reviews

  • Laura Aguilar, Grounded #111, 2006, ink-jet print, 14 1⁄2 × 15". From the series “Grounded,” 2006.

    Laura Aguilar, Grounded #111, 2006, ink-jet print, 14 1⁄2 × 15". From the series “Grounded,” 2006.

    Laura Aguilar

    Leslie-Lohman Museum of Art

    I’d been anticipating Laura Aguilar’s traveling retrospective, “Show and Tell,” over the past four drawn-out years, after it first opened in 2017 at the Vincent Price Art Museum in Los Angeles. When the exhibition landed at the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Art, its final stop, her take on resiliency and repair offered many instructive life lessons, as its title quietly suggested. The survey spans three decades of the artist’s oeuvre and emphasizes her activism, which was cut short by her death from diabetes in 2018 at the age of fifty-eight, roughly seven months after the show’s tour began. Signs of

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  • View of “Kevin Jerome Everson,” 2021. From left: Opel, 2021; Signal Thirty, 2021.

    View of “Kevin Jerome Everson,” 2021. From left: Opel, 2021; Signal Thirty, 2021.

    Kevin Jerome Everson

    Andrew Kreps Gallery

    In North America, the formal rigor of avant-garde cinema has fostered the impression that its foremost practitioners disdain emotional expression. Yet this cannot be said of the movement’s nominal godfather, the late Jonas Mekas, whose films are saturated with plaintive meditations on his childhood in rural Lithuania, his years in DP camps following World War II, and his provisional reconstitution of a home in New York. This story of rupture and dislocation, critic David E. James has observed, follows the thematic arc of modernity itself, wherein the comforting rhythms of agrarian life are

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  • Lucas Blalock, The Floridian (Urodisny), 2017–20, dye sublimation print on aluminum, 50 1⁄4 × 40".

    Lucas Blalock, The Floridian (Urodisny), 2017–20, dye sublimation print on aluminum, 50 1⁄4 × 40".

    Lucas Blalock

    Eva Presenhuber | New York

    Over the past decade, Lucas Blalock’s darkly funny eye and knack for discomfiting Photoshop magick have made clear his ambivalent perspective, not just on the integrity of the image world, but also on the fundamental coherence of the world itself. With this show, the artist also provided a crucial bit of backstory to the development of his convincingly off-kilter take on things. The exhibition, “Florida, 1989,” was so named because it was there and then that the ten-year-old Blalock was involved in an accident on the Pirates of the Caribbean ride at Disney World. It resulted in his right thumb

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  • Justine Kurland, Twilight, 2021, collage, 9 3⁄4 × 24 3⁄4".

    Justine Kurland, Twilight, 2021, collage, 9 3⁄4 × 24 3⁄4".

    Justine Kurland

    Higher Pictures Generation

    Justine Kurland’s latest exhibition “SCUMB Manifesto” found her swerving for the first time from photography to a more plastic medium and a loosely conceptual framework, yet with her usual mode of expression still in mind. Kurland has taken up collage, but with a provocative and very specific set of raw materials: The artist culled her extensive photo-book library of its roughly 150 volumes by white men and went at them with an X-Acto. SCUMB (Society for Cutting Up Men’s Books) is, obviously, a tribute to Valerie Solanas’s hilarious, violent, and critically perspicacious SCUM Manifesto (1967).

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  • Hannah Levy, Untitled, 2021, nickel-plated steel, silicone, 25 1⁄4 × 30 1⁄4 × 25". From “Where the threads are worn.”

    Hannah Levy, Untitled, 2021, nickel-plated steel, silicone, 25 1⁄4 × 30 1⁄4 × 25". From “Where the threads are worn.”

    “Where the threads are worn”

    Casey Kaplan

    When Odysseus set sail for Ithaca, “home” became more than a set of four familiar walls in the popular imagination. It was a psychic state of comfort, safety, and belonging, a mythic destination at journey’s end. During the pandemic, home was just that for some people—a refuge and a fortress where the masks came off. But lockdown measures made it a prison for others trapped in bad situations, while many more lost their living spaces altogether. “Where the threads are worn,” a timely twenty-five artist exhibition at Casey Kaplan devoted to multifarious concepts of home, presented themes of

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  • Tim Wilson, Perfume, 2021, oil on paper mounted on linen stretched over panel, 22 1⁄2 × 18".

    Tim Wilson, Perfume, 2021, oil on paper mounted on linen stretched over panel, 22 1⁄2 × 18".

    Tim Wilson

    Nathalie Karg

    Arguing that avant-garde art was “behind the times,” Marxist historian Eric Hobsbawm pointed out that motion pictures appeared on the sociocultural scene at roughly the same time as Cubism did in the early twentieth century, but that cinema’s “techniques of multiple perspective, varying focus, and tricks of cutting”—bringing the awareness that different aspects of an object could be seen at the same time—were derived from, and an elaboration of, filmic innovations. The movies, Hobsbawm argued, are a more sophisticated and communicative form of art by dint of their technological ingenuity, well

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  • Arthur Monroe, Untitled, 1983, oil on canvas, 96 × 84 1⁄2".

    Arthur Monroe, Untitled, 1983, oil on canvas, 96 × 84 1⁄2".

    Arthur Monroe

    Malin Gallery

    Suppose you had never heard of San Francisco Bay Area painter Arthur Monroe (1935–2019). He might be obscure, but his work, which was on display in a solo presentation at Malin Gallery, speaks for itself. It was immediately apparent that the large-scale gestural abstractions, produced between 1980 and 2012, were extremely accomplished. The viewer was drawn in by their rhythmic intensities, the linear storms of calligraphic black strokes, the honeycombs of vibrant color, and the grids that wove in and out of forms vaguely suggestive of Mayan hieroglyphs or tribal markings, influences cultivated

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  • Charles E. Burchfield, Autumn to Winter, 1964–66, watercolor on joined paper mounted on board, 50 × 75".

    Charles E. Burchfield, Autumn to Winter, 1964–66, watercolor on joined paper mounted on board, 50 × 75".

    Charles E. Burchfield

    Menconi + Schoelkopf

    In a typewritten letter to one Mrs. Randolf, dated August 23, 1962, and displayed in a vitrine in Menconi + Schoelkopf’s modest but enlightening exhibition devoted to the art of Charles E. Burchfield (1893–1967), the venerable watercolorist reflects on a summer vacation forty-seven years earlier, when, seized by Romantic afflatus, he began ecstatically painting impressions of the woods around Salem, Ohio, where he grew up: “This artist in me was in the process of being born. . . . The beauty of the world almost drove me wild.”

    The young Burchfield’s work—a deft metabolization of William Blake,

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  • Ginny Casey, Swept Away, 2021, oil on canvas, 24 × 22".

    Ginny Casey, Swept Away, 2021, oil on canvas, 24 × 22".

    Ginny Casey

    Half Gallery

    Painter Ginny Casey’s previous show at Half Gallery, in 2018, featured an assortment of household wares rendered in haunting shades of coral, cobalt, and marigold. These items—watering cans, shoes, kitchen chairs, and other things—have long been a part of the artist’s visual repertoire. While isolating during the pandemic, Casey burrowed deep into herself and into the vistas of her domestic environment, rendering the familiar wondrous, strange. The eleven oil-on-canvas works here explored the notion of “home” as a domain that is both safe and scary, a place in which life is not only lived but

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  • Moki Cherry, Painting About Life, 1968, lacquer on canvas, 24 3⁄8 × 30 3⁄8".

    Moki Cherry, Painting About Life, 1968, lacquer on canvas, 24 3⁄8 × 30 3⁄8".

    Don and Moki Cherry

    Blank Forms

    Family, too, is a form, one that deserves an unbounded imagination as to its purpose and possibilities. From the end of the 1960s until the late 1970s, American avant-garde jazz legend Don Cherry (1936–1995) and his partner, Swedish artist and designer Moki Cherry (1943–2009), along with their two children, Neneh and Eagle-Eye, united the domestic, creative, and spiritual planes to model a way of being. Best known at that time for his work with Ornette Coleman and John Coltrane, Don knew all too well that clubs, while certainly sacred spaces, were often shaped by commercial interests that limited

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  • Shona McAndrew, Priyanka, Vidushi, and Ananya, 2020–21, acrylic on canvas, 44 × 60".

    Shona McAndrew, Priyanka, Vidushi, and Ananya, 2020–21, acrylic on canvas, 44 × 60".

    Shona McAndrew

    CHART

    Shona McAndrew’s solo exhibition “Haven” featured nine acrylic paintings and seven watercolor studies: all portraits of women who are personally known to the artist. The word haven says everything about these pictures, as McAndrew’s sitters seem at ease with themselves and one another. Each canvas is a safe space, and the models appear comfortable in their intimate surroundings: Docile pets, beds, cozy chairs, and muted palettes set the tone. McAndrew reworks eighteenth- and nineteenth-century European “conversation pieces,” paintings made by men that often showed women engaged in the stereotypically

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