Franklin Melendez

  • picks December 14, 2015

    Paul Pfeiffer

    The main event of Paul Pfeiffer’s latest solo exhibition is a large-scale projection of the much-hyped boxing match between Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao, which aired live last May. Billed as “the fight of the century,” the contest suffered from endless delays, finally materializing only to disappoint. Pfeiffer’s manipulation of the footage for Three Figures In A Room, 2015, underscores this pathos, reducing the sound track to the most elemental rumblings of shuffling footwork, grunting, and heavy breathing produced by the dueling bodies.

    The kicker is that these are not the original sounds,

  • picks December 05, 2012

    Liam Everett

    There is something solemn, if not almost funerary, about Liam Everett’s solo debut at Altman Siegel, which might be appropriate given its subject matter. The show features a series of paintings on Masonite, wool, cotton, and organza that have been stained with ink and acrylic, and then meticulously worked over with various corrosive agents like alcohol, lemon, and salt to create luminous abstractions that also depict the residue of erasure. The most emotive of these are draped loosely onto wooden supports and propped against the wall, where they resemble a lineup of four richly hued ambulance

  • Weegee

    Chatting with Peter Sellers on the set of Dr. Strangelove in 1963, Weegee (aka Arthur Fellig) recounts his summer: “It’s been a strange one. . . . I was sent by a magazine to photograph famous photographers. . . . Of course, I included myself.” Though the conversation happened in London, it nevertheless underscores the photographer’s particular relationship to fame and therefore the premise of “Naked Hollywood: Weegee in Los Angeles,” which showcases the Eastern European–born, though quintessentially New York journalist’s stint in Tinseltown. Trading grizzly crime scenes for the soundstages and

  • picks December 26, 2011

    Ryan Trecartin and Lizzie Fitch

    Much ado has been made over the frenetic collaborations of Lizzie Fitch and Ryan Trecartin in the past year, largely due to their touring ADD bacchanal-slash-miniretrospective “Any Ever,” which debuted to much acclaim in Los Angeles at MoCA’s Pacific Design Center before traveling to MoMA PS1 in New York. Hailed by some as prophets of the YouTube generation, the duo certainly earn their mantle with this latest iteration. The labyrinthine exhibition includes over two years of their videos, from the brilliantly spazzy K-CoreaINC.K, 2009, to the rapturous girl dystopia The Re’Search (Re’Search

  • picks December 01, 2011

    Trevor Paglen, “Kurt Schwitters: Color and Collage,” “Exposed: Voyeurism, Surveillance, and the Camera since 1870”

    Amid the year’s constant shuffle (art fairs; retrospectives; group, solo, and MFA shows), the exhibitions that stuck with me most provided a strange parallax to the present moment. This was certainly the poetry of Trevor Paglen’s “Unhuman” at Altman Siegel, which continued the photographer’s meditation on systems of surveillance while mining an unexpected history, namely the painterly legacy of Turner and Friedrich. His elegant images offered an enigmatic collision between our technocratic moment and the visual regimes that continue to haunt us like spectral apparitions or retinal afterimages.

  • picks November 23, 2011

    Florian Schmidt

    Florian Schmidt’s second solo exhibition at New Galerie, “Synchron,” literally builds on his first, utilizing leftover works from his previous show, as well as a range of ephemera including business cards and announcements, to produce a new selection of paintings and sculptures. The assembled pieces might best be described simply as “constructions,” as they seem to only underscore Schmidt’s open-ended process whereby fragments and remnants are reconstituted into unexpected configurations of surprisingly delicacy. This is particularly true of the new sculptural works, rough-hewn arches pieced

  • picks September 07, 2011

    “Line and Space: American Drawing and Sculpture Since 1960”

    For all intents and purposes, “Line and Space: American Drawing and Sculpture Since 1960” revisits a familiar history, assembling an impressive array of Minimal and Conceptual works by artists including Sol LeWitt, Donald Judd, James Turrell, and Robert Smithson, with many pieces on public view for the first time. It is thus a testament to this gem of a show that it manages to recast this largely well-known pantheon in such a fresh and provocative light.

    Taking the schematic drawing as its point of departure, the exhibition expertly traces the tension between proposed ideal form and its realization

  • Takeshi Murata

    Takeshi Murata’s recent show at Ratio 3 arrested the pixelated frenzy of the artist’s earlier breakthrough video work, trading in visual pyrotechnics for glossy listlessness in a series of nine vibrant, if seemingly banal, still lifes. Titled “Get Your Ass to Mars” (after a throwaway line from the 1990 Schwarzenegger action classic Total Recall), these natures mortes grouped bits of outmoded technological detritus into meticulous arrangements accented with such miscellaneous objects as VHS tapes, books of criticism, beer bottles and cans, lemons, oranges, and a glass pot pipe. But these are not

  • diary July 25, 2011

    Heart of Stone

    CALIFORNIA MAY NOT HAVE THE HAMPTONS, but Napa surely provides a more than adequate alternative with panoramic views and ample drink. Norman and Norah Stone’s annual midsummer soiree has been adding to the pastoral magic since 2007, luring the art faithful (or at least those faithful enough to secure an invite) to their now fabled Art Cave, which has fast become one of the wonders of the West Coast art world. This year’s installment, held the Saturday before last, cemented the reputation even further, with all the bells and whistles of a heavy-duty event, including perky door staff, a jam-packed

  • Pablo Guardiola

    Images of tree-lined beaches, oceanside resorts, and cityscapes limned by blue-water coastlines—these were some of the subjects of “Jet Travel,” Pablo Guardiola’s first solo exhibition at Romer Young Gallery. Rephotographing vintage postcards and pages from geography books, the Puerto Rican–born, San Francisco–based artist juxtaposed these idyllic vistas against a selection of objects and other images loosely related to the idea of travel (a plane, a compass, a souvenir piece of bric-a-brac, an aerial view of the great pyramids) that offered a roomful of miniportals to other places and

  • Katy Grannan

    With “Boulevard,” her latest exhibition at Fraenkel Gallery, Katy Grannan continues her subtle subversion of the idioms and codes of portraiture, a titillating project that has invariably drawn her to the marginal and marginalized, documenting an ever-expanding cast of offbeat characters and social outcasts ranging from the banal to the poignantly strange. As in previous work, Grannan’s images traffic in a poetic awkwardness that stops just short of the grotesque, and it is this finely honed sensibility—which mixes prurience and detached observation—that has positioned Grannan, rightfully

  • picks March 08, 2011

    Trevor Paglen

    With his latest exhibition, “Unhuman,” Trevor Paglen advances his ongoing investigation of what he terms the history of “seeing with machines.” It is a project that has led him to mine and chronicle the last vestiges of the unseen in our seemingly transparent world, namely all forms of military espionage and surveillance that exist in the interstices of our vision: secret government locations, satellite systems, invisible magnetic fields. It’s easy to be seduced by his pristine, stark landscapes that beckon with the allure of post–cold war intrigue—the green glow of a listening station tucked

  • picks February 09, 2011

    Mrzyk & Moriceau

    “The Man With The Golden Gun,” the latest exhibition of husband-and-wife team Petra Mrzyk & Jean-François Moriceau, unfolds in the pair’s signature schizophrenic salon style, with a series of meticulous ink-on-paper drawings clustered together according to what seems like an exacting if inscrutable logic. The James Bond reference does little to illuminate the rebuslike arrangements that are juxtaposed against large-scale wall drawings and a looping video piece—though perhaps it foregrounds the question of style. Indeed, the work is largely indebted to the whimsy and starkness of 1960s graphic

  • Chris Duncan

    Chris Duncan’s latest exhibition, “Eye Against I,” opened with a makeshift, poster-covered wall, like one you might have seen at some grimy punk venue back in the ’90s. The gesture underscored the show’s title, a nod to the Washington, DC, hardcore band Bad Brains, and in particular to their anthem “I Against I.” The reference may be an oblique one for some, but it lends important context to this Oakland, California–based artist’s efforts. Throughout this show, and indeed his practice, Duncan mined questions of optics, partaking freely of techniques echoing the transcendental abstraction of Emma

  • Will Rogan

    Will Rogan’s first exhibition with Altman Siegel, “Stay Home,” presented a loose constellation of objects, including three small sculptures, a spread of six “erased” drawings, a piece comprising two prisms painted half-black and suspended at eye level in the window, and eleven handsome gelatin silver prints (all works 2010). Unlike his past efforts, which have explored the intersection between the quotidian and the fantastic (instances of what André Breton would have called “objective chance”), this latest foray stays true to its title, beginning with a series of photographs taken in and around

  • picks September 30, 2010

    Michael Guidetti

    “Bell, Book, and Candle,” Michael Guidetti’s second solo exhibition at Jancar Jones, transforms the gallery’s compact space into an elaborate though decidedly lo-fi special effects lab. The walls are covered in chroma-key green and punctuated with height markers and motion tracking balls. Gathered at the center of the room are several gadgets that monitor environmental shifts, including temperature, magnetic fields, light levels, and audio and video signals. On a small laptop, various digital renderings, virtual mappings, and animations of the space rotate continuously: Some feature floating

  • picks June 28, 2010

    Rune Olsen

    In his latest exhibition of prints and life-size sculptures, “If Only,” Rune Olsen swaps his usual menagerie of copulating beasts for a litter of tethered toddlers who weave a tangled, multicolored web through a gallery space. The installation is a nod to Duchamp’s Mile of String, in which the impish artist entangled Breton’s 1942 retrospective of Surrealism in a New York gallery and arranged for a number of children to play at the opening. This playful allegory of the clash between instinct and artifice provides the backdrop for the Brooklyn-based artist’s latest body of work, which is decidedly

  • picks June 22, 2010

    Lucas Michael

    Lucas Michael’s latest exhibition presents a series of suggestive codes and partial ciphers that slowly but surely seduce viewers into his stark and insightful exploration of sexuality. As its title implies, “After Hours” treads on some nebulous terrain: The large-scale charcoal and graphite number drawings turn out to be one-to-one renderings of building signs for sex clubs; a series of soft sculptures, haphazardly arranged, come to evoke the commingling of bodies; and an imposing mirrored booth is in fact a replica of a glory hole. In each of these cases, Michael expertly subverts elements of

  • picks April 12, 2010

    Miriam Böhm

    Miriam Böhm’s first solo exhibition, “Inventory,” consists of photographs of nondescript rectangular packages, mostly wrapped in brown paper and bubble wrap, which the artist has arranged, photographed, cut out, and rephotographed against vaguely bureaucratic backgrounds that evoke the doldrums of office cubicles. The resulting works are like Dutch still lifes reimagined in a UPS store. As the show’s title suggests, Böhm’s exacting vision is deployed as a critique of the art object: its reification and reduction into so many packages that are distributed via a myriad of avenues both old and new,

  • diary February 12, 2010

    Cool Hand Luc

    San Francisco

    SF MOMA MAY NOT have gone as far as other institutions to accommodate Luc Tuymans’s notorious smoking habit, but it certainly put its best foot forward to fete the second leg of the painter’s midcareer survey, which debuted at the Wexner Center last fall. In fact, so jovial was the mood on a mild Wednesday evening that it seemed to hint at other developments a-brewing. But despite the high spirits, mum was the word with the SF MoMA staff, who at the time would only tease of big news to come. Bigger than the retrospective’s sole West Coast engagement? Hard to believe—especially for the artist