reviews

  • View of “Llyn Foulkes,” 2013. From left: O’Pablo, 1983; Big Sur, 1984; Ghost Hill, 1984; Saddle Peak, 1984. Photo: Robert Wedemeyer.

    Llyn Foulkes

    Hammer Museum

    WE CAN’T ALL BE GOOD LOOKING: This ugly truth is written in the margin of a drawing, inked around 1949, by a teenage Llyn Foulkes. Fourteen or fifteen years old, the aspiring cartoonist sketches six goon-like men whose jowls droop, nostrils flare, tongues wag, and foreheads bulge, and whose necks are festooned with neat little ties. He signs the work “Spike Foulkes,” a nod to the bandleader and satirist Spike Jones, one of Foulkes’s great populist heroes. A tragicomic caricature of adult disposition filtered through an adolescent imagination, the piece already hints at subjects that would define

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  • Jon Pestoni, Shelf Life, 2012, oil on canvas, 103 x 78 x 2 1/4".

    Jon Pestoni

    David Kordansky Gallery

    Although this first hometown solo show by artist Jon Pestoni was ostensibly an exhibition of formally motivated abstract compositions, the broad swaths of bold, often dry-brushed color that were characteristic of its seventeen medium- to large-scale paintings in fact served to physically frame a literal second layer of meaning beneath. For those who have followed Pestoni’s practice closely, these glimpses of figuration call to mind his earlier, rarely exhibited work—paintings that narratively address a rupture in Pestoni’s personal life, which, like the canvases, he chose to keep relatively

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  • View of “Painting,” 2012–13.

    “Painting”

    The Box

    Kudos to the director of the Box, Mara McCarthy, who, with this timely group show, wrested the discipline from cliché. Featuring the work of eleven artists from the early 1950s to the present, “Painting” considered its titular subject not just as material but also as designation and as act, sometimes all at once. This held no less true of the earliest work in the show, Wally Hedrick’s folksy-seditious pre-Johns representation of the American flag with the antiwar message peace scrawled across its stripes (Peace, 1953), than of the most recent, Paul McCarthy’s Foam Pallet, 2012, a shit-colored,

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  • View of “Fiona Connor,” 2013.

    Fiona Connor

    1301PE

    “Bare Use,” a solo show at 1301PE by Los Angeles–based artist Fiona Connor, presented uncanny replicas of thirteen charmingly dull, awkwardly nondescript objects—a drinking fountain, a patio umbrella, a linen hamper, among other items—found at the Rancho La Puerta resort in Tecate, Mexico. These deadpan sculptures invoked not only the bare bones of a destination spa but also the bare bodies that might find escape there. A white, mineral-looking residue crept up signposts; a wooden lounge chair sat angled toward the gallery windows; five fresh towels piled on a low table on the first

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