reviews

  • Cover of Bob Mizer’s Physique Pictorial, vol. 16, no. 4 (April 1968), featuring a 1962 drawing by Tom of Finland.

    Bob Mizer and Tom of Finland

    MOCA Pacific Design Center

    In Victorian times, the site of gay pleasure, sensuality, and communality was the ol’ swimming hole, celebrated by artists like Walt Whitman and Mark Twain, Thomas Eakins and Henry Scott Tuke. Photographer and publisher Bob Mizer and illustrator Touko Laaksonen (“Tom of Finland”) relocated the Victorian Eden to the filling stations, pools, bars, gyms, and barracks of a postwar landscape remarkably like Los Angeles, a sunbaked utopia where every man’s a dreamboat and he’s bursting out of his jeans to get at you. In recent years, Mizer’s and Laaksonen’s respective foundations (both artists died

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  • Wolf Vostell, Endogen Depression, 1980/2013, mixed media, dimensions variable.

    Wolf Vostell

    The Box

    After recent shows devoted to the likes of Simone Forti and Judith Bernstein, Mara McCarthy’s quasi-commercial space the Box has once again given us the gift of a welcome revival. This time it was the work of an overlooked figure of the neo-avant-garde whose practice bears important lessons for the present: Wolf Vostell, Fluxus affiliate, key proponent of Happenings in Germany, and progenitor of dé-coll/age (the artist’s term for an expanded notion of collage that embraces installations, events, images, and processes of destruction as the means to constructively transformative experiences of

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  • Clare Grill, Driftwood, 2013, oil on linen, 14 x 12". Installation view.

    Clare Grill

    Reserve Ames

    Imagine a gracious Craftsman house, turn-of-the-century floral wallpaper and wainscoting proudly intact. Now imagine a ramshackle shed in the backyard, a weathered lean-to musty from years of neglect. This is Reserve Ames, a new gallery that occupies several first-floor interior spaces as well as the outbuilding, where its inaugural show took place. Inside the house, the projecting lip of that wainscoting supported hand-size, ceramic disk reliefs made by Benjamin Echeverria, the home’s artist resident as well as the gallery’s curator. Nearby, the laundry room was hung with monochromes that

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