• David Horvitz, Public Access (Bodega Head), 2011–14, C-print, 9 5/8 × 14 5/8". From the series “Public Access,” 2011–14.

    David Horvitz

    Blum & Poe | Los Angeles

    On July 12, the day that David Horvitz’s first solo show at Blum & Poe opened, the artist and his numerous editor-avatars were banned from contributing to Wikipedia. The embargo culminated an ongoing conflict in which editors of the online encyclopedia persistently hunted down and deleted any discovered images of California shoreline (from Pelican State Beach in the north to Border Field State Park in the south) that Horvitz had posted to the public beaches’ Wikipedia entries over the past three years. Each of the supposedly disruptive images—part of Horvitz’s multimodal project “Public

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  • View of “Matt Sheridan Smith,” 2014.

    Matt Sheridan Smith


    Though it may be inadvisable, let’s begin with the press release. The text that Matt Sheridan Smith produced for his recent exhibition “Widow: Fig.3 Ep.1” didn’t merely gloss the show’s themes and forms, but rather played an active role in their production. He begins with the famous opening line of Kafka’s Metamorphosis, only here Gregor Samsa has been replaced by “the widow,” who is transformed not into a “giant insect” but a “Figure.” The show hinged to a large extent on that final, prismatic term—figure—a word whose meanings include shape and pattern, one’s physical appearance or

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  • John Altoon, Ocean Park Series #12, 1962, oil on canvas, 81 3/8 × 84". From “Ocean Park Series,” 1962.

    John Altoon

    Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA)

    Bare-chested on the dust jacket of The Holy Barbarians—Lawrence Lipton’s classic account of the Beat scene around Venice Beach, ca. 1959—John Altoon was cast as a ruffian, a role that stuck. His life was no doubt the stuff of legend, from his Hollywood marriages to his death from a heart attack at a party in 1969 at the age of forty-three—to say nothing of the mental hospitals or his antics in the company of Edward Kienholz, Robert Irwin, Billy Al Bengston, and other Ferus Gallery “Studs” in between. But to promulgate the glib cultural ethnography such details suggest is to

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