Critics’ Picks

View of “Abraham Cruzvillegas: Autoconcanción,” 2016.

View of “Abraham Cruzvillegas: Autoconcanción,” 2016.

Los Angeles

Abraham Cruzvillegas

Regen Projects
6750 Santa Monica Blvd
September 10–October 22, 2016

Colonia Ajusco, one of the neighborhoods built on an area of volcanic rock in southern Mexico City, grows not block by block but wall by wall, expanding with each generation. Growing up in such a community led Abraham Cruzvillegas to work in his manner of autoconstrucción, assembling from proximity and necessity.

The works here were not made through reconstruction so much as frontier-outpost-style building, of a kind that is as specific to its location and environment as this car rally of an exhibition is to the artist’s hometown. Each multimedia sculpture consists of the backseat of a year and model of car that the artist has owned at some point in his life, adorned with long, variously angled and curved steel beams arching several feet over the seats. The agile spiral encircling Autoconcanción II (Car-with-Song 2, all works 2016) or decadent recline of V seduce, while the loose scrawls of III tranquilize.

The car-as-lifestyle culture, originating in and reared by Los Angeles over the last half century, infects Cruzvillegas’s forms: portable mini radios hang from them, each one tuned to a local station; II even holds a lone flung pair of skimpy azure underwear. No car is complete without a little greenery fluttering over the dashboard, which here is rendered in a few sprouting branches of native Southern California plants—cacti, palms—packed into dirt and balancing perilously among the soaring beams. The architecture of each improvised Autoconcanción animates an elegant exoskeleton of metal rods in contorted postures, sighing under the weight of its ornamentation.