photographs by Lani Trock.
Evoking the complex geometries and layered information of architectural plans and cartographic maps, Guillermo Kuitca’s theatrical paintings explore themes of dislocation. Presented in the South Gallery, this exhibition will debut two new series rendered with the artist’s distinctive melding of abstraction and figuration: ‘The Family Idiot’ draws from Jean-Paul Sartre’s three-volume study of Gustave Flaubert, while the 18-part wall piece ‘Missing Pages’ evokes the physical process of book printing, specifically the unexpected combinations of images that ensue during pagination. The exhibition will also include new Theater pieces that build upon Kuitca’s long-standing involvement with the dramatic arts through an idiosyncratic integration of architectural features in two-dimensional space.This exhibition by Guillermo Kuitcat will be on view until August 11 at Hauser & Wirth 901 East 3rd Street, Los Angeles. photographs courtesy of the artist and Hauser & Wirth
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.
Where the political left was once the clear bastion of free speech and expression in the U.S., it could be argued that the new left silences thought and speech perceived as antithetical or offensive to its values almost as much as the right wing does, or did. This is a problem for culture, and evidently, for art. “Political correctness,” says Slovenian philosopher and cultural theorist Slavoj Žižek, “is a desperate attempt by the public norms to tell you what is decent, what is not.” What Žižek suggests here is that political correctness can be harmful in its ability to obscure the truth and dilute public discourse; by sanitizing rhetoric we sanitize cultural meaning. This climate of over-the-top, politically correct theatrics has infiltrated the art world; art’s job is ultimately to push back on societal taboos and interrogate prevailing norms. Good art is almost always offensive to someone. Click here to read more
Soft Violence is an exhibition of sculptural paintings by Leah Guadagnoli. With a sparer touch than her prior work, the artist has presented a sort of exaggerated logo, a calling card of absurd proportions, with textured panels, upholstered shapes, and painted canvas uniting to form a streamlined rectangular result. Whereas her recent work incorporated digitally-printed patterns on fabric and eclectic juxtapositions, this series has a reined-in seriousness that belies gaudy Miami sunsets and remaining hints of "Saved by the Bell", and its heightened simplicity acts as a cohesive statement on abstraction's potential as graphic power. The images seem familiar, but they are a design for a non-existent entity - fully empty, thwarting connection. Soft Violence is on view through February 16 at Asya Geisberg Gallery 537b West 23rd Street, New York. photographs courtesy of Asya Geisberg Gallery
"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
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
Soft Pretzel features works that investigate sculptural forms and perceived tactility. Evaluating our ability to anticipate sensory experiences as they are conveyed through visual cues, each work explores implied softness, rigidity, dimension, weight and movement. The exhibition includes works by Tanya Brodsky, Rives Granade, Nasim Hantehzadeh, Lilian Martinez, Daniel McKee, Erin Morrison, Claudia Parducci, Ben Sanders and James Seward. Soft Pretzel is on view through October 28 @ Vacation Gallery, 24A Orchard Street, New York, NY 10002. images courtesy of Ochi Projects
Informed by a background in sociology, Vienna-based painter Bernhard Buhmann’s hard-edged, abstracted works speak to larger issues concerning the figure in a modern-day environment and therefore, humanity, as it engages with a society that is technologically advancing at an accelerated rate. The exhibition title, My Automatic Me, suggests themes which belong to today’s world of cyborgian post-humanism, digital avatars, virtual reality and artificial intelligence but with a sense of friendliness that is either uncanny or intimate - or both. As the world advances, forcing our animal behaviors to evolve towards Buhmann’s Automatic Me, the artist examines what it means to be human in this newfangled, spectacular landscape.
Buhmann’s whole body of work eventually fits together to form an integrated aesthetic matrix, capturing performative remnants of a sociological body, the crux of human condition disguised as a computer game, even attempts to calculate consciousness – each work a colorful, geometric portrait of our quickly evolving selves. My Automatic Me is on view through November 17 @ Nino Mier Gallery Two, 7313 Santa Monica Blvd., Los Angeles. photographs by Summer Bowie
Charles White: A Retrospective is the first major museum survey devoted to the artist in over 30 years. The exhibition charts White’s full career—from the 1930s through his premature death in 1979—with over 100 works, including drawings, paintings, prints, photographs, illustrated books, record covers and archival materials.
The exhibition is organized chronologically, with groupings centered on the cities and creative communities in which White lived and worked. Each section is supported by relevant ephemera and supporting materials detailing White’s working process, political and social activities, and role as a teacher.
The exhibition includes representative work from the three artistic centers in which White lived, created, and taught throughout his life: Chicago, New York, and Los Angeles. It begins with early paintings and murals White made for the Works Progress Administration (WPA) in Depression-era Chicago, where he grew up. Shortly thereafter, between 1942 and 1956, White lived mainly in New York City, teaching drawing, exhibiting at the progressive ACA Gallery on 57th Street, and supporting the Committee for the Negro in the Arts in Harlem. A selection of White’s personal photographs, also on view in the exhibition, capture his life in New York, while the inclusion of his work for album covers, publications, film, and television emphasize his dedication to more accessible distribution outlets for his art. The presentation concludes with the inventive output from his last decades as an internationally established figure and influential teacher in Los Angeles during the 1960s and ’70s.
The retrospective is on view through January 13, 2019 at MoMA 11 West 53 Street, Manhattan, New York. Following its MoMA presentation, the exhibition will travel to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), where it will be on view in Spring 2019. photographs courtesy of MoMA
Australian artist Madeleine Pfull’s inaugural exhibition at Nino Mier Gallery illustrates a stylized narrative of a complex suburban universe inspired by her youth. Littered with images and subjects that are familial, humorous and peculiar, the paintings center around the lives of these richly imagined characters. The subjects she paints exude a specific type, mostly middle-class women, likely from the 1980s. Her women wear big-box store clothing, live in homely domestic interiors, but with an earnestness and sense of pride that makes them all more intellectually interesting. Pfull explains that ‘they appear as the quotidian details of middle-class suburbs. They can appear fed up or bored but it is more of a sense of importance and stoicism.
The subjects could be one of many mothers, aunts and neighbors, with their familiar awkward sweaters, botched perms, floral aprons and old-fashioned curtains. Most of the works grow richly from these known phenotypes, and the artist enjoys when the viewer enhances the character’s narrative by implying extended storylines. Pfull explains further that her work articulates her fascination with taste and expressing one’s social status and personal pride through material things. For the women she portrays, she asserts that the ones who try the hardest to appear superior are the ones most uncomfortable with their lack of taste. This duality to their identity, of inferiority and superiority, is exaggerated through the medium of painting, where, like the current embracing of retro culture and fashion, time adds prestige to kitsch. Madeleine Pfull’s eponymous solo exhibition is on view through November 17th at Nino Mier Gallery 7313 Santa Monica Blvd. photographs by Summer Bowie
Over the course of her career Celeste Dupuy-Spencer has set out to create paintings interrogating the American experience, a subject that she began to believe could not be addressed without attending to the question of religion. The resulting body of work gathered for her exhibition The Chiefest of Ten Thousand offers a depiction of our moment through a series of portraits, religious scenes, and landscapes. Taken together these works present a view that is conflicted, terror-filled, absurd, and marked by a powerful tenderness. This show exposes dark palimpsests of our culture as well as warmth, pleasure, and humor.
This body of work is a record of the deeply felt task of trying to be, and be good, in the contradictions of this moment. The polyvocality the artist brings to each painting, through their images and gestures, make them purposefully hard to grasp, refusing to cohere even as they have a razor sharp affective import. They picture a self that cannot be reconciled as a manifestation of a society that refuses reconciliation. Dupuy-Spencer suggests that there are real and profound ways to save ourselves—finding grace in the mire is an unending and complicated process, but love and community might be an ongoing redemption. The Chiefest of Ten Thousand is on view through November 3 @ Nino Mier Gallery 7313 Santa Monica Blvd, Los Angeles. text by Diana Nawi, photographs by Summer Bowie
Adrian Piper: Concepts and Intuitions, 1965-2016 is the most comprehensive West Coast exhibition to date of the work of Adrian Piper (b. 1948, New York). It is also the first West Coast museum presentation of Piper’s works in more than a decade, and her first since receiving the Golden Lion Award for Best Artist at the 56th Venice Biennale of 2015 and Germany’s Käthe Kollwitz Prize in 2018. Organized by The Museum of Modern Art, this expansive retrospective features more than 270 works gathered from public and private collections from around the world, and encompasses a wide range of mediums that Piper has explored for over 50 years: drawing, photography, works on paper, video, multimedia installations, performance, painting, sculpture, and sound.
Piper’s groundbreaking, transformative work has profoundly shaped the form and content of Conceptual art since the 1960s, exerting an incalculable influence on artists working today. Her investigations into the political, social, and spiritual potential of Conceptual art frequently address gender, race, and xenophobia through incisive humor and wit, and draw on her long-standing involvement with philosophy and yoga.
For this exhibition, the Hammer is partnering with the Institute of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (ICA LA) to present Piper’s work What It’s Like, What It Is #3, a large-scale mixed-media installation addressing racial stereotypes. Adrian Piper: Concepts and Intuitions, 1965-2016 in on view through January 6 at Hammer Museum 10899 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles. photographs by Summer Bowie
ISLAND is the second solo exhibition that James Herman has presented with Ibid Gallery. Using sculpture, painting, and printmaking alongside his homesteading practice, Herman’s work straddles alternative off-the-grid building methods with the legacy of Postwar American painting in his psychedelic, referential-laden forms and their social function. Herman’s painted plywood panels and architectural dwellings act as reflectors and spatial activators for his ultimate conceptual practice: a radical domesticity based in sustainability, self-reliance, subsistence, and repetitive labor. ISLAND is on view through October 27 at Ibid Gallery 670 S Anderson Street, Los Angeles. photographs by Lani Trock
Few artists are as synonymous with the history of 20th and 21st-century American art as Frank Stella. His work across media, from painting to sculpture to printmaking, has continuously broken ground at each stage of his decades-long career, remaining influential and relevant to subsequent generations of contemporary artists. The selection of recent works presented at Sprüth Magers highlight the artist’s ongoing experimentation with spatial representation and includes the début of a new painting series. This is the first solo exhibition of Frank Stella’s painting and sculpture in Los Angeles since 1995. The exhibition is on view through October 26 at Sprüth Magers 5900 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90036. photographs by Summer Bowie
“What’s returning and why was it repressed?” asks Ben Lee Ritchie Handler of Robert Yarber at the press preview for the artist’s first solo exhibition in Los Angeles in over twenty years. The double entendres abound and the disarming deconstruction of the artist’s psyche takes a crystal clear focus. The loss of innocence, the loss of control, the liberation therein, the empowerment in being ostracized by a professor, and the lasting impression left by witnessing the assassination of of President John F. Kennedy. The simultaneous flood of immediacy and nostalgia is disorienting and thrilling—his paintings are a cutting visual counterpoint to critical theory, anchored through dramaturgical events and eclipses of subjecthood. Backlit and reflecting a palette at once surreal and familiar, his forms summon those of Tintoretto on an acid trip, or maybe Titian on ecstasy. While his forbearers looked up to the heavens, however, Yarber’s is the iridescent chiaroscuro of nightlife long past the witching hour. Return of the Repressed is on view through October 20 at Nicodim Gallery 571 S Anderson Street Ste 2, Los Angeles. photographs by Oliver Kupper
A group of new paintings, drawings, and watercolors are currently on view at Kayne Griffin Corcoran, and they’re not at all for the faint of heart. They touch on the dark dualities of our most sinister dreams and tickle us in that somewhat uninvited, but not exactly unappreciated sort of way. Within these works Lynch functions as an omnipresent narrator who candidly describes his representation of objects and figures in situations that are simultaneously commonplace yet unexpected. I Was A Teenage Insect is on view through November 3 at Kayne Griffin Corcoran 1201 South La Brea Avenue Los Angeles. photographs by Oliver Kupper
From afar, Jonny Negron’s paintings at Chateau Shatto are not unlike tastefully illustrated advertisements for some unnamed tropical paradise. Look closer at these picturesque scenes, though, and it becomes clear that “Small Map of Heaven” documents waters engulfed with trash, beachgoers undergoing trauma, and a faded pink bathroom as a site for tears.
The Puerto Rican born, Brooklyn-based artist references the delayed response to the destruction in Hurricane Maria’s wake. An abundance of flora envelops the gouache paintings. Although beautiful, these omnipresent plants swarm and tighten their grip on whatever is in their way, suggesting nature’s revanchist desires in an era of climate change.
Negron, who has a background in comic book illustration, cites Japanese woodblock prints, or ukiyo-e, as inspiration. In Generator, a submerged spectre faces a Champion generator on the ocean floor, peering at the one device, now useless, that could have saved it’s flesh and bones. Hints of the 18th-century artist Maruyama Okyo’s woodblock prints of yurei (ghosts) come to mind.
Like the apprehensive face in Paul Gauguin’s gouache painting Breton Girl By the Sea, the windswept shore and balmy night in Bonus reminds us that often no setting, no matter how idyllic, can brighten whatever internal issue eats at us. The cartoonishly-chiseled man, eyes focused nowhere, sits on the beach in a daze.
A man weeps in a cloying bathroom in To Live and Die in LA, grasping the same plants that have been present in the other waterlogged paintings as puddles of water sparkle on the tile floor. Los Angeles, too, experiences destruction--albeit from fires due to forest encroachment and rampant home-building.
Water is always present throughout “Small Map of Heaven”--although it can offer relief from the debris and destruction on land, it is also the source of such peril.
“Small Map of Heaven” runs from July 14th - September 1st, 2018 at Chateau Shatto (1206 S. Maple Ave, Suite 1030, Los Angeles, CA, 90015)
Liam Casey is a freelance writer, researcher and DJ from Los Angeles. In addition to being a contributor for Berlin Art Link, he also has a background in housing and urban planning, co-developing a think-tank on Los Angeles’ housing crisis. He is also a co-organizer and resident of the queer collective Bubbles.
Through their very gothic and physical imagery of mutation, fragmentation, disintegration and masquerade, the works in Beside Myself position themselves as objects in opposition to the self-same body; by presenting themselves as its shadow. This show demonstrate the ways in which art maintains not just the historical but also the magical ability to conceive of expansive and malleable identities in the midst of all those that society and culture prescribe. Beside Me is on view through August 3rd at JTT Gallery 191 Chrystie Street New York. photographs by Adam Lehrer
Liquid Dreams is a group show featuring paintings and sculptures by Kelly Akashi, Farah Atassi, Davide Balula, Genesis Belanger, Neïl Beloufa, Lila de Magalhaes, Dorian Gaudin, Sayre Gomez, Patrick Jackson, Koak, Joel Kyack, Mike Kuchar, Candice Lin, Gina Osterloh, Philip Pearlstein, and Kathleen Ryan. Liquid Dreams is on view at Ghebaly Gallery through August 10th, 2245 E Washington Blvd, Los Angeles. photographs by Summer Bowie