Andrew Berardini

  • Left: HomeLA dancers on the LA River. Right: Artist Dave Muller. (All photos: Andrew Berardini)
    diary July 20, 2015

    Rain Dance

    A RUMBLE SHUDDERED across the sky and lightning set fire to palm trees as the hot wet spatter of a tropical storm washed over a startled Los Angeles this past weekend. It hardly seemed to discourage the hordes that capered across the city for a deluge of openings and performances. Dave Muller began the weekend early on Tuesday with the inauguration of a year’s worth of his legendary Three Day Weekends at Blum & Poe. Muller manned the turntables, spinning records so strange it felt like he invented them. “This one’s psychedelic reggae,” he said. Inside, posters from Muller’s collection angled in

  • Left: China Chow at the gala for the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles. Right: Eric White, artist John Baldessari, and Patricia Arquette. (Photos: BFAnyc.com)
    diary June 05, 2015

    Different Strokes

    “LAST YEAR on this podium, we were just dating. What do you call it? A one-night stand,” said Philippe Vergne. The director of Los Angeles’s Museum of Contemporary Art was presiding over his second official gala, held outside the museum’s Geffen Contemporary site on Saturday night. This year, the museum decided to honor an artist, the octogenarian conceptualist and MoCA board member John Baldessari, letting his work inform rather than rule the decor, a subtle shift from recent years when the museum would invite artists versed at creating spectacles to turn the gala into a quasi artwork.

    Colored

  • View of “Ginger Wolfe-Suarez: A Thing Repeated Is Not Always the Same,” 2015.
    picks April 27, 2015

    Ginger Wolfe-Suarez

    And there they are, a bouquet and a sunset, again and again. In this spare installation, the materials couldn’t really be more basic. A series of landscapes depicting the same cloud-banked sunset, what seems to be another, of flowers, then light, rocks, yarn, mirrors, walls—subtle teases of scent. Yarn stretches across the corners of rooms from ceiling to floor, each colored thread a uniform few centimeters from the next, arrayed in rays of pure color over the spare, white walls, in what the artist likens to Color Fields. The yarn is soaked in essential oils, whose scent hits you like a wall,

  • View of “Eden Eden Eden,” 2015.
    picks March 20, 2015

    Juliette Blightman

    Beneath the long fronds of a potted houseplant, a sizeable black speaker rumbles like a distant party. The noise haunts or taunts, beckons or repulses, depending perhaps on whether you’re invited. From Juliette Blightman, an artist best known for her short films and installations, this suite of gouaches, graphite works, oils, and acrylics picture tangled naked men at a 5 AM party, women with their backs turned, often looking at art (sometimes noted as from the “Hair and Arse” series, 2014), women frolicking by the seaside, and clusters of friends. Interiors and trains, grand museums, fireworks

  • Michel Auder, Chelsea, Manhattan–NYC, 1990 (edited 2008), Hi8 video transferred to digital video, color, sound, 6 minutes 21 seconds.

    Michel Auder/Józef Robakowski

    I can see you. Perched near a window, looking down on the heat and honk of the sun-bright street or out to the night windows beaming like magic lanterns, you are easily observed. Looking out from their windows, Michel Auder and Józef Robakowski, who record private lives unwittingly played out in public, can see you, too. Close in age but shaped by dramatically different social and political contexts, these artists, perfectly paired by Fahrenheit director Martha Kirszenbaum, keenly observe others with a speculative, subjective eye. Under another’s lingering gaze, your most mundane acts acquire

  • Charles Gaines, Numbers and Trees II, Spike #4, 1987, watercolor, ink and pencil on masonite and acrylic sheet. 48 × 391⁄2".
    picks February 23, 2015

    Charles Gaines

    In his early work, Charles Gaines pursued a cool hunt for the unknown at the far end of the hyperrational. Sol LeWitt claimed that Conceptual artists were mystics rather rationalists, but his branch of the movement certainly employed the most rational means possible to reach their spiritual ends. With correspondence between Gaines and LeWitt on view in this early-career survey, “Gridwork 1974–1989,” the elder artist’s gnomic utterances function almost as geometric postulates, but Gaines takes that Conceptualist affection for algorithmic indices to their logical conclusion and beyond.

    Staring down

  • Mike Kuchar, Liquid Dreams, c. 1980-1990, pencil, pen, felt pens, ink on paper, 26 1/5 x 20 1/5”.
    picks January 29, 2015

    Mike Kuchar

    Burnished bubble butts beam with unholy light. Cut and uncut, huge, veiny cocks blossom from every angle. Angels and gods, gladiators and cavemen, street hustlers and bodybuilders, S-M beltings and four-way pirate fuckfests are all drawn with the bright hues and hard lines of comic-book superheroes. The Los Angeles debut of underground-film hero Mike Kuchar (best known for collaborations with his brother, George) hangs and screens five decades of lusty illustration and delightfully schlocky film. Kuchar creams and colorizes a tradition set by Tom of Finland’s pencil drawings of leathered men

  • Mira Dancy, Isis, 2015, acrylic on canvas, 66 x 55".
    picks January 28, 2015

    Mira Dancy

    Under shadowy neon and nighthawk noir, the lithe limbs and strong bodies of Mira Dancy’s numerous psychic ladies, perfume models, and mixed deities invitingly odalisque. This normally coy pose carries here a decidedly intense authority, more Marlene Dietrich than Marilyn Monroe (or perhaps more Siouxsie Sioux than Debbie Gibson). Dancy’s loose lines never goop into impasto in her paintings, but possess the super flatness of advertisements, which are clearly mimicked in her composition of elements and bold headlines for rhymable aromas (“Herfumes Perfumes”) and pawnshop clairvoyants. With allusive

  • Helen Johnson, Product Plural, 2015, synthetic polymer paint on canvas, leather, 120 x 72".
    picks January 26, 2015

    Helen Johnson

    With gossamer lyricism and cartoony glee, Australian artist Helen Johnson paints her meandering mediations in layers of figure and material, wit and research. Loose papers blow over goofy patterns and comic clips, swirling globs of paint cloud scraps of figuration, while actual clouds hide all but the pointed fingers of lithe hands with painted nails pointing out into the misty void (I opened my hand, 2014). Notes and observations are written in a loopy black cursive, mostly on the back of long, loose, unframed canvases hanging from chains. And besides the literal presence of words here, her

  • Alma Allen, Not Yet Titled, 2014, bronze, 17 1/4 x 18 1/2 x 7".
    picks January 19, 2015

    Alma Allen

    These sculptures bend, loop, puddle, swirl, and arch in ways that are both exquisitely crafted and weirdly natural. Once I heard an earful of Alma Allen’s story, plump with struggle and shitty luck, his artwork beginning as a homeless street hustle, I understood how his gentle and enduring will shaped these works with their sensual skins and gravitational force.

    For years, starting in 1993, Allen made diminutive and odd shapes carved from wood and stone, only recently adding bronze to his materials and scaling up to the multiple-tonnage range. Easily plunked into a tradition of manufacturing

  • Jonathan Horowitz, 590 Dots, 2014, acrylic on canvas. Installation view.

    Jonathan Horowitz

    The dot is a black hole and a simple mark, an infinite void and an eternal asshole, a pregnant period or simply a circle. This figure, which featured centrally in Jonathan Horowitz’s project, was first mentioned by omission—a classified listing in Night Papers’ Sex Issue that read simply, “SEEKING PARTICIPANTS for JONATHAN HOROWITZ PAINTING PROJECT . . . 30–60 mins, $20 PAID.” An odd and intriguing opportunity at first glance: Your everyday hustler might spot an easy mark and a quick Jackson, while the savvy economist might wonder about the exchange value for that labor. Animal-rights

  • Left: Artist Martha Wilson. (Photo: Sarah Bodri) Right: HotNuts cofounder Produzentin Proddy and Das Hussy. (Photo: Josh Chong)
    diary November 27, 2014

    Pole Position

    “ART CAN BE TRICKY in Toronto,” said art critic Bill Clarke. “Once you find it, it’s incredibly vibrant. But you have to find it.” We were standing in the VIA Rail Panorama Lounge in the Great Hall of Union Station during the cocktails and dinner for the fortieth anniversary of Art Metropole. Founded by artist collective General Idea in 1974, Art Metropole has for decades, with resolute passion and meager resources, distributed artists’ editions and publications, as a nonprofit bookshop, lending library, gallery, publisher, and most simply a center. The group who assembled for Thursday’s event