Michael Ned Holte

  • Michael Ned Holte

    THE WRITING, as they say, is on the wall. This past summer I received an unexpected e-mail informing me that the days were numbered for Art Center’s master of arts program in art theory and criticism (of which, it should be mentioned in the name of full disclosure, I am an alumnus and “adviser”). Over the past decade or so, this proverbial little-program-that-could has taken various shapes and forms, all of them at or near the margins of the increasingly corporate and conservative pedagogy of the Pasadena institution, while spawning an impressive if necessarily short list of alumni, including

  • Stephen G. Rhodes

    In his Los Angeles solo gallery debut, Stephen G. Rhodes took the linguistic slippage between the homophones dual and duel as a point of departure for a highly ambitious, slyly humorous, and slightly maddening installation that managed to weave together personal, historical, and formal concerns. The show, titled “Ruined Dualisms,” was overtly theatrical: A few dim electric candles took the place of standard track lighting, and a densely loaded accumulation of paintings, collages, sculptures, photographs, and sculptural video works filled the gallery and sprawled into the office. The conjoined,


    FOR HIS DEBUT SOLO EXHIBITION at Richard Telles Fine Art in Los Angeles this past spring, the LA-based artist Nathan Hylden situated a tidy stack of 11 x 8 1⁄2–inch, perfect-bound and editioned books on the floor by the gallery’s entryway. Free for the taking (and quickly snapped up), each volume was filled with nearly cinematic sequences of evenly spaced, if slightly wonky, fields of black diagonals appearing on lengthy passages of black, then white, paper—with individual lines becoming off-kilter, occasionally overlapping to the point of visual obliteration, as one flipped through the pages.

  • Mathilde ter Heijne

    “I heard her voice, dry as my own, thin, high, and in her nose, with the old outdoors and down the mountain sound to it,” wrote Woody Guthrie in 1947. “Singing to us as she had sung into the rifle fire of Sheriff Blair’s deputies, Sarah Ogan got the house of people to keep so still that the cat licking his hair sounded like a broomstick rubbed against a washtub.” Sarah Ogan Gunning was the daughter and wife (and, no surprise, widow) of coal miners from Kentucky. She first gained fame as a singer-songwriter and activist for mine workers’ rights in the 1930s. Templates for the work of Loretta

  • Vidéo, 2007, still from a high-definition color video with sound, 18 minutes.

    Stan Douglas

    This two-venue exhibition will present fourteen of Stan Douglas’s film and video installations in a nonlinear fashion, offering viewers a labyrinthine display of forking paths rather than the usual stroll down memory lane.

    The title of Stan Douglas’s first major survey, “Past Imperfect,” hints at the primary subject of the artist’s twenty-odd-year career: the intertwining of mechanical time and all-too-human memory. In major duration-based works—such as Subject to a Film: Marnie (1989), Suspiria (2003), and Klatsassin (2006), which allude to films by Alfred Hitchcock, Dario Argento, and Akira Kurosawa, respectively—the Vancouver-based artist trained his lens on cinema’s rich history while simultaneously pioneering new modes of temporal presentation, from concise loops to increasingly complex, recombinant digital

  • Kim Fisher

    Kim Fisher has always been explicitly invested in fashion and its inevitable intertwining with that other elite pursuit, “advanced” art: Her earliest exhibited paintings replicated the signature color and typography of Tiffany bags. She followed these with a series of canvases that riffed on the logo for André Courrèges, the 1960s designer of the go-go boot and the “moon girl” look. In 2000, she unveiled a series of provocative paintings that featured richly pigmented angular shapes based on beryls, or gemological facets, often augmented with intricate silk-screen images of jewelry, and executed

  • View of Aaron Curry, “Bank Robber,” 2006, David Kordansky Gallery, Los Angeles. From left: Fragments from a Collective Unity (Standing), 2006; Haunt (Thief), 2006; Hobo Head Rig (Bank 5), 2006; and Fragments from a Collective Unity (Reclining), 2006.


    AARON CURRY MIGHT BE THE FIRST ARTIST who readily cops to being influenced by Long John Silver’s, the fast-food fish-and-chips chain named after Treasure Island’s peg-legged pirate. The ropes that thread through and dangle from Curry’s biomorphic sculptures pay sly homage to the signature decorative motif of that nautically inflected restaurant, which the artist frequented when he was growing up in San Antonio. In Fragments from a Collective Unity (Reclining), 2006, a network of ropes is drawn through the orifice-like voids in an “abstract” figure. Vaguely human, seemingly hermaphroditic, and

  • Gaylen Gerber

    Over the course of his career, Chicago-based artist Gaylen Gerber has consistently pursued a project at the intersection of painting and its historical and architectural contexts. No other painter I can think of, with the notable exception of Daniel Buren, has taken the notion of a painting’s “support” so literally. In previous shows at Daniel Hug, Gerber deployed a large, flatly painted gray “backdrop” of stretched canvas that nearly covered a long wall of the gallery. This was designed to allow for the intervention of other artists—Tom Friedman and Joe Scanlan in 2003; Remy Zaugg, B. Wurtz,

  • Björn Copeland

    Björn Copeland possesses considerable visual prowess, and his obses- sively crafted mixed-media works on paper make for compelling viewing. The Brooklyn-based artist and musician is clearly familiar with the ever-changing fashions of printed concert flyers—from acid-drenched, Bill Graham–era psychedelia to Xeroxed No Wave grit to fluorescent, ecstasy-laced rave exuberance—and evinces a catholic aesthetic that whirls a mischievous Surrealist bent, Pop referentiality (owing more to the silk screens of Eduardo Paolozzi than those of, say, Warhol), and hypnotic Op affectation into carefully synthesized

  • Eden's Edge: Fifteen LA Artists

    For his first survey since joining the Hammer in May 2005, chief curator Gary Garrels eschews thematic, generational, and medium-specific coherence in favor of unexpected regional connections that reflect the casual pluralism of his new home. Juxtaposing an oddball assortment of idiosyncratic artists including Jim Shaw, Liz Craft, and the late Jason Rhoades, the show doodles—strategically—across the eclectic cultural map of Southern California. Most of the approximately one hundred works, all made in the past decade, will negotiate the landscape, the figure, or both, while

  • Will Fowler

    In his 2004 debut at David Kordansky Gallery, Will Fowler positioned painting as an analogue of paleontology by playfully exploring the fossils of modernist syntax. Deploying straight-from-the-tube acrylic colors in riotous assemblies of geometric shapes—circles, squares, triangles, and snaking paths—that cover each painting’s surface, Fowler pushed familiar, slyly referential forms into complex compositions, suggesting a rich, even allegorical potential for the medium without a whiff of irony or nostalgia.

    For an untitled diptych in that show, Fowler collaged and then partially painted over

  • Brian Bress

    A collage sensibility is central to the concerns of Los Angeles–based artist Brian Bress, even as the collage medium was thoroughly subsumed into photography and video in his recent show. In the thirteen-minute twenty-second video Under Cover, 2007, that sensibility pervades the sets, props, and costumes with which Bress, ambitiously assuming a variety of oddball personae, indulges the camera. The video begins with a seemingly flat image of vibrant color bars, initially assumed to be electronically generated, that are revealed to be handmade when the artist, posing as a sleazy narc, complete