Natilee Harren

  • picks January 04, 2018

    Moyra Davey

    In a sublime yet humble installation, almost five hundred images from Moyra Davey’s “Copperheads” series from 1990 to 2017 are tacked up in vast, tightly arranged grids. These microphotographic prints showing Abraham Lincoln’s profile on US pennies—fascinatingly worn, scratched, gouged, abraded, rusted, calcified—themselves show wear. Folded into quarters, sealed with fluorescent tape, addressed, stamped, and sent through the mail, the prints are irrevocably marked. The photo paper, whose gloss repels the impressions of postmarks, suppresses official indications of time and circulation in favor

  • picks September 05, 2017

    Dave Muller

    At first glance, the striking white band that skirts Dave Muller’s vast, colorful murals in this exhibition gives the impression of an orderly timeline. But one soon realizes that all of art’s history and geography is disarranged in his mixtape of a show, “Now Where Were We?,” in which objects from the museum’s permanent collection are paired with the artist’s renderings of items from the pop-cultural everyday: among them, a disco ball, hockey pucks, a smiley face, and a rainbow flag. The painted text provides the viewer only the barest of bearings within three galleries organized around the

  • picks July 14, 2017

    David Scanavino

    Brooklyn-based artist David Scanavino’s site-specific installation Repeater, 2017, only the second exhibition to appear in the soaring atrium gallery of this new center, is made up of a massive tessellation of industrially produced vinyl composite tiles, the kind one typically finds covering the floors of school lunchrooms, fitness centers, and hospitals. The viewer is discouraged from such associations, however, by the work’s decorative arrangement of bold candy colors, approximating an aimless labyrinth or Tetris game with no symmetry or center. Abutting hues vibrate before the eyes like an

  • picks May 18, 2017

    “Between Land and Sea: Artists of the Coenties Slip”

    Coenties Slip is a tiny street in Lower Manhattan, situated halfway between Battery Park and the Brooklyn Bridge, and a few blocks southeast of Wall Street, abutting a park that connects it to the water’s edge. It’s hard to imagine a time when artists would have pursued that location “to seek a barer life, closer to reality, without all the things that clutter and fill our lives,” as Lenore Tawney once said. But in the 1950s and 1960s that is precisely what she, along with Agnes Martin, Ellsworth Kelly, Robert Indiana, Jack Youngerman, and Chryssa, did. There they lived and worked in former

  • interviews October 11, 2016

    Elana Mann

    Elana Mann is a Los Angeles–based artist whose interdisciplinary performance, sculpture, video work, and collaborative organizing practice address the radical political potential and material aesthetics of listening and speaking. With Robby Herbst, Mann recently organized “Chats About Change,” a series of grassroots conversations with artists involved in creative social change. Here she discusses her public mural Talk Through the Hand, which is on view at Baik Art, in the La Cienega Boulevard art corridor, through December 16, 2016, and her solo exhibition, “The Assonant Armory,” which is at

  • Stephen Lapthisophon

    “Coffee, seasonal fruit, spaghetti and rope”—this seemingly random list of items, which constituted the title of Dallas-based artist Stephen Lapthisophon’s first solo exhibition in Houston, flagged just some of the matter suggested by the heavily worked surfaces of the twelve recent abstract compositions on paper and canvas included in the show. There was evidence of disparate conventional media, including pencil, ink, charcoal, chalk, oil pastel, oil stick, and spray paint. But more enthralling (and at times grotesquely fascinating) were the traces—along with the scents and tastes,

  • Rachel Harrison

    To be a twenty-first-century subject is to engage in countless acts of self-representation. Although “Three Young Framers” included few actual depictions of people, presentation of the self provided the through line for Rachel Harrison’s latest LA solo show. The title is a play on August Sander’s 1914 photograph of three men on their way to a dance—young farmers who, one hundred years hence, armed with smartphones and selfie sticks, would have no need for someone like Sander to take their picture. Confronting visitors at the gallery entrance was Open Mic (all works 2015). This electric-blue,

  • “Light, Paper, Process: Reinventing Photography”

    “Light, Paper, Process: Reinventing Photography” marks another signpost in the ongoing debate about the nature of photography in the wake of the digital turn. The show, which follows neatly on the heels of “What Is a Photograph?,” Carol Squires’s 2014 exhibition at New York’s International Center of Photography (which focused on experimental photographic practices going back to the 1970s), was organized by Getty curator Virginia Heckert, who has mobilized her institution’s mighty resources to effectively broaden and deepen our understanding of the historical and technical underpinnings of

  • “The Serial Impulse at Gemini G.E.L.”

    Since its founding in 1966, the Los Angeles print studio Gemini G.E.L. has enabled a vast and illustrious roster of artists to innovate their practices through interactions with master printmakers. On the eve of Gemini’s fiftieth anniversary, the National Gallery offers the unique opportunity to view seventeen series in their entirety—encompassing some 130 works made between 1967 and 2014—and will feature artists associated with the 1960s prints-and-multiples boom, such as Jasper Johns, Robert Rauschenberg, and Claes Oldenburg alongside California locals John

  • Liz Magic Laser

    Over the past five years, Liz Magic Laser has become known for bringing into critical view—through performance, video, and, increasingly, installation and sculpture—the aesthetic codes of public discourse, both rhetorical and choreographic. By illuminating the intellectual and emotional manipulation at play in political speech, TV newscasting, and corporate-focus groupthink, she proposes a model of institutional critique that treats the performance of public discourse as the immaterial cornerstone of American democracy-cum-oligarchy.

    The videos and sculptures featured in Laser’s second

  • Lizzie Fitch and Ryan Trecartin

    As if in perverse celebration of Lizzie Fitch and Ryan Trecartin’s near decade and a half of collaboration, three monstrously contorted epicene odalisque sculptures, painted in opalescent jewel tones, occupied the reception area of their first solo exhibition at Regen Projects. These sculptures, Animation Abuse #1–3 (all works 2014), were a telling preamble. Before entering any of the show’s three video installations, or “sculptural theaters,” as the artists call them, one had to confront the two terms of their invented medium separately. First, sculpture: the three ambiguously sexed figures,

  • David Horvitz

    On July 12, the day that David Horvitz’s first solo show at Blum & Poe opened, the artist and his numerous editor-avatars were banned from contributing to Wikipedia. The embargo culminated an ongoing conflict in which editors of the online encyclopedia persistently hunted down and deleted any discovered images of California shoreline (from Pelican State Beach in the north to Border Field State Park in the south) that Horvitz had posted to the public beaches’ Wikipedia entries over the past three years. Each of the supposedly disruptive images—part of Horvitz’s multimodal project “Public

  • “Take It or Leave It: Institution, Image, Ideology”

    The work of Andrea Fraser held a privileged position within Anne Ellegood and Johanna Burton’s ambitious survey of appropriation and institutional-critique practices from the 1970s to the present. The first gallery featured Fraser’s performance video Museum Highlights: A Gallery Talk, 1989, in which the artist, posing as a docent, offers a tour of the Philadelphia Museum of Art that draws attention to the imbrications of aesthetic forms and class relations manifest in the institution’s architecture and displays via a script composed of appropriated texts. Hectoring the show throughout was an

  • William E. Jones

    William E. Jones’s experimental film and video work of the past two decades has consistently aimed to resurrect and reframe lost, repressed, or occluded visual histories, including those of gay subcultures going back to antiquity, military and police surveillance, and the vast photographic project of the Farm Security Administration. Jones’s practice has also consistently involved deep archival research, which increasingly takes place via the Internet. For his latest series, “Heraclitus Fragment 124, Automatically Illustrated,” 2013– , Jones expanded his purview to treat the Internet itself—or,

  • Wolf Vostell

    After recent shows devoted to the likes of Simone Forti and Judith Bernstein, Mara McCarthy’s quasi-commercial space the Box has once again given us the gift of a welcome revival. This time it was the work of an overlooked figure of the neo-avant-garde whose practice bears important lessons for the present: Wolf Vostell, Fluxus affiliate, key proponent of Happenings in Germany, and progenitor of dé-coll/age (the artist’s term for an expanded notion of collage that embraces installations, events, images, and processes of destruction as the means to constructively transformative experiences of

  • Vern Blosum

    Between 1961 and 1964, American Pop artist Vern Blosum produced forty-four canvases illustrating flowers, animals, and infrastructural fixtures outside his Manhattan studio. He painted parking meters, fire hydrants, mailboxes, and stop signs in a deadpan illustrational style executed with middling skill. Depicted on white backgrounds and at roughly life size, the objects float in space, looking at once ominous and dumb. The paintings’ starkly lettered captions are hardly illuminating. Appearing beneath an image of an expired parking meter: ZERO MINUTES. Below a mailbox: ZIP CODE. Below a pay

  • Alexis Smith

    Art history has had a difficult time knowing what to do with the work of Alexis Smith. Her thingly object collages have long been awkwardly characterized as belonging to a strain of witty, narrative Conceptualism associated with the work of fellow LA artists Ed Ruscha, John Baldessari, and Allen Ruppersberg. Ruppersberg may be the most apt comparison, but if his works tend to employ a novelistic structure, Smith’s have the allusive impact of short-form poetry. On the other hand, Smith’s deep commitment to collage and assemblage—not to mention the esoteric mood of her works as well as their

  • picks September 26, 2013

    Lester Monzon

    For his latest body of work, Lester Monzon cast his vision down, to the horizontal space of the floor. While the artist’s earlier abstract canvases pitched the gestural brushstroke against modular “found” patterns, many of his new paintings evoke the gridded expanses of commercial floor tiling replete with accretions and stains. Monzon’s palette of muted tones is accentuated by jolts of fluorescent pink and orange acrylic paint, as chromatically overloaded brushstrokes and semitransparent stains interact with partially filled-in patterns of squares, triangles, diamonds, and circles. The allover

  • William Powhida

    In recent years, Brooklyn-based artist William Powhida has garnered a reputation as a gadfly caricaturist with his drawings that diagram, in paranoiac detail, the art world as a socially, politically, and economically dysfunctional system. In November 2009, his drawing How the New Museum Committed Suicide with Banality, commissioned for the cover of the Brooklyn Rail, galvanized critical consciousness around “Skin Fruit,” the New Museum’s show of selections from the collection of Dakis Joannou (a trustee of the institution) curated by Jeff Koons. Powhida is as beloved by the snarky art blogosphere

  • picks July 24, 2013

    Katie Herzog

    It is an overwhelming experience to enter the installation of forty-eight tightly cropped portrait paintings of transgender men and women that makes up Katie Herzog’s solo exhibition “Transtextuality (SB 48).” The double row of black-and-white portraits encircling the small gallery confronts the viewer with too many faces to take in at a glance. The paintings—conceived of and titled as a singular work, Transtextuality (SB 48), 2013—materially and conceptually weave together a Gordian knot of disparate issues: transgender representation and identity politics, the status and role of painting as