Los Angeles

Daniel Joseph Martinez


In new nonprofit gallery LAXART’s inaugural show, Daniel Joseph Martinez revisited the straightforward presentation of text and image that defined his early practice, one which often addressed the subject of polarization but was itself polarizing. The artist’s I CAN’T IMAGINE EVER WANTING TO BE WHITE badges, distributed to visitors at the 1993 Whitney Biennial, remain iconic of late-’80s/early-’90s work around the politics of racial identity. Yet while this selection of new works was characterized by a high-contrast mix of black and white, the result felt oddly indeterminate.

Words were everywhere here, painted and printed on surfaces ranging from banners to the gallery’s exterior wall. Though sources are never cited, some texts are borrowed. From Theodor W. Adorno and Max Horkheimer’s Dialectic of Enlightenment (1947) comes THE FULLY ENLIGHTENED EARTH RADIATES DISASTER TRIUMPHANT, reproduced

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