Jan Tumlir

  • the 2004 California Biennial

    Where previous California Biennials have made comprehensive statements about the salient formal or conceptual proclivities of contemporary art on the West Coast, this year’s version does not seem arranged according to any central theme. Nevertheless, the work on view is necessarily imbued with a sense of “place” and, in fact, organizers Elizabeth Armstrong and Irene Hoffmann are to be commended for highlighting artists who are all contending, in one way or another, with Lucy Lippard’s “lure of the local.”

    Among the most compelling are the collectives VALDES (San Fernando Valley Institute of

  • “THING: New Sculpture from Los Angeles”

    As LA MoCA steadily pursues its excavation of mid-twentieth-century art, the job of examining the emerging generation has fallen to the Hammer Museum. The institution’s third recent survey to focus on young artists, “THING” is both medium and location specific. Sculpture in LA is more a combinatory matrix than a discrete medium, and this is no doubt what the curators had in mind when they grouped Rodney McMillian’s funk assemblage with the hallucinatory realism of Matt Johnson, and Taft Green’s abstractions of exchange systems with Mindy

  • Kevin Appel

    What is “pictorial” space? Modernist criticism put the question near the top of its agenda but never provided a definitive answer, preferring instead to blur its theoretical parameters in a way that might enable a more integrated solution. As it stands, the term is somewhat paradoxical: On one hand, it refers to something flat, coextensive with painting’s literal surface. On the other, it signifies depth, though not in a traditional perspectival sense. Rather, “depth” here implies a plastic intelligence, and an ability to articulate flatness as such, and thereby to render it open and inhabitable.

  • Los Angeles

    WHEN DENNIS HOLLINGSWORTH MOVED OUT OF HIS CHINATOWN digs in late 2002, those left behind began, either eagerly or anxiously, proclaiming the end. After all, the painter and honorary “Mayor of Chinatown” was among the first wave of aesthetes to take advantage of the former tourist trap’s economic misfortunes, replacing cut-rate chinoiserie with contemporary art. Then, a few months later, Giovanni Intra, the genial artist/writer who with partner Steve Hanson effectively put the place on the map by opening China Art Objects Galleries, passed away at the tender age of thirty-four. And there went

  • Sam Durant

    Previously Sam Durant has satirically exploited the disjunction between the redemptive aspirations of modern art and design and the actual needs and wants of a public that has generally favored the nostalgic promises of pop over the rigors of “the new.” Beyond Greenberg’s assertion of a golden umbilicus binding even the grungiest bohemia to an elite patron class, questions of audience tend to constitute a willful blind spot at the very core of modernist ideology. As Durant has shown, the problem stems from the artist’s own inherently fractured self-image: Rejecting one’s (typically) middle-class

  • Destroy All Monsters

    Motown, the Detroit-based musical empire built by Berry Gordy in imitation of the local auto works that had once employed him, was a brazen purveyor of (to borrow Theodor Adorno’s dismissive epithet) “commodity music,” pure pop product built from standardized parts, as on an assembly line. This was in the early ’60s, when youth culture as we know it achieved critical mass. Some twenty years later, the midwestern boomtown had given way to the post-Fordist wasteland, where Juan Atkins, Derrick May, and Kevin Saunderson, the so-called Belleville Three (after the upscale Detroit suburb they called

  • Kirsten Everberg, Bar, 2003, oil and enamel on canvas over panel.

    The Undiscovered Country

    Taking its cue from Hamlet’s description of the afterlife as a place “from whose bourn no traveler returns,” this show examines the current resurgence of figuration in art as only the latest communiqué from that parallel universe of the “lifelike.”

    Taking its cue from Hamlet’s description of the afterlife as a place “from whose bourn no traveler returns,” this show examines the current resurgence of figuration in art as only the latest communiqué from that parallel universe of the “lifelike.” Further, this renewed figurative drive suggests that photography and painting are locked in a dialectical process that is much more give than take, in opposition to notions of historical rupture. In this selection of over forty paintings spanning the past five decades, figures like Fairfield Porter, Gerhard Richter, and John Baldessari act as parental

  • Robbert Flick, Along Central, 2000, c-prints

    Robbert Flick

    Since the mid-’70s, Robbert Flick has played a crucial role in the growth of Southern California’s photographic culture and its conversion into art-world currency.

    Since the mid-’70s, Robbert Flick has played a crucial role in the growth of Southern California’s photographic culture and its conversion into art-world currency. In the most traditional documentary sense, his practice is determined by subject or genre, specifically the transformation of the urban landscape over time. Accordingly, he provides a complex record for posterity, typically unfolding in sequential, gridded arrangements that suggest the mobile point of view of cinema and point inward as much as out. Ostensibly consistent, each work (and site) is in fact subjected to a markedly different

  • Guy de Cointet

    Guy de Cointet (1934–83) is perhaps known less for his work than for the influence it has exerted on other artists, like Catherine Sullivan, Mike Kelley, Paul McCarthy, and William Leavitt. The latter three contribute to the catalogue for de Cointet’s first European retrospective, no doubt to discuss the permission they gained from his cryptic yet undeniably Pop performances and objects. Emigrating from his native France to the US in 1967, de Cointet put in time at Warhol’s Factory before settling in Los Angeles’s Little Tokyo. There, this insider/outsider devised

  • Tony Oursler

    First Mike Kelley, then Jim Shaw and Raymond Pettibon have each taken a turn carrying the torch of the “Pop Informel” school, and each has seen his star rise accordingly. Only Tony Oursler—the fourth member of a loose-knit crew that once collaborated on the art bands Destroy All Monsters (the original lineup of which featured Kelley, Shaw, Carey Loren, and Niagara) and the Poetics (comprising just Oursler and Kelley) and that continue to make occasional guest appearances in one another’s projects—seemed to lag behind, achieving less success than he deserved with his early videos of puppet plays

  • OPENINGS: TAFT GREEN

    Despite the tone of ambivalence that haunts Tony Smith’s famous account of driving at night on a then-unfinished section of the New Jersey Turnpike, its citation in Michael Fried’s “Art and Objecthood” (1967) serves a strict rhetorical purpose. Fried turns Smith’s concluding words—less a suggestion of what remains to be done than what may no longer be done—on the innate superiority of such an experience, at once everyday and overwhelming, on their head. To Fried, the fact that “there is no way you can frame it, you just have to experience it,” as smith says, means precisely that it lies outside

  • Robert Overby

    In 1969, after more than a decade of commercial design work, Robert Overby decided to become a full-time artist. The oft-cited turning point was an assignment to procure an art collection for the corporate offices of CBS. Working with a relatively tight budget, Overby came through with a remarkably rich and diverse body of work that ran the gamut of fine and applied art and included everything from a Picasso bookplate to a circuit board courtesy of Lockheed Electronics. And, famously, he cut corners in the original-painting department by making a few of them himself. There is no doubt that with