Andy Campbell

  • picks February 10, 2017

    Supports/Surfaces

    In 2014, this gallery held their first exhibition of artists aligned with the 1960s and 1970s French movement Supports/Surfaces, titled “Supports/Surfaces is Alive and Well,” and made an argument for the continuing vitality of these painters’ practices via the inclusion of two younger Los Angeles–based painters, Jennifer Boysen and Noam Rappaport. This time around, the venue takes a somewhat different tack. While most of the work here is from the group’s formative period, five pieces trace a career arc for one member in particular, Claude Viallat, posing an important question that would require

  • picks February 04, 2017

    Danielle Dean

    It all begins at the end, with a shoe—Nike True Red Vamps, released in 2003, so named for its striking red-and-black colorway, and for the well-worn mythological association of vampires with darkness and blood. In the hands of Danielle Dean, whose previous work is as well versed in the languages of advertising and pop culture as it is in political-economic philosophy (keep in mind the myth-rending quote from Marx: “Capital is dead labor, that, vampire-like, only lives by sucking living labor, and lives the more, the more labor it sucks”), the shoe is the starting point for a suite of videos,

  • Kandis Williams

    In his signal 1982 study of the Parisian asylum Salpêtrière, where in the late nineteenth century a women’s clinic headed by neurologist Jean-Martin Charcot treated female patients thought to be suffering from hysteria, philosopher Georges Didi-Huberman argues that the photographic tableaux authorized by Charcot, in which hysterics enacted their particular ailments, were not just of interest as disturbing curios but in fact helped lay the groundwork for the then nascent field of psychoanalysis.

    For her recent solo exhibition “Soft Colony” (its title a reference to a conversation between the artist

  • picks January 26, 2017

    Theaster Gates

    On a neat horizontal row of matte-black-bound Jet magazines, Theaster Gates has inscribed his own poetry in gold. Ever the pedagogue, the artist writes in rhythmic repetition on one segment of West Side Story, 2017, “Glissant is trying to say listen / to the water and the page / listen to the water and the page / listen to the fucking water-page / our boats are open / my boat is open / m(w)y boat / we boat.” Here he refers to Édouard Glissant, the Martinican poet and philosopher, who wrote movingly about African diasporas formed in the violent and dynamic “abyss” of the Middle Passage.

    Although

  • picks January 23, 2017

    Lari Pittman

    Lari Pittman is counting the ways. With titles such as 9 Apparitions During Times of Anxiety and Distress and 12 Verified Occurrences During a Full Moon (all works 2015), the six large-format, unique volumes (cradled lovingly in a rhythmic display designed by architect Michael Maltzan) that make up this show are books of hours for our uncertain times. Unlike those medieval illuminated manuscripts, though, these are large and unwieldy things, heavy and insistent, and yet within the context of Pittman’s oeuvre of densely layered monumental paintings, they are nevertheless intimate and beguiling.

  • picks January 16, 2017

    Stefan Burnett

    The black borders of many of the painted images in Stefan Burnett’s current solo exhibition (all works Untitled and undated) suggest an artist engaged in the process of rearticulating and reframing appropriated source images, which appear to have been photographs. Indeed, a photograph posted to Facebook in 2013 of Burnett, who also makes music, under the moniker MC Ride and as part of the band Death Grips, shows the artist seated, carefully applying paint to a dark canvas, a photograph hanging on the wall above, a cat perched on his back, cigarette butts gathered into a neat pile on a silver

  • picks December 16, 2016

    Jay DeFeo

    If a certain mythos around Jay DeFeo circulates, it is due to the perceived centrality of her long-in-development, bombastic painting The Rose, 1958–66. With this piece often presented as an obdurate but nevertheless heroic and career-defining project, many of DeFeo’s other efforts fall tragically by the wayside. This installation of the artist’s “Samurai” series, 1986–87, begins to redress this narrative, as many of these large-format paintings on paper refute the notion of a singularly careful and slow-working painter. Instead, most of these pieces show the artist’s improvisatorial hand, as

  • picks December 08, 2016

    Betye Saar

    Bird, hand, globe, eye, ship; cage, hold, fan, mirror, compute. Betye Saar’s dense cosmology of signs and gestures is at the center of this pair of exhibitions, giving viewers opportunity to take in over half a century of this Los Angeles–based artist’s output. The works here are organized into two conceptually connected yet spatially distinct exhibitions: “Blend” and “Black White.”

    The first gathers together a sequence of assemblages, works on paper, and a large techno-voodoo altar, Mojotech, 1987, which is still gloriously weird nearly thirty years on. The four antique cages that dot the room

  • picks December 05, 2016

    Kathryn Andrews

    Get close—such is the suggestion of Kathryn Andrews’s two sculptures (both titled, fittingly, Stormtrooper [all works cited, 2016]) as to the most suitable way to view her latest series of works. In each, a replica storm trooper costume is attached to a large steel cylinder, its feet just inches off the ground. Because each figure is so close to its bulky support, its reflection is hardly distorted at all, and we only share in its condition when we are likewise situated.

    This intimacy between object (cylinder) and subject (storm trooper) models how a viewer is meant to encounter the other wall-based

  • The Year in Performance

    “I AM GOING THROUGH HARD TIMES,” Sondra Perry intoned, introducing a live presentation of her 2015 video Lineage for a Multiple-Monitor Workstation: Number One this past June in London at the Serpentine Pavilion. Perry was reciting a statement Yvonne Rainer had famously written for the Museum of Modern Art’s 1970 exhibition “Information.” “In the shadow of real recent converging,” Perry continued with a faltering voice,“formalized choreographic gestures seem trivial.” Rainer’s declaration, penned forty-six years ago, presciently articulates the particular challenges that choreographers, performance

  • picks November 26, 2016

    Paul Thek

    In a 1966 interview with Gene Swenson, Paul Thek described his series of “Technological Reliquaries,” 1964–67, as “agnostic,” adding that they “lead nowhere, except perhaps to a kind of freedom.” This profoundly quixotic statement could be handily applied across the entirety of the artist’s output. As is the case of any artist with a wide-ranging practice, a retrospective exhibition of Thek’s work is likely to raise accusations of omission, yet this tight, elegiac presentation manages to give a sense of both scope and depth to a complicated oeuvre.

    Each of the three galleries here presents a

  • picks November 18, 2016

    Beatriz Cortez

    I now carry in my wallet a receipt that reads, “When the future comes: We will have fought for economic justice / Cuando llegue el futuro: Habremos luchado por la justicia económica.” This carnival-amusement-like “fortune” was produced after pressing the button of The Fortune Teller (Migrant Edition) / La máquina de la fortuna (edición migrante), 2015, one of the four conceptually precise works that make up Beatriz Cortez’s solo presentation at this museum. Culled from the experiences and words of a group of collaborators, all immigrants, Cortez’s fortunes are invocations for collective action,

  • picks November 14, 2016

    Mickalene Thomas

    “Do I look like a fucking lady or what?” So begins one of Adele Givens’s many appearances on Russell Simmons’s Def Comedy Jam. She continues, “I like being a fucking lady, especially in the ’90s. We get to say what the fuck we want to, don’t we, girls?” Almost two decades later, Mickalene Thomas, whose solo exhibition is titled after the performer’s brilliant greeting (minus the F-bomb), responds in the affirmative.

    At the center of Thomas’s installation is a twelve-minute two-channel video, Do I Look Like a Lady (Comedians and Singers), 2016, which collages together footage of a host of black

  • Shio Kusaka

    More than one hundred ceramic vessels and figurines by Shio Kusaka populated a single pedestal (topped with light-pink Formica) that coursed through the three galleries of Blum & Poe’s ground floor. At one end of this giant horseshoe-shaped display was a grouping of pots whose decorative schemes suggested two strawberries, two beach balls, and a watermelon. At the other end was a cluster of five tall vases decorated with dinosaurs that grapple with one another, their claws and teeth drawing comical red-glaze blood. In between was a diverse range of experiments in arrangement and categorization,

  • picks October 24, 2016

    Isa Genzken

    Although it may seem that the work of Isa Genzken and Michael Asher could not be more different—materially, conceptually, and in terms of the history of their critical reception—a connection is nevertheless drawn between them via the titling of Isa Genzken’s solo exhibition: “I Love Michael Asher.” Why the artist loves Asher, and how or if such admiration shows up in the work, is left for the viewer to parse.

    Historical influence is one of the trickiest claims to make about an artist, and Genzken seems to know it, exploiting this tight spot to hilarious effect. For example, no images of Asher or

  • picks October 14, 2016

    Barbara T. Smith

    Outfitted in a white dress and matching head wrap, Barbara T. Smith sits on the ground. She places a photograph ceremoniously on a piece of fabric, next to eight others. This is the tarot by way of Roland Barthes’s Camera Lucida; photographs of plants, architectural spaces, friends, students, colleagues, and the artist’s own body form the major and minor arcana of The Cloistered Study, 1976, an arrangement based on Smith’s performance at the experimental Johnston College of the University of Redlands, where she taught at the time. An enlarged black-and-white photograph documenting Smith’s

  • picks October 11, 2016

    “Protuberances”

    Park McArthur suggested in this past summer’s issue of Artforum that identity is an expandable pocket, “like the bottomless velvet bags used at magic shows.” In a parallel universe, I imagine that this pocket looks a lot like A. K. Burns and Katherine Hubbard’s In Spirit of “Knuckles” the Handbag, 2014, in this group show. Both campy and base, it is at once a crocheted purse and a plastic bag, encrusted with doorknobs, ceramic mug handles, utility knives, a quartz crystal, and a papier-mâché hand. This exterior appears to be about a hand’s work—the array of objects we take hold of to hurt, heal,

  • Warren Neidich

    It is a middling insult to be denied a plot on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. After all, inductees (or, more accurately, their agents, production companies, and fan clubs) must pay the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce $30,000 to have their names inlaid on one of the pink terrazzo stars that line Hollywood Boulevard. While Godzilla, the Rugrats, and Lassie all have stars, a number of well-regarded actors have declined theirs. As many industry magazines have noted, the Walk of Fame is not really a cultural monument, but rather a gnarly tentacle of the Hollywood hype machine.

    One person who takes the

  • picks September 26, 2016

    Brian Paumier

    “Up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right, b, a, start”—many who played console video games in the 1980s and 1990s will recognize this particular cheat code. Developed by a programmer at Konami who wanted to shortcut his game during testing, the sequence of buttons is now commonly referred to as the Konami code, and it has long been a source of jokes in the gaming industry.

    The title of Brian Paumier’s exhibition references this code but intentionally gets it wrong; the title begins “Up, Down, Up, Down.” This misstated sequence can be seen as a poetic enhancement of the code, conveying a

  • picks September 16, 2016

    Erika Vogt

    Four monumental knives line a long wall in the first room of Erika Vogt’s solo presentation “Eros Island: Knives Please Rise.” On one end is Dylan Knife (all works 2016) an enlarged outline of a pre-Inca ceremonial blade shaped like an arm—from the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s collections—while on the other end is Richard Knife, a nineteenth-century surgical saw for amputations. They are countered on an adjoining wall by three brown sculptures in the shape of protective vests (“Hex 1-3”); their open, latticelike, hexagonal array describes military and corporate innovations in ceramic body armor.