reviews

D-L Alvarez, The Closet (detail), 2006–2007, graphite on paper, eighteen sheets, each 17 1/2 x 21 1/4".

D-L Alvarez

Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAMPFA)

D-L Alvarez, The Closet (detail), 2006–2007, graphite on paper, eighteen sheets, each 17 1/2 x 21 1/4".

Replete with spectacular references that range from infamous crimes to pop-cultural benchmarks, D-L Alvarez’s work unfailingly invites interpretations driven by his fascinating interests and almost always neglectful of what the artist has done with and to his chosen source material. As the artist’s first solo museum presentation made plain, however, such thematically weighted readings ultimately fail to meet Alvarez’s work on its most compelling terms. This show, which closed at the UC Berkeley Art Museum in October, offered a welcome chance to look anew at the forty-seven-year-old Oakland, California–based artist’s interdisciplinary practice. What emerged, contra the prevailing discourses around his work—including, notably, the interpretative material that accompanied the exhibition (as well as my own previous text on the work)—was a portrait of an artist deeply committed

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