Michael Ned Holte


    EVERY AMERICAN surely knows that Plymouth Rock marks the site where the Mayflower landed in 1620 before the Pilgrims it held founded the Plymouth Colony. It is likely that fewer Americans know that this historically significant rock was not identified as such until 1741, or that in 1774 the rock broke in half during an attempt to move it. Plymouth Rock is an allegory, one as American as apple pie and Manifest Destiny. (“Allegory,” Craig Owens once observed, “is consistently attracted to the fragmentary, the imperfect, the incomplete.”) Plymouth Rock is also the title of a 1985 painting by Lari


    Curated by Alexis Lowry

    Elegant disasters, Barry Le Va’s dispersals are often referred to as “scatter pieces,” though the term is misleading, given the meticulous planning that precedes them. Made of familiar but unorthodox materials such as felt, flour, broken glass, wooden dowels, ball bearings, and even meat cleavers, these pieces are typically delimited by the extent of a gallery’s walls. A spare, early flour work, Omitted Section of a Section Omitted, 1968–69, gamely butted up against the side of Bruce Nauman’s corridor when it first appeared in the Whitney’s generation-defining exhibition


    LONG BEFORE the advent of Craigslist, bulletin boards emblematized the self-organized welter of transactional democracy. That they continue to exist in schools, libraries, and coffee shops is a testament to their earnest, utilitarian promise, even as they tend to disappear in plain sight—that is, unless you’re suddenly in need of communication with a highly localized audience: You’ve lost a pet, you’re selling a car, you’re seeking guitar lessons or a Spanish tutor.

    In 2014, Fiona Connor initiated what would become an ongoing project by faithfully re-creating two small, gray, aluminum-framed


    Tales of the Floating Class: Writings, 1982–2017, by Norman M. Klein. Valencia, CA: Golden Spike Press, 2019. 303 pages.

    IS IT POSSIBLE for critical theory to be anachronistic and prophetic at the same time? Norman M. Klein’s Tales of the Floating Class: Writings, 1982–2017, a compendium recently rereleased by tiny Los Angeles–based publisher Golden Spike Press, compels an affirmative answer, with the ongoing duel—the small initial 2018 printing quickly sold out—between cultural memory and its constant erasure acting as a perpetual catalyst. In other words, the future would be clear enough if we

  • Openings: Candice Lin

    A SHINY WHITE URINAL greeted visitors to Candice Lin’s exhibition last year at Bétonsalon Center for Art and Research in Paris. Mounted on a tiled wall as part of “Un corps blanc exquis” (A Hard White Body), the functional porcelain object literalized the exhibition’s title and inevitably evoked another piece of plumbing—one intended for and rejected by a fabled exhibition at New York’s Grand Central Palaceone hundred years earlier—that now serves as, well, a fixture of art history and an emblem of avant-garde provocations. Quite unlike that other urinal, the significance of which was

  • “Allen Ruppersberg: Intellectual Property 1968–2018”

    For five decades, Allen Ruppersberg has balanced grand gestures—say, opening a hotel or café under his own name, or transcribing Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray by hand—with humble vernacular materials (Colby Poster Printing Company’s rainbow-gradient placards, pop LPs, laminated plastic, etc.) and self- effacing modesty (“Al”). Like his peers who defined West Coast Conceptualism (John Baldessari, Douglas Huebler, and Alexis Smith among them), Ruppersberg has embraced language as the province of visual art, often with humorous

  • Jimmie Durham

    YEARS IN THE MAKING, Jimmie Durham’s long-overdue first career survey in the United States couldn’t be more timely. As if to prove the point, the exhibition—which opened two days after President Donald Trump issued a discriminatory travel ban—includes a 1993 sculpture called Forbidden Things: an assemblage comprising an oak doorframe, a painted deerskin sign depicting contraband, and a nondescript box adorned with a cheap plastic bowl, in sum resembling an airport security gate. Throughout the show, such thresholds, borders, and boundaries are frequently demarcated and occasionally

  • Michael Ned Holte

    1 HENRY TAYLOR (BLUM & POE, LOS ANGELES) Taylor’s blunt, compelling portraits wove together three spaces in which sculptures and found objects conjured archetypal Los Angeles tableaux: a blighted urban landscape, a pastoral pool scene, an artist’s studio. The whole evoked Courbet’s The Painter’s Studio: A Real Allegory Summing Up Seven Years of My Artistic and Moral Life, 1854–55, with the artist situated between rich and powerful benefactors on one side and the undercommons on the other. Taylor’s allegory is real, too. On the way to the gallery, I drove past the homeless guy in front of See’s


    IN THE GOLDEN AGE OF HOLLYWOOD, the Million Dollar Theatre was the crown jewel among the grand movie palaces lining Broadway in downtown Los Angeles. Its ornate exterior, designed in the elaborate Spanish churrigueresque style, abounded with carved bison, steer heads, and allegorical figures playing stringed instruments, while the interior scheme was inspired by John Ruskin’s 1841 fairy tale King of the Golden River. By the close of the 1980s, all the palaces on Broadway had fallen into disrepair, some converted into churches or budget theaters, others simply abandoned. Angelenos went to the

  • Anthony Hernandez

    Anthony Hernandez might be to Los Angeles what Eugène Atget is to Paris. While he has taken photographs in Rome, Baltimore, and elsewhere, Hernandez has, for more than four decades, persistently documented the oft-overlooked urban scenery of his native southern California—from the manicured storefronts and mannequinesque denizens of Beverly Hills to the remnants of homeless encampments improvised on the margins of the urban landscape. This retrospective, a first for the artist and the inaugural special exhibition in the museum’s new Pritzker Center for Photography,


    THIS STORY BEGINS somewhere other than the beginning.

    It’s a hot summer night in Los Angeles, and the artist D’Ette Nogle is onstage accompanied by two big, restless dogs. Nogle is recounting the plot of Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, a hardly obscure movie that has been playing in theaters all over the world for the past month. Her narration, or “shaggy-dog story” (as she describes it), is exacting—almost brutally so, with the blow-by-blow continuing for some forty minutes. Nogle’s abundant energy never wanes, but the audience crammed into the stuffy storefront space starts to get visibly

  • “Kathryn Andrews: Run for President”

    While Chicago is the birthplace of presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and the adopted hometown of POTUS no. 44 Barack Obama, the title of LA-based Kathryn Andrews’s first solo museum show in the US refers to a presidential campaign by—surprise!—Bozo the Clown. Fifteen seductive yet chilling sculptures, made since 2011, many of which amend certified movie props (among other political footballs thrown from the collective unconscious), will be appointed to a wild exhibition narrative for which Bozo’s largely forgotten 1984 bid serves as a

  • Michael Ned Holte

    1 “BLUES FOR SMOKE” (THE GEFFEN CONTEMPORARY AT MoCA, LOS ANGELES; CURATED BY BENNETT SIMPSON) By all accounts, LA MoCA had a truly woeful year, so it’s fitting that Simpson (one of the institution’s two remaining curators) would lay his stake on the blues. An essay as much as an exhibition, “Blues for Smoke” was noisy (the warehouse space of the Geffen Contemporary was haunted by an Albert Ayler–inspired squall in Stan Douglas’s terrific Hors-champs, 1992), mournful (a gallery of Mark Morrisroe’s photos), mordantly funny (Dave McKenzie’s Yesterday’s Newspaper, 2012–13; Glenn Ligon’s Richard

  • “Jason Rhoades, Four Roads”

    Curator and critic Daniel Birnbaum once described Jason Rhoades as “perhaps the most American of contemporary American artists.” So it is somewhat surprising that the Los Angeles–based master of sprawling sculptural surplus should only now receive his first major US museum exhibition, some seven years after his untimely death at the age of forty-one. The title of the show—a wink at Rhoades’s relentless punning—corresponds to four thematic “roads” (Americana, biography, systems, and taboo) to be manifested in the four huge installations set to fill the museum

  • Made in L.A. 2012

    HAVE YOU SEEN “The Californians,” the Saturday Night Live sketch in which Fred Armisen, Kristen Wiig, and Co. play bleached, surf-drawling dimwits whose soap-operatic interactions always lead to discussions about the best way through the traffic-clogged thoroughfares of Los Angeles? The acerbic parody makes Portlandia seem like a swooning love letter, but of course, as someone with his own deeply held opinions about how (not) to drive from Westwood to Hollywood to Culver City, I’m biased. At first glance, the regional purview of Made in L.A. 2012—on view this past summer at the Hammer Museum


    FOR NEARLY TWO DECADES, Sharon Lockhart’s films (and, more recently, HD videos) have maintained a consistent approach to their varied subjects, whether laborers or children playing—so consistent, in fact, as to constitute a kind of signature. Employing a fixed frame and tending toward long takes in a highly structured (if not precisely structuralist) sequence of shots, Lockhart’s lens could be described as empirical in its apparently cool remove. In Goshogaoka, 1998, the camera, in a series of long takes, records a squad of adolescent Japanese girls practicing basketball drills in a gymnasium,

  • Michael Ned Holte

    1 “Asco: Elite of the Obscure, a Retrospective, 1972–1987” (Los Angeles County Museum of Art; curated by C. Ondine Chavoya and Rita Gonzalez) Strangest art sighting of the past year? How about an image of Asco’s Patssi Valdez, glimpsed on a Bank of America ATM the same day Occupy Wall Street’s Los Angeles splinter mobilized in the downtown financial district? It turns out the corporate monster directed some trickle-down loot toward “Pacific Standard Time,” the Getty’s dizzyingly ambitious reconsideration of postwar and contemporary art in Southern California. Perhaps no show better summed up

  • “Photography into Sculpture”

    Among the most ambitious gallery shows coinciding with the J. Paul Getty Musuem–instigated “Pacific Standard Time” initiative—a sprawling self-study of Southern California’s emergence as a significant art hub—is a restaging of an exhibition that originated in New York: Peter Bunnell’s “Photography into Sculpture,” which first appeared the Museum of Modern Art in 1970 and traveled to seven other venues before eventually landing at Otis College of Art and Design in Los Angeles in 1972. (Most of the original objects or similar works by a given artist are included here; a few have been


    IN CHARLES GAINES’S SCULPTURE FALLING ROCK, 2000, a sixty-five-pound chunk of granite suddenly and repeatedly drops onto—or just short of—a sheet of glass. We have no way of knowing which of these outcomes to expect; it is determined by a computerized mechanism. When I first encountered the piece roughly a decade ago, I had little idea what to make of its recurrent, timed brutality—the rationality of clockwork married to the irrationality of violence. Or, more accurately, I had no idea what the artist intended me to make of it. After being similarly confounded by later bodies of

  • Shannon Ebner

    For nearly a decade, Shannon Ebner has developed a quickly recognizable approach—one at the unruly convergence of photography, sculpture, and language—that insistently frames the space around and (especially) between things. Most often, these voids or breaks occur between letters and other linguistic symbols that provide the ostensible subject matter. In an earlier series of defining black-and-white images, the artist photographed words, in all caps, constructed out of flimsy cardboard and placed in desolate settings that read as literally blank fields: In USA, 2003, for example, the