Jan Tumlir

  • picks July 31, 2019

    Brandon Lattu

    Brandon Lattu’s work is grounded in photography, a medium that has gradually relinquished every last trace of material specificity. What remains specific about photographs is their innate referentiality; they tend to expose not themselves, but something else: life, either as it is or as it could be. Lattu’s exhibition at Richard Telles, “Full to Bursting,” speaks to the current representational excess that swells the frames of pictures and inexorably pushes out into reality. For instance, a massive print in the main gallery titled Potatoes and Pebbles with Truffle Tumors (An Allegory), 2019,

  • Lara Schnitger

    Lara Schnitger’s solo exhibition at Grice Bench opened with Judith (all works cited 2019), a modestly scaled work of fabric on canvas portraying the titular figure with the severed head of Holofernes resting on a surface beneath her gently curved hands. Many male artists have tried to depict this same heroic, feminist scene. Notable among them is Caravaggio, whose Judith is shown wielding her blade against Holofernes’s neck, releasing a bright-red spray. Schnitger’s version comes closer to that of Gustav Klimt, whose sultry sophisticate defiantly meets the gaze of the beholder in the aftermath

  • DESKTOP PICTURE PLANE

    MATTHEW BRANNNON’S WORK is known for its dark explorations of male—and specifically American male—subjectivity. It is obviously informed by Freudian psychoanalysis, and on this point it is worth noting that Freud was no great fan of America, which he located as the epicenter of modern civilization’s “discontents.” Being American, Brannon is implicated and therefore ambivalent in his approach: The subject under analysis is always him.

    Brannon’s work has long been suffused with a lyrical tone, intimate and confessional. He is a highly literate artist and also a literary one, having, between 2007

  • Jack Goldstein

    Jack Goldstein (1945–2003) is one of those artists who is always ripe for reappraisal. As the times change around his work, the work itself also changes, though not in a way that suggests either foresight or myopia on Goldstein’s part. This work does not predict the future, nor does it obsolesce in the future’s wake; rather, it maintains its composure even as it is profoundly impacted by every new context it occupies. This was certainly the case in a modest but encapsulating exhibition mounted this summer at 1301PE, which featured a projection of Goldstein’s 16-mm film Under Water Sea Fantasy,

  • Kim Schoen

    Superficiality and nonsense are words that readily come to mind in relation to Kim Schoen’s work. The artist revels in these conditions but does so in a philosophical manner, often mining even the most vapid subjects to an astonishing depth. Her previous solo exhibition at the Moskowitz Bayse gallery in Los Angeles was constructed around the topic of “book blanks,” objects that outwardly resemble books but are empty inside. An interest in the formal signs of meaning and intelligence, as observed from the outside, was no less evident in Schoen’s most recent effort at Young Projects. However, in

  • Dave Hullfish Bailey

    Our occupancy of the natural environment leaves behind traces over time, records etched upon the surface of the earth that can be followed downward, geologically, through layers of sedimentation. In his recent exhibition, “Hardscrabble,” at the REDCAT, Dave Hullfish Bailey reflected on four sites within the western American landscape that bear a particularly vexed and complex relation to matters of human usage: the Purgatoire River drainage in southern Colorado, former setting of Drop City, a hippie commune housed in geodesic domes; a nearby square mile of land in Huerfano County, government

  • “At this stage”

    In a 1982 essay on the work of Dan Graham, Jeff Wall offered a resoundingly downbeat assessment of the shifting relationship between artists and the city. For recent artists, he argued, the metropolis was no longer a source of inspiration or aesthetic advancement—instead, “the key revelation of the city was in the shock of an absolute loss of hope.” Tellingly, these words were written at the start of the Reagan era, when the old urban order was collapsing, and blighted, postindustrial cities were being remade into commercial centers, shiny simulacra of urban experience. This same transformation

  • Eric Wesley’s The Bell

    ARRIVING FOR THE OPENING of Eric Wesley’s survey-scale exhibition at the Los Angeles gallery 356 S. Mission Rd. in January 2015, visitors encountered a new Nissan parked at a rakish angle in the back lot, with its front doors ajar and music blaring from its speakers. That this was an artwork would surely never have occurred to many of those in attendance had it not been for the checklist, where it was designated Infinity Project (Black), 2015, with materials given as “clear lacquer paint on Infiniti.” The added finish seals the deal on the car’s integrity as a sculptural proposition—an

  • Cindy Sherman

    It was in 1977 that Cindy Sherman began work on her breakout series of “Untitled Film Stills,” 1977–80, exhaustively restaging, before a still camera, the range of roles that defined women on the silver screen. Back then, publicity stills were routinely displayed in the lobbies of movie theaters. These were framed pictures, shot by professional photographers on production sets, that always diverged in their perspective, often subtly but sometimes dramatically, from the footage shown on-screen. It seems probable that these uncanny objects, suffused in celluloid fiction while also hinting at its

  • Mariah Garnett

    Titled “Other & Father,” Mariah Garnett’s first solo show at ltd los angeles revolved around a BBC television news feature shot in Belfast in 1971 that addressed the challenges faced by a young couple of different denominations at the start of the sectarian fray that came to be known as the Troubles. The Protestant half of this relationship happens to be Garnett’s father—a parent the artist would not meet until 2007, after a separation that lasted most of her life—here just inching past adolescence, sporting a very glam haircut and shown alongside his then girlfriend. Garnett was

  • Alex Israel and Bret Easton Ellis

    There is a long tradition of artists and writers joining forces—in small journals, limited-edition books, and other printed matter. Yet even when formed on the basis of evident stylistic affinities, these working relationships have rarely been egalitarian; typically, the pictures illustrate the words or else the words caption the pictures. The coproductions of artist Alex Israel and novelist Bret Easton Ellis are something else, not only in that they are singular artworks, made to be hung on the walls of a gallery rather than circulated as publications, but because neither side gains the

  • Calvin Marcus

    Calvin Marcus’s first major solo show in Los Angeles was titled “Malvin Carcus,” suggesting, somewhat perversely for this painter just embarking on his professional career, that the works on view were traceable to an alter ego, and, moreover, to one that might be deceased—a carcass. The transposition of letters in Marcus’s name could be interpreted as a revealing slip of the tongue, a spoonerism, but one performed consciously, to both acknowledge the morbid specters that haunt all talk of painting and to get them out of the way. Or it could be read as perfectly meaningless but nonetheless

  • British Sea Power

    SEA OF BRASS, the album by British Sea Power released this month, is a collection of songs spanning the band’s entire discography, which they have rescored (with the help of collaborator Peter Wraight) to include a full brass band. This arch, antiquarian, massive record stands as a summa of the group’s decade-plus career churning out complex indie tracks that have always begged to be described as “pompier.” Its rewards are disclosed gradually, on repeated listening, and the album is something of a valedictory for the particular brand of rock music that the band have championed from the outset.

  • “Recesses”

    As might have been expected, much of the talk around this group exhibition—and it did generate a great deal of talk—blithely skimmed over the art on view. Comprising works by the class of MFA students who dropped out en masse from the USC Roski School of Art and Design this past May to protest the dramatic restructuring of their program by its new dean, “Recesses” was a contextually loaded event, and one in which at least two intersecting spheres of influence must be taken into consideration. The first is academic, institutional, and in some sense public, although USC is, of course,

  • David Schafer

    Talking sculptures are a staple of amusement parks, trade fairs, and museums of science, industry, and history, and are sometimes even found in churches. In art, however, they remain exceptional for the simple reason that sculpture’s effect has generally been understood to hinge on arrested potential; thus, a work’s force of expression is perhaps best measured against the pressure of its withholding. To furnish such a structure with a sound track could be seen as self-defeating, at least from the perspective of medium specificity—that critical tenet of modernism, a period that remains a

  • Lisa Anne Auerbach

    Liking the work of Lisa Anne Auerbach can simply come down to liking the things that she likes—knitting, bicycling, books, and zines. These hobbies, each threatened to varying degrees with obsolescence, are all deserving of support. Even if you don’t actively share Auerbach’s interests, you can at least appreciate her enthusiasm as demonstrated in her work. Crafts, sports, literature: At one time or another, each has served as the emblematic “other” to art, yet here they are the integral figures of an aesthetic equation, and their lifestyle connotations cannot be as easily dismissed.

    Auerbach’s

  • Allen Ruppersberg

    Marc Selwyn has long been known as a dealer with historical depth, particularly in regard to Los Angeles art, so it is only fitting that the first solo show at his new Beverly Hills gallery should be a mini-survey of Allen Ruppersberg’s drawings, all made between the early 1970s and late ’80s. Although the artist may not be identified with Southern California as immediately as some of his colleagues—Ed Ruscha, John Baldessari, and Bas Jan Ader among them—Ruppersberg’s brand of Pop Conceptualism is no less emblematic of local practices in its insistent referential specificity. Whereas

  • Carter Mull

    The digital video Hearts of Gold, 2013–14—the sole work in Carter Mull’s exhibition of the same name—centers on an “artist’s book” constructed on the broadsheets of the New York Times. The newspaper format, of course, once heralded the end of the book as a memory-storage technology, its pulpy pages as transitory as the information imprinted thereon. While newspaper content was, for a time, preserved on the celluloid rolls of microfiche, the effort was highly selective. Today, in the age of big data, all recorded content can be made immediately and indiscriminately available for posterity,

  • “Robert Overby: Works 1969–1987”

    Relatively unknown outside Los Angeles, where he lived for the better part of his career, Robert Overby is “one of the best-kept secrets of postwar American art,” as this show’s press release claims. Even in the artist’s hometown, recognition of his works is mostly confined to the sagging rubber, latex, and concrete castings of domestic architecture that he produced between 1969 and 1973. But this exhibition is designed to consider Overby’s contribution in its totality, comprising both his sculptures, with their abject materiality, and his more painterly and graphic

  • Mark Hagen

    “Paleo Diet,” the title of Mark Hagen’s second solo exhibition at China Art Objects, plays on notions of primitivism from a very up-to-date perspective whereby only that which is most remote from the present moment holds out any promise of health. But in attempting to go back to basics, to ancient grains and bygone methods of cultivation and food preparation, we find ourselves all the more estranged from the natural world that we’ve gradually ruined. One registered the fraught relationship between our environment and ourselves immediately upon entering the gallery, thanks to the masking of the