Sarah Lehrer-Graiwer

  • OPTICAL DRIVE

    “THE EIGHTIES CALLED, They Want Their Painting Back”: This was one of LAURA OWENS’s nicknames for a recent work, whose acid neons and dragged filigrees certainly suggest a gleeful bout with MacPaint circa 1984. But then again, the ’80s never looked quite like this. Over the past several years, Owens has been making pictures that extend her signature exploration of style and decor, but that appear more like layers of windows or screens—and have been executed at a newly expansive scale. They combine illusion and blankness, texts and rocks, depth and dead ends. Indeed, one seldom sees such a

  • “Richard Jackson: Ain’t Painting a Pain”

    For more than forty years, Richard Jackson has taken the piss out of painting, only to shoot it back with such manic energy and monumental ingenuity as to jolt the medium into sublime toxic shock.

    For more than forty years, Richard Jackson has taken the piss out of painting, only to shoot it back with such manic energy and monumental ingenuity as to jolt the medium into sublime toxic shock. Reactivating action painting on his own demanding and unruly terms, Jackson only ever uses the canvas as a starting point for towering architectures and baffling feats of labor. More than sixty-five of the LA master’s works made between 1969 and the present will comprise “Ain’t Painting a Pain,” including drawings, large-scale environments, elaborate painting “machines,” and

  • picks October 23, 2012

    Eli Langer

    Having established himself over the past decade as a semiunderground mainstay of the LA scene, Canadian-born painter Eli Langer has only recently hit upon a new way of working that could be called indigenous to his life here. Departing dramatically from the understated, mildly twitchy, but rather familiar oil abstractions for which he’d become known, Langer’s practice now investigates the ravishing properties of retroreflective materials (used in traffic signs, paving, and cycling gear for nighttime visibility on roadways) to construct incredibly atmospheric viewing environments.

    Langer’s current

  • picks July 11, 2012

    Sharon Lockhart and Noa Eshkol

    Known for a photographic and film practice based on immersive personal relationships she forges with the communities that are her subjects, Sharon Lockhart has moved her collaborative strategy in an affecting new direction with her latest project. Addressing a historical subject for the first time, she investigates the legacy of Israeli choregrapher, theorist, and textile artist Noa Eshkol, who in the 1950s innovated a sophisticated system for recording the body in space, known as Eshkol-Wachman Movement Notation.

    Provocatively conceiving of her project as a two-person exhibition, Lockhart presents

  • Phil Chang

    Straightforward depiction simply doesn’t cut it for a photographer like Phil Chang. Not today, not this deep into the digital-imaging revolution unleashed by Google, Instagram, iPhones, and all the other democratizing platforms, apps, and mobile devices that have made photographic representation not only ubiquitous but ever more virtual. The medium, decidedly in protracted flux, has been thrown into crisis and forced to grapple with the new reality of chronic image-exhaustion. How can photography resist the numbness of which it is the very cause? Structurally, Chang might suggest—perhaps

  • Made in L.A. 2012

    If you thought the biennial map had reached its saturation point, think again.

    If you thought the biennial map had reached its saturation point, think again. This summer, the Hammer Museum, in collaboration with nonprofit powerhouse LAXART, will inaugurate a new regional biennial, replacing the Hammer Invitational with a survey of new art created in Los Angeles, emphasizing emerging and underrecognized practitioners. Made in L.A. 2012 will feature sixty artists, from historical figures such as Morgan Fisher, Simone Forti, and Channa Horwitz to a bevy of newer lights, including Dan

  • diary March 06, 2012

    Last Picture Show

    DON’T BE FOOLED: dance is just the most divine distraction. Elad Lassry’s first major foray into live performance last Friday was—like all of his rapidly expanding practice—emphatically and ecstatically a work about pictures. His much anticipated, one-night-only Untitled (Presence 2005) at MacArthur Park’s Hayworth Theater insisted on performance as a kind of durational picture or continuum of infinite potential pictures unfolding within the frame of the stage. Think of it as the first of what will be many pictures making up the artist’s upcoming exhibition at David Kordansky Gallery later this

  • picks February 25, 2012

    Kenneth Price

    Forty-six years ago, Lucy Lippard remarked that “it is a fact rather than a value judgment that no one else, on the East or West coast, is working like Kenneth Price.” Indeed, this remained an apt assessment right up through the artist’s death on February 24 at the age of 77. As for value judgments, I would add without hesitation that Price’s ceramic space oddities are simply breathtaking and utterly sublime. Nine of them are on view in what began as a two-person show with Larry Bell—who also got his start at LA’s legendary Ferus Gallery in the 1960s—and has since switched over to be a solo

  • diary February 05, 2012

    Ball of Confusion

    SEETHING WITH A SORDID HISTORY both on and off the silver screen to rival the wildest passages of Hollywood Babylon, Beverly Hills’s Greystone Mansion oozes noir from every moribund pore of its cold slate walls. With its turrets, peaked roofs, grand vistas, and fifty-plus rooms covering 46,000 square feet, it is the stuff of Hollywood-style fairy tales (albeit one of those particularly nightmarish ones tainted from its start with the spilt blood of the mansion’s owner, who was found murdered alongside his male secretary eighty-three years ago). Since then, the estate’s scandals have multiplied

  • John M. Miller

    LA-based artist John M. Miller has been painting the same painting since 1973: alternating rows of diagonal lines staggered across the canvas to occupy pictorial space as an allover pattern—a crowded tally of leaning digits that, like so many tick marks on the wall, allude to the occupation of time. Produced in 1993 and 1994, the seven works on view in this show, wistfully titled “Yesterdays,” demonstrated the artist’s superlatively disciplined approach. Each painting had been meticulously handpainted with Magna acrylic on raw canvas in monochrome according to a finely tuned palette,

  • picks January 19, 2012

    David von Schlegell

    Though David von Schlegell is better known (to those who know) for his numerous large-scale public sculptures of the 1970s and ’80s sited in the urban and natural landscape, the Park Place Gallery–adjacent artist was also a painter of considerable consequence and enduring vision. Beyond a selection of drawings, models, and maquettes related to his sculptural practice, this exhibition presents a rare opportunity to view von Schlegell’s late series of four-foot-square monochromes from the early 1990s. Poured over with a wash, each panel is a gradient field of darkly pooled pigment with a concentrated

  • “It Happened at Pomona: Art at the Edge of Los Angeles 1969–1973”

    Once upon a time, in a far-flung suburban hamlet of Los Angeles, it came to pass that an inordinate amount of the most radical art in the world took shape on the otherwise socially conservative campus of Pomona College. The stars first aligned in 1969, when Hal Glicksman became curator of the college’s museum, instituting an experimental studio-residency program dubbed the Artist’s Gallery for the duration of his yearlong term. The stars reconfigured and aligned anew as Helene Winer (of subsequent Artists Space and Metro Pictures renown) took over the post and held it until 1972, presciently

  • Uri Nir

    Mixed messages and cross-purposes obstructed the thrust of “Accelerator,” the most ambitious (read: high-budget) effort yet of Uri Nir’s budding career. Presented together as one synchronized entity, four discrete but related elements occupied three spaciously contiguous galleries. One housed a sprawling installation of large, freestanding doors that cut up the space at irregular intervals parallel to the room’s rectilinear perimeter, as though shorthanding an invisible interior architecture. Emulating the carved heft of heavy ancient gates, the doors were made of translucent Plexiglas and

  • picks October 12, 2011

    Richard Jackson

    A legendary, if often under recognized, fixture of the Los Angeles art scene since at least the early 1970s, Richard Jackson has continuously labored to launch action painting to new, steroidal heights. In “The Little Girl’s Room,” the artist’s first solo gallery show on his home turf in two decades, Jackson’s characteristic expansion of painting’s parameters into dramatic, large-scale environments takes the form of a freestanding kid’s playroom with interior walls constructed out of huge stretched canvases painted murallike with a suspiciously cheerful kindergarten landscape of puffy white

  • Piero Golia

    Angel food, kugelhopf, savarin, pound, fleur-de-lis, Bavarian bundt: a dozen ring-shaped cakes, each a unique sculptural form cast in white concrete elegantly gridded the gallery, set atop tall rectangular pedestals in three neat rows, four deep. Piero Golia received the elaborate bakeware set that molded this lot as a wedding gift some years ago. The pans sat cold in the cupboard until his divorce, when they came to mean something other than they had. For his show this past summer at Gagosian, Golia concretely figured the recently compounded emotional weight of the pans’ readymade volumes as

  • picks September 26, 2011

    John Altoon

    Though a dominant figure in the Los Angeles art scene of the 1950s and ’60s, closely associated with the legendary Ferus Gallery, John Altoon slipped into relative obscurity after his premature death at age forty-three in 1969. Much of the wild, erratic, inebriated, and ludic energy for which he was notorious comes through in the forty remarkable drawings that make up his second solo exhibition at the Box.

    Beautifully installed in a sprawling grid, the large-scale drawings are raunchy and perverse, taking delight in bizarrely disembodied genitalia and exuberantly absurd, oversexualized scenes

  • picks June 17, 2011

    Anthony Lepore

    Anthony Lepore’s photographs, on view here in concurrent solo shows at two venues, are up-front about their trickiness and deceptions. Visiting national parks and official wildlife areas around the country, Lepore captures the strange and jarring unintended juxtapositions generated by visitors centers’ low-budget dramatizations of natural landscape. Photographing (and rephotographing) large multipaneled photographic murals, wallpaper, and dioramas of regional vistas that characterize the centers’ presentational conventions, Lepore homes in on places of rupture that break and undermine photographic

  • “All of This and Nothing”

    Jointly curated by Anne Ellegood and Douglas Fogle, the most recent installment of the Hammer Invitational (that museum’s biannual contemporary group show, which typically has a local focus) featured an impressive lineup of seven young and midcareer Los Angeles–based artists together with an equal number of their American and international peers. “All of This and Nothing” championed introverted artistic practices that are chronically unmoored by the metaphysical force of self-doubt and the ineffable, even as they are grounded in an economy of means, formal simplicity, fragmentation, slowness,

  • picks April 25, 2011

    Mai-Thu Perret

    “Migraine”—Mai-Thu Perret’s first exhibition of ceramics and paintings in Los Angeles—is a continuation of her ongoing meta-narrative, Land of Crystal (aka The Crystal Frontier, begun in 1999 as an open-ended literary account describing a fictional, all-female utopian commune based on radical feminist ideals), advancing that sprawling epic’s mounting sense of cerebral fissure and nervous breakdown. An outgrowth of Perret’s “Crack-Up” series from 2009, five “Migraine” paintings (all 2010) symmetrically map blooming and sputtering Rorschach blots of black, blue, red, and orange acrylic paint onto

  • Jill Giegerich

    Several recurring visual tropes circulate through the schematic and disjunctive dreamscape of Jill Giegerich’s recent paintings, repeating and recombining in various guises like a shuffled and reshuffled deck. A circle of suggestive formal relationships emerges, and one could map a flowchart of such connections through the twenty-seven works from the past four years that were on view in this show: There are cartoonish, angular ears conjuring a chiseled Superman type, which identify a crucial state of heightened auditory (sensory) alertness that amplifies and ricochets off depictions elsewhere