Aria Dean

  • Photo: Brian Green

    Achille Mbembe’s Necropolitics

    At the outset of lockdown, some friends and I revived an old reading group we once had when we all lived in Los Angeles, holding weekly meetings over Zoom. Achille Mbembe’s Necropolitics (Duke) was our anchor text. The book further defines and mobilizes the neologism of its title, the Cameroonian philosopher’s signature term from his famous 2003 essay of the same name. Mbembe writes that “becoming a subject . . . supposes upholding the work of death,” that politics and sovereignty are linked more to a “right to kill” than to the preservation of life. The language of freedom, democracy, and

  • View of “Alex Da Corte: A Season in He'll,” 2016.
    picks July 28, 2016

    Alex Da Corte

    As you enter this space, your senses are bombarded by Alex Da Corte’s scrambled, saturated landscape. A supersized witch’s hat fills the first area, lit by green and red neon from above. This is flanked by a stained-glass window depicting a red rose, referencing Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, and a floor-to-ceiling, blown-up image of a weeping bridesmaid. The exhibition is like a dream: Recognizable elements are mashed together, but something is off, and it gradually morphs into a surreal nightmare.

    The gallery buzzes with sound from three video works—the focal point of the second room—depicting

  • Hannah Black, Bodybuilding, 2015, digital video, color, sound, 8 minutes 10 seconds.
    picks June 16, 2016

    “No! I am No Singular Instrument”

    An eerily manipulated loop of Ariana Grande’s “One Last Time” emanates from a room just off the main gallery, where Hannah Quinlan and Rosie Hastings’s video, If These Fossils Could Talk They Would Tell You Who Got Fucked and Who Didn’t, 2015, is projected into a corner. Grande’s track eventually emerges as an organizing force of this exhibition as its echoes pervade the gallery, haunting the rest of the works. Curated by Samuel Kenswil, the show is fashioned as an afterimage of late-twentieth-century body politics, asking what the jargon—all this talk of the body that was intended to untether

  • Elif Erkan, Compass – Heart Disease, 2016, kale, pigments, Plasticine, 10 1/2 x 14 1/2 x 1".
    picks May 13, 2016

    Elif Erkan

    The quality of the light at Park View feels quintessentially LA—specifically, those neighborhoods that lie east, dusty and browner than the pastel palette famously used by David Hockney to render this town. Elif Erkan’s exhibition “ex oriente lux” is characteristic of a transplant intrigued by the unreal, contradictory metropolis. However, Erkan’s work rests comfortably here, her sculptures drawing on the city’s tensions.

    The focal point is a series of hunched concrete slabs titled “Poses” (all works 2016), which weave a path through the gallery. From certain angles, edges lifted slightly upward,