Annie Buckley

  •  Matthew Picton, Moscow 1808, 1905, 2007, 2008, Dura-Lar, enamel, pins, 84 x 61 x 3".
    picks May 15, 2009

    Matthew Picton

    Prior to becoming an artist, Matthew Picton studied politics and history at the London School of Economics, a biographical detail that proves integral to his newest body of work, on view in the sophisticated “Postwar Landscapes.” Picton’s exhibition comprises five multimedia pieces: sculptural maps of Berlin, Hiroshima, Washington, DC, Moscow, and Warsaw. The weblike tracings of precisely cut and painted Mylar in two of these works draw on a process Picton has used previously. One of them—Moscow 1808, 1905, 2007, 2008—consists of three layers of intricate white Dura-Lar forms pinned to a black

  • Jim Isermann, Untitled, 2008, acrylic latex paint on canvas over panel, 48 x 48".
    picks May 05, 2009

    Jim Isermann

    Jim Isermann’s elegant psychedelia has graced the walls, floors, and ceilings of galleries, hotels, universities, stores, and museums over the past twenty-five years. Using vinyl, plastic, linoleum, and—perhaps most memorably—a product called Put-in-Cups, Isermann culls and amplifies the basic principles of visual art: color, pattern, and design. Because of this, and the ease with which his fanciful geometries climb walls, adorn furniture, and span fences, his work is often understood as a fusion of art and design. Yet just when it would seem simplest to categorize or label the work as installation

  • Bahc Yiso, We Are Happy, 2004, mixed media, 2.3' x 137.8'.

    “Your Bright Future”

    “Your Bright Future: 12 Contemporary Artists from Korea” features installations, sculptures, videos, computer animations, and Web-based work by artists born in South Korea between 1957 and 1972 and raised during a period of sustained political upheaval.

    Organized by LACMA and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, “Your Bright Future: 12 Contemporary Artists from Korea” features installations, sculptures, videos, computer animations, and Web-based work by artists born in South Korea between 1957 and 1972 and raised during a period of sustained political upheaval. Intended to redress what cocurator Lynn Zelevansky calls Korea’s “virtual absence from the Western imagination,” the show is accompanied by a catalogue with essays by Zelevansky, cocurator Christine Starkman, and art historian

  • Left: Zoe Beloff, Shadowland or Light from the Other Side, 2000, still from a black-and-white film in 16 mm, 32 minutes. Right: Zoe Beloff, Charming Augustine, 2004, still from a black-and-white film in 16 mm, 40 minutes.
    film April 26, 2009

    Mad World

    SOME CALL IT DREAMING; others deem it madness. Still others describe it as a rare ability to see beyond what’s real. During the late nineteenth century, this particularly tenuous state was given considerable attention by two distinct groups: psychiatrists and spiritualists. Though their methods and purposes differed, their research shared a dependence on vulnerable young women as subjects.

    This overlap between science and the occult—and its impact on women—is the subject of Zoe Beloff’s Shadowland or Light from the Other Side (2000) and Charming Augustine (2004). Both black-and-white stereoscopic

  • William Leavitt, Chaco Rising, 2008, acrylic on canvas, wooden stand, vermiculite, speakers, dimensions variable.
    picks April 09, 2009

    William Leavitt

    The title of William Leavitt’s latest exhibition, “Molecules and Buildings,” is as straightforward as a three-word poem, which is to say that while its construction is simple enough, the phrase readily dissolves into labyrinthine layers of potential meaning. Likewise, the deadpan sensibility of the ten paintings and one installation included here belies the works’ easy rapport with such diverse topics as our relationship to the built environment, molecular biology, pop culture, a Zenlike interconnection of all things, and traditional landscape painting.

    If it sounds too easy to take this work in

  • Arnold Mesches, Coming Attractions 5, 2006, acrylic on canvas, 66 x 50".
    picks March 17, 2009

    Arnold Mesches

    The practice of stating an artist’s age alongside his or her achievements, though typical, rarely adds much of value to a viewer’s understanding of the work—not so with the oeuvre of Arnold Mesches. At eighty-six years old, Mesches has been making and exhibiting his art for over half a century. Though irrelevant to the combined pleasure and revulsion induced by Mesches’s dark, drippy, at times ghastly, but nearly always masterful paintings, knowledge of his long-standing career adds a measure of gravitas to a wonderfully challenging body of work. In his new exhibition at the Santa Monica Museum

  • View of “Andrea Bowers and Suzanne Lacy,” 2009.
    picks March 06, 2009

    Andrea Bowers and Suzanne Lacy

    Though their practices are distinct, Los Angeles–based artists Andrea Bowers and Suzanne Lacy share an interest in blurring the boundaries between art and activism. “Your Donations Do Our Work”—a community art project in the small town of Laton, California, and a related exhibition in the Sweeney Art Gallery—represents the first time the two have collaborated. Drawing on feminist, interactive, and Conceptual art, Bowers and Lacy created work in Laton that includes video documentation of townspeople and the creation of a “Free Store” (something of a misnomer, as locals are asked to perform a

  • Left: Takahiko Iimura, Ai (Love), 1962, still from a black-and-white film in 16 mm, 10 minutes. Right: Takahiko Iimura, Aiueonn Six Features, 1993, still from a color video, 15 minutes.
    film February 26, 2009

    Long-Distance Relationship

    JAPANESE ARTIST TAKAHIKO IIMURA has been making experimental films for the past forty-seven years. Though often considered a member of the 1960s New York underground, Iimura was working in Japan during most of that time. Frequently, his only means of accessing the films from which he drew inspiration was to read about them. These include works by Stan Brakhage, Stan VanDerBeek, Jack Smith, Jonas Mekas, and Andy Warhol, the artists commemorated in Iimura’s 1966–68 Filmmakers, a unique take on portraiture and an homage to a particular slice of art history.

    Though working in relative isolation from

  • Deborah Stratman, O’er the Land, 2008, stills from a color film in 16 mm, 51 minutes.
    film February 21, 2009

    All Fall Down

    DEBORAH STRATMAN’S FILMS feature multiple explosions and a jarring mix of noises and near-silent drones, so it is curious to also discover that an endearing innocence often prevails, a longing for some kind of miracle—a flying saucer or a goblin—just around the bend. This sense of wonder remains at the heart of Stratman’s O’er the Land (2009), featuring the true story of a man who fell through the sky and lived to tell about it. William H. Rankin’s 1960 book The Man Who Rode the Thunder chronicles his survival following a harrowing plane crash, when he tumbled through the frozen atmosphere and

  • View of “To Illustrate and Multiply,” 2009.
    picks January 30, 2009

    “To Illustrate and Multiply”

    Portable, flexible, and often handmade, artists’ books are varyingly taken up in collusion with or in reaction to traditional publishing. The history of this medium stretches its energetic tentacles through most politically inclined art movements—Dada, Surrealism, Fluxus, early Conceptual art, and activist art from the 1970s onward. “To Illustrate and Multiply,” the Museum of Contemporary Art’s sprawling survey of the genre, includes works dating from 1965 through the present by over one hundred artists. The element of radical engagement is very much in evidence, though in a subdued and intimate

  • Eija-Liisa Ahtilla, Missä on missä? (Where Is Where?), 2009, stills from a black-and-white and color film, 55 minutes.
    film January 19, 2009

    Poet’s Problem

    In her previous films, the Finnish artist Eija-Liisa Ahtila has progressively expanded her methods for weaving disparate narratives into a unified, if fractured, whole. Her latest movie, Missä on missä? (Where Is Where?, 2009), an ambitious and operatic tale, deftly draws on a batch of techniques familiar to Ahtila—split screen, digital effects, episodic storytelling—along with newer methods, to sketch an incisive, dreamlike expanse.

    The film opens with a red, hand-drawn animation—a bird perches on a branch, a map of North America floats into view, and a clock spins out of control; when the

  • Jim Shaw, Dream Object (Heather), 2008, airbrush and pencil on paper, 80 x 52 7/8".
    picks December 05, 2008

    Jim Shaw

    Jim Shaw is what’s often referred to as an artist’s artist—not in the sense that he is forgotten by the market, but rather that his work and career have inspired countless younger practitioners. This is due in part to Shaw’s sheer commitment to making work for the past three decades, but also more particularly to an insistence on retaining his idiosyncratic blend of personal, political, and Pop as he continues to mine his unique vein of imaginative, stream-of-consciousness-inspired, and at times adolescent web of ideas, insights, and material explorations. Throughout remains a way of thinking