reviews

  • View of “Eau de Cologne,” 2016. Floor: Four works by Jenny Holzer. Wall: Louise Lawler, (Bunny) Sculpture and Painting (adjusted to fit), 1999/2015. Photo: Joshua White.

    “Eau de Cologne”

    Sprüth Magers | Los Angeles

    Monika Sprüth, reflecting in 2015 on the inaugural “Eau de Cologne,” a group exhibition mounted at her gallery in tandem with 1985’s Art Cologne fair, characterized the show’s all-woman roster as an incidental that caught her unaware—a calculated claim that served as a sly rejoinder to the art world’s patriarchal exclusivity, which dominated then and persists today. Since that moment, “Eau de Cologne” has maintained an iterative existence, reappearing in 1987 and 1993 and then in 2015 and 2016. Successive stagings would include new artists alongside the work of a few veterans from the 1985

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  • View of Shio Kusaka, 2016. Photo: Joshua White.

    Shio Kusaka

    Blum & Poe | Los Angeles

    More than one hundred ceramic vessels and figurines by Shio Kusaka populated a single pedestal (topped with light-pink Formica) that coursed through the three galleries of Blum & Poe’s ground floor. At one end of this giant horseshoe-shaped display was a grouping of pots whose decorative schemes suggested two strawberries, two beach balls, and a watermelon. At the other end was a cluster of five tall vases decorated with dinosaurs that grapple with one another, their claws and teeth drawing comical red-glaze blood. In between was a diverse range of experiments in arrangement and categorization,

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  • Betty Tompkins, Fuck Painting #52, 2014, acrylic on canvas, 60 × 84". From the series “Fuck,” 1969–.

    Betty Tompkins

    GAVLAK | Los Angeles

    It is at the very least unfortunate—other less anodyne adjectives spring to mind—that it has taken so many years for Betty Tompkins’s paintings to garner the visibility they presently enjoy. Deservedly, much press accompanied the septuagenarian artist’s recent shows in New York—in 2015 at Bruce High Quality Foundation University’s project space FUG, and in 2016 at FLAG Art Foundation. Many writers have offered guesses as to what caused the delay, with the majority citing the sexually explicit nature of her seminal (as it were) “Fuck” paintings and the gender of their maker. Tompkins

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  • Cindy Sherman, Untitled Film Still #47, 1979, gelatin silver print, 8 × 10". From the series “Untitled Film Stills,” 1979–80.

    Cindy Sherman

    The Broad

    It was in 1977 that Cindy Sherman began work on her breakout series of “Untitled Film Stills,” 1977–80, exhaustively restaging, before a still camera, the range of roles that defined women on the silver screen. Back then, publicity stills were routinely displayed in the lobbies of movie theaters. These were framed pictures, shot by professional photographers on production sets, that always diverged in their perspective, often subtly but sometimes dramatically, from the footage shown on-screen. It seems probable that these uncanny objects, suffused in celluloid fiction while also hinting at its

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