Kevin Killian

  • Tariq Alvi, Deep, East (No. 44), 2014, digital C-print, 38 x 30". From the series “Deep, East,” 2014–.

    Tariq Alvi

    London-based artist Tariq Alvi has long used collage to imbricate politically charged photos with the crude consumer imagery of tabloids and circulars, arranging his productions into decorative patterns that exude elegiac panache. The effect reminds me of the work of Derek Jarman, who could produce both the ecstatic rush of Jubilee (1978), and the venomous, seething The Last of England (1988). While Alvi’s work nods to the often disturbing ways in which images are subsumed and exploited by the market, it doesn’t deliver clear commentary, offering instead a series of affective and confounding

  • Wolfgang Paalen, Les Cosmogones, 1944, oil on canvas, 96 x 93".

    Wolfgang Paalen

    We have, of late, witnessed a surge in scholarship on the Surrealist artists who gathered in Mexico City during World War II, and several recent exhibitions in California have interested a larger public in this group’s multitudinous activities. In 2012, after the Los Angeles County Museum of Art presented “In Wonderland: The Surrealist Adventures of Women Artists in Mexico and the United States,” the Getty Research Institute’s exhibition “Farewell to Surrealism: The Dyn Circle in Mexico” concentrated on a small group of émigrés who broke with André Breton to establish a “post-Surrealist” practice

  • “Tony Greene: Room of Advances”

    With AIDS hard on his heels, Los Angeles–based artist Tony Greene completed a prodigious amount of work before his death at age thirty-five, in 1990. But though cherished by his colleagues and the object of a posthumous cult of young artists transfixed by his legend, he fell into critical limbo in the confusing decades that ensued. The tide, however, is turning. Just this spring, fellow CalArts students Catherine Opie and Richard Hawkins shepherded their friend’s art into the Whitney Biennial; in Chicago, a concurrent show at Iceberg Projects pairs Greene’s

  • Cover of Bob Mizer’s Physique Pictorial, vol. 16, no. 4 (April 1968), featuring a 1962 drawing by Tom of Finland.

    Bob Mizer and Tom of Finland

    In Victorian times, the site of gay pleasure, sensuality, and communality was the ol’ swimming hole, celebrated by artists like Walt Whitman and Mark Twain, Thomas Eakins and Henry Scott Tuke. Photographer and publisher Bob Mizer and illustrator Touko Laaksonen (“Tom of Finland”) relocated the Victorian Eden to the filling stations, pools, bars, gyms, and barracks of a postwar landscape remarkably like Los Angeles, a sunbaked utopia where every man’s a dreamboat and he’s bursting out of his jeans to get at you. In recent years, Mizer’s and Laaksonen’s respective foundations (both artists died