reviews

  • Noah Purifoy, Ode to Frank Gehry, 2000, mixed media. Installation view, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 2015. © Noah Purifoy Foundation.

    Noah Purifoy

    Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA)

    “JUNK DADA,” the Los Angeles County Museum of Art’s recent survey of the work of Noah Purifoy, could hardly have felt timelier—or more belated. On the one hand, the elegantly installed show, curated by Franklin Sirmans and Yael Lipschutz, has arrived during a moment of renewed art-world attention to African American elder statesmen, from Ed Clark to Stanley Whitney; it also contributes to recent efforts to rethink the racial politics of assemblage in the context of the Southern California scene, as emblematized by Kellie Jones’s important 2011 exhibition “Now Dig This! Art and Black Los

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  • Rachel Harrison, The Vendor (detail), 2015, wood, polystyrene, chicken wire, cement, acrylic, selfie sticks, 70 1/4 × 28 1/2 × 22".

    Rachel Harrison

    Regen Projects

    To be a twenty-first-century subject is to engage in countless acts of self-representation. Although “Three Young Framers” included few actual depictions of people, presentation of the self provided the through line for Rachel Harrison’s latest LA solo show. The title is a play on August Sander’s 1914 photograph of three men on their way to a dance—young farmers who, one hundred years hence, armed with smartphones and selfie sticks, would have no need for someone like Sander to take their picture. Confronting visitors at the gallery entrance was Open Mic (all works 2015). This electric-blue,

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  • View of “Let Power Take a Female Form,” 2015.

    “Let Power Take a Female Form”

    The Box

    Among the underrecognized histories to emerge from the sweeping 2011–12 Getty exhibition series “Pacific Standard Time: Art in L.A. 1945–1980” (PST) was that of the groundbreaking work done by a handful of women gallery owners in Los Angeles in the 1960s and ’70s to support Conceptual, performance, or otherwise nonconventional artistic practices. Contributing to this narrative was the 2012 “PST”-affiliated exhibition “Perpetual Conceptual: Echoes of Eugenia Butler.” An LA-based art dealer, Butler was notorious for the avant-garde artworks she exhibited at her eponymous gallery, as well as for

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  • View of “Martin Basher,” 2015.

    Martin Basher

    Anat Ebgi

    For his first solo show in Los Angeles, “A Guide to Benefits,” Martin Basher hewed to the patterned paintings for which he is best known and also to the critical frame—the visual culture of consumption—that motivates them. The artist’s now-trademark panels, their vertical stripes standardized at uniform intervals, circled the walls of the two rooms, effecting an environment of superfluity—albeit an excess undercut by the differences between the compositions. Some stripes were painted in oil and enamel on canvas and some on tape layered on cardboard; whether a ground of corrugated

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