Andy Campbell

  • Postcommodity

    For “Some Reach While Others Clap,” Postcommodity took LAX-ART’s structures, both physical and organizational, as its material. Near the entrance, two of the building’s load-bearing H beams had been painted (or, in the parlance of custom-car culture, “candied”) in glittering tones of interlocking shapes, one in teals and blues and the other in vibrant pinks and reds. To make this work, the collective (currently comprised of Cristóbal Martínez and Kade L. Twist) enlisted Edgar Hernandez, president of Starlite Rod & Kustom, an autobody shop in Los Angeles renowned in magazines such as the now-defunct

  • “Candice Lin: Pigs and Poison”

    Curated by Nikita Yingqian Cai

    Michel Foucault believed that sexual minoritarians have the power to lay “diagonal lines . . . in the social fabric,” thereby recovering buried forms of feeling and relating. The same might be said of this major survey of Candice Lin’s work, which promises to put similar operations into action. Featuring dense and intricately researched installations as well as paintings, drawings, and VR films, this show will rejigger the warp and weft of what holds us all purportedly in common. For Lin to pull this off with even a modicum of success will require a viewer’s patience

  • Nayland Blake

    “NO WRONG HOLES” is the apt title of Nayland Blake’s most comprehensive survey to date, on display at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles—apt because it immediately opens onto the wit, optimism, and profundity that characterizes the artist’s work. Though ambitious in scope, this survey is not, strictly speaking, the artist’s first. That honor goes to Blake’s MFA thesis exhibition at CalArts, which was styled as a retrospective with the saccharine title “Nayland Blake, The Wonder Years: 1982–84.” Excoriating the growing cult of personality around contemporary artists, Blake opened

  • Lily Cox-Richard

    Once ubiquitous in museums, plaster casts have largely been relegated to storage rooms (or, as was the case with the plaster-cast collection at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, to the auction-house floor). The two interrelated causes might be identified as a shift in values around originality and righteous challenges to the notion of a stable canon of Western art history. Some institutions, such as the Victoria and Albert Museum in London and the Blanton Museum of Art at the University of Texas at Austin, have kept their plaster-cast collections on display. Growing up, I often visited

  • Sturtevant

    Gathering sixteen of Sturtevant’s video works, this exhibition sought to connect the artist’s strategies in televisual media to younger generations’ production, consumption, and distribution of memes on the internet. Recommending these particular videos for this kind of re-reading was the fact that nearly all are less than five minutes long, and thus handily consumable.

    Most of the works played on a bay of wall-mounted monitors, with the exception of one projected work and a pair of 2006 videos shown on two CRT cube monitors installed in the middle of the gallery. Both featured a short sequence

  • picks October 18, 2019

    Dona Nelson

    A lesson in the ardors  of making, Dona Nelson’s work thickens the experience of looking; paying attention means training oneself to revel in the little dramas erupting all over every surface as much as taking in a painting’s gestalt. Since 2003, the artist has been making double-sided paintings, often set in freestanding metal or wood frames. In their transformation from painted pictures to sculptural events (implicating the ambulatory viewer), Nelson’s canvases emphasize that presence is a prerequisite for perception. From the hundreds of decisions that inform each painting, and the works’

  • Patrick Angus

    In Patrick Angus’s painting Flame Steaks, 1985, a dozen men sit apart from each other in a dark bar. Outside, it is still daytime, and two men lean invitingly on opposite sides of the street, cruising together yet apart. Inside the establishment, one man combs his hair back while another spreads his legs (he wears mauve jeans), letting his hands dangle around his crotch in an artfully unpracticed manner. The only other bits of color in this otherwise muted scene are in the lit cherry of a cigarette, a pair of red shoelaces, the wisp of a red hanky peeking out of a back pocket, and two large


    Curated by Connie Butler with Vanessa Arizmendi

    When Lari Pittman adopted painting as a young queer artist in the 1970s, he saw the medium as a pleasurable opportunity to “fix something up.” With this can-do attitude—and its hints of an interior decorator’s fey obsessiveness—Pittman performed an energetic pirouette around the dour discussions of painting’s death. This career retrospective (the artist’s first) includes more than eighty works and proves that painting, for Pittman, has always been an occasion for conjecture (another one of his long-espoused bonnes idées), even when references to

  • Candice Lin

    The first room of Candice Lin’s solo exhibition at François Ghebaly was organized around La Charada China (Tobacco Version), 2019, an altar-like assemblage featuring the prone silhouette of a humanoid figure made from dried, pressed tobacco leaves. As in previous installations, for this work Lin cleverly deployed a host of “natural” materials (the scare quotes are necessary, given Lin’s penchant for reframing the ideological categories that have historically structured our experience of the world) to signify global histories of exploitation and colonial violence. Clay from California and the

  • interviews August 27, 2019

    Xandra Ibarra

    Kill your darlings: This perennial piece of writerly advice—as dramatic and violent in its associative logic as it is lazy in its deployment by workaday writing instructors and superstar seminar leaders—points to the challenges of revision and, by implication, the supposed hazards of attachment. The idiom implies that you wouldn’t have to kill your darlings (a certain haughtiness creeps in here) if you hadn’t let them wheedle their way into your emotional core in the first place. So: Don’t get attached.

    The work of Xandra Ibarra (AKA La Chica Boom) suggests that our darlings and s/heroes might

  • Haim Steinbach

    A poet of the everyday, Haim Steinbach has been resituating consumer and handcrafted objects on individualized laminated-shelf constructions for some forty years. Akin to Gertrude Stein’s poetry (repetitive, surprising, full of precisely calibrated connotations), Steinbach’s sculptural syntax remains relevant in its capacities to filter and compress the sensory data of the contemporary world. In his most recent works, that syntax is literally vocalized: The artist has added voice-activated devices—Amazon’s Echo, Apple’s and Harman Kardon’s smart speakers—to the dog Kongs and thrift-store tchotchkes

  • Faith Wilding

    The twelfth-century Benedictine abbess Hildegard von Bingen (known colloquially as St. Hildegard or the Sibyl of the Rhine) was a scientist, healer, composer, religious philosopher, and visionary mystic. She is perhaps best known for the last of these roles, having written down (or at least dictated) dozens of religious visions over the course of her life. Some of these visions articulate a cosmology or rehearse key moments of biblical mythology with new emphasis on the interconnectivity between the divine, the soul, and the world, offering a hermeneutics of relation. One recurring concept and

  • Corita Kent and Matt Keegan

    Amid the swelling civil unrest that would culminate in the international protest movements of 1968, a nun in Los Angeles was wavering in her faith. “I’m really frightened to say this,” Sister Corita Kent (1912–1986) wrote in a letter to a friend, “but everything appears different to me, even God, and I’m so afraid that I’m losing the foundation of my belief.” Soon thereafter, Kent took a sabbatical from her chairship of art at her order’s college and absconded to Cape Cod for the summer; by the end of her time there, she had decided to leave the order and renounce her vows. During this soul-searching

  • picks March 08, 2019

    Rona Pondick

    For the better part of the still-young twenty-first century, Rona Pondick’s primary material has been steel, out of which she has fashioned fantastical human-plant-animal hybrids that seduce and disturb in equal measure. This modest installation of recent work shows her creatively plumbing a new set of media—resin, acrylic, and modeling compound—and all their formal possibilities.

    One of her first works in these materials,Yellow Blue Black White, 2013–18, is a vibrant yellow cast of Pondick’s face attached to a “body,” a variegated mass covered with blue and black indentations. In its strategic

  • Sadie Barnette

    In Sadie Barnette’s photographic collage Untitled (Pink Diamond/ Jump), 2016, the gleaming facets of a pink diamond adjoin the upper torso of a young black girl playing in a bounce house. Part of the artist’s recent solo presentation, evocatively titled “Black Sky,” this image contains references to stereotypical girl culture and class aspiration, both of which were consistently and vibrantly invoked throughout Barnette’s expansive, multiroom installation. The upper gallery featured paintings, photographs, collages, and light boxes, while the lower space, set up to function as a living room or

  • Mary Reid Kelley and Patrick Kelley

    In Mary Reid Kelley and Patrick Kelley’s collaborative and often funny works, historical events are rendered as featherlight webs of consequences. For this series of paintings, photographs, and sculptural installations (many of which featured the characters—some historical, some invented—that populate their video In the Body of the Sturgeon, 2017, also on display here), the duo struck a more restrained tone, knitting together histories of settler colonialism, the sociosexual politics of naval life, and President Harry S. Truman’s deployment of the atomic bomb. Similar to the pair’s previous

  • Guadalupe Rosales

    On first encountering Guadalupe Rosales’s Untitled (all works 2018), a wall-based sculpture of a pager dangling from a string of pastel plastic raver beads, I felt the strange urge to look up the artist’s birth year. Here’s what I found: Rosales was born in 1980, two years before I was. While an artist’s age is often of trivial concern, it’s important here: As rough contemporaries, we have both seen telecommunications technologies shape and reshape our lived worlds, especially the experience of being a teenager in the 1990s. When we were in elementary school—she in Los Angeles, I in

  • picks December 05, 2018

    Ricky Swallow

    Following the tangle of rope comprising Ricky Swallow’s sculpture (0), 2016–18, is both a demanding and rewarding task. Twenty-six feet of the braided cotton material, cast in bronze and painted the light wheat color of ship rigging, functions like a portal onto Swallow’s meticulous process. Look in the tiny crevices of the twisting rope and sense (see would be too strong a word) the bronze underneath—a dark jumble under a light exterior. The work’s casting is as convincing as its disavowal: Rope? Nope. In Floor Sculpture with Pegs #1 and #2 (both 2018) cast bronze Shaker pegs are lined up

  • B. Wurtz

    What of the everyday? When bombast becomes routine, the quotidian is crushed to pieces and caked into something dense and foul. No rest for the weary. No rest, period. Small pleasures (that recipe, that friend, that story) are no longer spiritually fulfilling in quite the same way. Microaggressions, nightmares, and traumas cycle through one’s head: She came up the stairs and he was waiting, with his friend, to attempt to rape her. They laughed because (and we don’t have to assume) it happens every day. 

    In four sculptures and ten wall-mounted assemblages on panels, B. Wurtz managed to make an

  • picks November 29, 2018

    Keith Calhoun and Chandra McCormick

    Located about an hour outside Baton Rouge, Louisiana, near the banks of the Mississippi River, is the former site of the Angola plantation, named after the place where many of the enslaved Africans who worked and died there purportedly came from. Now it is a prison, and its consolidation with other nearby plantations has swelled its size beyond the square mileage of Manhattan. It is a place of sport—boasting a nine-hole golf course and a stadium for the annual prison rodeos—and a place of surveillance, where police officers patrol on horseback to maintain control over the approximately six