Los Angeles

Kori Newkirk

Rosamund Felsen Gallery

Looking at Kori Newkirk’s show, “Midnight Son,” two things kept bouncing around in my head: John Ashbery saying (I’m paraphrasing) that art shouldn’t be confused with the Salvation Army and Richard Prince’s essay “Bringing It All Back Home” (“I read what Sontag had to say about how art and politics can and should mix. Maybe they already do mix, but she says this as if any question about their separation could only occur to the Man from Mars.”). These ideas do not necessarily contradict one another; in fact, they converge around what might be called the politics of beauty, always existing in that old chestnut, identity politics.

Engaging the aesthetics of the personal-become-political, Newkirk considers what it means for any thinking person to ask “Who am I?” in a society that seems, at times, hell-bent on preventing anyone from considering much of anything. In his most finessed work, he

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