Critics’ Picks

Katie Grinnan, Vegas Monster, 2009, ink-jet on cement, ink-jet on window film on Plexiglas, steel, light rope, television playing Takeshi Murata, Monster Movie, 2005; 9 x 2 x 2'.

Los Angeles

“Video Journeys”

Sister at Cottage Home
401 Cottage Home Street
May 30–June 27

One of the most striking aspects of video is that it can act as a logical extension of sculpture. Even in the early days of the Sony Porta-Pak, artists explored the television monitor as a revolutionary new form in space––from the simple performative gestures that delineated the limits of both the screen and the body captured on tape (as in Vito Acconci’s Centers, 1971), to more complex installations that rely on close-circuit setups to produce lags in time and space (like Dan Graham’s Time Delay, 1974). Nearly forty years later, the logical connections between video and sculpture are still surprising, as demonstrated by the work in “Video Journeys,” a group exhibition curated by Sister Gallery’s Katie Brennan for Cottage Home that pairs video artists with those primarily working in sculpture to produce eleven new “collaborative” (and in a few cases, interpretive) works.

Although the notion of collaboration drives this exhibition, just about every piece here began with a preexisting source. Eric Wesley’s contribution is an appropriated copy of Paul Pfeiffer’s Sex Machine, 2001, overlaid with the text FOR VIEWING PURPOSES ONLY, and visitors are invited to take bootlegs of this work from the gallery. The young, Los Angeles–based artist Alexandria Harris offers a bulbous, velveteen chaise longue–cum-projector built for Alex Bag’s 1997 work Fancy Pants, which reads as a monumental homage to the art stars of an earlier generation. Perhaps one of the most successful sculptural extensions of a video is Katie Grinnan’s Vegas Monster, 2009, which situates Takeshi Murata’s stunning Monster Movie, 2005, in a monitor atop a nine-foot-tall plastic totem filled with strings of party lights that illuminate layers of colored photo-transfers depicting the Las Vegas Strip that litter the plastic surface. Not only does the visual noise of Grinnan’s static construction lend itself to the digital chaos of Murata’s video, but it demonstrates the plasticity of both media as expansive and acquiescent forms.