los-angeles

Kai Althoff

ACME.

I was going to start this review with a list of some of the recherché items found in Kai Althoff’s first solo show in Los Angeles, but I just got bored. So I’ll nutshell it this way: a Deco garage sale presented as a singular wunderkammer marketed to ADD sufferers, it was a highfalutin “etc.”—especially if the working model of “etc.” is a college theater department’s set, prop, and wardrobe rooms combined and then exploded.

If Althoff’s installation had actually been the labor of some of the obsessive netting-and-veil queens from whom he self-consciously borrows—people like Jack Smith, Bruce Conner, and Stevie Nicks—the gallery doors would have remained locked, with the artist still futzing with things until maybe a day before the closing. Instead, all the delicacy, Scheherazade nuttiness, and nightshade queerness of Smith has been “Extreme Makover”-ed into a stage set for painting, where

Sign-in to keep reading

Artforum print subscribers have full access to this article. If you are a subscriber, sign in below.

Not registered for artforum.com? Register here.

SUBSCRIBE NOW for only $50 a year—65% off the newsstand price—and get the print magazine plus full online access to this issue and our archive.*

Order the ONLINE EDITION for $5.99.

* This rate applies to U.S. domestic subscriptions.