Jan Tumlir

  • British Sea Power (Scott Wilkinson, Phil Sumner, Neil Wilkinson, Matthew Wood, Abi Fry, and Martin Noble) performing with the Redbridge Brass Band, Barbican Centre, London, January 24, 2015. Photo: Phil Bourne/Redferns/Getty Images.

    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.

  • Lauren Davis Fisher, TBD, 2015, papier-mâché, wire, 64 3/4 × 29 3/4 × 19 1/2". From “Recesses.”

    “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, What Should a Painter Do? (detail), 2011, dyed poplar, ink-jet print, playback and speaker system, CD, looped three-channel audio. Installation view.

    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

  • View of “Lisa Anne Auerbach,” 2014. From left: Oops! I did it again, 2014; Whip Chin, 2010; Feather Duster, 2010; Vanity, 2010.

    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, Untitled (The Book as Object), 1976, pencil on paper, 23 × 29".

    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, Hearts of Gold, 2013–14, digital video, color, sound, 7 minutes 22 seconds.

    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, Two Stretch Drawings, 1970, graphite on paper, 26 x 20".

    “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

  • View of “Mark Hagen,” 2013.

    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

  • View of “Urs Fischer,” 2013. Foreground: Untitled (Suspended Line of Fruit), 2012; Frozen Pioneer, 2009; Untitled (Floor Piece), 2006; Portrait of a Single Raindrop, 2003. Background: Horses Dream of Horses, 2004; Frozen, 1998; Untitled (Bread House), 2004–2005.

    Urs Fischer

    IN THEIR 2008 BOOK As a Weasel Sucks Eggs, Daniel Birnbaum and Anders Olsson categorize artists according to their dietary habits. There are the Kafka­esque hunger artists who scrupulously monitor their intake, consuming as little as humanly possible and aspiring, in their works, to reduction, exactitude, and otherworldly ideals. And then there are the gluttons who stuff it all in and spew it back out half-digested. As has been noted by others, Urs Fischer is one of the latter, among those for whom the real and existing world in all its gross, hetero­geneous profusion is an endless source of

  • Jorge Pardo, Tecoh, 2012, Tecoh, Mexico. Photos: Jody Asano.

    Jorge Pardo’s Tecoh

    ACCORDING TO JORGE PARDO, “to be an interesting artist, you really have to understand your relation to other forms of production.” In other words, art’s others need not be its antitheses; artworks should not derive their meaning or value from opposition to other crafted or manufactured goods. Above all, artworks should not simply deny the potential to function, this being the first rule of a mythic autonomy à la Kant’s “purposive purposelessness,” but rather extend function itself into the realm of the speculative. This at once synthetic and analytical predisposition has led Pardo through various

  • John Divola, As Far as I Could Get, 10 Seconds, R02F09, 1996, pigment print, 64 x 44". From the series “As Far as I Could Get,” 1996–2010.

    “John Divola: As Far As I Could Get”

    When John Divola began his career in the late 1970s, the lines between art photography and photography as art were still clearly drawn, and he played an important role in their subsequent blurring. In the early images of vandalized homes for which he became known, and which will be featured in the Santa Barbara and Pomona portions of this three-part retrospective, the secondary records of Land art or performance art would seem to have become the primary event. And even in his more conventionally picturesque Polaroids of studio-made

  • Richard Prince, Untitled (Cowboy), 2012, ink jet and acrylic on canvas, 68 1/2 x 40 1/8".

    Richard Prince

    Richard Prince’s cowboy romance goes way back. In the early 1980s, his decision to lift imagery straight from Marlboro ads, which featured Stetson-and-chaps-clad loners riding horseback through vast western vistas or pausing for an existential break, resulted in some of the artist’s most controversial and representative works. The legal disputes that followed reports of their financial success (in 2005, a 1989 Untitled [Cowboy] set an auction record of $1.2 million) have no doubt informed every act of appropriation he went on to exercise. Famously, Prince has claimed that he never associated