• John Baldessari

    Margo Leavin Gallery

    The same guy who, as legend has it, dramatized his conversion to Conceptual art in the mid ’60s by setting fire to the traditional canvases that marked the beginning of his career has returned to painting. Perhaps, thirty years later, Baldessari is following the path taken by many famed senior artists: retiring from his post as guiding light to indulge, at last, in those quaint, modest pleasures prohibited by the constraints of leadership. Or maybe, as many of his fans are insisting, he’s just pulling another fast one, that is, these aren’t really paintings at all but, rather, a “deconstruction”

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  • Annette Messager

    Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA)

    For years I’ve pored over magazine reproductions of Annette Messager’s pieces, deeply intrigued, sighing with longing to see the real thing(s). Messager has not shown much in the U.S. and only twice before on the West Coast. This first major American exhibition of her work, co-organized by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and MoMA in New York, where it opens this month, was long overdue.

    Describing Messager’s work as poetic, mysterious, eerie, dark, smart, playful seems woefully pale. I suppose this is the critic’s most dreaded disease—admiration fever. If you love the work, you choke. If

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