardee Kerry James Marshall, now 61 and a resident of Chicago, was exactly that, adoring, excessive, and majestic. [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…]
Icons in Ash: Cremation Portraits
Ubu Gallery, NYC
Reviewed by Phoebe Hoban
Somewhat hidden, the small, subterranean Ubu Gallery, on 59th Street, close to the East River, is the perfect place for the haunting show by Heide Hatry, known for her use of unique or transgressive materials–such as fashioning flowers out of animal offal, something she artfully did in a previous series. [Read more…]
May Be Seen Moskowitz Bayse Gallery, Los Angeles Reviewed by Christopher Michno
Loosely speaking, Jack Hoyer is a painter of landscapes. May Be Seen, his debut exhibition at Moskowitz Bayse in Hollywood, expresses the hallmarks of modern landscape painting, identified by some historians as beginning with Gustave Courbet: eschewing romanticism in favor of empiricism and the conveyance of inner states of mind. Strictly speaking, only three of his seven oil-on-linen paintings are landscapes; the other four are scenes – places in Los Angeles, or unremarkable locations chosen by the artist on lengthy road trips – that include concrete, buildings and infrastructure. [Read more…]
An Interview With Harry Gamboa Jr.
by Pancho Lipschitz
Harry Gamboa Jr. is best known as the co-founder of ASCO, the mas chingon performance art group to emerge from the 70’s and 80’s. But his post-ASCO output, in a wide variety of media, has continued to defy the boundaries of categorization and commodification. Working with a new group of performers he published the photo-novela Aztlángst 2, a poetic grito against corporate culture, constant wars, digital surveillance and the criminalization of “others”. [Read more…]
Anselm Kiefer at White Cube Bermondsey, London Audio commentary by Rachel Reid Wilkie
Rachel Reid Wilkie examines Anselm Kiefer’s exceptional exhibition, Walhalla. The five audio tracks below address the five main rooms of Kiefer’s sprawling underworld. Press play and imaginatively amble through the halls of this dark yet deeply affecting show. [Read more…]
In 2012 Justice David Souter anticipated an “invasion of ignorance” which a mere four years on, at the close of 2016, bares its unsightly teeth. RIOT MATERIAL, lacking all the foresight of the good judge, holds out its own prognosticatory lens and aims it four years further. That lens, naturally, peers through art, and though art has the timeless ability to show the way forward, it can equally enlighten as to which way we should not go.
Below is one scenario of a nation, 2020, gone prophetically grate.
Many thanks to the great artist Roger Ballen for this apocalyptic short, Outland.
CHRISTOPHER HASSETT: There seems to be an explicit call to action in much of your work, or at the very least the demand that one take note of some supreme injustice in the land or amongst peoples. Yet what I appreciate about your work is that, more than it being mere critique or some one-dimensional, stop-action capture, it instead offers a way forward, and in my mind that way forward is dependably the right way forward. I’m thinking of, as an example, a new work of yours titled American Women (Dismantling the Border). Can you speak more to this idea of there being a constructive framework or, rather, this inherently optimistic baseline level of production which seems not only to shape but lay a distinctive stamp across your entire arc of expression? [Read more…]
WILLIAM S. BURROUGHS: Have you ever met Warhol?
DAVID BOWIE: Yes, about two years ago I was invited up at the Factory. We got in the lift and went up. When it opened there was a brick wall in front of us. We rapped on the wall and they didn’t believe who we were. So we went back down and back up again till they finally opened the wall and everybody was peering around at each other. That was shortly after the gun incident. [Read more…]
A Tribe Called Quest just dropped their first album in 18 years, and it couldn’t have come at a better time. Released mere days after the Great Debacle of 2016, We got it from Here… Thank You 4 Your service is remarkably, if not thrillingly present tense. Wholly animate in both sound and vision, it is a record that is also uniquely relevant — as much for being in essential response to the angst and rancor of the day as it is for inspiring, as good art tends to do, a requisite spark that might yet ignite conscientious action in the days and months ahead.
Theirs, with this exceptional release, is the resounding shot of this new cycle, and it is one which heralds little quarter. Straight-in they reject a presidential promise that unblushingly assures “all you Black folks, you must go / all you Mexicans, you must go / all you poor folks, you must go / Muslims and gays…” The vitriol, borne high on foul national sentiments, amounts to a kind-of maniacal voodoo, to use their image, and they counter the venom with their own dream serum of living in a world inclusive of all, one without division “no matter the skin tone, culture or time zone.” We are long on a grim horizon from there, but in the storm that is surely in approach, “young leaders will rise / in the eyes of despair and adversity.”
Whatever Will Be
New Museum, NYC
The New Museum’s three-floor exhibition, Pixel Forest, from Swiss artist Pipilotti Rist, is an immersive wonder. If you’re looking for an enchanting, into-the-wilds experience where you can literally lie around — beds and floor cushions are in plenty — then this is the show for you.