Andrew Berardini

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

    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

    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

  • 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.”

  • 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 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

    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,

  • JONAS WOOD

    Curated by Anna Katherine Brodbeck

    In the clean sunlight beaming over every curling vine, fanning leaf, and flowerpot in the paintings and drawings of Jonas Wood, you can feel Southern California. For his first solo US museum exhibition in nearly a decade, featuring more than thirty works created between 2006 and the present, Wood brushes LA’s cool color into strange planes and stony angles. He pulls from the hard-edge spatial manipulations of Stuart Davis, the lush homes depicted by Sylvia Sleigh, and the late cutouts of Matisse, channeling an optimistic and elemental energy into compressed and

  • picks December 14, 2018

    Max Hooper Schneider

    In a tiny room with walls painted an unappetizing salmon color, above an off-gassing industrial gray carpet, four weird little worlds by Max Hooper Schneider cluster like apocalyptic toy sets. A model train chugs on a track that curves around a goopy pink faux-geologic landscape of blooming hard-ons in Utopia (all works 2018). Lady Marlene is housed in an aquarium, where starfish crawl, anemones pulsate, and other aquatic invertebrates skitter over a reef of off-white lingerie that has undergone plastination, leaving it ghostly and visceral and just a tiny bit lewd. The blackened, crumbling

  • diary June 29, 2018

    Soft Ruins

    ON A WHITE MARBLE COLUMN, topped by the goddess Athena, that presides over the Pedion Areos Park in Athens, someone has scrawled in black an anarchy symbol. A few steps farther—under lush green trees down Mavromateon Street, past dozens of stray cats haunting the shadows cast by grand bourgeois apartment buildings—are clusters of humans talking under the streetlights in the sticky humidity of the June night. It’s only when you get close do you see they’re cooking and smoking heroin, tongues of flame licking at glass tubes. Beaming down from the fifth floor of one of the buildings, a neon heart

  • picks May 24, 2018

    Stephen Neidich and Steve Hash

    Stephen Neidich and Steve Hash make sculptures that seem caught in flypaper. In Hash’s almost classicist works, concrete limbs emerge from pools of Italian marble; the delicate folds of a hanging towel and a rippling curtain are frozen in cast concrete. While the towel hangs from the wall like a locker-room remnant, the curtain defies gravity like a stalagmite that, when peered into, reveals a mirror, and another world through the looking glass. This subject matter, in combination with Hash’s materials and their chroma, makes his sculptures feel almost funereal, memento mori.

    Neidich catches a

  • diary May 14, 2018

    Pretty Paper

    A COOL BREEZE carried the thick aroma of brick-fired pizza and the tunes of DJ Maxwell Sterling over tank-topped and shorted Angelenos as they shifted from booth to booth, tucking books into bright yellow totes under the setting sun. Here was the Acid-Free Los Angeles Art Book Market—as chill and cozy as a backyard BBQ—spread across a parking lot and two floors of Blum & Poe, the capacious commercial gallery hosting the inaugural edition, which opened May 4 and ran until May 6. With the tragic death of its organizer Shannon Michael Cane, Printed Matter postponed the 2018 edition of its wildly

  • picks May 01, 2018

    Chris Kraus

    Before Chris Kraus became a literary icon for her sharp, funny romans à clef and cultural criticism (often brilliantly churned together), she was by her own account awkwardly moving through the New York underground and art world as a “failed filmmaker.” It was her frustration with her lack of success in film that led her to pen her most famous novel, I Love Dick (1997), and there she found her voice as a writer: intimate, incisive, self-deprecating, and radically subjective. Her complete filmic oeuvre, currently on view at Château Shatto, is not a footnote to a literary career but its own gritty

  • 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)