Los Angeles

Kai Althoff


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

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