• Steven Shearer

    Blum & Poe | Los Angeles

    In seventh grade, when whip-sexy Butch Lauer informed me that Kiss had really wanted to call themselves “Albatross Shit,” I thought I had finally made it. Despite never having been a big Kiss fan, I’ve never not remembered the band’s secret name and the guy who clued me in; and when my eye fell on an adorable snapshot of Steven Shearer beaming in full regalia (black-and-white makeup, Klingonlike costume) amid the long wall of photos and photocopies that make up Scrap #2, 2003, I felt punch-drunk love. (Has anyone come to terms with what’s cauterized—a psychic as well as libidinal branding/staunching

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  • John Divola

    Patricia Faure Gallery

    Early in his career, John Divola gained public recognition with a series of photographs titled “Zuma,” 1978–79, a set of interior views of an old beachfront property with a single, central window opening onto the Pacific, like a picture within a picture. In a highly picturesque manner, Divola recorded the house’s gradual destruction at the hands of local vandals, occasionally joining his own mark to theirs, thereby bringing into question the documentary status of the undertaking. Throughout it all, the ocean remains gloriously indifferent. In this project, all the components of his practice were

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  • Patrick Nickell

    The Luckman Gallery

    Occasionally, an exhibition at a smaller LA venue suggests the bigger ones might be getting sleepy at the wheel. This season—marked by such misuse of space as the too-close-to-corporate J. Mays car show at LA MoCA and LACMA’s Edmier/Fawcett Pygmalion-fest—was ultimately made memorable when Cal State’s underrecognized university gallery mounted a long-overdue first survey of works by local artist Patrick Nickell. Like wallflowers, these pieces never flaunt themselves but are well worth getting to know.

    “Built for Speed” shared its title with Nickell’s first solo show, in 1990, at the now-defunct

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