Andrew Berardini

  • Left: Eric Doeringer's The Hug at the opening of Artissima. Right: Artissima director Sarah Cosulich Canarutto with artist and curator Maurizio Cattelan. (Photos: Giorgio Perottino/Artissima)
    diary November 12, 2014

    Close Calls

    ONLY MINUTES INTO THE OPENING and the palace was packed. Just after 6 PM, on the wet streets of Turin, a suited and heeled mob pushed at the doors of Palazzo Cavour for SHIT AND DIE, Artissima’s inaugural event. Artissima is owned by the region and is as much festival as fair; its off-site exhibitions, falling under the umbrella “One Torino,” and on-site prizes are as much a draw as the commercial galleries boothed in the Lingotto Oval event center. Curators Maurizio Cattelan, Myriam Ben Salah, and Marta Papini culled the title from a work by Bruce Nauman, waiting until the last moment to announce

  • Left: Curator Ximena Caminos with Venice Biennale curator Okwui Enwezor. (Photo: David Prutting/BFA) Right: The Assume Vivid Astro Focus roller disco. (Photo: Carolina Bonfanti)
    diary October 22, 2014

    Roller Models

    AFTER TWENTY HOURS of cramped airplanes and layovers, moving gradually from stark Los Angeles freeways to the leafy boulevards of Buenos Aires, I found myself sitting next to Ximena Caminos, director and chief curator of the Faena Art Center in the baroque interior of El Mercado restaurant. Caminos was helping to host the tenth anniversary of the Faena district with a celebratory roller disco by the ever-energetic Assume Vivid Astro Focus and a coterie of international travelers to show off the charm of Argentina’s capital. Perpetually clad in all white with a variety of cowboy hats sporting a

  • View of “A Book and a Medal: Disentanglement Equals Homogenous Abstractions,” 2014.
    picks September 30, 2014

    Edgar Arceneaux

    More than a few tales tangle and collide in the hallowed half-light of Edgar Arceneaux’s Gesamtkunstwerk about the depths and vanity of human endeavor. All the disparate elements coalesce around Martin Luther King’s life and death. Amid theatrical tableaux walled by wood palettes, translucent mirrors, sundry wall works, and a feature-length video, Arceneaux’s installation pivots conceptually on the last major speech King gave against Vietnam and the perilous power of technology. This premise unfurls to include the coincidence of his assassination two days before the premier of 2001: A Space

  • Left: Artist Rashid Johnson with collectors Mera Rubell and Don Rubell. (Photo: Stefanie Keenan) Right: Artist Aki Onda. (Photo: Andrew Berardini)
    diary September 18, 2014

    Islands in the Stream

    AMID THE CONFLAGRATION of bright new spaces and fall premieres, hardly anyone talks about closings. In the courtyard of the Hammer Museum last Wednesday, I waited for the twilight event of Made in L.A. 2014. The localist biennial divides the past few years’ time of alternative spaces and communitarian flux from the recent burst of commercial galleries expanding, warehousing, and franchising into the city. In the courtyard of the museum, I stumbled into the going-away party for Sarah Stifler, the Hammer’s now former director of communications en route to her new gig as chief communications officer

  • John Altoon, Untitled, 1964, pastel and ink on illustration board, 56 × 40“. From the series ”Hyperion," 1964.
    picks July 24, 2014

    John Altoon

    In a 1954 de Kooning knockoff called Mother and Child hung at the beginning of John Altoon’s long-posthumous (and very politely hung) retrospective, a lone squiggle floats like an errant feather across the surface of seething figures. Laura Owens points it out in the show’s stellar catalogue (which also includes a brilliant, anal-recussive screed by Paul McCarthy that would make Pere Ubu blush). Altoon’s singular career flows out of that single, wholly deliberate, slightly sploogy mark.

    A little fleshy, a little gross, his spacey pastel abstractions sometimes look like reassembled fourth-dimensional

  • View of “Contort Yourself,” 2014.
    picks July 17, 2014

    “Contort Yourself”

    The small, sincere voice of Sue Tompkins echoed from the courtyard into the gallery during the opening of “Contort Yourself,” an exhibition of four Glasgow-based artists. Singing with all the passion of a teenage punk chanteuse but with none of the backing music, Tompkins’s voice was at first jangly, then awkward, settling into its own strange beauty by the end of her performance. Inside the ample, James Turrell–designed gallery, her paintings and works on paper include smallish gestures—signs, letters, shapes—writ loud, like her voice, by the odd and singular force of their aesthetic ardor.

  • Left: Stuart Comer, MoMA chief curator of media and performance, with dealer Sarah Gavlak. Right: LACMA chief curator of contemporary art Franklin Sirmans with LA MoCA director Philippe Vergne. (Photos: Stefanie Keenan)
    diary July 04, 2014

    Go West

    “HOLLYWOOD” IS NOT JUST SYNECDOCHE FOR AN INDUSTRY; it’s also a very real, and seriously weird, place. Trawling the flickering neon of its mostly low-rent territory last Thursday and Friday, I found myself at a quartet of gallery openings, the most notable being the inauguration of Gavlak Gallery’s new H’wood outpost, with a dinner at old standby Musso & Frank.

    I began in West Hollywood, the wealthy municipal enclave and boys’ town, where I caught “Soft Target,” a group show at M+B curated by artists Phil Chang and Matthew Porter. The only remaining contemporary gallery on Almont, a strip that’s

  • Left: LA MoCA director Philippe Vergne and collector Maurice Marciano. (Photo: Billy Farrell/ Right: Diana Ross performs. (Photo: Jessica Kantor)
    diary April 04, 2014

    Love Hangover

    LAST FRIDAY NIGHT at 9:09 PM, a 5.1 magnitude earthquake shivered through Los Angeles. At the Museum of Contemporary Art, the crowd watched videos sway, stuffed animals tremble, and Kandors clink. A small opening for friends and supporters was inaugurating the final stop of the late Mike Kelley’s retrospective, the day before the museum’s slightly less intimate annual gala. Besides a few deep breaths and nudges, everyone loved the show, a homecoming for the lost artist at the almost-lost museum, nearly sunk by financial profligacy. Art historian and Kelley catalogue contributor George Baker

  • Left: Writer Dave Hickey. (Photo: Andrew Berardini) Right: Paige Fox, Justine Bateman, and ALAC director Tim Fleming at Sheats Goldstein House. (Photo: Stefanie Keenan/Getty Images)
    diary February 05, 2014

    Carnival Barker

    “I LOVE LOS ANGELES,” declaimed Dave Hickey as he fingered a pack of cigarettes a few minutes before his talk last Wednesday at the Grand Central Market downtown. “It’s just like Las Vegas: You’re never far from your angels or devils.” These days it doesn’t feel like you’re far from anybody. Wait long enough and everyone will move to Los Angeles.

    Hickey’s talk, organized by LA MoCA, kicked off one of the fullest weekends in the annals of art in the city. After “Pacific Standard Time” and “Made in L.A.” as well as dozens of middling art fairs and festivals, the city feels above apologizing for

  • View of “Exterior and Interior Color Beauty,” 2014.
    picks February 04, 2014

    Morgan Fisher

    Morgan Fisher has spent his brilliant career removing choices, framing perimeters, and constructing (not composing) works of art with an exceedingly dry sense of humor. In their simple frames and leaders, his films and paintings reveal their structures and consequently the machinations that define them. And so, in his own way, did his father—an unsuccessful maker of prefab houses who contracted color consultant Shepard Vogelgesang to select the paint colors for the off-the-shelf domiciles, creating decorative schemes in pleasing combinations. Displayed at the gallery’s counter, “Exterior and

  • View of Chalet Hollywood, 2013.
    slant December 24, 2013

    Andrew Berardini

    A YEAR OF STRANGE ROOMS, STORIED INTERIORS. A city of secret gardens and hidden beauties, Los Angeles, dappled and palm-treed in the midday sun, always hides more than she gives. Too many tourists cheap thrill-it at shitty nightclubs and then bag on the traffic to peer behind that blank storefront vitrine or notice the quietly marked doors on shady backstreets.

    Tucked behind the storefronts along Hollywood Boulevard, a valet’s jog from Musso and Frank’s, Piero Golia stood above a Pierre Huyghe aquarium, feeding a silver-shelled crab a shivering live meal amidst a forest of angled white oak. He

  • View of “David Snyder,” 2013.
    picks October 23, 2013

    David Snyder

    Ectoplasm is of course gross. Leaking from the ears, noses, and throats of Victorian spiritualists caught in scattered pictures, this proven fakery globbed and congealed, providing for the credulous visceral evidence of afterlife, the slimier the better. Though not the first thing glanced in David Snyder’s current exhibition, a huge slathery snotball of ectoplasm fills the main gallery of the show. A painting, Portrait of a Nugose (all works 2013), hides just behind the goo-heap—get close enough to try and read its subtle lines and the piece begins to joggle and shift, a crack in its veneer