los-angeles

Joyce Pensato, Santa Monica Mickey, 2013, charcoal and pastel on paper, 9' 1“ x 13' 2”.

Joyce Pensato

ICA - Institute of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles

Joyce Pensato, Santa Monica Mickey, 2013, charcoal and pastel on paper, 9' 1“ x 13' 2”.

Joyce Pensato’s alliances with her cartoon subjects—icons such as Mickey, Batman, Felix the Cat, and Homer Simpson—recall the different stages we experience in our real-life relations with friends and romantic partners. Early on, there can be the awkwardness of becoming acquainted, or the obsession that accompanies a new crush. Then, as familiarity sets in, one learns every variation of the other person’s moods and expressions. In the best cases, we never grow bored with our closest companions, and they somehow continue to surprise us.

In “I KILLED KENNY,” Pensato’s one-person show at the Santa Monica Museum of Art (curated by Jeffrey Uslip and traveling to the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis in January), one could track the artist’s evolving relationships with certain characters. One of the earliest Mickeys in the exhibition, the drawing On the Run, 1994, shows Disney’s

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