Critics’ Picks

Nevine Mahmoud, Breast shade, 2017, alabaster and pigmented resin with stainless steel hardware, 13 x 18 1/2 x 18 1/2".

Los Angeles

Nevine Mahmoud

M+B
612 North Almont Drive
November 11 - January 6

The title of Nevine Mahmoud’s first solo show, “f o r e p l a y,” goes just like that, the letters held apart. Likewise, the exhibition itself is desirously spaced, opening with Primary encounter (pink tensions) (all works 2017), comprising two big, pink marble blocks, one with a hole, the other, a corresponding peg. The pair is separated by a few charged feet of empty floor. Mahmoud combines a classical conceit—the erotics of marble sculpture—with a contemporary chill, as if Pygmalion were a Minimalist. And in case you get carried away with the idea of abstract penetration, a slick sense of humor keeps things real; two of the nine works on view, Abacus arm 1 and 2, resemble nothing so much as handrails threading soft stone rolls of toilet paper.

Breast shade and Mother milk, a bell shape suspended on a steel cable and a soft white blob on a glass plinth, respectively, are both tipped by pink resin nipples straight out of a Tom Wesselmann nude. The first piece trails a long wire to within a tantalizing half inch of the floor. It’s important that it doesn’t reach, of course—just like it’s necessary that we can’t touch art. Slick slice, an orange calcite wedge glazed with tearing glass, sits on a transparent pedestal so that one can take a look underneath. Poor, reflexive creature: You will.