Annabel Osberg

  • picks September 25, 2019

    Tala Madani

    Having plumbed the depths of male folly, Tala Madani is now taking on her own gender. In droll contrast to Madonnas and other idealized depictions of motherhood, her latest show, “Shit Moms,” centers on muddy anti-heroines and their imps as metaphors for humanity’s innate baseness and vulnerability.

    A painted animation, The Womb (all works cited, 2019), could be taken as an origin story. A writhing, developing embryo is subjected to a cartoon chronicle of world history, including its most violent scenes, projected onto the inside of its mother’s belly: Ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny. Finally,

  • picks August 16, 2019

    “Where the Sea Remembers”

    “Where the Sea Remembers” is roughly titled after noted antiwar Vietnamese singer and composer Trịnh Công Sơn’s wistful tune, often sung during the Vietnam War as a farewell between those departing and those remaining at refugee camps. Encompassing work in a variety of media, the show is unfettered by an overarching theme, though the interests of the thirteen exhibiting artists—most of whom currently live in Vietnam—overlap in their exploration of notions of belonging, displacement, technological advancement, and wars waged in and devastation wrecked on their homeland.

    Standout pieces weave

  • picks April 26, 2019

    Pierre Ardouvin

    Is childhood ever the simple, innocent era so often depicted in popular culture? Pierre Ardouvin teases dubiety out of youth’s ostensible joys. His current exhibition begins with “Phrase,” 2018–19, a set of watercolor-and-crayon drawings portraying weathered playthings—a creepy clown and puppet included—whose sappy pretensions are tempered by eerie undercurrents. For example, in one drawing, a boy’s head (which might be that of a doll) occupies the lower half of the page; he rolls his eyes keenly upward toward a small figurine of a pistol-pointing soldier, as if imagining his future self.

    A more

  • picks April 08, 2019

    Tarrah Krajnak

    Tarrah Krajnak was born in Lima, Peru, in 1979. That same year, she was orphaned, adopted by a Czech American family, and brought to the United States. The artist knows virtually nothing about her Peruvian parents, who may have gone missing during the burgeoning Shining Path uprising. Krajnak’s current exhibition, “1979: Contact Negatives,” serves as both a studio and a portal into her ongoing exploration of the roots she lost amid political turbulence.

    At the opening reception, she projected photos of Lima from a 1979 magazine on the walls and photographed herself interacting with the projections

  • picks March 13, 2019

    Beatriz Cortez

    If you were migrating to outer space, what would you bring with you? Beatriz Cortez raises this question in three interconnected installations at Craft Contemporary. Visitors first encounter Nomad 13, 2017/19, a portable garden in the form of a space capsule that Cortez created in collaboration with artist Rafa Esparza. Displayed in nearby niches are Burned, 2012, a charred tome from Cortez’s “Books of Memory” series, 2012, and seashells from a suitcase she packed in 1989 as she was fleeing the civil war in her native El Salvador for the US. Elsewhere, in Clandestine Garden, 2012/19, verdant

  • picks February 08, 2019

    Rema Ghuloum

    Simmering with psychic intensity, Rema Ghuloum's eight hazy abstractions in “Love Is a Feeling” conjure the geometric and mythical lexicons of Paul Klee and Hilma af Klint, viewed through Rothko-esque fields of transparent color. Each work yields varying effects depending on one's viewing angle and distance. Seen from across the room, their salient attribute is a lustrous, mottled palette. As one approaches, an atmospheric sense of depth unfolds.

    The artist's meditative process of building up and sanding down layers of diaphanous glazes, stains, and brushstrokes is palpable in these intricate

  • picks January 23, 2019

    Farrah Karapetian

    An unearthly red glow permeates the dim rooms of Farrah Karapetian’s haunting exhibition “Collective Memory.” Arranged with the impromptu panache of a dive bar, the installation seems as if it were part of a bizarre dream. On a chalkboard wall in the entryway, #WEWONTBEERASED is frenetically scrawled over and over in wobbly parallel lines. Here, the urgency of the hashtag for transgender solidarity is rendered materially.

    Karapetian based this show on her friend and gallerist Tarrah von Lintel’s fond personal anecdotes about Club Shine, a transgender nightclub at LA’s last lesbian bar, the Oxwood