• Keith Tyson

    Blum & Poe | Los Angeles

    Given the critical antagonism that still faces painting—a sense of abstraction’s diminishing returns, the apparent anachronism of representation, and the assumption of market complicity—the decision to work in the medium today cannot be an easy one to make. Though cautionary notes have, since the 1980s, been repeated to the point of banality, they still represent hurdles to be negotiated before many viewers are willing even to consider what else the artist in question might be up to. Some artists operate with a fierce, perhaps reactionary disregard for such critical touchstones, while others

    Read more
  • My Barbarian

    Steve Turner

    My Barbarian, LA’s own all-singing, all-dancing, all-acting performance troupe (Malik Gaines, Jade Gordon, Alexandro Segade), can be read as a gentle parody of alt-rock’s claims to ownership over experiential extremes, as per the band My Chemical Romance. But one might also consider how names follow other names; after all, could there be a (My) Chemical Romance without a (My) Drug Hell without a (My) Bloody Valentine? My Barbarian nods to all of these, while also suggesting rapprochement. The inversion of “the other,” via the personal pronoun, into something approaching “the same” is central to

    Read more
  • Ben Jackel

    La Louver

    Ben Jackel’s first solo exhibition made a fine mixture out of the imagery and accoutrements of warfare, its attendant memorialization and glorification, and the putting out of fires. An artist with a background in ceramics, Jackel has studied with Charles Ray (for whom he now works) and ceramicist Adrian Saxe, and the influence of both artists is evident in his work. The sculptures here strike a balance between faithful mimesis and a tendency toward caricature, while revealing Jackel’s predilection for ornamentation and plays on scale, as well as his keen sensitivity to matters of display.


    Read more
  • Cal Crawford


    A haunting, dirgelike melody transformed Cal Crawford’s solo debut—a sprawling installation—into a nocturnal menace determined to fix viewers in a trance. The eerie piano line creeps through high octaves, over the slow funereal boom of percussion and a lumbering baritone incantation. Modeled on the heavy-handed orchestration of B-movie horror and psychological thrillers, the music’s melodrama inflicts a visceral discomfort.

    The gallery’s windows were papered over and its lights turned off, leaving the space flickering dimly with light cast by strobelike videos. Five vinyl banners with Daniel

    Read more