Are you staring directly into the mouth of the beast, or are you indeed sitting inside said mouth, observing the surreal landscape below? This is just one of the many visual homonyms that are ever-present in the works of Morgan Mandalay. For his first solo exhibition at Klowden Mann in Los Angeles, the Chicago-based artist has painted worlds that are rife with reference to human figuration, though only vaguely, in the form of phantom hands clutching at tree branches, or humanoid eyeballs peeking through leaves. Bad Sin Frutas tells a story of exile using the memetic power of the Garden of Eden as a template for processing the Mandalay family’s exile from Cuba, and it does so in a time of global refugee crises. Click here to read more.
Wendy White’s first solo exhibition in Los Angeles, Racetrack Playa, features new paintings, sculptures, pigment prints, and a site-specific installation. The exhibition takes its name from a three-mile dry lakebed in Death Valley National Park where sliding rocks or “sailing stones” have inscribed mysterious linear imprints on the landscape. Using this scarred landscape as a metaphor for our current times, the works in Racetrack Playa explore power, entitlement, and imperialism via the aesthetics and evolution of American car culture. Racetrack Playa is on view through May 25 at Shulamit Nazarian 616 N La Brea Avenue, Los Angeles. photographs by Oliver Maxwell Kupper
Initiated in 2013, Printed Matter’s LA Art Book Fair (LAABF) is the companion fair to the NY Art Book Fair. Free and open to the public, the two fairs are among the leading international gatherings for the distribution of artists’ books, celebrating the full breadth of the art publishing community.
Held at The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA in downtown Los Angeles over three days, the 2019 LA Art Book Fair hosted 390 exhibitors from 31 countries, including a broad range of artists and collectives, small presses, institutions, galleries, antiquarian booksellers, and distributors. The event draws more than 35,000 individuals including book lovers, collectors, artists, and art world professionals each year. With a commitment to diversity and representation, the fair serves as a meeting place for an extended community of publishers and book enthusiasts, as well as a site for dialogue and exchange around all facets of arts publishing. photographs by Oliver Maxwell Kupper
The centerpiece of the exhibition is Charles Ray’s first work in stone, Two Horses (2019), a relief carved from a single block of Virginia granite. The sculpture is ten feet tall and fourteen feet wide and weighs more than six tons. A smaller work displayed on a pedestal, Mountain Lion Attacking a Dog (2018), is a hypothetical scene from the hills around Ray’s home in Los Angeles. Each animal has been machined from a solid block of aluminum, producing a reflective surface that enhances the work’s finely sculpted details. Two Ghosts is on view through June 22 a Matthew Marks Gallery 7818 Santa Monica Boulevard, Los Angeles. photographs by Oliver Maxwell Kupper
The artist’s sex positive imagery is darkly erotic, elegant, and at times, sinister. A powerful and imaginative figure that emerged in the Los Angeles underground during the late ’80s, His photographs are characterized by potent and visceral tableaux, tinged with sadomasochism, leather and sexual pleasure. From the artist’s fetishizing of Tony Ward in the ’80s, to capturing moments, places and the people of the underground scene in Los Angeles nightlife in the ’90s and ’00s, he continues his pictorial career and fascination with lust, desire and kink producing elegant portraiture of celebrated artists and the demi-monde. The exhibition will be on view until April 27 by appointment at Tom House in Los Angeles. Read a conversation between Rick Castro and Rick Owens in our Spring 2019 issue. photographs by Oliver Maxwell Kupper.
Avant-garde fashion designer and artist Valerj Pobega presented her “Kabuki in Berlin” -Fall/Winter 2019 collection with a site-specific performance in collaboration with dancers, acrobats and a music performance by Lawrence Rothman. Dressed in the designer’s hand-painted silk creations from “Kabuki in Berlin” her collection was inspired by the hybrid identities and androgynous stylings as seen in the Liza Minnelli’s turn as Sally Bowles in Cabaret, and the epicene performances of Lindsey Kemp and David Bowie in their 1970 mimed numbers which had hints of Kabuki theatre. photographs by Mekael Dawson
The central focus of Claudia Parducci’s exhibition consists of twenty-three 16’, hand-knit jute pillars spanning from floor to ceiling. Arranged in a staggered grid measuring approximately 14 feet square, they reference the twenty-three interior columns of the Parthenon that surrounded the monumental statue of Athena. Over the two years Parducci spent knitting these pillars, she considered the gendered aspects of labor, and the symbolic significance of the physical remnants of Western history. Appearing, but failing to be structurally supportive, Parducci’s knit columns, along with related sculptures and drawings, address the dual nature of societies that build, and then ultimately destroy themselves. Through the substitution of a traditionally feminine craft as the means of production, Parducci considers these recurring cycles in history and wonders about the possibilities of a society built from a female perspective. 23 Columns will be on view through April 27 at Ochi Projects 3301 W Washington Blvd, Los Angeles. photographs courtesy of the gallery
Through formally painted portraits, Patrick Martinez sheds light on past and current civil rights leaders who would historically be left in the shadows. These portraits are found atop realistically depicted three-dimensional cakes, embodying the celebratory tone that Martinez wishes to portray. Through a study of the lack of diverse representation in historical portrait painting, a medium traditionally used to celebrate ones successes and wealth, Martinez was led to the portrait cake paintings. The cake acts as a globally and socio-economically understood medium of celebration, now featuring the faces of not only white historical figures but the faces of freedom fighters of all races. This series was first inspired by a video of Tupac’s last birthday, which included a cake frosted with his portrait that did not resemble him in the slightest. The cake paintings feature the likes of Angela Davis, James Baldwin, and Malcolm X, and include even lesser known freedom fighters such as Larry Itliong of the Philippines paying respect to Martinez’s mother’s birthplace. Martinez also works with the insignias of civil rights activist groups, such as the Black Panther Party in his piece titled Chocolate Cake for the Black Panther Party. That Which We Do Not See will be on view through April 20 at Fort Gansevoort 5 Ninth Avenue, New York. photographs courtesy of the artist and Fort Gansevoort, New York.
Wallace Berman carves a mysterious, counter-cultural figure in the cave wall of Los Angeles folklore. His legend is enhanced by a tragically early death on his fiftieth birthday as a result of an automobile crash with a drunk driver in Topanga Canyon, further cementing his myth as the beatnik of the Southern California chaparrals.
In a new memoir, entitled Tosh, Berman’s son opens the opaque curtain on the enigmatic artist through a bildungsroman of the Beat Generation and hippie counterculture, a childhood on the frontlines of 1960s Los Angeles and San Francisco freakdom. Tosh Berman and Jason Schwartzman got together for a public conversation at Skylight Books to discuss his memoir and growing up in Wallace Berman’s world. Click here to read more.
Rick Castro is a legend in the queer underground scene of 1980s and 1990s Los Angeles. It was a time when Santa Monica Boulevard was rich with male hustlers, shirtless in the California sun, and the nightclubs were liminal landscapes of desire and liberation. To those who know him, he is "The Fetish King." Alongside artists like Ron Athey, Catherine Opie, Sheree Rose and Bob Flanagan, Vaginal Davis, Kembra Pfahler, and Bruce LaBruce, Castro utilizes queer identity and the physicality of the body to express themes of marginalization and oppression. Click here to read more.
Peel is a group show featuring works by Farah Al Qasimi, Meriem Bennani, Dora Budor, Oto Gillen, Win McCarthy, Troy Michie, Elle Pérez, Em Rooney and Heji Shin. “All the odd things people pick up for food. Out of shells, periwinkles with a pin, off trees, snails out of the ground the French eat, out of the sea with bait on a hook. Silly fish learn nothing in a thousand years. If you didn’t know risky putting anything into your mouth. Poisonous berries. Johnny Magories. Roundness you think good. Gaudy colour warns you off. One fellow told another and so on. Try it on the dog first. Led on by the smell or the look. Tempting fruit.” Ulysses, James Joyce Chapter 8: Lestrygonians. Peel will be on view through April 28 at Ghebaly Gallery 2245 E. Washington Blvd, Los Angeles. photographs by Lani Trock
The Day a Monkey is Destined to Die All Trees Become Slippery is Cassi Namoda’s first solo exhibition in Los Angeles and explores the mythologies and proverbs of daily life in East Africa from the perspective of a vibrant young storyteller. The Day a Monkey is Destined to Die All Trees Become Slippery is on view through April 18 at Ghebaly gallery 2245 E. Washington Blvd, Los Angeles. photographs by Lani Trock
Kacie Lees is an interdisciplinary artist based in Brooklyn, NY who uses video, neon, sculpture & installation as tools to explore theories of the void and source pathways to underdeveloped senses. Her practice builds on the experimental legacy of new media with an expansion towards fluid notions of space. Necessary Phenomenon will be on view through April 14 at O’ Project Space 2618 Pasadena Avenue, Los Angeles. photographs by Lani Trock
Guy Yanai’s practice is fueled by fables, stories and hymns - each painting is a reflection of the pragmatic side of our life. In his isolated moments, one may find a smiling child, a big splash, a lonely banana, a bristling cactus, a modernist lamp, a singing bird or a tiny boat gliding on placid waters below a clear sky. These individual vignettes bleed into one another and could continue forever, suspended in time and forming a timeless ensemble. Many of Yanai’s subjects are intentionally recognizable and commonplace, rendered in a pixelated appearance. The Conformist is on view through May 25 at Praz Delavallade 5 rue des Haudriettes, Paris. photographs courtesy of the gallery
”The works were re-created in oil paint on canvas from images I constructed on my iPhone. I usually took these photographs around my home in Florida, and then painted over them with different characters. These light creatures hang out with the dogs, or dance on the abandoned boat dock. I would sit outside alone by the water and create alien-like friends on a low-key cosmic tropical playground.” —Harmony Korine. Young Twitchy is on view through April 20 at Gagosian 980 Madison Avenue, New York. photographs courtesy of Gagosian
Combining aesthetic traditions associated with the Arte Povera movement and influenced by scientific, philosophical, and geometric principles, Rico collects the fragments, found objects, and materials of contemporary existence. Using culturally manufactured items like neon, taxidermy, concrete, and coins, as well as such natural elements as tree branches, stones, and fruit, he recontextualizes and arranges each in ways that both captivate and confound viewers through their poetic, wry, jarring relationships. Through juxtapositions of objects and an artistic process that fuses the natural and kitsch, Rico elicits a further investigation of our human environment and the natural world via non-mathematical equations using elements that reflect and illuminate a fundamental human urge to achieve balance.The Discipline of the Cave, on view through June 16 at the Aspen Art Museum 637 E Hyman Ave, Aspen. photographs by Guillaume Ziccarelli. Courtesy of the artist and Perrotin
SIS is a solo exhibition by Rikkí Wright analyzing the themes of the sibling relationship and exploring how it shapes the future of those involved in it. “This series of images are based around a subject matter that’s dear to me, sisterhood. Analyzing the themes of the sibling relationship and exploring how it shapes the future of those involved in it.” - Rikkí Wright. SIS is on view through March 29th at Nous Tous 454b Jung Jing Road, Los Angeles. photographs by Lani Trock
Situated in the context of the first thrift store paintings altered by Danish artist Asger Jorn, Strategic Vandalism: The Legacy of Asger Jorn’s Modifications Paintings is a group show of over 30 prominent international artists investigating multifarious appropriation methods spanning from the mid-1960s to the flourishing techniques of the 1980s, up to the present day. Strategic Vandalism: The Legacy of Asger Jorn’s Modification Paintings features works by Enrico Baj, Marcel Duchamp, Max Ernst, Hans-Peter Feldmann, Vidya Gastaldon, Wade Guyton/Stephen Prina, Rachel Harrison, Ray Johnson, Jacqueline de Jong, Asger Jorn, Mike Kelley, Martin Kippenberger, Per Kirkeby, Lee Krasner, Albert Oehlen, Francis Picabia, Stephen Prina, R.H. Quaytman, Arnulf Rainer, Julian Schnabel, Jim Shaw, Gedi Sibony, Alexis Smith, Daniel Spoerri, John Stezaker, Betty Tompkins, and David Wojnarowicz. Strategic Vandalism is on view through April 13 at Petzel Gallery 456 W 18th Street, New York. photographs by Adam Lehrer
A prolific painter, printmaker, muralist, draftsman, and photographer whose career spanned more than half a century, Charles White’s artistic portrayals of black subjects, life, and history were extensive and far-reaching. Plumb Line features contemporary artists whose work in the realm of black individual and collective life resonates with White’s profound and continuing influence. The exhibition is on view through August 25 at the California African American Museum 600 State Drive, Exposition Park, Los Angeles. photographs courtesy of CAAM