reviews

  • Alex Olson, Mind’s Eye (eyes open, eyes closed), 2016, diptych, oil and modeling paste on linen, each 24 × 18". From “The Ocular Bowl.”

    “The Ocular Bowl”

    Kayne Griffin Corcoran

    The three-person show “The Ocular Bowl” took its name from “The Line and the Light,” a 1964 essay by Jacques Lacan in which the psychoanalyst describes the eye as “a sort of bowl,” a faulty container whose propensity to overflow with visual information necessitates “a whole series of organs, mechanisms, defenses” to collectively bring about vision. Featuring two important works by modernist painter Agnes Pelton—best known for her cosmic abstractions and Southwestern landscapes overlain with transcendental themes—and more recent paintings by Alex Olson and Linda Stark, this show was

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  • John Baldessari, It’s Possible, Although . . . , 2015, varnished ink-jet print and acrylic on canvas, 54 1/2 × 71".

    John Baldessari

    Sprüth Magers | Los Angeles

    Writing in these pages in 1995, art historian Lane Relyea remarked, “When you’ve experienced as much success as Baldessari has, you probably aren’t too worried about how urgent and timely your art looks, yet, without even trying, Baldessari’s still does.” Between then and now, the artist has rooted his legacy in Los Angeles, both as a significant pedagogical figure and as the subject of numerous touring museum retrospectives. This recent exhibition at Sprüth Magers, which inaugurated the gallery’s California venue, presented sixteen large ink-jet prints on canvas. All of the works featured found

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  • Alex Israel and Bret Easton Ellis, Different Kind of Star, 2016, ink-jet print and acrylic on canvas, 7 × 14'.

    Alex Israel and Bret Easton Ellis

    Gagosian | Beverly Hills

    There is a long tradition of artists and writers joining forces—in small journals, limited-edition books, and other printed matter. Yet even when formed on the basis of evident stylistic affinities, these working relationships have rarely been egalitarian; typically, the pictures illustrate the words or else the words caption the pictures. The coproductions of artist Alex Israel and novelist Bret Easton Ellis are something else, not only in that they are singular artworks, made to be hung on the walls of a gallery rather than circulated as publications, but because neither side gains the

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  • Alice Könitz, Pantry, 2016, bamboo, copper, wood, plastic crate, plastic cups, aluminum can, string, nuts, pickles, dimensions variable.

    Alice Könitz

    Commonwealth and Council

    The black foamcore neck of Periscope, 2016, extended out of the skylight of an otherwise empty room, its mirrors visible thanks to a circular cutaway at the base of the tube, which rested atop a spindly pedestal with thin metal legs and two royal-purple shelves. The pedestal indicated the work was a tool and a sculpture, and neatly summarized the ambivalent status of all of the objects in Alice Könitz’s “Commonwealth,” named for the gallery in which it was situated. Könitz used this loaded term as a springboard to assemble a collection of “social sculptures” that echoed the artist-run gallery’s

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  • View of “Jessi Reaves and Sophie Stone,” 2016. On floor: Sophie Stone, Untitled (in-reverse #1), 2014/2016. Chairs: Jessi Reaves, His and Hers Ferraris, 2014.

    Jessi Reaves and Sophie Stone

    Del Vaz Projects

    For their first exhibition in Los Angeles, New York–based artists Jessi Reaves and Sophie Stone furnished Del Vaz Projects with works that slyly confused the boundary between the so-called “fine” and “applied” arts. Slouching against walls and scattered across the floor were large, irregularly woven textiles and idiosyncratic furniture pieces that served an aesthetic purpose as much as a utilitarian one. The works fit seamlessly into the exhibition space, given that the gallery is also a lived-in apartment. (The venue housed the artists while they created, in the building’s garage, most of the

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