Los Angeles

Octavio Abúndez, Soliloquy, 2019, grooved board, plastic, 47 × 47".

Octavio Abúndez, Soliloquy, 2019, grooved board, plastic, 47 × 47".

Octavio Abúndez

Kohn Gallery

The human race is better equipped to talk a lot of nonsense than to save itself from extinction. Octavio Abúndez’s exhibition at Kohn Gallery made the point with a resounding crash of cant. The main room was hung with some of the Conceptualist’s hard-edge “stripe” paintings, outfitted with the umbrella title “We Could Be So Much Better,” 2015–, and composed of stacked bands of color. Within each belt, Abúndez embeds text from adventure and catastrophe films whose hammy dialogue mirrors the way we live now—which is to say, the way we collectively react to sure signs of environmental collapse not by storming Dow Chemical Company or the world’s CO2-chugging cement factories, but by earnestly swapping clichés at cocktail parties.

In the puce, black, pink, blue, and red lines of one 2019 canvas, for example, Abúndez assembled lines from Dunkirk (2017), Into the Wild (2007), Pulp Fiction (1994),

to keep reading

Artforum print subscribers have full access to this article. If you are a subscriber, sign in below.

Not registered for artforum.com? Register here.

SUBSCRIBE NOW for only $50 a year—65% off the newsstand price—and receive the print magazine plus full online access to this issue and our archive.*

Order the PRINT EDITION of the January 2020 issue for $17 or the ONLINE EDITION for $5.99.

* This rate applies to U.S. domestic subscriptions.