Suzanne Hudson

  • Alison Saar

    For Alison Saar’s most recent show at L.A. Louver, “Topsy Turvy,” she took as her muse the character of Topsy from Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin, recasting the slave girl of the Civil War–era novel as a figure for our time. The “wooly hair . . . braided in sundry little tails” remained, but here became an emblem of implacable defiance. In ten new sculptures and six related paintings on variegated supports pieced together from indigo-dyed seed sacks, vintage linens, denim, and one found trunk, Saar rendered Topsy with dark and sometimes patinated skin (the sculptures comprise admixtures

  • “Ellen Gallagher: Nu-Nile”

    For more than two decades, Ellen Gallagher has navigated the fluid geographies of realms both imagined and terrifically real. This exhibition, her Canadian debut, encompasses drawings (from earlier works featuring midcentury glamour shots peddling pomade to new creations populated with coral spawn and seagrass) and paintings, including selections from her recent “Sea Bed” canvases, conjuring the Middle Passage and the wide, watery grave across which slave ships ferried human cargo. Films will also be on view, chief among them her and Edgar Cleijne’s

  • Mary Corse

    Given Mary Corse’s consistent, multi-decade creative output, this museum survey, the artist’s first, is “long overdue”—really a tired euphemism for the consequences of exclusionary gender politics (and a belated apotheosis of art from the Southland, and not just, though especially, for women). The exhibition promises to assemble exemplars from her early shaped canvases, freestanding sculptures, and light encasements made with Tesla-coil-based generators of Corse’s own design, as well as of the nontechnological but still perceptually fugitive White Light paintings, begun

  • Vija Celmins

    Vija Celmins’s show at Matthew Marks Gallery was her first exhibition of new work in Los Angeles in more than forty years. It represented a kind of homecoming for an artist once closely identified with the University of California, Los Angeles, and the beaches of Venice, which she perennially alludes to in her transcriptions of water into the surface tension of untitled, placeless waves. All eighteen of the paintings, sculptures, and works on paper in the show were made in the past decade, and seven of them were also shown at the New York gallery last spring for her first presentation of new

  • Frederick Hammersley

    Frederick Hammersley epitomizes hard-edge midcentury Los Angeles painting, his reputation having been established in Jules Langsner’s legendary 1959 show “Four Abstract Classicists.” Hammersley lived in LA until 1968, when he moved to Albuquerque, New Mexico. The following year he learned Art1, a new computer program written for artists by Katherine Nash and Richard Williams at the University of New Mexico. Hammersley used the program—entering designs in early IBM computers via punch cards—to make what he dubbed “computer drawings,” which were realized with line printers. Often consisting

  • Shana Lutker

    On a low, mirrored tabletop reflecting the ceiling, Shana Lutker set out more than three hundred leather gloves that, despite their superficial anonymity, constitute something like a group portrait. Each glove in a.k.a. Public Opinion (all works 2017)—the fifth installment of her ongoing series “Le ‘NEW’ Monocle: The History of the Fistfights of the Surrealists,” begun in 2012—represents, in a winking metonymic sleight, a Los Angeles–based artist. The contributors sent Lutker a tracing of their nondominant hands, and Lutker then transformed the drawings’ contours into oversize gloves

  • Ruth Root

    In a press release for a 2008 show at Andrew Kreps Gallery in New York that transcended the largely gratuitous genre, Ruth Root offered a page of source images absent of any explanative text. She instead arranged thumbnails in gridded rows, their tidiness belying a capaciousness of interest, showing beachy toilet-encircling bath mats and forlorn-looking ski socks interspersed with exemplary works by Josef Albers, Lygia Clark, and Blinky Palermo, among others. All added up to her eccentrically shaped paintings: wafer-thin enamel-on-aluminum compositions of shifting color planes within extruding

  • “Kiki Smith: Procession”

    The first major European survey of the German-born artist’s oeuvre, this show promises a capacious and medium-traversing exhibition spanning three decades of work in sculpture, drawing, etching, lithography, bookmaking, photography, and video. Illuminating Smith’s trajectory from her emergence amid the aids crisis to her more recent sympathy for nature, narrative, and myth in the contemporary world, the selection of works frames Smith’s deft evocation of the necessarily transitory experience of the somatic through material means: bronze and plaster, glass and beeswax.

  • slant December 14, 2017

    On the Ground: Saskatoon

    THE REMAI MODERN opened on October 21 in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. A city of 250,000 founded as a dry temperance colony, supported by stores of potash and oil, and frequented by hobby hunters dispersing into the great Canadian prairies, Saskatoon would seem an unlikely place for a 130,000-square-foot beacon to modern and contemporary art. While a precirculated press release notes that its “launch aligns with the international trend of world-class museums opening in unexpected destinations”—boilerplate become gospel in the first weekend’s official ceremonies—there is much that such an

  • George Egerton-Warburton

    For “The weapon soup boils over, as stocks in metaphors plummet,” George Egerton-Warburton’s first solo show in Los Angeles, the Australian artist showed three kinetic sculptures—Sisyphean motors powering nothing—and a suite of photographs from 2017. He pasted text on each of the images and ensconced the collages in crudely assembled shadow boxes, into which he deposited desiccated California soil. The photos comprise groupings of bucolic sheep, mobs grazing in the landscape of remote Western Australia. Taken in 2013 by Egerton-Warburton’s father on his farm upon the artist’s request,

  • Helen Pashgian and Brian Wills

    A two-person show of Helen Pashgian and Brian Wills, “Transient” modeled the visual volatility characteristic of many 1960s Southland art practices. Despite its moorings in a Los Angeles vernacular of Light and Space—that likewise conjures a very specific horizon of military and commercial development and the coincident artistic appropriation of such technologies—this occasion eschewed historical specificity in favor of a formal, phenomenological dilation of temporality licensed by the same origins. (The press release casts “light” as atemporal, “as old as the universe itself,” and

  • LOUISE NEVELSON

    Nevelson had been working seriously as an artist for more than thirty years before she received significant recognition; too often, however, this belated appreciation took the form of hagiography—a mythifying focus on her outsize life story and decidedly flamboyant self-presentation. This concise show of nineteen works—the first major presentation of the artist in the Nordic region in nearly forty-five years—promises to return attention to Nevelson’s stunning art itself. The exhibition comprises her signature monumental black or white wood reliefs, a selection

  • Kim Schoen

    An open book on an angular asymmetrical plinth partially submerged beneath granules of sand: This tableau was the first thing one encountered in Kim Schoen’s “Hawaii,” an exhibition that elsewhere offered the book not as an object but rather as a fantastic, disemboweled placeholder for the printed tome. The paperback on display was one of the hundred that comprise Hawaii (160) (all works 2017), an exquisite editioned artist book featuring texts by Schoen, Sarah Lehrer-Graiwer, and Jan Tumlir, interleaved with the images on view in the present context and orphan “pages without books” recovered

  • Nancy Lupo

    For Kristina Kite’s inaugural show, Nancy Lupo crafted a sprawling tapestry, whose distinct sections of clustered disposable cutlery, bound together with dental floss and intermittently studded with various foodstuffs and trinkets, were meant to represent the four seasons. The gallery space, formerly an artist’s studio, features an optically arresting mosaic of black-and-white and terrazzo tiles that predates Kite’s arrival. The architecture granted Lupo’s floor-bound arrangement an additional layer of complexity, providing a room-scale ground to the imposing swaths that visually warped the

  • Theaster Gates

    For his first show at Regen Projects, “But to Be a Poor Race,” Theaster Gates installed within the gallery’s many rooms a sampling of clay vessels, paintings bandaged with hoses from decommissioned firehouses, wall panels studded with narrow floorboards sourced from a nearby Chicago public school gym assemblages of pelts, appropriations of African reliquary objects, found objects, and the single-channel video My country tis of thee, 2016. The video featured documentation of Gates and members of experimental music ensemble the Black Monks of Mississippi riffing on the US national anthem, the

  • OPENINGS: KELLY AKASHI

    KELLY AKASHI titled her most recent solo show at Ghebaly Gallery in Los Angeles, in 2016, “Being as a Thing.” As names go, it was an especially good one. It posited existence itself as a thing, encouraging a reading of the sculptures contained therein—so many material skins out of which Akashi slithered—as harboring independent states of being, despite emphatic registrations of origin. Hands are surrogates and metonyms, extremities that preserve in bronze the friction ridge on a fingertip; an odd, talon-like nail; or plump pockets of skin elsewhere giving way to bone. At the entry,

  • Kathryn Andrews

    Kathryn Andrews’s “Black Bars” opened at David Kordansky Gallery mere days before the US presidential election. It followed by almost exactly a year the artist’s solo exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, titled “Run for President,” in which she questioned fame parlayed in the service of politics through pieces featuring such public figures as Ronald Reagan and Bozo the Clown (aka Larry Harmon, whose rubber-nosed, yak-haired alter ego ran against Reagan in 1984). Cassandra-like, the Chicago show presaged a climate in which the aforementioned historical cases are less exceptional

  • Barbara T. Smith

    Expanding on her previous three shows at the Box, each of which offered a tight grouping of related work (early paintings, performance documentation, and experiments with incipient Xerox technology, respectively), Barbara T. Smith sought in her most recent exhibition to expose underlying connections between disparate projects. This broad and generous installation made clear the extent to which the exhibition’s titular “Words, Sentences & Signs” provide not only a through line between discrete series spanning from the 1960s to the present, but also a metering of communicative acts relative to

  • Billy Al Bengston

    The outsize personality of Billy Al Bengston looms large in the prescribed historical narrative of Southland art—all wan sunshine and Ferus Gallery machismo—and even larger as the framing device for his own work. The artist’s website details his early migration from Kansas; his study at the Manual Arts High School in Los Angeles; his burgeoning interest in ceramics (which he “ditched” for painting in 1957); and his subsequent biography, metered in marriage, child-rearing, surfing, and motorcycle racing, among other milestones and pursuits. It also specifies the coordinates between