reviews

  • Carsten Höller, Upside-Down Mushroom Room, 2000, polystrol, polyester, wood, paint, metal, electrical motors, plasterboard, neon light, and glass, 14' 9“ x 19' 9” x 41'.

    “Ecstasy”

    MOCA Geffen Contemporary

    THERE IS A MOMENT in Talo/The House, 2002, a video installation by the Finnish artist Eija-Liisa Ahtila currently on display at the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art, where the furtive glimpse of a dog triggers an altogether different kind of vision: “Outside a new order arose, one that is present everywhere. Everything is now simultaneous, here, being.” The monologue is derived from the artist’s interviews with schizophrenics and other people suffering from mental disorders, but we have all known moments like this, when we harbor intimations of a deeper design, of a dream logic beneath

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  • Monique van Genderen

    The Happy Lion

    Against the tide of contemporary fashion predominant more or less everywhere else, Los Angeles has produced some extremely interesting abstract painting over the past decade, much of it by women—Ingrid Calame and Monique Prieto are two that spring to mind. Part of the same current, perhaps, is other local work that, while not exactly painting, consistently foregrounds “painterly” issues (including that notorious bugbear, decorativeness—think of Pae White and Jorge Pardo. And then there are all those abstract sculptors—Evan Holloway, Jason Meadows, and the rest. Is there something in southern

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  • Sandeep Mukherjee

    sister

    Since 1997, when he was studying for his MFA at UCLA, Sandeep Mukherjee has exhibited subtly dynamic drawings made by embossing Duralene—a stiff, vellumlike material—with motifs of flowers, leaves, starbursts, and rippling water. Populating these works are faint yet precise pencil drawings of the nude figure of the artist strolling, floating, or hurtling through dreamlike space. Mukherjee has deviated from his successful formula only occasionally, making his latest offering all the more surprising and impactful.

    Sister played host to just a few works, all untitled, and all from 2004 or 2005. One

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  • 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

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  • Michael Wilkinson

    Daniel Hug

    It’s not surprising that mirrors, as both pictorial subjects and actual objects, appeared frequently in the art of the 1960s, when many artists were staking their claims on the treacherous interzone between painting and sculpture. Roy Lichtenstein painted “mirrors” in graphic shorthand, while Robert Smithson, Dan Graham, and Art & Language, among others, employed the real thing to great and varied effect. Richard Artschwager approached the looking glass from both sides, so to speak, and no artist of the period used the mirror—with its unsparingly honest and insistent reflections, and the

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  • Benjamin Butler

    Karyn Lovegrove Gallery

    In his first solo exhibition at Karyn Lovegrove Gallery, painter Benjamin Butler exploited to the hilt the sometimes surprising range of color found in nature. With the exception of Field of Flowers (all works 2005), every painting here depicts trees, and Butler’s unapologetically singleminded focus signals a relationship to his subject that is both personal and profound. At first glance, Butler’s simplistic forms and restricted subject matter might suggest a lack of substance, but a little more time spent with his paintings reveals a deeper complexity. There are nods, for example, to Impressionism,

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