Andrew Berardini

  • Rakeem Cunningham, Hero, 2021, archival inkjet print, 24 x 16".
    picks July 21, 2021

    Rakeem Cunningham

    Rakeem Cunningham is the hero this city needs. Whether he’s armored in a cloud-patterned haori, a metallic fuchsia leotard, or a magisterial cape fashioned from a crimson bedsheet, Cunningham looks every inch the bold-as-brass hero—even when he’s half-naked—across the seven photographic self-portraits of this solo exhibition. Throughout these mise-en-scènes, the artist—either smoldering, brooding, or voguing before the camera with poise and finesse—is armed, variously, with pool noodles, a crucifix–cum–bow and arrow, or a homespun war staff with a triangular head. Displayed on a single shelf

  • Eduardo Sarabia, The Passenger, 2021. All photos: Lance Gerber.
    slant April 29, 2021

    Dry Goods

    ON OUR LONG DRIVE through the desert of the Coachella Valley chasing the artworks and installations of Desert X 2021, my fifteen-year-old daughter and I drove past the El Dorado Estates. Scrubby bushes in the pale-brown soil stretched back into the vast and vacant desert behind a cinderblock wall advertising the never-realized development named after the elusive, imaginary city of gold. In the hundred miles we spent crisscrossing the desert, we passed through the shimmering black cells of solar farms and clusters of rusty corrugated shacks, past plastic-surgery centers and boarded-up resorts

  • Isabelle Albuquerque, Orgy for 10 People in One Body: 6, 2020, resin, mica-laced Lexus auto-body paint, 18 × 18 × 65". From the series “Orgy for 10 People in One Body,” 2019–.

    Isabelle Albuquerque

    The press release for Isabelle Albuquerque’s solo exhibition “Sextet” at Nicodim Gallery opens with a quote from David Wojnarowicz: “Inside my head I wished for years that I could separate into ten different people to give each person I loved a part of myself forever and also have some left over to drift, . . . and now I’m in danger of losing the only one of me that is around.” The artist’s six spellbinding sculptures here addressed the myriad conundrums of owning a body, among them the desire for one to become many in order to produce an endlessly proliferating circle of compassion and the

  • Sarah Silverman and Dick Van Dyke onstage at Bernie Sanders Rally at the Los Angeles Convention Center, March 1 2020. Photo: Brian Cahn.
    diary March 03, 2020

    Berning Love

    “COMBS ARE FOR PUSSIES!” declared comedian Sarah Silverman. “I’m trying not to use that word that way––it’s super negative. Combs are for McConnells!” Silverman, along with Black Lives Matter cofounder Patrisse Cullors, actor Dick Van Dyke, and yes, Chuck D of Public Enemy, gathered Sunday night with approximately fifteen thousand people at the Los Angeles Convention Center for one of the more unusual and weirdly dreamy lineups in political history, all there to stump for one tousled-hair Vermont senator ahead of the Super Tuesday primaries. 

    The day before the rally, a huge crowd joined writer

  • View of “John Boskovich: Psycho Salon,” 2019–20, O-Town House, Los Angeles. Photo: Riccardo Banfi.

    CLOSE-UP: INSIDE OUT

    JOHN BOSKOVICH’S BOSKOSTUDIO was a darkling cave of wonders: twirling statues, concave mirrors, a carpet emblazoned with a pentagram, and walls painted colors I can only describe as poisonous. The artist said it was a “literalization” of Jean des Esseintes’s secret hideout in Joris-Karl Huysmans’s 1884 novel À rebours. A monument to the inward spiral, it was also, quite simply, Boskovich’s home, studio, and showroom in Los Angeles, a set he constructed between 1996 and his death in 2006 at the age of forty-nine. Except in the pages of Interior Design’s October 1997 issue, Boskostudio was rarely

  • The Chateau Marmont pool at the Frieze Los Angeles party. Photo: Billy Farrell.
    diary February 25, 2020

    Pleasure Dome

    SMASHED BETWEEN adult-film star Sasha Grey, filmmaker-artist Miranda July, and underground legend Ian Svenonius in the space of Wolfgang Puck’s original Spago on the Sunset Strip, a weird claustrophobia set in. So I skipped outside to watch magickian-artist Brian Butler, sword in hand, hollering Luciferean incantations in a bloodred glow as the moon rose above him. I half expected a demon to leap out from the Hollywood sign and eat us all in a single, wet gulp. The second edition of Frieze Los Angeles launched last week, along with cluster of ride-along art fairs, from the long-standing Art Los

  • Alexis Smith, Easy Rider, 2016, mixed media, 21 1⁄4 × 14".

    Alexis Smith

    Alexis Smith’s oeuvre slips easily into this American life. Using language and literature, toys and glamour, ads and junk shop finds, Smith descends from the droll end of West Coast Conceptualism. She turns culture over and pokes at its squirming parts with an air of critical romance and a smile. If Sol Lewitt wrote sentences on Conceptual art and John Baldessari sang them, Smith’s wry retorts follow. (“I’m like a writer who makes art,” she told an interviewer for MOCATV in 2010.) Sometimes her asides feel like they’ve slipped out of a Tom Waits song or a Jack Kerouac novel more than from the

  • Lutz Bacher, Moskva (Moscow), 2019, 96 ink-jet prints, each 61 3⁄4 × 44".

    Lutz Bacher

    Enigmatic, hilarious, disorienting, and almost mythic, the four decades’ worth of work by the artist pseudonymously known as Lutz Bacher is unparalleled in its raw wit. Bacher had been working with fellow artist (and University of California, Irvine, professor) Monica Majoli to plan this solo exhibition until this past May, when she suddenly died of a heart attack, leaving Majoli to complete the installation. It’s hard to believe it was Bacher’s last.

    Four works were spread over multiple spaces on the University of California’s Irvine campus. Moskva (Moscow), 2019, in many ways felt the most

  • View of “Dylan Mira,” 2019.

    Dylan Mira

    “The word in Korean for shaman means ‘ten thousand spirits,’ as in to be in conversation with. In Chinese, ‘ten thousand things’ means the infinite,” explained the artist Dylan Mira through a recording, her voice disembodied as if she were another ghost haunting this spectral space. In her first exhibition with Park View/Paul Soto in Los Angeles, Mira fluttered through time and space with personal tales, physics theories, mythology, and history, all wrapped into a video installation demonstrating (as she puts it in a recent biography) “bodies making language through the thickness of time.”

  • Lenz Geerk, Untitled, 2019, acrylic on canvas, 59 x 78 3/4".
    picks September 27, 2019

    Lenz Geerk

    “The color is repellant, almost revolting; a smouldering unclean yellow, strangely faded by the slow-turning sunlight. It is a dull yet lurid orange in some places, a sickly sulphur tint in others,” wrote Charlotte Perkins Gilman in 1892, in the story “The Yellow Wallpaper.” In the largest woeful painting in Lenz Geerk’s exhibition, Untitled, 2019, the walls’ hues may be just as lurid and maddening, ranging from sinister buttercup to jaundiced saffron, filling the room with a soft, staid menace. Edging away from the right edge of the canvas, a woman stands with one arm grasping the other in the

  • Alexa Guarilglia, The Lionized Crumb (The Things We Are), 2019, gouache, watercolor, and ink on paper, 60 × 45 1⁄2".

    Alexa Guariglia

    The lanky ladies in Alexa Guariglia’s paintings hover in swirling blossoms of color, caught either in the act of artmaking or aswim in paper or water. Their lithe contours seem to have been recorded with a single swipe of the artist’s brush, as in the elongated bodies of illustrated fashion models. Ensconced in writhing vegetation and clad in frenetic patterns, the figures look wholly lost in their own worlds: Stacks of canvases brick in their makers; arms knead a misshapen hunk of clay; faces bend toward paintings as if entranced by magical mirrors. The portraits’ easy lyricism and diaphanous

  • Jennifer Bolande, Image Tomb (with skeletons), 2014, newspapers, Plexiglas, wood, 43 × 13 × 13".

    Jennifer Bolande

    The stack of newspapers at the corner stand was once replenished regularly. The local bulletin board has lately stood bereft of announcements. Neither one has quite disappeared, but neither one accumulates or announces with the same sense of urgency. Jennifer Bolande meditated with subtle conceptual rigor on these two aging formats of communication in her latest exhibition. She avoided a polemic against erosion and erasure, offering instead an elegy on diminishing material forms. In the nearly forty-nine-minute video from which the exhibition took its title, The Composition of Decomposition,