Andrew Berardini

  • picks August 09, 2007

    Matthew Higgs

    In his latest exhibition, Matthew Higgs displays the gentle madness of a true bibliophile. As a writer and curator, Higgs has championed the forgotten mimeographs and art rags from bygone eras. Like that of any true lover of the printed page, his ardor extends to the physical properties of the book itself: size and heft, typography and paper quality, colors and design. In his art, Higgs appropriates the visual language of books: Some are chosen for the declarations of the text, others for their innovative or nostalgia-inducing look. He frames covers and title pages, setting apart each for our

  • diary July 25, 2007

    Box Trot

    Los Angeles

    Lately, new galleries have been opening with brisk regularity in Los Angeles, from aspiring blue chips founded by former directors of glitzy spaces, to enfants terribles launched by young Turks with the paint from art school still drying on their trousers. But last Thursday night’s grand closing party for the first show at The Box caused more than the usual stir. The gallery is the brainchild of young Mara McCarthy, daughter of Paul; it cultivates a decidedly nebulous business plan that acts like a nonprofit without the 501(c)3 designation—a non-nonprofit; and it opened with the work of an artist

  • picks July 18, 2007

    Julie Orser

    Rarely has the project space at Domestic been as smartly employed as it is for Julie Orser’s photo-and-video exhibition, curated by Kaycee Olsen as part of her Opus Projects and titled “Anna Moore.” The gallery space mimics the interior of a house and gives shape and context to the on-screen performance. A classic 1950s-style blonde experiences—and, on the audio track, narrates—a series of incidents both domestic and sinister, and each screen in the three-channel installation plays out different portions of a noirish suburban melodrama. Anna is a primly dressed housewife, a wigged and black-suited

  • picks June 20, 2007

    Matt Chambers

    Trudi impresario Matt Chambers’s promising debut exhibition fills this space with an installation that’s equal parts messy skater crash pad, secret hideout, and whip-smart forest of cultural reference. Large drawings line the walls like cave paintings documenting the strange rituals of the Trudi gang; they are populated with nude women, lunatics in striped ties, and monsters with razor-sharp teeth. A divine messiness inhabits every available square inch.

    Chambers has emptied his entire life into the show: The spray-painted carpet torn from his apartment’s floor stretches across the cold gallery

  • picks May 04, 2007

    Matt Greene

    In this exhibition, Los Angeles–based artist Matt Greene moves toward a more personal investigation of feminine iconography. Reminiscent of nineteenth-century Symbolism in composition, content, and literary associations, these distinctly modern paintings acknowledge the influence of popular culture on the subconscious, which Greene investigates with personal, intuitive panache. Most of the paintings depict variations in pose and form on a single female figure on a spare, ethereal field of pale color or an abstracted stairway. The women—and cross-dressing men—in Greene’s paintings (though it

  • picks April 03, 2007

    Channa Horwitz

    Channa Horwitz’s elegant drawings and paintings derive their design from a simple mathematical language, and the minute variations of their predetermined patterns play out in this exhibition across multiple series. Informed by a Conceptual imperative, Horwitz’s oeuvre falls somewhere between Minimalism and Op art, though it avoids easy placement in either. Repeating an array of eight colors and angles, the work presented here possesses the subtle, hypnotic quality found in Sol LeWitt’s wall drawings, though Horwitz art is tempered by a quality not found in his ruler-derived compositions: The

  • diary March 21, 2007

    Painting the Town

    Los Angeles

    While the Irish-at-heart stumbled through Saint Patrick’s Day fueled by unnaturally green beer and endless Jameson whiskey, I meandered past the car wrecks and sobriety checkpoints while trying to discern something—anything—about the state of painting in Los Angeles. With the evening promising a pair of Toms and new exhibitions at a trio of galleries with complimentary acronyms (LAXART, 1301PE, and ACME), I opted to limit myself to nonalcoholic beverages in order to increase my chances of making sense of it all.

    At LAXART, artist and CalArts dean Thomas Lawson was celebrating his first painting

  • diary March 05, 2007

    Wack Pack

    Los Angeles

    “Vaginas, vaginas, vaginas. Aren’t they wonderful?” one local female curator whispered to me, and indeed, the moment I stepped into Thursday’s VIP reception celebrating “WACK! Art and the Feminist Revolution,” her point had been won. The first thing one sees upon entering MoCA’s Geffen Contemporary is Magdalena Abakanowicz’s thirteen-foot-tall knitted red vagina; imagine Courbet’s L’Origine du Monde as a gargantuan tea cozy.

    Strolling among the roughly 450 works by 120 women artists, I was struck by the exhibition’s overwhelming diversity, from the truth-telling portraiture of Alice Neel and the

  • picks February 15, 2007

    “Kinky Sex (Makes the World Go 'Round)”

    “We don’t even have to win this war,” snarls Jello Biafra over speakers in this group show that, not unlike the Dead Kennedys, struts and frets in ways both caustically irreverent and politically raw. The “Secretary of War” who narrates the tune (after which the show is named) outlines to another official the economic necessity of a new geopolitical conflict, a salient theme for this group of artists. Raymond Pettibon’s ink drawings are heartbreakingly human, playing off the grandiose iconography that brings men to war. In one, an image of an old soldier touching names on the Vietnam Memorial

  • diary February 01, 2007

    Lighter Fair

    Los Angeles

    The second half of January has been surprisingly hectic in the Los Angeles art world, though last weekend’s offerings—museum-exhibition openings and an art fair—brought a quiet denouement to the frenzy of activity. The third-annual Art LA fair, held in the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium, was the most recent attempt by local boosters to compete with more pedigreed rivals—in London, New York, Basel, and Miami—and prove that the West Coast can also support a big-deal commercial showcase. But I learned quickly that market-driven cheerleaders are about as convincing as used-car salesmen, especially

  • diary January 26, 2007

    Delirious Los Angeles

    Los Angeles

    Driving from West Hollywood to Culver City to Chinatown last Saturday night, I couldn’t help but think of Woody Allen’s brief but miserable Los Angeles sojourn in Annie Hall. Cruising in a convertible down a preternaturally clean, palm-tree-lined street, Allen, the perpetually miserable New Yorker, jibes, “The architecture’s really consistent isn’t it? French next to Spanish, next to Tudor, next to Japanese.” His offhand derision did capture the schizophrenia of the LA art tour on this unseasonably chilly winter night, which offered up mournful sound art, whimsical abstraction, punk polemics,

  • picks December 27, 2006


    From beautiful photographs of Gordon Matta-Clark’s artfully sliced buildings to Robert Smithson’s Photo-Markers (from Six Stops on a Section), Laurel Hill, New Jersey, 1968, the pictures by the first-rate artists in “Interventions” circumscribe sites and situations that blur fiction and nonfiction. Each work disrupts accepted meanings and our understanding of material verity, coaxing the indeterminate potential from otherwise scripted spaces. Laurie Anderson’s Duet for Door Jam and Violin, 1975, reclaims a familiar space, her interaction with the doorway defining the very essence of the composition.

  • diary December 06, 2006

    Last Supper

    Los Angeles

    Last Saturday marked the final batch of openings in Los Angeles before the galleries trouped to Miami Beach. A strange mood of exhaustion and reservation pervaded the thinly populated Culver City crowds, ready for one marathon to end and another to begin. I started my trek at Blum & Poe, which presented Dave Muller’s new paintings of dissolving album covers. The artist lumbered through the galleries, infant daughter strapped to his chest, stoically observing the observers. Dealer Jeff Poe received visitors in the gallery’s storage area and tried to pass off former Warhol superstar Louis Walden

  • diary November 20, 2006

    Meet and Magritte

    Los Angeles

    The art world’s fawning seduction of young Hollywood employs a universal language: parties. From Tinseltown fantasy to Belgian Surrealism, my two-day jaunt through an odd swath of LA art began last Tuesday night at “pARTy 2006,” a New Yorker–sponsored event at Gemini GEL in West Hollywood, where young patrons of local cultural institutions gathered to rub elbows and hawk memberships. An army in well-cut suits and festive polyester shirts arrived to celebrate LA’s cultural capital, with well-wishers heralding from MoCA, LACMA, LAXART, LA Opera, and the Music Center, bearing names reminiscent of

  • diary November 10, 2006

    Paper Chase

    Los Angeles

    On every page of Paper magazine, the message is simple, direct, and to the point: Party, party, party, until you trip away from a hip cultural event in your Balenciaga shoes and puke into your eight-hundred-dollar Marc Jacobs bag. Paper, once a hip local broadsheet for the downtown New York scene, went glossy when the scene did and now relishes a well-constructed reputation for twenty-four-hour fashonista bacchanals that put college fraternities to shame. I joined the fashion rag Wednesday evening for its second annual Los Angeles Paper Project on day two of a caravan of promotional concerts,

  • picks November 07, 2006

    Dietmar Lutz

    The paintings in German artist Dietmar Lutz’s solo exhibition are like blurry snapshots that linger along the edges of memories. The show consists of over a dozen large-scale paintings (with a few smaller works mixed in) of Lutz's friends and accomplices, caught sometimes at leisure, other times while at work in their studios. All have a quiet, intimate feel, which creates an interesting counterpoint to Lutz's work with the artist collective hobbypopMUSEUM, what with its overtly political subjects, among them the Baader-Meinhof gang. Leached of political content, these paintings seem fetching

  • diary October 04, 2006

    County Fair

    Newport Beach, CA

    The drive down to the Orange County Museum of Art (OCMA) for the 2006 California Biennial revealed a landscape peculiar to this corner of the world: palm-tree-lined freeways choked with SUVs, a vast plateau devoid of landmarks except the spires and lights of giant malls, and the palpable feeling that everything not made of stucco was made of plastic. The OCMA seemed almost consumed by this vast sea of tract homes and office parks, and though few of the artists showing inside are from “the OC,” the culture inside the museum finds a way to deal with the California culture outside, a mélange of

  • diary September 19, 2006

    Broad Daylight

    Los Angeles

    “I do believe that LA is one of the great art capitals of the world,” pronounced Eli Broad to the donors, dignitaries, and artists attending the suitably pompous opening of UCLA’s new Eli and Edythe Broad Art Center, the munificent billionaire’s latest attempt to secure his legacy as a city father. Fresh from his latest bid for the Los Angeles Times, the former land developer and insurance executive bequeathed $23.2 million to the Art Center that bears his name (less than half his $50 million gift to LACMA, but who’s counting?). The unseasonably cloudy day did not dampen the enthusiastic spirits

  • diary September 15, 2006

    On the Road

    Los Angeles

    The Los Angeles art world opened last Friday and Saturday with a volley of bangs—and a whimper or two. While Chinatown exploded with openings on Friday night, I started my weekend sniffing cryptic fish dishes at the low-key dinner thrown by Sandroni Rey for artist Hernan Bas. We convened at the Social, an overpriced lounge usually infested with the Hollywood B-list but populated that night by a crowd familiar from Bas’s paintings: young, delicate, and mostly gay. Gallery director Nu Nguyen reluctantly admitted that the artist’s age was “twentysomething” when I noted that his CV revealed no

  • diary August 18, 2006

    Intoxicating Atmosphere

    Los Angeles

    “It’s gone from Irving Blum to Blum & Poe. Art on La Cienaga has finally come round,” said dealer Jeffrey Poe, martini shaker rattling in hand. Poe, who owns Blum & Poe with Tim Blum, pretended to Irving's swashbuckling fame at the Ferus Gallery back in the '60s, and today's scene of capable artists and wily dealers may well reclaim the boulevard’s former glory. Last Wednesday, for one night only, Poe bartended and artist Dave Muller DJed at an insiders’ pre-opening of LA’s newest art bar, the Mandrake, which sits behind a nondescript storefront on the new gallery strip. As the official launch