Critics’ Picks

View of “David Horvitz,” 2014.

Los Angeles

David Horvitz

Blum & Poe | Los Angeles
2727 S. La Cienega Boulevard
July 12–August 23

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 original position, ostensibly marks the new position of this conceptual and bureaucratic boundary as it bisects one gallery room. Yet the artist's email makes an eerier artwork, as this materialization of the timeline visualizes—more than Horvitz’s gesture, more than any poetics of impossibility—a pathetic kind of persuasion. An imaginary line is imaginary—it might change position constantly, quantum-like—but a row of vases weighs down the possibilities floated by Horvitz’s proposal. His quixotic charge into bureaucracy, rather than revealing an endemic insanity in the DoT's procedure, seems to shore up its dry practicality.

Elsewhere, a line of disarmingly awkward photos document Horvitz’s performance of viewing the Pacific Ocean from public-access points, arranged south to north. His sense of documentation is casually digital—yet also bound to a kind of object poetics that owes a huge debt to early Conceptual practices. Horvitz's sincerity seems calibrated to pierce the weight of his references—but when this falls flat, there’s enough latent absurdity in his methods to backpaddle into bad faith.