Critics’ Picks

View of “Faux Pas,” 2015.

View of “Faux Pas,” 2015.

Los Angeles

“Faux Pas”

Fahrenheit by FLAX
2245 E. Washington Blvd
July 18–September 26, 2015

In this exhibition, organized by Paris collective Shanaynay, the objects mingle in a web of backpedaling politesse and subtle collision. Folding screens made of hinged plywood with whimsical cutouts (Christina Leung, Current Arrangement, or How It Looks Divided Up Like This, 2015) cast shadows onto walls painted a blushing pink. It matches the complexion of the toddler in John Wesley’s nearby painting Pianissimo, 2001, in which the child, with salmon-hued skin and wearing blue pajamas, strikes a self-conscious pose on a waterfront lawn. Grasping for something out of sight with one arm, he looks mischievously at the viewer as if what he reaches for is clearly off limits. Nearby are Giles Round’s merry penis vases, offering up wan single tulips or lighting cables.

A row of Eldon Dedini cartoons sketches out various outcomes of pursuing one’s lusts: His jewel-toned We’ve had French. Let’s try Californian!, date unknown, giving a peek into a den filled with giggling, reclining nudes, illustrates a successful hunt for richness. Other scenes, culled from decades of his New Yorker cartoons depicting tuxedoed characters in comedies of manners, demonstrate how gaining proximity to what we desire is not the same as getting it. At the end of the row of his drawings, a slightly embarrassed-looking older gentleman sporting a suit smiles blankly at us, reflecting on who he knew while living in Paris: “Picasso . . . Hemingway . . . and Cocteau, and nothing ever came of it.”