reviews

  • View of “Francis Alÿs: Politics of Rehearsal,” 2007–2008, Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, 2007. Photo: Joshua White.

    Francis Alÿs

    Hammer Museum

    THE COVER OF THE CATALOGUE for Francis Alÿs’s exhibition at the Hammer Museum announces “rehearsal” as the show’s organizing principle in more ways than one. Of course, the exhibition’s title, “Politics of Rehearsal,” is prominent. But it is the graphic treatment that signals the show’s status as one version among many potential others: An adaptation of the familiar Hollywood movie clapboard, the cover features a slatelike background and handwritten words (FRANCIS ALŸS for DIRECTOR, POLITICS OF REHEARSAL as the TAKE) overwriting what look like white chalk smudges of erased prior takes. The

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  • Kaari Upson

    Hammer Museum

    Remember the scene in David Fincher’s 1995 neo-noir Seven when detectives, played by Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman, scavenge the hermetically sealed apartment of Kevin Spacey’s serial killer “John Doe”? The scariest moment arrives not when the two dicks find a neon cross over the bed, nor endless emptied pill bottles, nor even the gruesome severed hands of a victim, but when they uncover hundreds of notebooks, densely filled with psychotic scholarship. It’s the kind of image that finds lineage from the revelation of Norman Bates’s skeletal mother to the wall of stolen family photos in the Robin

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  • Anna Sew Hoy

    Karyn Lovegrove Gallery

    Over the last few years, Anna Sew Hoy has fashioned sculptures that function as pedestals for bottles of designer fragrances and offered lines of handcrafted jewelry, vases, ashtrays, and paperweights. Her latest outing, in which she paneled Karyn Lovegrove Gallery with whitewashed plywood, turned the space into what looked like a boutique stocked with designer handbags, decorative platters and trivets, and culturally scrambled ethnographic trinkets. Far from offering a high-low cultural critique, Sew Hoy’s latest works suggests more of a post–high-low revelry.

    Hanging on resin “finger hooks”

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  • Jess

    Pasadena Museum of California Art (PMCA)

    “Got Wallace’s Art Forum [sic] (tore out everything else) and made a delightful Berman pamphlet,” reported Jess (né Burgess Collins in Long Beach, California, in 1923) to his lifelong partner, the poet Robert Duncan, in 1966. As curator Ingrid Schaffner notes in her sharply revisionist catalogue essay, the gesture of the artist, an expert bladesman, cut in at least two ways: “It was a tribute to the success of a friend and fellow Californian with whose work Jess’s was identified” and it was a “tacit act of reproach”—not against Berman, “but against the contemporary art world represented by

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