Andy Campbell

  • picks August 03, 2018

    Young Joon Kwak and Mutant Salon

    Finding that the usual wall text has been placed on the ceiling is an early, cheeky indication that this confluence of sculptural and performance-based works is anything but typical. Two disparate collections open “CAVERNOUS”—a group of diminutive, anonymous genital sculptures borrowed from the ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives (the world’s largest repository of LGBTQ material), and a trio of outrageous wigs from Hollywood Wigs, a store located just a few paces down Hollywood Boulevard. These objects cue the themes of Young Joon Kwak’s sculptures: sexual figuration and transformation. For

  • picks July 02, 2018

    Fiona Connor

    In the fifth century BCE, a Greek cult emerged that was dedicated to the demigod Asclepius, whose province was healing and medicine. Before retiring to the holiest chamber of his temple to engage in sacred sleep, adherents of the faith would pray to Mnemosyne—goddess of memory—in the hope that their dreams would not be forgotten. Instead of soliciting the facility to remember, Fiona Connor’s sculptural replicas of club doors, “Closed Down Clubs,” 2017–2018, point to the potential foreclosure of public memory. Connor is meticulous with her reproductions, which encompass everything from the

  • picks June 26, 2018

    Lisa Davis

    The world is full of worlds—crucibles of connection and affinity that can make the present bearable or, better yet, a whole lot of fun. One such world existed in Austin in the 1990s, a group of queer musicians (mostly women) committed to expanding and refining their art, moving their listeners, and unsettling the status quo of their surroundings. “We’ll Just Rock for Ourselves” is a small but deeply felt exhibition drawn from the archives of Lisa Davis, who was there the whole time, capturing it all on film.

    Davis was, to crib a term from literary theory, a minor artist, working in the major

  • picks June 25, 2018

    Kim Zumpfe

    A few years ago, the cultural critic Roxane Gay argued for the necessity of safe spaces: “When you are marginalized and always unsafe,” she wrote, “your skin thins, leaving your blood and bone exposed. You live at the breaking point.” In her sensitive installation outside the length of a room | OR | diving into the blue sun, 2018, Kim Zumpfe has horizontally bisected a large gallery to create a space that is at once a retreat from the world and an engagement with its potential limits. A subterranean zone is filled with bedrolls and television monitors displaying the same slow-moving blue-tinted

  • “Stories of Almost Everyone”

    A KIND OF POST-CONCEPTUAL malaise crept over me when, twenty minutes into viewing “Stories of Almost Everyone,” a group exhibition centered on the narratives that “accompany” objects, I found myself spending more time reading and rereading wall texts than looking at the works themselves. Of course, one could graft this overreliance on mostly dry, institutionally crafted text onto a critical argument about the further evacuation of art’s aura—and a concomitant call for further engagement with the discourse surrounding art’s production and reception—but I don’t think that’s what curators

  • “Contemptorary:  Deep-Time Construction”

    Eunsong Kim (poet, translator, and writer) and Gelare Khoshgozaran (artist and writer) cofounded the online arts platform contemptorary.org in 2016, and have since published thoughtful, wild, and necessary writing focused on queer and women artists of color. Following a teaching residency at CCA’s graduate program in fine arts this past spring, the two will be extending the tendrils of their project with this exhibition of time-based works by artists such as NIC Kay and Asma Kazmi, and essays by Nazik Dakkach and Jennifer Tamayo, among others, addressing time as it relates

  • picks April 02, 2018

    Maren Hassinger

    Pink plastic bags, each puffed with breath and holding a small love note, cover every inch of a narrow hallway, resembling the internal linings of a body. This is Love, 2008/2018, an itinerant installation by Maren Hassinger, whose practice imbues everyday materials (wire, newspaper, bags) with the poetics of potentiality. The artist’s manipulations of both materials and space—as seen in her sculptures, installations, and choreographed works for live audiences (High Noon, 1976) or for a camera (Wind, 2013)—have been woefully understudied, and this exhibition marks an opportunity to

  • Bari Ziperstein

    Bari Ziperstein has a knack for turning the seemingly abstract geometry of ceramic sculptures into a framework for rich historical narratives. As a resident artist at the Wende Museum (which specializes in “Cold War art, culture, and history from the Soviet Bloc countries”) in Culver City, California, Ziperstein came into direct contact with artifacts of Soviet visual and material culture. That research underpins the visual language of her slab-built works for “Propaganda Pots.” Installed primarily on a long, chest-high U-shaped table, the twenty pots twisted and pressurized, obscured and revealed

  • picks March 19, 2018

    “Melting Point”

    In their inaugural biennial dedicated to clay and its capacities in contemporary artistic practice, the curators of “Melting Point” have brought together a broad and heterogeneous swath of artists. On the one hand, the show speaks meaningfully to a dedicated core of makers and scholars invested in the histories of a medium that has otherwise been marginalized in the predominate discourse on contemporary art. On the other hand, the curation meaningfully reflects a nascent and ever-expanding interest in ceramics from that selfsame contemporary art world. In effect, a big tent is erected in what

  • picks March 12, 2018

    Rodrigo Valenzuela

    Thick, gray paint peels from the walls of the gallery, revealing shocks of white underneath. A large tower has crashed to the ground (when? it’s unclear), and barricades, painted ghostly white, hide fluorescent lights, throwing shadows across the cracking walls. In this evocative environment, altogether titled Tower, 2018, one doesn’t simply encounter Rodrigo Valenzuela’s work but rather becomes drawn into its political implications.

    The artist’s large photographs scintillate. The seven works from his 2017 “Barricade” series present an achromatic playground of visual doubling and totemic sculptural

  • diary March 05, 2018

    Sans Cowl

    “HERE IN FRONT OF THIS ARCHITECTURAL BLUNDER.” That was the text Marcus Kuiland-Nazario sent me about thirty minutes before our panel was set to begin at this year’s College Art Association Conference. He was referring, of course, to James Ingo Freed’s glass-and-steel entrance portal to the Los Angeles Convention Center, which, frankly, looks like an overscale Apollo space capsule. Like most convention centers, the interior of the LACC is a sequence of immense volumes that are traversed in minutes, rather than seconds. The escalators go up and the escalators go down, but does anyone truly get

  • picks March 02, 2018

    Simone Forti

    In 1975 the choreographer Simone Forti began to collaborate with holographer Lloyd Cross—whose innovations democratized access to the technology—and the fruits of their efforts are displayed here, in the form of seven holograms. Although holograms now seem an outdated, even kitschy, medium, these works—several of which were exhibited at Sonnabend Gallery in 1978 and have not been seen since—still have the capacity to elicit unbounded wonder. All feature Forti performing solo, except for Huddle, 1975–78, which is based on one of the choreographer’s prior Dance Constructions from 1960–61. In Huddle

  • picks March 01, 2018

    “Museum of Obsessions” and “Grandfather: A Pioneer Like Us”

    When Swiss curator Harald Szeemann died in 2005, he left behind his “Museum of Obsessions,” a vast library and archive tracking his decades-long research and exhibition history. In 2011 the Getty Research Institute acquired this trove, which remains one of the largest singular archival collections housed by the institution, with more than twenty-five hundred linear feet of material. The current exhibition at the Getty Center is a first pass at sussing out Szeemann’s formidable impact on modern curatorial practice, illuminating a highly original mind. Exhibitions from the 1970s—“Monte Verità: Le

  • picks February 01, 2018

    Xylor Jane

    An accidental smudge on the left edge of PeopleMover (all works 2017) reveals Xylor Jane’s geometric paintings to be an incommensurate tug-of-war between the steady work of the hand and the roving pleasure of the eye. Like a well-crafted collection of couturier garments, these ten paintings have in common certain marks and signs—little colorful dots, lists of prime-number palindromes—and most are handsomely framed out in steel with a dull, brassy finish. And yet, each work is unquestionably its own, possessing traits unique to itself. In PeopleMover, this individuated element would be the silvery

  • Channing Hansen

    Here’s a joke: A topologist is a mathematician who can’t tell the difference between a coffee mug and a doughnut. To understand the gag you have to know what topology is: a branch of mathematics concerning spaces that are transformed through bending and stretching (but not severing or intersecting). Klein bottles and Möbius strips are examples of the kinds of subjects a topologist might invest her energies in. To a topologist, both a mug (a volume with a single hole, in its handle) and a doughnut (a volume with a single hole, in its middle) are tori—they only appear to be different, while

  • performance January 30, 2018

    Glory Be

    IN APRIL OF 2017, Diamanda Galás gave a concert in Vibiana—the airy, deconsecrated cathedral named for Saint Vibiana that once served the Catholic archdiocese of Los Angeles. Her singular ululations and yowls (perfected in songs like “O, Death”) echoed across the space. I imagined her notes as a physical substance, filling up the nave of the church like a rising tide—apocalyptic and cleansing. Ron Athey’s lush and redemptive Gifts of the Spirit: Prophecy, Discernment and Automatism (a version of which was first staged in 2010 in London) performed here nearly a year later, is a kind of

  • picks January 19, 2018

    Lezley Saar

    For most of the run of Lezley Saar’s jewel-box retrospective exhibition at this museum, a visitor could also see work by Saar’s sister, the sculptor Alison Saar, and mother, Betye Saar, a few paces away, in a separate, traveling group show. Indeed, the Saars are a formidable presence in Los Angeles—they’re the closest thing to an art dynasty we have—but as of yet, far less attention has been paid to Lezley Saar’s research-intensive and wildly speculative work. This installation seeks to amend that, bringing together four series for the first time under the winking title “Salon des Refusés.”

    Unlike

  • picks January 15, 2018

    Kristin Lucas

    Kristin Lucas’s Sole Soaker, 2015, begins at the base of an impossibly tall staircase. For this video game, a gallery visitor can become a player by picking up a nearby Xbox controller. Ascending the stairs gives one a sense of the landscape; at the edge of a lush and verdant peninsula is a blacktop parking lot, bound on two sides by water. In the distance is a blue car. At sixty meters above sea level a chime sounds and a disembodied feminine robotic voice confirms your progress. Things change quickly as the waters begin to rise, quickly engulfing the landscape, and finally cresting at the tops

  • picks January 09, 2018

    Ben Sakoguchi

    Hung in a tight grouping on a single wall, Ben Sakoguchi’s suite of twenty-four paintings, Bombs, 1983, depicts a host of nuclear weapons, tests, and strikes, and constitutes one of the most eloquent and acerbic arguments against nuclear proliferation in contemporary art. Created in just four months, the works’ small scale and significant visual wallop parallel what is most incomprehensible about atomic weapons—the deep disjuncture between their destructive capacities and their relatively small size. Rage seethes through paintings such as Mk.17, wherein the artist has added a graphic of an

  • Tanya Brodsky

    An inevitable pitfall of explaining a joke is that it is rendered unfunny, flat, and unbearable in the process. One doesn’t have to go back to Freud’s Jokes and Their Relation to the Unconscious (1905) to know that there’s more at play in comedic speech than is immediately apparent. That comedy has not only psychological but social dimensions isn’t a particularly fresh insight, but it’s one that drives cultural hermeneutics nonetheless. Or, as Lauren Berlant and Sianne Ngai put it in their recent essay “Comedy Has Issues” in Critical Inquiry, “the funny is always tripping over the not funny,