Trinie Dalton


    THE EXHIBITION’S NOBLE INGRESS was Golden Corn Entryway with Boob Fountain (all works 2018), a gold-leafed Styrofoam-and-papier-mâché cave with ten-foot-tall corn ears erect, like thighs parted to give birth, on either side of its big hole. The fake artifact recalled the monumental Siq leading to the ancient desert city of Petra in present-day Jordan, but it was also a queer tribute to Niki de Saint Phalle’s Hon, 1966. Ceramic boobs mounted like rotund stalactites on the cave’s inner walls dripped milk into fonts, which excited my baby. To quell her, I thrust her silicone minicorn teether into

  • diary February 26, 2019


    HOLLYWOOD HAS ITS MOMENTS. Just when you think Tinseltown has exploded into an overpriced, overdeveloped, overcrowded nightmare, the sun peeps through the clouds onto Griffith Park’s Hollywood sign, then the snowcapped Angeles Crest mountains in the distance, and the spring-rain-cleaned boulevards glow anew with the promise of discovery so that average folk and A-listers alike can nestle once more into LA’s apocalyptic, disorienting glamour. Hollywood’s posh movie studios feign immunity to this dysfunctional cycle, however: Inside iron gates are immaculately groomed grounds, with golf carts

  • diary May 11, 2018

    Some Like It Hot

    I OFTEN LAMENT how disparate visual art and music coverage can feel, save in pop-culture magazines, where the restrictive new-release plug rules, so it was an authentic pleasure to experience a four-day Coachella Valley arts journalism tour linking multiple cross-disciplinary events in this stark, gorgeous desert. With the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival as the intended centrifugal force, other excursions enlightened those wishing to visit this sand-duned, palm-treed, swimming-pooled, nine-city basin anytime of year, particularly when an extended winter tests one’s patience. Sun worship

  • diary November 20, 2017

    This Is Not a Test

    THE FIFTEENTH ANNIVERSARY of High Desert Test Sites in Joshua Tree, California, brought a rare mix of nostalgia and joy. The peripatetic events and venues organized annually in and around our small, sunny town, nestled in a Seussian forest of Yucca brevifolia at a median three-thousand-foot elevation, brings locals and travelers together to challenge, per the HDTS mission statement, “all to expand their definition of art to take on new areas of relevancy.”

    Here, we reset by escaping our urban feedback loops, and redefine and revise Land art that once primarily destroyed wilderness areas in

  • diary September 21, 2017

    Take Me to the Other Side

    WHILE YOU-KNOW-WHO attempts to separate us with walls and reversals, Los Angeles is locating protest and empowerment in inclusivity, and rewriting art history through a grand rejection of borders, thanks to the Getty Foundation’s Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA. This colossally inspiring five-month initiative, featuring exhibitions, performances, and programming at more than seventy institutions, extends the post–World War II art-historical conversation launched with “PST: Art in LA 1945–1980” (2011–12) into the shared history between the region and Latin cultures, not only within Los Angeles, but

  • diary May 17, 2017

    Peter’s Farm

    FARM ANIMALS NEED A VACATION SOMETIMES, especially when they’re trapped inside the Orwellian nightmare of American politics. That was the pun Sadie Laska turned to while assembling this massive thirty-four-person exhibition, titled after an Amazon ad for George Orwell’s 1945 novel that kept popping up in Laska’s feed when the book hit the best-seller list after the 2016 presidential election. That’s so Big Brother.

    “Peter Brant invited me to propose an idea the day after I attended the Women’s March,” the artist told me. Suddenly, the dystopian reference offered a perfect satire to contrast with

  • picks May 15, 2017

    Matthew Ronay

    No one moves quite as fluidly between art and science, spiritual and urbane pursuits, or craftsmanship and conceptual rigor as Matthew Ronay. In this exhibition, Ronay presents refined, colorfully flocked-and-dyed carved Basswood orbs, black holes, tubes, cones, and bricks, many meticulously built from single pieces of wood and then reconstituted with hidden dowels. His objects connote both otherworldly shapes and eighteenth-century utopian architecture—think C. N. Ledoux—as much as mammal innards, vegetables, minerals, and undulating sea creatures.

    The show is titled “Surds” after one of pi’s

  • picks October 27, 2016

    Corita Kent

    In an intimate gallery below a spectacularly fabulous Andy Warhol prints retrospective rests Sister Corita Kent’s contemplative antidote: a pithy hotbed of rainbow-hued prints that chart her trajectory from art-teaching nun to politically radical Pop art maestra. While at first one might feel that Big Andy upstairs dwarfs Underdog Kent in a wrestling match for best silk-screener, looking at Warhol situates Kent as a fellow genius appropriator of commercial advertising and lover of mechanical art’s democratic potential. This art-historical repositioning is significant because the forthright,

  • diary August 12, 2016

    Pacific Objects

    ON ENTRY TO THE SEATTLE ART FAIR this past weekend, initial impressions belied major underlying tech support (pun intended), given its backing by Microsoft cofounder Paul G. Allen and some artworks mentioned in the New York Times write-up—like Adam McEwen’s elegant/ominous graphite replicas of IBM supercomputers and Glenn Kaino’s live app tour, Aspiration.

    But I was most compelled by artistic director Laura Fried’s whip-smart, weekend-long curatorial subversion of the robotic takeover. In her introduction to Kim Gordon and Branden Joseph’s brilliant chat at the CenturyLink Field Event Center last

  • picks June 21, 2016

    Susan Cianciolo

    Susan Cianciolo’s miniretrospective, collecting over twenty years of personal ephemera, reference material, and fashion sampling, is about invitation at its core. Lavish in its clarity of form, this tactile, spaciously curated series of shrine-like installations includes an arena of chair and table skeletons modeling Cianciolo’s handmade clothing; three tiny houses showcasing videos that chronicle the artist’s history with runway fashion; and over fifty of her carefully assembled “kits,” arranged in a grid on the gallery floor—boxes, piles, and sewn arrangements that display the artist and

  • picks December 01, 2011

    Richard Hawkins, Sue Williams, “Tantra Song: Contemporary Paintings from Rajasthan”

    This year thirty-nine mesmeric abstract paintings from Rajasthan in “Tantra Song” at the Santa Monica Museum reminded me of how two Los Angeles–based artists’ seemingly disparate works about desire and physical intimacy bear real similarity. Sue Williams and Richard Hawkins, who individually celebrated retrospectives in LA this year, continuously excavate visions of bodily interiority and the inner self’s relationship to externalized desires, as defined through conjunctions between consciousness and the corporeal.

    Williams’s current exhibition at Regen Projects elucidates how her early paintings

  • interviews November 18, 2011


    Curated by PictureBox’s Dan Nadel and artist Mike Kelley, the first retrospective of work by the original members of Destroy All Monsters, the Ann Arbor, Michigan–based collective comprising Kelley, Carey Loren, Niagara, and Jim Shaw, opens at Prism Gallery in Los Angeles on November 19 as part of “Pacific Standard Time.” Here, Niagara discusses what it was like to work with the group from 1973 to 1977.

    WHEN WE MADE ZINES, there were only like three channels on TV, and we could only get certain books . . . but we were all still on the same wavelength. It was like the Universal Mind. The way

  • picks November 01, 2011

    Pearl Hsiung

    This exhibition showcases the metaphoric breadth Pearl Hsiung achieves through a spectacularly narrow visual vocabulary that is biomorphic, geological, and deliciously raunchy. Hsiung’s explosive lexicon in these roughly thirty-five paintings, videos, and sculptures—featuring caves, geodes, volcanic calderas, barrel cacti, eggs, holes, and eyes— continuously roils, like molten lava, into new motifs that riff on in-and-out movement connoting not only natural cycles of destruction and rebirth, but also sexual role reversals and subversions. Clues that Hsiung’s oeuvre is about more than sci-fi and

  • picks June 17, 2011

    Elliott Hundley

    “Semele,” Elliott Hundley’s latest exhibition and his second interpretation of the themes and interpersonal dramas in Euripedes’s The Bacchae, again showcases his characteristic conflation of collage with painting and sculpture, and his even more compelling blend of visual art with textual narrative, to wondrous, decadent effect. His assemblage materials—gold leaf, shredded tapestries, metal wires, pine cones, and lobster legs, to mention only a few—have a luxurious, fertile irony and drag sensibility as symbols of the debauched Greek tragedy’s focus on a spurned Dionysus’s return to his birthplace

  • picks April 24, 2011

    Henry Taylor

    While Henry Taylor’s works are packed with references to African-American pop culture, their bric-a-brac aesthetic and homage to the annals of art history conjure a peculiarly ancient feeling. In large part this is due to the so-called “totemic assemblage” that dominates the main gallery, surrounded by nine portrait paintings. This sculptural installation presented in the round, It’s like a Jungle (all works cited, 2011) combines the sacred and profane—through objects connoting urban and rural decay—with ferocious eloquence. Many elements—the Brancusi-like stacked beer box towers painted black

  • picks March 30, 2011

    Justin Lowe

    Given that Justin Lowe is well known for the grand-scale installations he’s made with Jonah Freeman, Lowe’s latest solo exhibition, “Hair of the Dog,” might be read as a microscopic glimpse into the duo’s source material; one leaves the show feeling a different but equally satisfying type of disorientation. Ten collages culled primarily from pulpy sci-fi, horror, and occult paperbacks serve unintentionally as a master key to Freeman and Lowe’s prior madcap dioramic landscapes, in which fictionalized narratives are constructed to serve as historical context and navigational maps for druggy,

  • diary March 01, 2011

    Road to the Oscars

    PRE-OSCAR WEEKEND and its attendant art events always amplifies rifts in the Los Angeles art community. There are those who think mixing art and Hollywood is a terrible idea, and there are those who find the whole procedure enticing. For the rest of the year, those of us who are indifferent to the entertainment industry here can ignore it, hibernating in our Eastside studios, while occasional brushes with celebrity glamour (mostly at parties for exhibitions coordinated to honor art and cinema’s connections—our unique version of Carnival) remind us that only a few boulevards separate our worlds.

  • picks February 06, 2011

    Eric Yahnker

    “Cracks of Dawn,” Angeleno Eric Yahnker’s first LA solo exhibition (he has shown in several other cities, recently Seattle and Paris), is the funniest show I’ve seen here in years, and not simply because its coup de grâce, Cheese Slice on Garland (all works cited, 2010), is a six-by-six-foot colored-pencil drawing, framed in diamond shape, of a pizza slice lounging on a bed of tulips. Its counterpoint on the opposite wall, also six by six feet, titled Watermelon Man/Persimmon Eyes, features Herbie Hancock’s face skewed downward and wearing persimmon sunglasses, as if Yahnker had set the fruit