Andrew Berardini

  • Choreographer and dancer Stephen Galloway.
    diary June 15, 2022

    Reborn this Way

    “THE SLEEPER MUST AWAKEN.”

    On a banner trailing an airplane circling the South Shore Cultural Center in Chicago, this message read mysteriously to all who spied it in the soporific sunset heat, including those like me coming to the Renaissance Society’s first benefit under its new director Myriam Ben Salah and orchestrated under an impresario, the grandly sly Italian artist Piero Golia.

    After too many buses and trains from the airport, I walked through the deepening dusk under rounded terracotta arches alongside the long drive leading up to the front doors of the 1909 Mediterranean Revival former

  • Samara Golden, Guts, 2022, glass mirror, expandable spray foam, acrylic paint, dichroic vinyl, wood, fabric, plastic, paper, nail polish, wire, vinyl floor tile, LED lights, XPS foam board, latex paint, 17 × 26 × 31".

    Samara Golden

    Samara Golden’s got guts. The manifold meanings of this terse visceral word—whether it refers to one’s corporeal intuition, a vigorous form of bravery and conviction, a gnawing anxiety that twists inside the belly, or that cathartic moment when a torrent of emotions and stories erupt from one’s body—were marvelously uncoiled and spilled across “Guts,” the artist’s solo exhibition at Night Gallery.

    For more than a decade, Golden has been making spaces in what she has called the “sixth dimension” via her otherworldly installations, where mirrors reflect this realm and those beyond. Foam-insulation

  • View of Mrinalini Mukherjee’s Devi, 1982, Rudra, 1982, Vanshree, 1994 in the Giardini della Biennale. Photo: Chloe Wyma.
    diary April 27, 2022

    Eyes Wide Shut

    WE SLIP INTO REVERIE. 

    The traditional death notices along the passages and vaporetto stops around Venice have more faces than usual. The blue and yellow flag of Ukraine flaps in the cold breeze blowing off the lagoon. The carnival masks stare from shop windows at the face masks of those on the other side of the glass. Mingling with the throngs of holiday tourists, an art world sweeps in on boats and trains, buses and planes into the Most Serene Republic for the professional days of the fifty-ninth Biennale di Venezia after a long pandemicked wait of three years, and amid a war of aggression in

  • View of Chris Burden’s Dreamer’s Folly, 2010, presented by Gagosian at Frieze Los Angeles, 2022. Photo: Casey Kelbaugh.
    diary March 01, 2022

    Like a Virgin

    I FELT LIKE I was artfairing for the very first time. Was it always this distracting, so disorienting? The return of FOMO is particularly weird. Between the Super Bowl and the Oscars, Los Angeles had its first major art week since February 2020. Though centered around the Frieze Art Fair in Beverly Hills, the pageantry also included the Felix Art Fair at the Roosevelt Hotel in Hollywood, Spring Break (an artist-directed fairish thing) in Culver City, and about a million parties and openings, dinners, launches, screenings, and talks.

    For some, the week began at the beloved artist Kaari Upson’s

  • View of “Aria Dean,” 2021. Photo: Brica Wilcox.

    Aria Dean

    Inside velvety-black curtains shaping an oblong chamber between the concrete columns of the gallery, a checkered black-and-white carpet led to a curved film screen whose gravity appeared to warp the gridded pattern. Sit down for a while—the kudzu are dancing.

    Immigrant vine, Southern cliché, official noxious weed: This widely reviled plant hungrily crawls with almost preternatural speed across landscapes to soak in sun, covering just about anything in its flurries of leaves. Once spilled, kudzu loves to spread, only ever given shape by the structures it covers which, in Aria Dean’s video installation

  • 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