Travis Diehl

  • picks July 25, 2014

    Henrik Olesen

    This show’s title, “Abandon the Parents,” invites us to subvert tradition, reject prescription, and enter a world of life, death, culture, and sex. To this end, artist and curator Henrik Olesen—with help from gallerists Daniel Buchholz and Christopher Müller—has assembled a constellation of self-discovery: 250-plus artifacts in nearly every medium. Paintings are hung three-high above densely curated vitrines of first edition books; an unplayable LP is backed by sound and video art on tiny screens. This exploded world possesses its own density—its own currents, suggestions, persuasions—indeed,

  • picks July 22, 2014

    David Horvitz

    In a message sent to the Blum and Poe’s mailing list prior to the opening of this exhibition, David Horvitz declared that a portion of the line between Alaskan and Pacific Time Zones had been shifted into the gallery. The artist attached a copy of his letter to the US secretary of transportation initiating an official request to designate a small wedge of the space as UTC-08:00. As there’s no clear economic benefit for that section of floor to sync with Alaska, it seems certain the request won’t be granted.

    A line of clear glassware, partially filled with salt water gathered from the line’s

  • interviews June 30, 2014

    Judith Bernstein

    For the past five decades, New York artist Judith Bernstein has used painting as a vehicle for often shocking, sometimes erotic, always provocative satires of masculine, AbEx excess. The works in her “Fuck Vietnam” series turned graffiti from a men’s bathroom into powerful antiwar statements. Now, with her latest “BIRTH OF THE UNIVERSE” paintings, Bernstein places female genitalia at the center of giant Day-Glo canvases. “Judith Bernstein: Rising,” which features newly commissioned variations on her signature themes, runs from July 5 to August 24, 2014 at Studio Voltaire in London.

    STUDIO VOLTAIRE

  • picks June 06, 2014

    Frances Stark

    A white Chevy Suburban slips under a big, green freeway sign for MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR BLVD in the photograph From therealstarkiller #1039 (all works 2014); nearby hang square shots of Dr. Dre, a painting of rocks and surf, a vaginal succulent. The nearly thirty photos from Frances Stark’s Instagram feed posted to Marc Foxx’s walls crackle with quips about race, art, motherhood, Southern California. The artist set these topics to the music of DJ Quik in her 2013 video installation Bobby Jesus’s Alma Mater, which is here represented by images of BJAM’s central mural, a perspectival chess board

  • picks June 02, 2014

    Nathan Mabry

    A bronzed, toothy cranium has been impaled on the upended stalk of one of a group of traffic signs painted to matte silhouettes, a single black banana balanced on one edge. What could it signify? Talismanic modernism? The tunnel vision of true creativity? A dire warning to all prehistoric casts? One of several such stacks, The Bathers (Venus) (all works 2014), exhibits a kid’s rote fascination with dinosaurs, the avant-gardeness of a high-school sign thief, and an MFA’s obsession with puncturing the sanctity of modernist art. Nearby, two rusted Cor-Ten boxes (Heavy Handed (Flesh and Blood)) make

  • picks May 27, 2014

    Eleanor Antin

    Occluding the 1980s and ’90s in favor of the ’70s and the first decade of the 2000s, “Passengers” offers a disorienting yet thorough sample of several of Eleanor Antin’s more acerbic bodies of work—not properly a retrospective, but a welcome dose of West Coast wit nonetheless. Selections from “Dance of Death,” 1974-75, for example—a group of pastel drawings depicting a skeleton chasing and stomping on women and then smoking with soldiers—are a rare treat, but they might also serve to attenuate this unwieldy show into neat themes: sex and death, wealth and war.

    But maybe it is that simple. Antin

  • diary May 27, 2014

    Man Over Bored

    IF WE CRASH BEFORE NOON, Payne had said, that’s it, we’re done, but there it was: 1:10 PM, piles of bananas, beers, and sodas left, and a screen as glossy black as a Sega Genesis. A quarter through the eight-hour slog from Tucson to Las Vegas, and with half an hour until lunch in Phoenix, someone in the kitchen tripped a breaker. Without a word, Payne dropped the controller, stood up, cracked a beer, went outside to smoke. Tucson’s KLPX kept singing, though—“In My House of Pain” by Faster Pussycat—and somehow from the room’s murky shock a consensus emerged: Let’s go for it. Let’s start again.

  • picks May 13, 2014

    Dawn Kasper

    Someone flipped the lights off, then on: It was artist Dawn Kasper, slipping without fanfare into her performance. By now half an hour deep in a boozy opening, the crowd didn’t skip a beat as she walked over to a tangle of tape and record players, mixers, a laptop, and percussion instruments and fashioned a growing mound of static. She calls this installation “Fire,” one of five elemental “stations” (including a lawnmower [“Earth”] and stacked tubs of Wiffle balls [“Aether”]), plus a related video and several compulsively decorative wall works, together comprising her latest exhibition “& sun

  • picks April 28, 2014

    Corin Hewitt

    As if the world needs more trash, Corin Hewitt makes and stages trash: cast and actual packets of blush, airbrushed old toast, hardened squirts of paint, a severed gourd. For Finish Matte 1 and 2 (all works 2014), these and other objects are arrayed across rag rugs on two rough MDF tables in the back room of the gallery. Like tchotchkes at a sidewalk sale, these small, cute sculptures purvey a certain endearing uselessness. Their apparent innocence, however, may be misleading—as the subtly sinister installation in the main gallery obsesses over similar quirks. There, two meticulously crafted,

  • Liz Glynn

    Its drum churning, a red, white, and blue A&A Concrete truck awaited the verdict. Should, or could, Liz Glynn refabricate the five big open concrete boxes, now weathered and crumbling, of Donald Judd’s 1977 Untitled (for Leo Castelli)? As the truck idled and a restive audience looked on, Glynn and four assistants screwed together plywood molds to match the Judd boxes. Every few minutes, Glynn read into a microphone excerpts from decades of internal Los Angeles County Museum of Art memos and letters, laying out the complex deliberation behind the conservation of Judd’s sculpture. Nearly two-hours

  • picks March 11, 2014

    “Marie Høeg Meets Klara Liden”

    Between 1896 and 1905, photographer and suffragist Marie Høeg and Bolette Berg ran a fairly conservative photo studio in Horten, Norway, selling unremarkable landscapes and portraits—but their collection of self-portraits discovered in the 1980s records a private challenge to gender norms of the day. The first of two gallery rooms at ONE Archives spotlights five modest prints from Høeg’s glass negatives; the subject meets the camera’s gaze as she poses in long underwear, in a black frock, and wearing a long knife like a sword. On the back wall, in contrast with Høeg’s more assertive, even defiant

  • picks February 05, 2014

    Henry Codax

    Henry Codax, a dandy modernist holdout, first appeared in 2004 as a character in Bernadette Corporation’s collectively authored novel, Reena Spaulings. Some small amusement, then, when in 2011 Codax began exhibiting his monochromes in New York. With a veil of secrecy protecting the identity of the artist(s) responsible, the original wave of Codax paintings played on art-identity and art-product—a barbed attempt to strip art of its value (though his paintings sell just fine). But now, a few years after the initial Codax moment, ten years after BC’s book, a continent away from its seminal context,

  • Emilie Halpern

    Opening on the fall equinox and closing on the winter solstice, Emilie Halpern’s third solo show at Pepin Moore seemed more in sync with cosmological rhythms than with the mundane cycles of the art world. Halpern took her show’s title and tripartite arrangement from the shōka style of ikebana, which symbolizes the balance between ten (earth), chi (heavens), and jin (human). Each monthlong “phase” of her exhibition took on a stark, elemental character: The first consisted entirely of rough rocks with fluorescent properties, placed on the gallery floor. A blend of daylight and black light lent

  • film January 26, 2014

    Hear You Roehr

    RINGER (1965) one of German artist Peter Roehr’s final films, spotlights a pair of jockstrapped wrestlers locked in an acrobatic embrace. Posed in front of a heady nowhere of puffy clouds and high-density sky, one figure slips off the other and slams slowly toward the frame’s bottom—then again, and again, mechanically, eleven times. William E. Jones departs from this piece—the only in Roehr’s oeuvre with homoerotic overtones, among dozens of traffic jams, gas stations, and female hair models—for his own video Film Montages (For Peter Roehr), 2006, imagining a kind of alternate continuation of

  • picks December 15, 2013

    Lari Pittman

    Screaming across three of the biggest walls at Regen Projects are Lari Pittman’s “Flying Carpets” (all works 2013)—the three most obviously spectacular works in his optically violent “From a Late Western Impaerium.” Each nine-by-thirty-foot opus interweaves the styles of multiple empires, risen and fallen—bleak and compressed, both steampunk and RGB—into contemporary “history paintings” resembling plasticky deco murals on the walls of a ruined drawing room. Circular “portholes” anchor the giant panels—Victorian “magic mirrors” figure in one, petri dishes in another—and are backed by sweeps of

  • picks December 02, 2013

    Rasmus Røhling

    At the heart of “Rage and Patience,” Rasmus Røhling’s US solo debut, is a thirty-six-inch Epson T5000 printer stacked on its big cardboard package, straddling a MacBook Air, a tangle of cords, and a motion sensor. As the viewer enters the gallery’s innermost room, the piece, titled The Hobby (all works 2013), spits out an essay on a sheet of paper roughly the size of a human body, which slouches onto a pile of other copies. This routine is an apt enactment of what the oversize text unfolds: a theory of art as the “secretion of unnameable” [sic]. Indeed, by this late stage in Røhling’s stubborn,

  • picks November 24, 2013

    Asha Schechter

    Asha Schechter’s Bloopers II, 2013, would almost pass for a bottled water ad were it stuck on a gas station; here, though, gracing the front of a stuccoed apartment building, this uncanny triptych of vinyl window graphics jostles with the surrounding perennials. Each pane depicts two 3-D-modeled bottles tumbling across computer-enhanced mountains, desert, or foothills. The horizon lines of each image nearly match up, suggesting a panoramic scan of a barren digital planet. From the gallery’s concrete viewing staircase, each clear volume can be seen to contain a microverse of tiny readymades:

  • diary October 13, 2013

    How the West Was Won

    DOUG AITKEN GREW UP IN LOS ANGELES.

    “I’ve been passing through Barstow since I was a teenager,” he said. “This drive-in was always the last thing I’d see before we went into the desert. But it was always these white screens, you know? Because you pass in the daytime.”

    Two high-res movie cameras and a boom mic zero in on the two members of Lucky Dragons, who are propped in a Formica booth inside the Skyline Drive-In’s concession stand. The ubiquitous Content Team hovers around them, adjusting LED lighting panels and trying dolly shots.

    “You make your work, and I make my work. But if you zoom out a

  • performance October 01, 2013

    Ifs, Ands, or Butts

    EVERYONE HAD KIND OF NOTICED, but then forgotten, the big yellow woodchipper. But now somebody fired it up; the performers, still dressed in their candystriped vaudeville getups, sliced through a giant Laura Owens painting with a little branch-clearing chainsaw and fed it piece by piece into the machine’s funnel.

    Joe Sola and Michael Webster have appeared as Shakey’s since 2006. For Shakey’s in “Der Hintern in der Luft,” held on Saturday, September 14, the duo turned their knack for endearing self-effacement on their willing venue—356 S. Mission, famous in Los Angeles for hosting “12 Paintings

  • Wu Tsang

    “I’ve done research,” says Wu Tsang in Mishima in Mexico, 2012, the centerpiece of his recent solo show at Michael Benevento. “I made mood boards.” Over the video’s fourteen minutes, Tsang and artist Alexandro Segade wrestle themselves into the narrative of Yukio Mishima’s 1950 novel Thirst for Love, entwining their own creative process with an adaptation of the book’s tragic affair between a kimonoed lady and a fundoshied young gardener. “It’s so gay,” quips Segade. Then Tsang: “I wouldn’t say gay. Maybe queer.” “So Japanese.” “That’s why we’re in Mexico.” Cultural transposition is only the