• Ana Mendieta, Untitled (Facial Hair Transplants) (detail), 1972, seven C-prints, each 13 1/4 × 20".

    Radical Women: Latin American Art, 1960–1985”

    Hammer Museum

    ONE OF EIGHTY-SOME EXHIBITIONS in the Getty Foundation’s Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA initiative, “Radical Women: Latin American Art, 1960–1985” explicitly endeavored, as curators Cecilia Fajardo-Hill and Andrea Giunta put it, “to write a new chapter in twentieth-century art history” by correcting the field’s long-standing obfuscation of women artists’ contributions. On this count, “Radical Women” was a triumph, introducing dozens of neglected artists (including some from such rarely represented nations as Panama, Paraguay, and Costa Rica) to new audiences. It was more a feminist curatorial

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  • View of “Anna Maria Maiolino,” 2017, MoCA Grand Avenue, Los Angeles. Foreground: Entrevidas (Between Lives), 1981. Photo: Brian Forest.

    Anna Maria Maiolino

    The Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA)

    FOR THOSE FAMILIAR WITH THE HISTORY of feminist exhibitions in the United States, the blown-up photograph at the entrance to this retrospective of the work of Anna Maria Maiolino was a familiar sight: a shot of three dozen eggs randomly placed on a cobblestone street, with a human walking across the scene. Captured midstride, with all but calves, ankles, and feet cropped from the frame, the figure delicately navigates the fragile shells filled with life matter. Taken from the Brazilian artist’s series “Fotopoemação” (Photopoemaction), 1973–, this picture is part of a triptych, another image from

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  • Laura Aguilar, Three Eagles Flying, 1990, three gelatin silver prints, each 24 × 20".

    Laura Aguilar

    Vincent Price Art Museum

    IN LAURA AGUILAR’S PHOTO Will Work For #4, 1993, the artist is pictured holding a cardboard sign that reads ARTIST WILL WORK FOR AXCESS. She’s standing in front of a gallery’s concrete exterior, panhandling for an “in.” It would be too easy to see “Laura Aguilar: Show and Tell,” her retrospective at the Vincent Price Art Museum in Los Angeles, as the obvious and final answer to this performance, or as a palliative for the paucity of representation of brown, queer, impoverished, and chronically ill folks—all of whom are brought to the fore in Aguilar’s body of work—in an institutional

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  • David Lamelas, Untitled (Falling Wall), 1992–, drywall, wood, screws, acrylic paint, reclaimed lumber, 17' 5“ × 26' 8 1/2” × 8' 1/2". Photo: Josh White.

    David Lamelas

    Maccarone | Los Angeles

    Over the five decades of his peripatetic, sui generis art career, David Lamelas—who was born in Buenos Aires and now works in his hometown and in Nice, France—has probed the basic parameters via which artworks are defined and transmitted. His practice has spanned film, photography, sculpture, and drawing, anticipating now-ubiquitous styles of appropriation and institutional critique. Coinciding with his wide-ranging and long-overdue first US retrospective “A Life of Their Own” at California State University, Long Beach, “The Other Side” at Maccarone was decidedly lean and mean. Here

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  • William Leavitt, Virtual Reality, 2017, acrylic on canvas, 36 × 60".

    William Leavitt

    Honor Fraser

    It’s difficult to tell if William Leavitt’s work reflects an imprecise past or a strange, near future, and it’s exactly this temporal blurriness that makes his work so compelling. Comprising eleven paintings and three theatrical, flat-like sculptures, his recent exhibition “Cycladic Figures” proposed alternate realities in which the stuff of the past—for example, rotary phones, Polaroid cameras, and Greek statuary from 2500 BCE—collided with fantastic technologies, both real and imagined. As with much of Leavitt’s oeuvre, this pileup of images was set in a distinctly Californian

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  • Ruth Root, Untitled, 2017, fabric, Plexiglas, enamel paint, water-soluble crayon, 46 1/2 × 72".

    Ruth Root

    356 S. Mission Rd.

    In a press release for a 2008 show at Andrew Kreps Gallery in New York that transcended the largely gratuitous genre, Ruth Root offered a page of source images absent of any explanative text. She instead arranged thumbnails in gridded rows, their tidiness belying a capaciousness of interest, showing beachy toilet-encircling bath mats and forlorn-looking ski socks interspersed with exemplary works by Josef Albers, Lygia Clark, and Blinky Palermo, among others. All added up to her eccentrically shaped paintings: wafer-thin enamel-on-aluminum compositions of shifting color planes within extruding

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  • Tanya Brodsky, More Fucking Hoops, 2017, metal and chrome footrests, balloon, 21 × 16 × 16".

    Tanya Brodsky


    An inevitable pitfall of explaining a joke is that it is rendered unfunny, flat, and unbearable in the process. One doesn’t have to go back to Freud’s Jokes and Their Relation to the Unconscious (1905) to know that there’s more at play in comedic speech than is immediately apparent. That comedy has not only psychological but social dimensions isn’t a particularly fresh insight, but it’s one that drives cultural hermeneutics nonetheless. Or, as Lauren Berlant and Sianne Ngai put it in their recent essay “Comedy Has Issues” in Critical Inquiry, “the funny is always tripping over the not funny,

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