Andy Campbell

  • picks June 30, 2017

    “Blue Danube”

    Vulgarian is an insult you don’t hear often anymore (Graydon Carter’s description of the “short-fingered vulgarian” who now occupies the White House notwithstanding). Emily Post famously defined the term in her 1922 guide Etiquette, as those who “never had an opportunity to acquire cultivation.” Stemming from the Latin word vulgaris, meaning common or ordinary, the vulgarian was a bogeyman of twentieth-century American class relations—bringing together poor taste in consumption and crude behavior to form a type. But this figuration of the commoner also has the potential to be recuperated in the

  • picks June 19, 2017


    Collages can be construed as a mode of time travel, as they are made from bits of material or images, usually culled from everyday life, that are put into adjacency. Those who seek to interpret collages not only keep in mind the effects a particular work might have on a viewer (surreal and uncanny are old sawhorses) but also that they must record the respective histories of the individual pieces of the whole, relaying how images and text can be repurposed, retooled, and resignified. In this way the technique has been proposed as a thoroughly modern or postmodern (pick your poison) media. It

  • picks June 12, 2017

    Al Loving

    So voracious is the presence of the twelve works in this focused retrospective of Al Loving’s work, set as they are against the inert framing of the white cube, that they might be better described by the activities that resulted in their making: stack, weave, layer, tear, cut, drip. The five works in the first gallery are essentially collages of interwoven spirals and grids, often brightly painted, glittered, and glossed to a gaudy, reflective shine. At once galactic and crafty, they push against orthodoxies of the medium, as they are without ground or matrix onto which the various elements are

  • picks June 09, 2017

    Mai-Thu Perret

    When Monique Wittig wrote Les Guérillères (The Guerillas) in 1969, she was already a celebrated author in France. She pioneered a mode of storytelling that put female protagonists at the epicenter, and formulated a writing style that set narrative fragments in loose coordination with one another, challenging orthodox boundaries between prose and poetry (something that fellow feminist theorist Hélène Cixous would later term l’ecriture feminine). Les Guérillères chronicles the goings-on of an army of women. Throughout the text, in which Wittig’s subjects are often referred to collectively, the

  • picks May 15, 2017

    Pippa Garner

    The genre of prop comedy is too easily dismissed. Think of the groans or eye rolls elicited by the mere mention of Carrot Top or Gallagher—two performers who are readily aligned with the form. What often gets lost in this general annoyance, though, is the comic’s ability to fuse, and sometimes counter, cultural norms and expectations via the mechanical processes of prototyping and invention. When done right, the results of such comedy are as compelling as they are challenging and can amount to a critique of labor under capitalism (the gimmick, as Sianne Ngai points out in her recent lecture “

  • picks May 08, 2017

    McDermott & McGough

    Three large paintings of domestic interiors fill the garage of this bungalow gallery. They depict well-appointed spaces—plush furniture, fresh flowers, and plants are the only occupants of these rooms. Where there are windows, curtains are drawn to cover them. A copy of Gore Vidal’s The City and the Pillar (1948) hangs out on a red Eames chair in Furnishings, Works of Art, and Other Status Symbols (all works dated anachronistically, 1965/2017), and a short stack of midcentury crypto-homosexual magazines (Male Figure, Grecian Guild Pictorial, and Tomorrow’s Man) touches the bottom edge of the

  • picks May 04, 2017

    Roni Shneior

    A large painting of an agave plant, titled Agave, 2017, serves as a fulcrum in this exhibition of painting and sculpture from Israeli-born, Los Angeles–based Roni Shneior. Unlike the agaves that one might find in a nursery, springy and symmetrical with dazzling leaves, this artist’s greenery is filled with a near-human pathos. Its components are variously at attention and rest; some impotently bend over, like half-hearted attempts at origami. The colors are muted—drab, mournful. The ghostly edges of the leaves are echoed in the lozenge-shaped “eye” that hovers above the plant and whose foggy

  • Sadie Benning

    “The 1950s were still very present,” remarked Sadie Benning of their 1970s childhood. “Whatever happens in the moment, it’s like a ripple effect. Something happens politically that affects people for many generations.” Gun/Egg, 2017, a triptych on display in Benning’s solo presentation at Susanne Vielmetter, subtly illustrates this point. In the work’s photograph-within-a-photograph that the artist inserted into a colorful painted wooden construction, a small black-and-white photo of a girl (who bares her teeth with the awkward vigor of someone who has been compelled to “smile BIG!”) is casually

  • picks April 10, 2017

    Charles Ross

    On the way to see Charles Ross’s first solo show in Los Angeles, I drove past one of the city’s many parks. There were shirtless men running, families strolling, and sunbathers lying on the grass—a picnic or a joint (or both!) near at hand. This scene provided a strangely apropos lead-in to the artist’s body of work, which, while abjuring any recreational activities under the sun, makes much of the science of sunlight.

    Almost half the works that make up this exhibition are from Ross’s long-running series “Solar Burns,” 1971–. These drawings—Ross has referred to them as “portraits of light”—index

  • picks March 30, 2017

    Jennie Jieun Lee

    By building a wooden catwalk, a vantage raised a couple feet from the gallery’s floor, Jennie Jieun Lee has transformed her solo exhibition of large-scale ceramic works into a total installation. The reclaimed wood out of which this architectural intervention was made, with both unpainted and whitewashed boards, serves to bring together standing sculptures such as Silent Activism and Adeline Boone, both 2017, as well as slab-rolled wall reliefs such as Public Transportation, 2017, while also exaggerating the gallery’s most prominent feature—a steep, grave-like concrete pit, vital to the space’s

  • picks March 27, 2017

    Justin Olerud and Patricio Manuel Bernal Morales

    The concomitant and proliferating desires of sex are at the center of this two-person exhibition. Justin Olerud’s paintings of Western ware, such as a saddle (Dusty Saddle, all works 2017) and a longhorn skull, hang in the first room and are sporadically interrupted by paintings featuring young chiseled, mostly nude white men dressed in cowboy garb (Lone Star and lone star), closely approximating—or appropriating—Bob Mizer’s legendarily camp photo shoots for his AMG studio from the 1950s to the 1970s. Lying about on the floor are large tumbleweeds, presenting obstacles to easy movement throughout

  • picks March 14, 2017

    “Escape Attempts”

    The 1973 Lucy Lippard essay from which this show takes its title offers an account of a certain slice of Conceptualism within the political ferment of New York in the 1960s. For Lippard, Minimalism served as an important foil for the doings of a group of artists who essentially sought to do “more with less.” The same is true for this group exhibition, which is not so much a counter to Minimalism as a reorientation of some of its key strategies—something that artists have been doing since that essay, perhaps most memorably Kirsten Justesen in her Sculpture II, 1968, which pictured a woman’s body

  • picks March 13, 2017

    Anna Craycroft

    What does it take to listen? Like looking and seeing, the difference between hearing and listening is significant—the former is a rote sensory activity, the latter a cognitive and affective process of absorption and integration. Listening, and the architectural conditions that might support it, is the focus of Anna Craycroft’s Tuning the Room in Variable Frequencies and Tuning the Room in Constant Amplitudes, both 2017, which make up her site-specific installation. Of the two contrasting spaces, the first is light and airy—metallic vinyl-tape murals of abstract sound waves line the walls, and

  • picks March 01, 2017

    Dave Hardy

    Dave Hardy’s polyurethane-foam constructions have important historical precursors ranging from the fairly well known—John Chamberlain’s hog-tied foam bundles of the late 1960s—to the more obscure—Claude van Lingen’s “Flexibles” series of the 1970s. Even so, Hardy’s deployment of his material is singular; he soaks his foam in concrete and then twists and folds it into improbable switchbacks and fleshlike extensions. During the curing process Hardy adds pencils, pretzels, panes of glass, vertical blinds, and simple wood constructions, pressing these materials into the slowly ossifying form. Thus,

  • picks February 17, 2017

    Allan Sekula

    Near the beginning of this exhibition of Allan Sekula’s early work is one of the artist’s many collaborations with the theorist Noël Burch, Reagan Tape, 1981. Intercutting Ronald Reagan’s first speech after his inauguration with clips from films he starred in prior to his political career, the question seems to be how to take a man seriously who attempted to teach a chimpanzee English at the dinner table in Bedtime for Bonzo (1951). And yet there he is, a political animal trained in theater, prodding his viewers to vacillate between alarm and reassurance, saying, “Can we who man the ship of

  • picks February 10, 2017


    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.


  • 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.