Jan Tumlir

  • My Barbarian

    My Barbarian, LA’s own all-singing, all-dancing, all-acting performance troupe (Malik Gaines, Jade Gordon, Alexandro Segade), can be read as a gentle parody of alt-rock’s claims to ownership over experiential extremes, as per the band My Chemical Romance. But one might also consider how names follow other names; after all, could there be a (My) Chemical Romance without a (My) Drug Hell without a (My) Bloody Valentine? My Barbarian nods to all of these, while also suggesting rapprochement. The inversion of “the other,” via the personal pronoun, into something approaching “the same” is central to

  •  Llyn Foulkes, The Lost Frontier, 1997–2005, mixed media, 87 x 96 x 8".

    “Nine Lives: Visionary Artists from L.A.”

    A PAINTING BY LLYN FOULKES titled The Lost Frontier was the first thing one saw on entering “Nine Lives: Visionary Artists from L.A.”—the fifth installment of the Hammer Museum’s series of biannual exhibitions devoted to delivering a zeitgeist overview of local tendencies and trends, this time curated by Ali Subotnick. Hung on the far wall of a little roped-off room, it served as the scintillating opening sentence of a very promising book. As with much of this artist’s work, the piece features his likeness, recognizable even when turned away from us; he occupies the foreground and looks

  • Christopher Michlig

    If the photographs that illustrate Artforum’s reviews were still in black and white, readers could be forgiven for confusing Christopher Michlig’s recent solo debut at Jail with an exhibition of early-twentieth-century Russian Constructivism. The flat collages, with their starkly graphic compositions, were presented in four groups of five, either hung at eye level or dropped to the floor and leaning against the wall. They included, for example, a sequence of near-empty monochromes, and another set densely packed with black rectangles. Additionally, five freestanding sculptures were scattered

  • Jeffrey Vallance

    If Los Angeles were Paris, Jeffrey Vallance would surely be declared a national treasure, yet I’m convinced that any such public recognition of his peculiar genius would serve only to puncture it. That this exhibition was held at Margo Leavin Gallery reflects a recent uptick in this artist’s stock, no doubt a delayed reaction to his increasing influence abroad. Vallance’s favorable reception at last year’s Basel Art Fair was only the latest sign of the cultlike favor he has found in Europe. However, a truly triumphant return may have to wait a while longer. Though Vallance’s abiding fondness

  • “Phantom Sightings: Art After the Chicano Movement”

    The paranoid border patrol of the so-called Minutemen is probably one reason for this show’s title, as is the anemic response of the culture industry to the rising Mexican and, more broadly, Latin American demographics, but the “phantoms” here are as much internally as externally generated. What constitutes the artistic legacy of the Chicano movement in the era of globalization? This exhibition of more than one hundred works by some thirty artists traces a move away from traditional materials and methods of object making toward increasingly

  • Jorge Pardo, Salad Set, 1995, handblown glass, 7 parts, dimensions variable.

    Jorge Pardo

    Still known primarily for skirting the boundaries of art and design, Jorge Pardo has gone from remaking a variety of consumer items for what he terms “speculative” purposes to shaping the conditions of perception as such.

    Still known primarily for skirting the boundaries of art and design, Jorge Pardo has gone from remaking a variety of consumer items for what he terms “speculative” purposes to shaping the conditions of perception as such. An underlying logic must connect his disparate work—from his 1997 exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, which included a small racing boat amid ever-changing displays, to his “breakthrough” pier at the 1997 Skulptur Projekte Münster and his sculpture-that-is-also-a-house in LA—but what exactly is it? Considering Pardo’s immense

  • Takashi Murakami, 727, 1996, acrylic on canvas mounted on board, 9' 10 1/8“ x 14' 9 3/16”.

    Takashi Murakami

    The exhibition title, “© Murakami,” flatly announces the post-Warholian position Takashi Murakami aims to occupy on the broken borderline between art and popular culture.

    The exhibition title, “© Murakami,” flatly announces the post-Warholian position Takashi Murakami aims to occupy on the broken borderline between art and popular culture. Rendering his name a generic consumer brand, Murakami claims the benefits of intellectual property while hedging his work against the collective comic-book and video-game imaginary from which it springs. Others would sink under the weight of such a paradox, but Murakami soars—this is corporate-capitalist gnosticism, Hieronymus Bosch for the digital age, figuring a “superflat” reality squashed between

  • Kristian Burford

    In his first solo exhibition at I-20, Kristian Burford remained committed to a methodology inspired by elements of the work of Hans Bellmer and Marcel Duchamp. The most direct precedent for Rebecca . . . , 2006–2007 (the full title is rather longer), as with every previous piece this young artist has shown, is Duchamp’s Etant donnés . . . , 1946–66, which sets a figurative sculpture within an environmental mise-en-scène that can only be viewed from a fixed, restricted perspective. Likewise, Burford demonstrates an interest in the process of reducing the concrete materiality of sculpture to a

  • Robert Russell

    On first impression, Robert Russell’s second solo show of paintings at Anna Helwing Gallery, much like his debut, conformed to a familiarly Richteresque template. At issue, once more, was the relation between painting as a primary, hands-on means of producing images and all the medium’s technically assisted derivatives. As we have seen in the work of Luc Tuymans, as well as that of his numerous followers, this issue is by no means resolved. On the contrary, it demands continual rethinking in the light of every new technological development. All of these painters are concerned with the question

  • The Chimerical Horizon

    The LA art world seems to be getting a lot more attention in France these days than it has been at home. Coming a year after “Los Angeles 1955–1985,” the Pompidou’s exhaustive historical survey “The Chimerical Horizon” will explore the exact nature of this trans-atlantic fascination by pairing up the éminence grise of the SoCal scene, Ed Ruscha, with Parisian favorite Jean-Marc Bustamante. Featuring thirty-four paintings, photos, sculptures, books, and drawings from 1968 to 2006, this exhibition, whose title is lifted from an obscure book of poems by Jean de la Ville

  • Mathias Poledna

    Mathias Poledna has designated his works “fragments,” a term that could apply to their subject matter as well as to their relation to one another. Poledna has produced just a few short films: Actualité, 2001; Western Recording, 2003; Version, 2004; and now Crystal Palace, 2006. Each one is the centerpiece of a series of highly controlled cinematic environments in which every aspect of the presentation is significant, from the film gauge and stock to the make of the projector, the configuration of the screen, and the absence or presence of seating. Above all, he exploits the potential of the

  • “Enigma Variations”

    Although it might not amount to a new paradigm, the deployment of the comparative method—a standard art-historical gambit—as a curatorial strategy occasionally allows us to look at familiar work with fresh eyes. The approach is most effective where arguably most incongruous—that is, within a modernist context, given modernism’s emphasis on autonomy for artwork and artist alike. The suggestion that the unfolding of modern art is not necessarily a matter of consecutive seismic shake-ups but is more like a slowly unfolding conversation is no longer novel, and the validity of the