Los Angeles

Lila Lakich

Womanspace

Womanspace and neon aren’t, for me, the most inviting parlay of exhibition circumstances, the former because it makes me feel like I used to when I went to the Shabazz restaurant for bean pie (that is, tolerated), and because you have to endure all those cornball, strident, cottage-industry souvenirs (brochures, bulletin boards, posters, little poetry books) of consciousness-raising, and the latter because it’s been a loser for everybody except Antonakos and Sonnier. But Lila Lakich’s big wall boxes are clever, tight, even moving, and—in spite of the nagging presence of hardware defeating everybody but Flavin—they work. The heavy, Don’t Jump Up and Down On My Toes, You Loved Me Once, You Know, is apparently the narrative of a failed courtship which, with its Benday photo of the artist giving the piece some daylight interest, is better than, say, the Pasadena Museum’s Rauschenberg. Scar (also the name of the show) is the least proselytizingly feminist but visually the nastiest, with all the indolent, acid anger of a tattoo parlor. There are lesser works—Death Before Dishonor, a great title about rape and rapists, and Hung Up on You, with a dumb pun (lips and coathanger)—but the whole show is solid, and would be all the more so without those trailer-park gravel boxes beneath a couple of the works. For all their desirability, however, I doubt whether Lakich will confine her development to static, confined neon, if for no other reason than the recent liberation of electric lights through Process, video, and performance art.

––Peter Plagens