Andy Campbell

  • View of “Lezley Saar: Salon des Refusés,” 2017–2018.
    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.”

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  • View of “Kristin Lucas,” 2017–2018.
    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

  • View of “Ben Sakoguchi: Bombs,” 2017.
    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

  • Laura Aguilar, Three Eagles Flying, 1990, three gelatin silver prints, each 24 × 20".

    Laura Aguilar

    IN LAURA AGUILAR’S PHOTO Will Work For #4, 1993, the artist is pictured holding a cardboard sign that reads ARTIST WILL WORK FOR AXCESS. She’s standing in front of a gallery’s concrete exterior, panhandling for an “in.” It would be too easy to see “Laura Aguilar: Show and Tell,” her retrospective at the Vincent Price Art Museum in Los Angeles, as the obvious and final answer to this performance, or as a palliative for the paucity of representation of brown, queer, impoverished, and chronically ill folks—all of whom are brought to the fore in Aguilar’s body of work—in an institutional

  • Tanya Brodsky, More Fucking Hoops, 2017, metal and chrome footrests, balloon, 21 × 16 × 16".

    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,

  • View of “Michael Queenland: Roam,” 2017.
    picks December 24, 2017

    Michael Queenland

    Spazzatura, the Italian word for “trash,” is more specific than the generic rifuiti (which can be translated as “refuse” or “waste”) and is certainly more fun to say. Sharing a root with the Latin verb spatior—meaning “to walk around”—the word suggests a connection between the detritus on the street and the activity of walking by it. One person who clearly doesn’t bypass trash, though, is Michael Queenland, whose solo exhibition “Roam” comprises a grouping of floor-bound tile sculptures ornamented with high-resolution scans of trash, refuse which the artist happened upon while walking

  • picks December 18, 2017

    Gala Porras-Kim

    The final chapter of Gala Porras-Kim’s three-part investigation focused on the Proctor Stafford Collection—from the permanent collection of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art—of ceramic vessels dating from 200 BCE to 500 CE from Mexico’s Pacific coast, “An Index and Its Histories” expands the scope of the project rather than neatly tying it up, in a tacit admission that the work of undoing history’s pat narratives is never done. Many artists have pointed to the museological imperative to order—collections, people, and spaces—but, happily, rather than deconstructing current museum practices,

  • *View of “ektor garcia: cochi,” 2017."
    picks December 12, 2017

    ektor garcia

    A small, brown square of leather rests at the corner of el piso (all works 2017), a floor-based gathering of glazed-ceramic rose garlands and spinal forms, drawings on leather, and totems of plastic spools. A simple message is carved into this square, in letters decorated with six-pointed stars (a visual leitmotif of the exhibition): “SOBRE VIVIR.” Survive. Evidence of survival is everywhere in ektor garcia’s work here, taking the form of small, handworked sculptural objects—a pair of aviator sunglasses whose lenses have been replaced with latex and wax linen resembling animal hide, a crocheted

  • View of “Miriam Schapiro,” 2017–2018.
    picks November 20, 2017

    Miriam Schapiro

    Miriam Schapiro’s early collaborations are well-trod ground; her cofounding with Judy Chicago of one of the first feminist-art programs, at the California Institute of the Arts, in 1971 is legendary, and her part in coining the term femmage broke open linguistics for a burgeoning field of feminist art. But a particular association, with physicist David Nabilof, is understudied. Schapiro met Nabilof while both were teaching at the University of California, San Diego, in 1967, and together they explored the possibilities of then-nascent computer-aided design technologies. For a painter who was

  • View of “Mundos Alternos: Art and Science Fiction in the Americas,” 2017–2018.
    picks November 20, 2017

    “Mundos Alternos: Art and Science Fiction in the Americas”

    One of the most refreshing facets of “Mundos Alternos” is its inclusion of artists from states and territories outside the Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA paradigm—Puerto Rico, Texas, New Mexico, and New York—introducing the work of dynamic artists such as Hector Hernandez to California audiences. Made with pieces of brightly colored fabric and natural gusts of wind, Hernandez’s photographs Bulca, 2015, and Sound of Winter, 2014, image what the artist terms “hyperbeasts,” inhuman creatures with no discernable gender. Costuming as worlding is a happy constant throughout the exhibition, apparent in

  • picks November 07, 2017

    Lynda Benglis

    Resembling a melting hillock, comically propped up with an array of bars cast in stainless steel, HILLS AND CLOUDS, 2014, is a wonder to behold, an enormous sculpture in which Lynda Benglis’s depth of material knowledge is matched by a sheer ambition of scale. Milky green clouds made of phosphorescent polyurethane float above the gray metallic land and hedonistically frost its ridges. Though initially exhibited outside, on the grounds of Storm King Art Center, the sculpture has lost none of its grandeur and has, thankfully, not been over-cleaned in the interim. Little white rings of calcium

  • Alejandro Almanza Pereda, A Glass of Fruit, 2016, HD video, color, sound, 15 minutes.
    picks October 31, 2017

    “Chingaderas Sofisticadas”

    There is a knowing wink in an exhibition titled “sophisticated shit.” Used by Spanish speakers when one has forgotten a particular word, the slang term chingadera inflects the practices on display here with jocularity, framing the work in a discourse of the not yet known. This reflects the show’s premise of bringing together the work of Guadalajara-based artists. Five of the nine were born elsewhere in Mexico or in the United States. Perhaps the collective efforts of these artists will change that ratio in the future.

    Although some of the work bears a marked relationship with the craft traditions