los-angeles

Jim Isermann

ICA - Institute of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles

Why is it that so much of the critical discourse around Jim Isermann’s work is so drearily conservative? Loopy, Op-ish arrangements of pattern on pattern; brightly hued shapes recalling cartoons, cotton candy, and pharmaceuticals; a zanily thorough investigation of fabrics and textures as well as the way putting a hole in something creates an instant frame; a canny renegotiation of the Minimalist object, modern architectural and interior design, craft—Isermann deftly and humorously plays with all these matters and materials. Yet except for Rhonda Lieberman, most writers have celebrated Isermann’s project only to champion a visual (and generational) fatwa, favoring hard work and precision at the expense of a liberating visual delirium. Even David Pagel, curator of “Fifteen,” the recent survey of Isermann’s output of the past decade and a half, goes on about Isermann’s “meticulously crafted

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