Andy Campbell

  • 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.

  • picks September 14, 2016

    Mira Schor

    Both writing about and painting language have been hallmarks of Mira Schor’s inventive practice for decades. Her latest solo show provides an opportunity to grasp the depth of this output vis-à-vis two large-scale accumulative series, separated by more than twenty years.

    Schor has described “War Frieze,” 1991–94, as a response to the 1990–91 Gulf War; and bits of language, such as “area of denial,” that appear in the eighty-canvas segment shown here are exemplary of the artist’s expert ability to massage the multiple meanings of words and phrases. She paints the line of this particular phrase as

  • picks August 16, 2016

    Betty Tompkins

    Two thick brown, purple, and green globs of oil paint are dolloped onto the top half of a small white canvas—the word “erotic” is outlined in red below. Next to it are similarly sized paintings emblazoned with the words “seiki” (“genitals” in Japanese), “weich” (“soft” in German) and “fanny flange” (British slang for “clitoris”), each painted with a different treatment. One riffs on the iconic, masculine-identified Jackson Pollock drip, while another suggests a labyrinthine pocket of vulvic space. These are just a few of the one thousand paintings that make up Betty Tompkins’s series “Women

  • picks March 04, 2016

    Edgar Leciejewski

    Made while Edgar Leciejewski was in residence at Fogo Island Arts in Newfoundland, Canada, the work on display in his exhibition “distant past / distant future” is cerebral in approaching sublimity. Of course, landscape is the overdetermined genre through which discussions of the sublime are usually circulated, but Leciejewski offers some novel escape hatches that don’t sacrifice topography’s potential for abstraction.

    Most of the pieces here are from a single series called “Rough Form,” 2014, in which black-and-white, matte photographs are concentrically collaged on top of glossy color photographs.

  • interviews January 22, 2016

    Jennifer Tyburczy

    Jennifer Tyburczy’s book Sex Museums: The Politics and Performance of Display (University of Chicago Press, January 2016) proposes that all museums have the potential to be sex museums—if a visitor approaches them right. An assistant professor of feminist studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara, Tyburczy was also the curator of “Irreverent: A Celebration of Censorship,” which was on view last year at the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art. Here, she discusses the genesis of her research and some of the unexpected surprises that come with doing work in sex museums.

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