David Muenzer

  • picks May 23, 2018

    Stephen Prina

    Are you a lefty or a righty? How about your earlobes—attached or unattached? The codes that make up a genome and determine such traits are immensely complicated, but the categories these traits are sorted into can appear strangely arbitrary. After all, what is the significance of flesh (or lack thereof) connecting the head and the earlobe? Stephen Prina’s exhibition “galesburg, illinois+,” which has been shown at various venues since 2015, links seemingly consequential and coincidental biographical details to question deterministic understandings of personal histories.

    Prina’s project presents

  • picks February 02, 2018

    Barak Zemer

    While the photographs that make up “Transit,” Barak Zemer’s first exhibition at this gallery, are descriptive of people and things, their heavily structured compositions—both as individual images and within the group of pictures—trouble a documentary read of the work. The camera often frames an action or a thing, as in Gate, 2017, which centers on a gleaming model airplane positioned at an airport boarding gate, or Transit, 2017, which shows an eerily bright apple cupped underneath a drinking glass on top of a black faux-leather car dashboard.

    Framing takes many forms in these works, whether it

  • picks September 17, 2017

    f. marquespenteado

    The seemingly disparate mediums that comprise f. marquespenteado’s current exhibition, “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?”—collage, textile, and painting—seem to commune without hierarchy. In the press release, the artist describes a fictional scenario: Lupe, the protagonist, hosts a dinner in which she asks her friends to evaluate a new crush. While this framework may seem to unify all the other elements of the exhibition, the extreme detail in the physical works and the comparatively broad strokes of the story confuse such a reading. Take the collage salsa 01, 2017, for example—the repeated square

  • interviews August 01, 2017

    Rey Akdogan

    Rey Akdogan’s works touch on invisible standards and everyday objects, such as crash rails, in order to mine emotional reactions and systemic analysis. The latest exhibition of concise gestures by the New York–based artist is on view at Hannah Hoffman Gallery in Los Angeles through August 26, 2017.

    I AM INTERESTED IN MOTION, our everyday lives, and how we move through space. Each of my works extracts elements from much larger systems. And usually they are standard systems that perform specific tasks in our everyday lives. A standard is something that—if it works well—we don’t usually register.

  • picks July 14, 2017

    Gelatin

    In Paul Wegener’s 1925 silent film Der Golem, the titular construction comes to life when a magic word, written on paper, is inserted into the clay creature’s chest. Gelatin’s exhibition “New York Golem” takes consecrated insertion to an absurdly literal end, as ceramic totems shaped by the artists’ genitals are supported by an array of improvised pedestals.

    The sculptures are each titled New York Golem (all works 2017), and some have only the barest hint of figuration. Display apparatuses throughout the show seem to be frantic amalgams of studio supplies and readily available materials. The

  • picks June 09, 2017

    Camille Blatrix

    The three small dyed-resin and metal sculptures that anchor Camille Blatrix’s current exhibition call to mind the injection-molded parts that find their way into modern households as light switches, plugs, or routers. But each of the artist’s sculptures, no bigger than an average hand, imbues these anonymous forms with emotional intensity via the care of his elaborate dye treatments and the memento stuffed in each ersatz device—a ticket stub, a note, or a plastic flower.

    Facing the three mounted totems is a framed poster, Unview 2008/18 (all works 2017), in which a pixelated ink-jet print depicting

  • interviews April 21, 2017

    Joe Goode

    Joe Goode’s deadpan images of milk bottles, suburban homes, open skies, forest fires, water, and smog are included in the collections of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; the Menil Collection in Houston; the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, DC; the Whitney Museum of American Art; and the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Goode has worked in Los Angeles since the 1960s; his latest exhibition, “Old Ideas with New Solutions,” features recent paintings from several series he has been working on over the past half-century. The show opened

  • picks January 05, 2017

    “Ma”

    A faceted crystal paperweight with engraved letters spelling out the dates and title of this exhibition sits atop a stack of pink, marbleized stationery. Arp-like but ultimately practical marks—part of a printed map of the gallery—are visible through the clear object, which is in fact a sculpture by Bedros Yeretzian, Mutual Enemy Arousal Souvenir: ‘Ma,’ Chateau Shatto, 12/10/16—01/14/17, 2016, signaling that the informational and the aesthetic will comingle throughout the exhibition.

    This perversity of proximity is understated, but prevalent in works by Fiona Connor, who also organized the show.

  • picks October 24, 2016

    Paul Sietsema

    “Where do you see yourself in five years?” asks the New York Times job listing in Paul Sietsema’s ink-and-enamel drawing Vertical newspaper (thin green line), 2016, with some letters obscured by an unctuous mark. That white enamel is materially distinct from the ink rendering of the broadsheet below, but it is also not all it seems—the glob is the base for a painting of a paint-dipped coin, tossed onto the Times.

    Such exacting representations throughout the exhibition bring up questions such as What do I see? and How was this made? That they come up simultaneously reflects the interchangeability

  • picks September 05, 2016

    “In the Cut”

    “In the Cut” presents photographs by five artists that assume a documentary interest despite the liquidated descriptive powers of photography today. Take Lisa Ohlweiler’s seemingly factual photographs, for instance: Untitled, 2010, pictures a sunbathing man and Paradise, 2009, shows a golf course surrounded by palms. Everyday scenes, to be sure, but Los Angeles is a city whose main industry is generating images of it. Ohlweiler’s prints harmonize with that noisy surfeit of pictures.

    On the other hand, selections from Sam Contis’s series “Deep Springs,” 2013–15, with its focus on the titular

  • picks June 08, 2016

    Sam Gilliam

    Are Sam Gilliam’s paintings improvisations, meticulously structured formalism, ethereal attempts at going beyond substance, social objects inextricably embedded in political struggles, or all of the above? The works in his current show, “Green April,” dating from 1968–70, crisscross these once well-policed boundaries that helped modernist painting lay claim to objectivity.

    Consider the show’s eponymous piece from 1969, a large rectangle of shifting emerald. The thin cascades of acrylic with aluminum dust conjure a portal while remaining indexical. The quality of light and wide format of this

  • picks April 22, 2016

    “The Ocular Bowl”

    “When you’re ready, you can open your eyes.” Guided meditations suspend vision in the name of presence, only bringing back sight to close each session. Phenomenological strains of modern painting, by contrast, offer vision as the primary vehicle for experience. With works by Agnes Pelton, Linda Stark, and Alex Olson, “The Ocular Bowl” presents three generations of practitioners whose paintings invoke spiritual consciousness.

    In Pelton’s 1929 oil-on-canvas work, Star Gazer, the roughly symmetrical composition and rich color give it the force of an icon. A flower in the lower third of the canvas

  • picks March 10, 2016

    Ed Kienholz and Nancy Reddin Kienholz

    For the exhibition “Kienholz Televisions,” the gallery’s walls have been painted gray—an appropriate midpoint between black box and white cube, which allows an array of assemblage boob tubes to set the scene. Collaborative works by Nancy Reddin Kienholz and Ed Kienholz make up the bulk of the cast, although a few pieces that predate their collaboration, such as Kienholz’s Solid State, ca. 1965, and Cement TV, 1969, as well as a single work by Reddin Kienholz alone, Home Sweet Home, 2006, contribute to the show’s forty-one-year span.

    An air of everyday horror pervades, as in the collaborative

  • picks January 30, 2016

    Julien Ceccaldi

    The titular characters of Julien Ceccaldi’s exhibition “King and Slave” touch, glance, mutate, and recoil across seven paintings and drawings that use the grammar of manga to hyperbolically depict desire and disgust, confidence and shame—often all at once.

    See, for example Bed, (all works 2016) one of five drawings that employ animation materials, layering acrylic on acetate and pencil on tracing paper over vinyl on board. In the foreground, a thick-necked hunk kisses the bony cheek of his wizened companion, whose cocked smile and sideward glance signals pleasure. But the background, which

  • picks December 07, 2015

    Claudio Verna

    The saturated, nominally abstract paintings in Claudio Verna’s solo debut at this gallery span forty-five years. Their titles seem redundantly straightforward, as with the near-monochromes named for their format and color in Double Acrylic II, 1968, which combines two acrylic canvas into a single work, or Large Orange, 2007, a sizable orange painting, as promised. In the case of Dionysus, 1990, invoking the god of passionate abandon seems embarrassingly directive, an attempt to guarantee that the mesh of brushstrokes on the deep-red oil painting be taken as spontaneous gestures rather than

  • picks October 28, 2015

    “Open House”

    While “sex sells” may be a marketing truism, presenting products with gradient backgrounds, retouched hands, and well-made beds often seems clinically tidy—an outright denial of psychology more than repression. “Open House,” a group exhibition organized by Jedediah Caesar at California State University, Bakersfield, offers conflicting attitudes toward a loaded commercial landscape. Take, for instance, Madelon Vriesendorp, Teri When-Damisch, and Jean-Pierre Jacquet’s 1980 animation Caught in the Act, where the Statue of Liberty mutates with jealousy at the sight of the Empire State and Chrysler

  • picks March 04, 2015

    Ei Arakawa and Karl Holmqvist

    In “Y.O.Y.O.G.A.L.A.N.D.,” Ei Arakawa and Karl Holmqvist present videos and geodesic domes among text works on lamps, wallpaper, and prints. By drawing parallels between electrical and artistic energy, these pieces perform debates usually conducted through science or public policy.

    See wallpaper on which slogans such as the German 1970s antinuclear campaign “Atomkraft? Nein Danke” are juxtaposed with such aphoristic statements as “CHARITY WILL NEVER WORK.” Or lithographs of early geothermal power, overwritten in marker: “GO GREEN CLINIC / WHAT YOU THINK.” Referring to both conservation rhetoric