los-angeles

View of “Merlin Carpenter,” 2011.

Merlin Carpenter

Overduin & Co.

View of “Merlin Carpenter,” 2011.

On January 30 (coinciding with the Art Los Angeles Contemporary fair), Merlin Carpenter opened his second show at Overduin & Kite. The premise was simple: A friend asked the artist for an old painting that Carpenter had made in 1990. In return, Carpenter asked the friend to take the original and make twenty copies (“1990 Repainted 1–20,” 2010), all of which were put on view for the show. The works could be described as a nauseatingly polychromatic antidote to his recent three-year, multivenue project, The Opening, which featured smug phrases (among other markings) scrawled, predominantly in black, across invariably white stretchers. Offering generic gestural abstractions that read like attempts to (paradoxically) replicate the idea of “authentic” painting, this LA show also included treadmills, four brand-new machines axially aligned with the art as though facing flat-screen TVs

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