James Eischen

  • picks July 02, 2013

    Roger Ballen

    Roger Ballen spent the 1970s documenting the behavior of boys in foreign societies, yet in recent years the Johannesburg-based artist has worked as a miner and has garnered acclaim for capturing the lunacy inherent in penurious oppression. Spanning two decades, twenty black-and-white prints trace Ballen’s move from social documentary into surreal, dark tableaux that depict marginalized white men in South Africa.

    In the black-and-white print, Brian with a Pet Pig, 1998 (one of the three early works that together form a teaser, just past a wall of jagged rocks at the beginning of the exhibition)

  • picks May 16, 2013

    Scoli Acosta

    “ELEMENTALISTHMUS” is a paean to geography. Amalgamating film, percussive instruments, and atmosphere, Scoli Acosta’s audile sculptures depict landscapes of unworldly places. In Field recording (elements), 2012, a media assemblage trails the artist’s trek through Morocco as he captures winds, murmurs, and music on 45 rpm. In an accompanying video, a kite glides amidst rugged hills; tethered to the needle of a portable recorder, its towline transfers vibrations caused by wind onto vinyl, yielding the breezy sonance heard echoing through the gallery. In concert, an overhead speaker emits traditional

  • interviews April 02, 2013

    Richard Jackson

    Richard Jackson is an artist based in Sierra Madre, California, whose first retrospective, “Richard Jackson: Ain’t Painting a Pain” is on view at the Orange County Museum of Art until May 5, 2013. The exhibition will travel to the Museum Villa Stuck in Munich from July 25–October 13, 2013, and then to S.M.A.K. in Ghent from February 28–June 29, 2014. Here Jackson discusses the show, his long career, and his new “accidents.”

    I DISLIKE ART BUT ENJOY THE PROCESS OF PRODUCTION. The outcome of a project or the value judgments about aesthetics should not be so important. Give up and paint on an easel

  • picks January 30, 2013

    Xawery Wolski

    There is a section of Baja California’s US border that is so covered with wooden white crosses that the underlying barricade is practically invisible. Each handcrafted cruciform figure affixed to the iron panels memorializes a missing person––another soul lost during the daily attempts to cross over. Three new sculptures by Xawery Wolski, commissioned by the El Cubo contemporary art space, reflect on the grim phenomena of mass disappearance in Tijuana.

    Like a wayward traveler, Wolski has made a tumbleweed’s progress northward by picking up and transporting objects found along his own border-bound

  • picks December 17, 2012

    Héctor Zamora

    One year ago Brazilian architect Héctor Zamora embarked on an Arizona camping trip with the aim of probing a situation he considered paradoxical: the intersection of poverty and militarism in Phoenix, home to one of the nation’s most crestfallen housing markets. Setting off into deserted developments within sprawling peripheries, he, by chance, pitched a tent inside the parameters of an Air Force bombing range and awoke to target practice as missiles tore up nearby hillsides. His subsequent US debut evokes that edgy occurrence as well as uneasy economic conditions by staging two self-proclaimed

  • picks August 13, 2012

    Jack Goldstein

    A rotoscopically animated Olympic diver from Leni Riefenstahl’s 1938 film Olympia is the subject of Jack Goldstein’s iconic silent film The Jump, 1978, which shows three dive sequences: two in slow motion and one at normal film speed. “Jack Goldstein x 10,000,” the first US retrospective devoted to the undervalued artist, also features a submersion into the 16-mm film Underwater Sea Fantasy, 1983/2003, and a gloopy swim through a coagulated pool of jet noises in Sound Performance, 1979.

    At bedrock for the filmic exhibition lies its ostensible screenplay—writings that imitate Hollywood’s production

  • picks February 17, 2012

    Lila Jang

    “Tea Parties Gone Wild” would be an apt alternate title for Lila Jang’s eponymous US solo debut. The ten sculptures here are inspired by Louis XIV–style furniture; when they were shown in Paris in 2009, they made waves and amassed online celebrity for their ingenue sculptor. Reconvened for this show, the salon suite forms a frothy yet foreboding tableau.

    A duo of nightstands begin a descent into liquid while white lamps levitate against the purgatorial landscape of an arid exterior. These works, which the artist calls “ghosts,” have titles drawn from myth or French history, which strengthens the

  • interviews December 23, 2011

    Cally Spooner

    Cally Spooner’s latest project involves a new body of writing that she is producing over a period of eight months at International Project Space. Titled Collapsing in Parts, the piece also includes a series of events that act as footnotes to the evolving text, which is being published online as it is written; these events will take a variety of forms, including performance, a radio broadcast, and a printed poster. Spooner’s work for IPS continues until March 2012.

    AT THE HEART OF MY WORK LIES AN ANXIETY over finding something to say. This anxiety plays out in my theater, film, and writing work,

  • interviews September 24, 2010

    Marcie Begleiter

    Meditations: Eva Hesse, a play by Marcie Begleiter based upon the life, art, and writings of the eponymous German artist, premiered at Highways Performance Space in Los Angeles on September 24. Concurrently, the venue is presenting “Permissions,” an exhibition of new works by contemporary artists influenced by Hesse’s oeuvre. Also in LA, the Hammer Museum is exhibiting “Eva Hesse Spectres 1960,” a collection of the artist’s rarely seen early paintings. Here, Begleiter discusses her play and the artist who inspired it.

    SEVERAL PIVOTAL STREAMS of twentieth-century experience came together in the

  • interviews June 23, 2010

    Andrea Zittel

    Andrea Zittel has received international acclaim for nearly two decades. Concurrent with exhibitions of her work in Florence at the Palazzo Pitti and Sadie Coles HQ in London, the Joshua Tree, California–based artist recently debuted her latest installation, Indianapolis Island, a makeshift island in 100 Acres: The Virginia B. Fairbanks Art and Nature Park at the Indianapolis Museum of Art.

    THE ISLAND is iconographic for conditions of autonomy, independence, and individualism in our culture. It represents our greatest fears and greatest fantasies; everybody wants to be an individual and to have