Los Angeles

Charles Gaines

ICA - Institute of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles

In “Night/Crimes,” Charles Gaines presented eight noirish photo-and-text-based works that combine what looks like pages from an astronomy book with photos that resemble the ones Weegee managed to snap before police photographers arrived to document his city’s latest mayhem. Each piece consists of a large vertical rectangle encased in a thin black frame, recalling the way funeral announcements used to be surrounded by dark borders. The predominance of black and white in this show typified the exhibition’s central juxtaposition, evoking at once the conventions of fine-art display and the bleary, gray color scheme of detective-magazine spreads.

Gaines fills the lower two thirds of each rectangle with a large photo of a night sky—a black expanse dotted with pinpoints and splotches of planetary and star light. Placed above the lovely, calming view of this star-pricked firmament are smaller,

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