Critics’ Picks

View of “Jonathan Monk: Perfectly Concocted Context,” 2017.

Los Angeles

Jonathan Monk

Cherry and Martin
2712 S. La Cienega Boulevard
June 24–August 19, 2017

The artworks here are real—that is, original. Given artist Jonathan Monk’s taste for close citation, this doesn’t go without saying, especially since Monk didn’t simply curate the show: he turned the gallery into a fanciful re-creation of his studio, hung with work by artists he knows and admires. A 1983 Ettore Sottsass “Bay” lamp sits on the floor, a welcome mat turned backward marks the entrance (Welcome, 2011, by Ceal Floyer), and Robert Overby’s oil painting Untitled (Portrait of Jesus), circa 1973, watches over the hallway. Monk even covers two walls with mural-scale photographs of his own workspace, art collection included. Images of walls paper the walls and pictures hang on pictures of pictures. A mosaic by Isabell Heimerdinger (untitled, 2016), depicting a manicured hand straying near a smartphone, is fixed to a studio view installed just below the image of a mannequin arm; a line of Bas Jan Ader gelatin silver prints (Study for Fall 2, Amsterdam, 1970) bars a printed doorway, while the actual door to gallery storage cuts through an installation shot of a Richard Hamilton poster.

This is all in good fun, of course; the viewer may tumble unscathed through illusionistic and conceptual space, from picture to picture-in-picture. On one wall, left white, is a Louise Lawler drawing, Big (traced), 2002/2003/2016, which not only turns an earlier Lawler photograph into a drawing but renders a framed photograph by Thomas Struth, which, in turn, portrays visitors at the Pergamon Museum. And if such reframings grow exhausting, a mere duplication comes as piercing comedy: On one side of the gallery is a gauzy, glam Portrait of Mark Leckey, 2009, by Ryan Gander (edition 3 of 3). On the back wall, 2 of 3.