• “Magritte and Contemporary Art: The Treachery of Images”

    Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA)

    Suzi Gablik, author of a key English-language study of René Magritte, noted that the Belgian master was a “son of boredom.” Possessed of “an almost constitutional dislike of painting, . . . he makes use of objects which have the appearance of paintings.” Instead of exploring his boredom, his tender antipathy, the curators of this show—in which the artist’s oeuvre is juxtaposed with a variety of contemporary selections—have opted instead to reify his commercial popularity, allowing the sweet smell of success to waft as the omnipresent odor of the lowest common denominator.

    The price of admission

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  • Daniel Mendel-Black

    At first glance the nine paintings that comprised Daniel Mendel-Black’s recent show at Mandarin might recall Gerhard Richter’s self-conscious “Abstraktes Bild” (Abstract Picture) canvases, with their layers of big-brush smears and scrapes, revealing and concealing color, sometimes in jarring combinations. But unlike Richter’s canvases, which methodically reenact reproduction of the photographic process with cool, if not cold, mechanized neutrality, Mendel-Black’s bring an unabashed lack of skepticism to abstraction, and seem almost eager to please. Compared to the assured perfection of his

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