Critics’ Picks

View of “Ann Hirsch: Dr. Guttman’s Office,” 2015. From left: The Restauranter’s Daughter, 2015.

View of “Ann Hirsch: Dr. Guttman’s Office,” 2015. From left: The Restauranter’s Daughter, 2015.

Los Angeles

Ann Hirsch

1828 W Sunset Boulevard
October 23–November 27, 2015

Burnt-orange carpet runs head high up the gallery walls like an institutional merkin. Paintings cling there. In one, The Restauranter’s Daughter (all works 2015), a girl wearing the outline of a frock tilts her head up at the heroic, lipstick-wearing profile of a woman in a strappy black dress; some scarf-like strokes trace the girl’s aspirational gaze. In the lower right corner hovers a third, haggish head. The Restauranter’s Daughter is rendered as a trompe l’oeil page torn from a giant notebook. The loose, hairy brushwork—totally untutored—barely covers the gesso, and in fact scales up the scribbling of a young Ann Hirsch. This and two other large paintings derive from drawings she made in art therapy, and duly symbolize a young girl’s ideal of young women.

Hirsch’s therapist collected her drawings in a drawer, but the artist’s recent works are instantly public. Four small screens, inset into a carpeted pillar in the back of the gallery, feature a selection of videos Hirsch posted on Vimeo earlier this year. Highlights include Semiotics of the Camwhore, a pleasantly perturbed update of Martha Rosler’s 1975 Semiotics of the Kitchen; and Karaoke Time, featuring Hirsch’s vagina lip-synching a show tune. In Conclusion: The Real Ann Hirsch, as the artist clicks through a handful of her older clips via QuickTime windows, we might trace the evolution of a feminism funny enough to hurt. “I’m not proving anything,” says deadpan Real Ann Hirsch, her webcam nakedness blown out by sunlight. “All it is really is a document of how good I look at this age.” Such is the honesty by which Hirsch explores the extent of her adult image.