“We live in a world with very strong norms and archetypes about how our bodies are to be interpreted. These archetypes can be so loud that we lose touch with our own ability to make meaning of the forms we inhabit,” says Maceo Paisley about Dynamite, a new short performative film directed by Iranian-American director and activist, Leila Jarman. Investigating gender and masculinity (more specifically the American black male experience), Dynamite guides us through narrative incorporating movement, spoken word, and chant, as it uncovers truths about race and success in an ever-changing social landscape. In the end, the film exemplifies the metamorphosis of identity, light to dark, unconsciousness to consciousness.
Some interesting facts about leopards: they are solitary animals that hunt in open terrains, they are difficult to track in the wild, they are extremely adaptable to new environments, and they often leave claw marks on trees to mark their territory. In Chuck Arnoldi’s expansive Venice Beach studio, a dusty, taxidermied leopard is perched, mid-roar, above the kitchen alcove. There is something strangely symbolic about this once ferocious, now inert genus of panthera. Click here to read more.
Big Pictures Los Angeles is pleased to present Sweet Cheeks, a group exhibition of works that explore the playful and sublime aspects of the human form by portraying the most intimate parts of our bodies. Through the use of line, color, and texture the artists evoke ideas of desire and love. From tender and vulnerable to burlesque and comical, the figures featured in Sweet Cheeks celebrate the self without concern for outside admiration. These works exude an appreciation of life—and of all the luscious shapes that nurture and inspire us.
Sweet Cheeks is curated by Mélanie Faure & Doug Crocco and features the following artists: Eve Ackroyd, Amy Bessone, Alison Blickle, Manny Castro, Anthony Cudahy, Camilla Engstrom, Helen Rebekah Garber, Wendell Gladstone, Kady Grant, Jenna Gribbon, Nikita Gurnani, Aramis Gutierrez, Julie Henson, Shaun Johnson, Kara Joslyn, Emma Kohlmann, Alice Lang, Lilian Martinez, Max Maslansky, Joshua Miller, Laurie Nye, Vanessa Prager, Hayley Quentin, Caris Reid, Alyssa Rogers, Marty Schnapf, Kira Maria Shewfelt, Corri-Lynn Tetz, Julie Weitz, Brittney Leeanne Williams, Paula Wilson.
Sweet Cheeks will be on view at Big Pictures 2424 W Washington Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90018 through December 8. photos by Lani Trock
To Hugo Wilson, animals are mirrors of human consciousness. We project our desires, hopes, and impulses onto the animal, and the animal reflects, refracts, and hurls them back to us. Unlike the Old Masters he references in his paintings and bronzes, however—George Stubbs, Peter Paul Rubens, Nicolas Poussin—Wilson’s menagerie is not beneath the human on the food chain or emblematic of the love of Christ. These creatures are Gods themselves, emerging from turbulent clouds of divine ether, meme warfare, and YouTube clips with agendas all their own, radiating their sentience in neon geometric yantras. In our eagerness to apply our own personal narratives to Wilson’s beasts and the baroque noise from which they emerge, one begins to question herself, her own genesis and binary belief systems: Is this the birth or demise of the universe? Why can’t Jesus be an ostrich? Is that really what a zebra’s teeth look like? Wilson’s work doesn’t answer. Wilson’s work is. Hugo Wilson’s solo exhibition will be on view at Nicodime Gallery 571 S Anderson Street Ste 2, Los Angeles, CA 90033 until December 22. photographs by Lani Trock
A suite of three large-scale drawings encircle the room. They show Mureșan’s voracious appetite for metabolizing the reference indexically. This tabula scripta is rewriting art history without affect, without nostalgia, rather as something akin to data mining, a forensic nutrition for the eye as it smudges across the surface.
I bet you’re wondering what that carnage before you is. This is Mureșan’s newest untitled sculptural installation. The work shows the process of writing history played out through the live-action drama of sectarian slapstick. Mureșan has made several archetypal forms atop pedestals that have run amok in the gallery. Wax reductions of spiritual forms, icons, churches and spires, all in a soft beeswax that is more Brancusi than Orthodox, fight for momentary status of survival. Here the pantheon has turned itself into a Thunderdome as these sibling sculptures rival for supremacy.
This is how cultural sausage is made.
Ciprian Muresan’s solo exhibition will be on view at Nicodim Gallery 571 S Anderson Street Ste 2, Los Angeles, CA 90033 until December 22. photographs by Lani Trock
CHRISTEENE presented a screening of videos released through their long-term collaboration with filmmaker and cinematographer PJ Raval, accompanied by discussion of these and CHRISTEENE’s broader practice encompassing choreography and song-writing, with writer Paul Clinton. Clinton and CHRISTEENE narrated a curated screening programme of the artist’s videos. photographs by Flo Kohl
"I can't talk about art or ideas or the creative act. I dream, day and night. Most of the time I dream about something that didn't happen to me and is not going to happen to me. It is called thinking, and that is a riddle wrapped inside a mystery and inside, is a mystery of me. My thinking is like watching TV. Nothing happens. I want to be lobotomized by boredom. I dream as if it were happening, both past and present, day and night. People talk about ideas and inspiration. I don't think I have that kind of body or mind. I don’t know where dreams come from and I don’t know where you go to find ideas; you either have a helium connection to feelings or you don’t. I can't talk about dreams or what things mean. I have silence in my brain and it sits on my tongue. Hiding in my head is the dream and I pick up a brush or a pencil and let it out. I can't put it into words, I can only paint or draw it. If you find a dream, work with it, if you don’t have dreams get a job (I worked at CVI making stretchers for 25 years). If you read a book or a newspaper or travel to another country, that is good for your life, but don’t take that stuff into your studio. I don’t know what influences me, or who; but I am guilty of looking at art. I do not feel like I missed anything by not painting or drawing for 26 years. If you stop breathing you die, if you stop making art, nothing happens, you just find something else to do. Now, I feel like painting and here I am: a painter.” - Fred Escher
Killer Diorama is on view through December 9 @ Catbox Contemporary in Ridgewood, NY. photographs courtesy of Catbox Contemporary
For anyone who has painstakingly worked to build and curate their Instagram page, only to have it disabled unexpectedly, you know just how devastating the loss can be. For those whose accounts have been hacked, the consequences can be much worse. Thus is the case for Alice (played by Madeline Brewer), a young and ambitious camgirl on the rise, who is relentlessly creating new shows and characters to improve her ranking on freegirls.live, a fictional camming site, designed and created specifically for the film. When Alice’s account is hacked and hijacked by someone with an uncanny resemblance, she is forced to outwit her doppelgänger while watching her own identity, both online and irl, degrade rapidly. Aside from the psychic thrill that the narrative provides, this film offers a refreshing subversion to the standard tropes that come from the sexy, horror genre. From the ways that sex work is represented in the film, to the ways that the screenwriter, Isa Mazzei and director, Daniel Goldhaber challenge the standard director-authorship, this film provides a wealth of new templates to consider that are seemingly radical, yet unsurprisingly, quite logical. In Mazzei and Goldhaber’s Cam, the hyper-indulgent and semi-private world of camming is given life in a way that is instantly translatable by the genre. A surreal, thrill ride that seeps into your unconscious mind and humanizes the very real people that hitherto have been unjustly stigmatized by the film and media industry at large.
Click here to read the full interview.
Cam is available to stream as of today on Netflix.
A graduate of Camberwell College of Arts, Shadi Al-Atallah is a figurative mixed-media artist whose own queer, mixed-race identity is bodied forth in vigorous, complex work that engages boldly with non-normative identities, composite cultural affiliations, spirituality and mental health. Roadblocks is Al-Atallah’s debut solo show. The exhibition is on view through December 1 at The Cob Gallery 205 Royal College Street London NW1 0SG. Photographs courtesy of The Cob Gallery
Fire Island, Edmund White writes, is a place of rituals, where dinners, tea-dances and sex parties rhyme in the ‘imagination with the rituals of medieval Japan or Versailles’. This composite sensibility, of the past rhyming with the present, of anarchy blended with grandeur, is manifest in Matthew Leifheit’s photo series Fire Island Night. In the Belvedere Guest House in Cherry Grove, a male-only and clothes-optional hotel, intimate scenes play out amidst the faded glamour of gaudy interiors. A nude model, classical and twink-like, reclines on a bed beneath a chandelier; elsewhere, a nude with his back to the camera uncannily meets our gaze in the reflection of a mirror. Out on the balcony older guests congregate like gatekeepers standing amidst the ornate matter of their culture. In a different Cherry Grove palace, fire meets its symbolic opposite, Leifheit’s dispatches from the dance-floor of The Ice Palace Nightclub.
Although no single area of Fire Island can account for its multiplicity, the beach offers a distinct reflective space for taking stock of this infernal paradise. It is there that the narrator of Andrew Holleran’s iconic 1978 novel “Dancer from the Dance” sat to recall the blur of faces and parties, past denizens of a place where ‘death and desire’ are inextricably linked, in a passage eerily prescient of the HIV/AIDS epidemic that began to ravage the island community just a few years later.
Leifheit captures this funereal quality, photographing the death site of Margaret Fuller, one of a number of notable fatalities, but also, in another image, the attendant notes of hope and solidarity. In Wave (Hudson and MeHow), (2018), two figures embrace in the surf of a wave, like the ‘two boys together clinging’ in Walt Whitman’s utopian vision of America’s queer future. Captured amongst the waters and sands of a place that has long provided refuge from the oppressive, it is an image of intimacy that feels true to the island’s word; an image, simply, of fighting fire with fire.
— Jack Parlett, 2018
Matthew Leifheit's "Fire Island Night" will be on view at the Deli Gallery 10 Waterbury Street Brooklyn, NY 11206 through December 2, 2018. photos courtesy of Deli Gallery
Zoe Leonard: Survey is the first large-scale overview of the artist’s work in an American museum. The exhibition looks across Leonard’s career to highlight her engagement with a range of themes, including gender and sexuality, loss and mourning, migration, displacement, and the urban landscape. More than it focuses on any particular subject, however, Leonard’s work slowly and reflectively calibrates vision and form. Using repetition, subtle changes of perspective, and shifts of scale, Leonard draws viewers into an awareness of the meanings behind otherwise familiar images or objects. A counter-example to the speed and disposability of image culture today, Leonard’s photographs, sculptures, and installations ask the viewer to reengage with how we see. The exhibition is on view through March 25, 2019 at The Geffen Contemporary At MOCA 152 N Central Ave, Los Angeles. photographs by Oliver Maxwell Kupper
Andy Warhol: From A to B and Back Again positions Warhol's career as a continuum, demonstrating that he didn't slow down after surviving the assassination attempt that nearly took his life in 1968, but entered into a period of intense experimentation. The show illuminates the breadth, depth, and interconnectedness of the artist’s production: from his beginnings as a commercial illustrator in the 1950s, to his iconic Pop masterpieces of the early 1960s, to the experimental work in film and other mediums from the 1960s and 70s, to his innovative use of readymade abstraction and the painterly sublime in the 1980s. His repetitions, distortions, camouflaging, incongruous color, and recycling of his own imagery challenge our faith in images and the value of cultural icons, anticipating the profound effects and issues of the current digital age. From A To B And Back Again is on view through March 31, 2019 at Whitney Museum Of American Art 99 Gansevoort Street New York. photographs courtesy of Whitney Museum Of American Art
For more than twenty years, Los Angeles–based artist Laura Owens has pioneered an innovative approach to painting that has made her one of the most influential artists of her generation. Her bold and experimental work challenges traditional assumptions about figuration and abstraction, as well as the relationships between avant-garde art, craft, pop culture, and technology. This mid-career survey, the most comprehensive of Owens’s work to-date, features approximately 60 paintings from the mid-1990s until today. The exhibition will highlight her significant strides over the past few years, showing how the early work sets the stage for gripping new paintings and installations. The exhibition is on view through March 25, 2019 at The Geffen Contemporary At MOCA 152 N Central Ave, Los Angeles. photographs by Oliver Maxwell Kupper
Stacie McCormick is a UK-based artist and the Founding Director of Unit 1 Gallery | Workshop and Workshop Foundation. McCormick’s painting practice follows the principle of discovery in manifesting the accident within the abstract gestural arena. Her works are often concerned with the unexpected sublime found and recorded in photography, poetry, video and sound. Onslaught Undone is on view through November 30 at Unit 1 Gallery 1 Bard Road London. photographs courtesy of Unit 1 Gallery
Scale is not real; space is relative. Comparative value is continuously engaged; singularity is impossible within the human gaze.
Onslaught Undone is an investigation of spacial and experiential relativity in direct contrast to the accumulated visual, physical and aural experiences thrown at us in the digital age. “Switch off” is the frequent call to action; but “off” seems almost dead. We all want to be “switched on” and “tuned in”, a symptom of the over-stimulated, over-manipulated, too-much-information era. Through a virtually continuous conversation, artists Nemo Nonnenmacher and Stacie McCormick question the nature of contemporary experience, where disconnect becomes the unavoidable result of constant connectedness, translated into a collaboration of large-scale sculpture and gestural paintings. The two artists are riveted by the “real” and demonstrate a transformation of scale, mediating sensory input to counteract the speed of networks, creating a profound moment where the experience of the work itself constitutes an interpretation of the world. Read more at: https://bit.ly/2RzVUxK
Onslaught Undone will be on view at Unit 1 Gallery — 1 Bard Road London until November 30. photographs courtesy of Unit 1 Gallery
M+B and Ghebaly Gallery are pleased to jointly present a two-part exhibition of new work by Aaron Fowler. Unfolding across the two spaces, the exhibition features a new body of sculptures and spatial interventions in the artist’s signature language of memoiristic, maximalist bricolage.
Throughout, his all-over, jam-packed use of materials lends an improvisatory tone to compositions that are highly evocative of art histories, from Byzantine iconography to Dada to the Harlem Renaissance. Curator Amanda Hunt has called this “wild, weighty, massive” work, speaking equally to the material presence that each piece commands and to the ways that Fowler’s practice reaches quickly from the personal to wider American narratives of migration, upward mobility, and the mirroring of inward and outward journeys.
Read more at: https://www.mbart.com/exhibitions/171/
Exhibition will be on view through December 22 612 N Almont Dr., West Hollywood, CA 90069. photographs by Lani Trock
Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson’s first exhibition at 79 rue des Archives opens Martine Franck – A retrospective. A journey through the life of a free spirit (Belgian 1938-2012), from activist gatherings to meditative landscapes, political engagement to friendly portraits, this deeply human vision open to the history of art was associated with the Viva agency, which she helped create, then with the cooperative Magnum Photos.
A socially engaged photographer, Martine Franck became an activist for many of these causes she actively photographed, which required a great deal of courage and daring for the young woman who had been taught not to cross the boundaries. She famously laments:
“A photograph isn’t necessarily a lie”, she said. “But nor is it the truth. […] You have to be ready to welcome the unexpected” - Martine Franck
Read more at: https://bit.ly/1MI0Hbs
Martine Franck is on view through February 10, 2019 at Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson 79 rue des Archives — 75003 Paris. photos courtesy of Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson
Swingers is a group show featuring seven artists who explore structures of desire within the context of the culture industry. Taking its title from Lutz Bacher’s 2018 series, the exhibition focuses on artists who use photography and video to scrutinize how desire has been calculated, monetized, and leveraged by consumer culture. While some works target the modern subject’s participation in a neoliberal paradigm where individuality and desire are harnessed as forms of capital, other artists pursue more personal approaches to mine the ways one’s subjectivity can merge with its own objectification. Aware of their status within this creative economy, the works in Swingers take different approaches to uncover how the representation and commodification of desire in turn mediates the relationship between self and other. Swingers is on view through December 15 at Greene Naftali 508 West 26th Street Ground Floor & 8th Floor New York. photographs by Emma Orfield Johnston
FAIRE are very serious about not taking themselves seriously. Their shows are infused with a raw improvisation that makes every performance a completely unique experience. They just play with the vibe given by the audience and then do their best to push the limits of that relationship. Read more here.
Autre magazine celebrated its new issue at the newly redesigned Hotel Figueroa in Downtown Los Angeles. The evening began with a four-course supper by chef Casey Lane at the hotel’s restaurant Breva, which was followed by a soiree by the pool at Rick’s. Madre Mezcal provided libations throughout the night. photographs by Oliver Maxwell Kupper