Michael Ned Holte

  • the silent world (infinite), 2004.
    picks July 15, 2004

    Steve Roden

    Sol LeWitt began his 1969 “Sentences on Conceptual Art” with the following gem: “Conceptual artists are mystics rather than rationalists. They leap to conclusions that logic cannot reach.” In a series of thirteen paintings titled “the silent world” (all works 2004), Steve Roden reveals “mystic truths” by running the title of Jacques Cousteau’s first book through a word-to-image transposition of his own devising, arriving at a postlinguistic epistemology of painterly sensation. The cryptic means are less important than the pulsatory results: In these densely mapped small to medium-size canvases,

  • Balona (New Place), 2004.
    picks May 24, 2004

    Skylar Haskard

    In Robert Smithson's humorous 1971 drawing Towards the Development of a “Cinema Cavern,” a collaged photo of a spelunker suggests the perfect spectator for a “truly underground cinema.” Similar subterranean thinking invades Skylar Haskard’s seven-channel video installation Balona (New Place), 2004, appropriately (non-)sited in the gallery’s decrepit basement. The monitors are mounted on a skeletal wooden cube and face inward, outward, or upward, creating a complex spatial and temporal arrangement. The individual channels reveal Haskard’s obsessions with tubes, funnels, food, and liquids—all

  • Stars to Rain, Everything Is the Same, 2004. Installation view.
    picks May 24, 2004

    Emilie Halpern

    A tattered, yellowing bedsheet suspended from the ceiling and grazing the floor is covered with crystals of potassium nitrate, the combustible ingredient in fireworks. The physical and metaphoric centerpiece of Emilie Halpern’s first solo exhibition, Indoor Firework, 2004, will continue to crystallize over time, quietly intimating potential incandescence and the slow burn of memory. Halpern renders frankly sentimental themes like distance and longing with evolving complexity. The two-part sculpture Stars to Rain, Everything Is the Same, 2004, for example, seduces from afar with its shiny, faceted

  • Rainer Variations, 2002. Video still.
    picks May 13, 2004

    Yvonne Rainer

    Since the early '60s, no artist has explored the boundaries of the old chestnut “Art imitates life” more fully than Yvonne Rainer. Unabashed cliché (inspired, according to the artist, by the weepy melodramas of her youth) becomes rich materiality in Film About a Woman Who . . . , 1974, and inflects the extraformal content of dances constructed from “ordinary” movement and loaded with props such as a vacuum cleaner, a toy gun, or American flags. It should be no surprise that much of this important survey exhibition is devoted to ephemera and documentation of Rainer’s enormous contributions to

  • Wall Cabinet #2 (Sonic Youth), 2003–2004.
    picks March 30, 2004

    Kaz Oshiro

    Kaz Oshiro’s meticulous reconstructions of Peavey amplifiers, Sony speakers, fast-food trash receptacles, and dorm-room minifridges ambivalently answer the question posed by MoCA’s “A Minimalist Future?” (currently on view downtown). Oshiro implicates Donald Judd’s fabrications in a wall stack of six Sony bookshelf speakers. Specific objects indeed—but unlike Judd’s, Oshiro’s industrial aesthetic is the product of his own hand, manipulating paint and Bondo over stretched canvas forms to produce ghostly simulacra. These faux readymades are mediated by Baudrillard’s 1983 claim that “illusion

  • Chris S in Los Angeles, 2003.
    picks March 02, 2004

    William Jones

    In an ongoing series of richly printed black-and-white photographs, William Jones explores a self-organized “movement” of mostly Latino Southern California kids enthralled by Morrissey and the Smiths. More than a mere fashion appropriation, the parallels between '80s Manchester and postmillennial SoCal suggest a complex cultural transposition that is not entirely linear: The words “VIVA” and “HATE” tattooed across one kid’s knuckles refer to his own Latin roots as much as to the Smiths song “Viva/Hate.” Seemingly casual, the photos reveal acute observation. In Handsome Devils, 2003, three young

  • Circle Sculpture, 2003.
    picks March 01, 2004

    Alice Könitz

    In the wooded setting of Alice Könitz’s untitled video, “primitive” imagery (geometric masks and props) meets “primitive" facture in a series of three tableaux that recall the mannered staging of early cinema. Collaged from plays by Ionesco and other absurdist masters, the scenarios seem intent on going nowhere. The video calls attention to its “magical” ability to transform masked actors into bitchy models, costumes into couture, and props into works of art as, despite the idyllic setting, a cast of self-involved “beautiful people” perform a dystopian fable of social inaction. Situated in an

  • Marie Jager, Special to me (Phoenix audition song), 2003. Installation view.
    picks February 18, 2004

    “3 Fireplaces and 2 Bathtubs”

    Bless this mess: Disheveled crash-pad chic is the backdrop for this group show at the Schindler House, summoning the ghost of Pauline Schindler, who “domesticated” the modernist masterpiece, circa 1940, much to architect Rudolph’s horror. The untidy program features MAK Center artists in residence Catrin Bolt, Oliver Croy, Robert Gfader, Marlene Haring, and Deborah Ligorio; acting as curators, they share the task of redomesticating the space with a cross section of young LA artists. In Skylar Haskard’s three-channel video Rural Plastic, 2003, construction debris, garish green paint, and the

  • . . . from blindness and snow, soft slope in two pinks, 2004.
    picks January 16, 2004

    Monique van Genderen

    It was only a matter of time before Monique van Genderen used paint to make a painting. Her previous works—seductive, layered designs of translucent colored vinyl—flirted with LA’s tradition of hard-edge abstraction in a game of deferral that conflated materiality and style. Now the artist has taken to the brush, counterpoising loose gestures in oil and enamel against crisp vinyl shapes and lines. The venture feels risky and rewarding: In Winter Space Paintings #8, 2003, a thickly painted brown and yellow circle hints at the abject, lending the work unexpected toughness while balancing

  • “S.O.S.—Starification Object Series,” 1974–82. Copyright © Marsie, Emanuelle, Andrew and Damon Scharlatt, Hannah Wilke Collection & Archive, Los Angeles.
    picks January 16, 2004

    Hannah Wilke

    In the black-and-white video Gestures, 1974–76, Hannah Wilke suggestively uses her hands to manipulate her eyes, mouth, and hair. From rarely seen early ceramic and latex sculptures to the confrontational photographs for which she is best known, manipulation is the connective tissue running through this succinct survey of Wilke’s diverse career. The (nude) body becomes a site—for sculptural activity, for ideological discourse—and the viewer is always implicated. In the series “S.O.S.—Starification Object Series,” 1974–82, the artist assumes a labile variety of poses (starlet in