• Wolfgang Tillmans

    Hammer Museum

    Seen after Catherine Opie’s retrospective at the Orange County Museum of Art, Wolfgang Tillmans’s midcareer survey at the UCLA Hammer Museum felt like more of the same; both shows came off as rapid-fire trips through the history of photography-as-art that attempted to weave together two distinct lineages—those of the medium and of the individual practitioner—in order to affirm the artists’ accession to canonical status. In Tillmans’s case, however, every last vestige of conventional historiography is gleefully dispatched. The latest and the earliest pictures hang side by side without

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  • “Enigma Variations”

    ICA - Institute of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles

    Although it might not amount to a new paradigm, the deployment of the comparative method—a standard art-historical gambit—as a curatorial strategy occasionally allows us to look at familiar work with fresh eyes. The approach is most effective where arguably most incongruous—that is, within a modernist context, given modernism’s emphasis on autonomy for artwork and artist alike. The suggestion that the unfolding of modern art is not necessarily a matter of consecutive seismic shake-ups but is more like a slowly unfolding conversation is no longer novel, and the validity of the

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  • Sterling Ruby

    Marc Foxx Gallery

    “From whatever side one approaches things, the ultimate problem turns out in the final analysis to be that of distinction.” Thus begins Roger Caillois’s “Mimicry and Legendary Psychasthenia,” an essay published in 1935 in Minotaure magazine that interweaves issues of personality, biological camouflage, and spatial assimilation. Lurking in the back gallery of Marc Foxx, Sterling Ruby’s eight-minute video Dihedral, 2006—the title refers to the interaction of a vertical body and a horizontal plane—begins with the same quote, appropriating and adapting Caillois’s text as its distorted

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  • Katie Grinnan


    Katie Grinnan’s recent exhibition was called “Cheerleaders and Bandwagons.” Her choice of a title with such a distinctly American ring to it made perfect sense, given that the sculptural gymnastics that define her latest works not only resonate with the country’s current antics on the global geopolitical stage but also engage in the near-universal tradition that Americans have managed to turn into a national fetish: honoring one’s forefathers.

    The forefathers (and mothers) in question are an odd lot—some hail from the mists of history, others from the generation whose work was in play when

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  • Jesper Just

    Perry Rubenstein Gallery

    It Will All End in Tears, 2006, Jesper Just’s splendidly moody threepart film, weaves an oblique melodrama that involves two protagonists—a beautiful, aloof young man and a somber old man who yearns for him. Their episodic encounters are charted against three distinctly different settings—a garden in morning light, where we glimpse moments of arousal and joy; a courtroom in which an interrogation is under way; and an industrial rooftop at night, where danger seems palpable. Given their contradictory behavior, what the characters mean to each other is unclear—the young man entices

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