reviews

  • View of “Jimmie Durham: At the Center of the World,” 2017. Photo: Brian Forrest.

    Jimmie Durham

    Hammer Museum

    YEARS IN THE MAKING, Jimmie Durham’s long-overdue first career survey in the United States couldn’t be more timely. As if to prove the point, the exhibition—which opened two days after President Donald Trump issued a discriminatory travel ban—includes a 1993 sculpture called Forbidden Things: an assemblage comprising an oak doorframe, a painted deerskin sign depicting contraband, and a nondescript box adorned with a cheap plastic bowl, in sum resembling an airport security gate. Throughout the show, such thresholds, borders, and boundaries are frequently demarcated and occasionally

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  • Sadie Benning, Gun/Egg, 2017, wood, Aqua-Resin, casein, acrylic gouache, acrylic, digital C-prints, 48 × 95".

    Sadie Benning

    Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects

    “The 1950s were still very present,” remarked Sadie Benning of their 1970s childhood. “Whatever happens in the moment, it’s like a ripple effect. Something happens politically that affects people for many generations.” Gun/Egg, 2017, a triptych on display in Benning’s solo presentation at Susanne Vielmetter, subtly illustrates this point. In the work’s photograph-within-a-photograph that the artist inserted into a colorful painted wooden construction, a small black-and-white photo of a girl (who bares her teeth with the awkward vigor of someone who has been compelled to “smile BIG!”) is casually

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  • View of “Bob Branaman,” 2017. Photo: Jeff McLane.

    Bob Branaman

    Karma International | Los Angeles

    The Beat poet and playwright Michael McClure once remarked that to be an artist in the 1950s “was to be an outlaw. . . . They were ready to put you in jail.” Just ask LA-based artist, filmmaker, and poet Bob Branaman, who was first introduced to art while serving a stint in juvie way back in Kansas. Judging from this packed, polyphonic, decades-spanning exhibition of paintings, assemblages, handmade books, and ephemera, clearly something must have clicked there. A night or two in the Wichita clink was a rite of passage for an Eisenhower-era head full of jazz, bennies, and reefers. So was bailing

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  • Nancy Lupo, AAA (detail), 2016, mixed media, dimensions variable.

    Nancy Lupo

    Kristina Kite Gallery

    For Kristina Kite’s inaugural show, Nancy Lupo crafted a sprawling tapestry, whose distinct sections of clustered disposable cutlery, bound together with dental floss and intermittently studded with various foodstuffs and trinkets, were meant to represent the four seasons. The gallery space, formerly an artist’s studio, features an optically arresting mosaic of black-and-white and terrazzo tiles that predates Kite’s arrival. The architecture granted Lupo’s floor-bound arrangement an additional layer of complexity, providing a room-scale ground to the imposing swaths that visually warped the

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