• View of “Stories of Almost Everyone,” 2018. Photo: Joshua White.

    “Stories of Almost Everyone”

    Hammer Museum

    A KIND OF POST-CONCEPTUAL malaise crept over me when, twenty minutes into viewing “Stories of Almost Everyone,” a group exhibition centered on the narratives that “accompany” objects, I found myself spending more time reading and rereading wall texts than looking at the works themselves. Of course, one could graft this overreliance on mostly dry, institutionally crafted text onto a critical argument about the further evacuation of art’s aura—and a concomitant call for further engagement with the discourse surrounding art’s production and reception—but I don’t think that’s what curators

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  • View of “Beatriz Cortez and Rafa Esparza,” 2018. Center: Beatriz Cortez, The Argonaut: after Pakal, 2018. Photo: Ruben Diaz.

    Beatriz Cortez and Rafa Esparza

    Commonwealth and Council

    A spirit of colorful vitality and heterogeneous collectivity infused “Pasado mañana” (The Day After Tomorrow), Beatriz Cortez and Rafa Esparza’s recent exhibition at Commonwealth and Council. Over the past year, the two Los Angeles–based artists have collaborated on sculptural installations that address the migration of bodies, symbols, forms, and building techniques in and around the Americas. For Nomad 13, 2017, Cortez and Esparza constructed an eight-and-a-half-foot-tall “space capsule” made of steel and adobe bricks that sheltered an array of plant species (such as corn, cactus, quinoa,

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  • View of “Dave Hullfish Bailey,” 2018. Photo: Brica Wilcox.

    Dave Hullfish Bailey

    Gallery at REDCAT

    Our occupancy of the natural environment leaves behind traces over time, records etched upon the surface of the earth that can be followed downward, geologically, through layers of sedimentation. In his recent exhibition, “Hardscrabble,” at the REDCAT, Dave Hullfish Bailey reflected on four sites within the western American landscape that bear a particularly vexed and complex relation to matters of human usage: the Purgatoire River drainage in southern Colorado, former setting of Drop City, a hippie commune housed in geodesic domes; a nearby square mile of land in Huerfano County, government

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