Andrew Berardini

  • Lucie Stahl

    “This is the only story of mine whose moral I know,” wrote Kurt Vonnegut in the introduction to Mother Night (1961). “We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be.” In her latest exhibition of works at Freedman Fitzpatrick, Berliner Lucie Stahl showed us bullets pretending to be bears, boys soldiers, and fascists patriots. To supply a setting for these props and characters, Stahl pitched two rectangular tents with the markings of ammo boxes in the middle of the gallery, each titled after the bullet brand name emblazoned on its sides: American Eagle and Brown

  • diary May 31, 2017

    Doctored Octopus

    “I LOVE AND I HATE ATHENS. I know it by heart, and it’s hard to leave,” said Greek artist Angelo Plessas on the patio of Ama Laxei under eaves heavy with vines and a table heaving with wine at an informal dinner organized by curator Myriam Ben Salah for the various friends, artists, curators, and dealers around for the twenty-second edition of Art Athina.

    Documenta’s recent occupation of Athens invited posters and graffiti all over the city announcing “Crapumenta” and “Fuck Documenta14,” but the quinquennial has certainly telescoped international interest onto the city’s art scene. Art Athina,

  • picks April 28, 2017

    Lila de Magalhaes

    Spider legs delicately dance on the plush skin of a fresh peach as a haloing fly delivers a golden boot while nearby electric-orange slugs trail paths through dreamy forests veiled in hazy greens and downy pinks—such are the scenes in Lila de Magalhaes’s elaborate embroideries and ceramic creatures for her Los Angeles debut at the inaugural exhibition of this apartment gallery. The space is open for informal dinners rather than traditional gallery hours, and its gatherers cohabitate with a menagerie of webbed, gossamer scenarios and scattered body parts.

    A soft spell mists over all of it. A cat’s

  • Sam Pulitzer and Peter Wächtler

    Post-truth, post-irony—post-exhaustion from such prefix-laden terms—it was tricky to decipher the intentions of Peter Wächtler and Sam Pulitzer in this coupling of both artists and their respective galleries, Reena Spaulings Fine Art (of New York) and House of Gaga (of Mexico City). Twenty-two carefully rendered colored-pencil drawings by Pulitzer were clipped to a quartet of flimsy wire-mesh retail display racks in the center of the main gallery of the two venues’ shared Los Angeles space. Scattered throughout the room on waist-high plinths sat five of Wächtler’s largish glass starfish

  • picks November 10, 2016

    Amalia Pica

    “I have nothing to say / and I am saying it / and that is poetry / as I need it,” wrote John Cage, one of silence’s loudest advocates. Samuel Beckett said words were a stain on it. For Amalia Pica, the noiselessness between speaking and listening finds, in the blankest of whites, a space for both protest and celebration.

    Over a hundred makeshift noisemakers, from potlids and jerricans to toy bugles and bike horns, dangle from a long wall in (un)heard, 2016, white gauze shrouding each and all in a paler shade of silent. Leaning in a neat row nearby, the protest signs of Procession (reconfiguration)

  • picks October 24, 2016

    Toba Khedoori

    The way through doors. The thingness of things. The sheer magnitude of the sublime. With graphite, oil, and encaustic on waxy expanses of paper sheets and the thinnest linen, Toba Khedoori carefully draws and paints the quiet intensity of doorways and windows, simple objects floating in vast space, and natural phenomena so large that even when they stretch thirty feet across the expanse of a museum’s white wall—as in Untitled (Horizon), 1999—their infinite potential can barely be contained.

    To see more than twenty-five of Khedoori’s works––silent, restrained, meticulously wrought, and generally

  • picks October 07, 2016


    In the center of a golden room glowing in the midday sun sits a glass saguaro cactus on a wooden table held together with soldered copper wires and blooming with handmade flowers. An old pay phone hangs silent and broken from the wall, and a twisted gold stick leans listlessly in a corner across from an industrious electric fan waving its blades to billow a single plastic bag. A black wooden chair lingers by the door.

    In Golden Room (all works 2016) one can watch the shadows of a passing day trace their patterns over the old walls, cut and scarred, and hear the voice of laub echoing from the

  • picks September 26, 2016

    Henry Taylor

    Days later, the gallery’s still dank with the hotboxed aroma of weed. At the opening of Henry Taylor’s fourth exhibition with this gallery, a film that the artist collaborated on with Kahlil Joseph screened in a shadowy room where a crew of Rastafarians smoked very large spliffs in quietude, just as they do in Wizard of the Upper Amazon, 2016.

    Taylor paints with deceptive simplicity and a sophisticated heart the people and scenes he sees around him, and here, these pictures hang in a room amid a dirt lot, graffitied walls, and a dead tree that arcs high to the pristine white ceiling. Another room

  • “Doug Aitken: Electric Earth”

    “A lot of times I dance so fast that I become what’s around me,” says the protagonist of Doug Aitken’s mesmeric, immersive multichannel video installation Electric Earth, 1999, which lends its name to the artist’s first large-scale survey, appropriately debuting in his hometown. The exhibition and catalogue highlight Aitken’s wide-ranging oeuvre, including such atmospheric pieces as diamond sea, 1997, his first foray into multichannel productions, as well as slickly fabricated sculptures, photographs, collages, and documentation of architectural projects.

  • Juliette Blightman

    The practice of everyday life, a life examined, radical subjectivity, the personal made public: Moved by any and all of these, Juliette Blightman photographs, paints, films, writes, and performs the slow drawl of the quotidian with all its dance parties and traipsing children, houseplants and living rooms, naked bodies and jokey games, encountered artworks and occasional orgies. Hardly an autonomous author but a member of a community, Blightman will be exhibiting her own works at Kunsthalle Bern, alongside those of “friends, family, and heroes.” The compulsive

  • picks August 12, 2016

    “Omul Negru”

    Something wicked this way walks. The Romanian title of this show (which began in the gallery’s Bucharest counterpart), “Omul Negru,” translates to “man in black,” and curator Aaron Moulton has included over forty works haunted by bogeymen. Donald Trump is an evil lurker for some, to be sure; the Republican presidential candidate readily evokes the kinds of fears in evidence here. Serial killer John Wayne Gacy’s self-portrait in a clown suit, Pogo the Clown, ca. 1990, hangs not far from the curator’s son Asger Kali Mason Ravnkilde Moulton’s scrawling terror in Six Boogey-Mans, 2016. A Hitler

  • picks June 29, 2016

    “Everybody! Come Stand on the Altar!”

    Theatrical lights shine and move throughout the room during Keaton Macon’s audio piece Overlay, 2016, which is interrupted by another work—this one made of darkness and five channels of a haunting voice, by Dorian Wood. The lights play over a collection of objects and writing, to make a performance, a stage, an altar, an art show. Running in a thirty-minute cycle, the lighting shifts off to give seven minutes of drama to Jesse Fleming’s The Snail and the Razor, 2012, a thrilling video of a snail very slowly crawling over the edge of a razor, sound tracked with a sensational drumbeat. K.r.m.

  • picks June 09, 2016

    Rachelle Sawatsky

    Punctuation marks and unnamed orifices, secret alphabets and twinkling stars—are they punching out or windowing in? Streaked with watercolor or screen printer’s ink and glistening with glaze, fifteen ceramic works—shapely paintings or painterly sculptures, as you wish—circle and constellate in the gallery. Slashed and splattered with almost diaphanous color, these works soften the hard white walls and set the scenic sky for figurative paintings hanging among them. The mess and surreal poetry of corporeality has been Rachelle Sawatsky’s subject for a spell now, but rarely have her bodies

  • Made In L.A. 2016: “a, the, though, only”

    The third edition of the Hammer’s self-described locals-only biennial (although some participants lived in Los Angeles only briefly) arrives otherwise themeless, save for its cryptically beautiful subtitle—a, the, though, only—provided by the poet Aram Saroyan.While the show includes radically fewer artists than previous iterations (a mere twenty-six), it nevertheless showcases a broad range of practices, with musical scores by Wadada Leo Smith, choreography by Adam Linder, films by Arthur Jafa and Laida Lertxundi, public-access activism by

  • picks April 13, 2016

    Elaine Cameron-Weir

    An alchemist has abandoned her laboratory. A long adobe wall serving as a threshold wears licks of neon like lightning contained, along with angled metal arms holding liquid candles and rearview mirrors, large pearly clamshells, and gleaming silver. Concocted from terrazzo tabletops shaped like butterfly wings and the spotless chrome of lab equipment, the stations beyond the wall, including Sentry Tactical Like Prey with Evolutionary Eyes of a Predator on the Wing 2 (all works 2016), hold flickering flames of cooking frankincense—filling the vast rooms with a churchy and ancient aroma. Within

  • picks March 21, 2016

    Nathaniel Mellors

    It’s like watching television, but even more fucked up. There are many ways, of course, to fuck up a television show, but artist and musician Nathaniel Mellors, for his debut solo exhibition here, gives us the shape and cues of a British sitcom as warped by the absurdist tragicomedy of Samuel Beckett and the squelching oeuvre of Paul McCarthy. Mellors’s video series “Ourhouse,” 2010–16, for instance, features a chubby man known as The Object eating and excreting books whose contents corrupt the lives of a nuclear family with walk-on troglodytes and casual cannibalism.

    Spend an hour in this world

  • Julie Weitz

    Beyond a glass front door, metal chains dangled breezily over a carpet of pink eggshell foam, which sprang back buoyantly from each footstep, absorbing its sound. Velvety black walls led beyond a wall of mirrors into the soft, gently throbbing darkness of the gallery’s main room. A deep, almost sepulchral pulse seeped in from adjoining rooms, resonating with spooky syncopation, accompanied here and there by the jingle of spectral bells, a phantom trumpet. Six projections and three works on flatscreens, angled in odd directions through the space’s irregular rooms, were doubled in the mirrors’

  • diary February 26, 2016

    Dear John

    ACROSS THE STREET from sunset tourists posing for snaps in front of Chris Burden’s Urban Light, jumping distance from chopped-up sections of the Berlin Wall, the first-floor windows of an International Style two-story building read over and over again, I WILL NOT MAKE ANY MORE BORING ART.

    An exercise cooked up in 1971 for a class at Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, the words adorn these windows but also currently a hallway downtown at the Museum of Contemporary Art, and are available on pencils as merch across the street at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, a marketing tie-in for a

  • Robert Barry

    Passing through Rudolph Schindler’s Bethlehem Baptist Church, one witnessed fifty-one glimmering words, which whispered from the walls of this nearly forgotten architectural monument. One of only a few modernist masterpieces still intact in South Central Los Angeles, and one of even fewer located in this once-segregated neighborhood (the result of restrictive housing covenants), the church was built in 1944 to serve an African American congregation. It would later be sold and then abandoned before undergoing a partial renovation by Reverend Melvin Ashley in 2013. After briefly serving his

  • picks January 25, 2016

    William Leavitt

    A sci-fi laboratory and a suburban patio weirdly mingle in William Leavitt’s installation The small laboratory (all works 2015). Both a sculpture and a set for an as yet unpublished play, the work includes a bit of repurposed rattan crowning a mysterious black obelisk, while nearby, a long, clear cylinder bubbles milky liquid, and terra-cotta-potted tropical houseplants brush against copper-spray-painted found objects naked with wires. In the background, plastic tubes are topped with the kind of painted spheroid most commonly found in grade-schoolers’ models of the solar system. The installation