Pinking Pershing

Chalkupying for the Women's March, Los Angeles, January 20th, 2018 — January 2018 I was busy laying down some more chalk art in Pershing Square, this time for the 2nd Women’s March Los Angeles whose attendance I would learn reached 500K, the largest in the country. My concept of a raised Fist in defiance and defined by power, seemed to resonate with the crowds intent; be seen, speak out, be heard, be counted! The Fist was an overall pink experience and featured a nail job lacquered pristinely in ultra gloss, designed to invoke the spirit of this significant gathering. In the final photos, filmed by drone, I had my own epiphany and the impulse to extend my middle finger was a heartfelt exultant gesture combined … [Read more...]

Looking Back: La Biennale

All Photography Courtesy of Martha Wilcox Venice — After so many blue chip gallery openings, sales-driven art fairs, and blockbuster museum exhibitions this year, the Venice Biennale was a memorable departure. The strong presence of capitalism was still there, lurking always in the background of important cultural events, yet it was upstaged by the quality of the work itself; a rare feat in the art world. Criticism of the Biennale is certainly warranted, from the countries exhibited to the allocation of the onsite pavilions, but there remains a kind of fitting grandeur to the event that recalls Venice’s bygone days of doges and palaces. The Biennale felt both modern and global while taking place in a city that is anything but. After … [Read more...]

Martin Creed: The Art of Installation

The Back Door, Park Avenue Armory, June 8th-August 7th, 2016— You’re The One For Me (2012) It may be 2016 but it is still surprising to be confronted by the medium-less methodology of truly conceptual artists. Even today, as the lines between art and culture blur daily, artists who define themselves by concept rather than medium, continue to be unique. The latest installation at the Park Avenue Armory by the conceptual British artist Martin Creed (b. 1968), teases viewers with every form of art imaginable. There are videos, wandering minstrels, paintings and drawings, “sculptural interventions,” installations, balloons, metronomes, and woven textiles, making the exhibition seem like a surrealist carnival. Within this massive … [Read more...]

Extrusion Riff

Notes from Out of Hand: Materializing the Postdigital (Museum of Art and Design) Inside 3D Printing (New York Javits Center)  — I can extrude anything. I can make anything out of anything. I can make products out of my images. A duvet out of a photo of my dog. Why? And why not? Last year I wandered excitedly through a show at New York’s Museum of Art and Design, Out of Hand:  Materializing the Postdigital  (Oct 16, 2013 to June 1, 2013). From the website: “Out of Hand will be the first major museum exhibition to examine this interdisciplinary trend” {i.e., digital fabrication – JS}  “through the pioneering works of more than 80 international artists, architects, and designers, including … [Read more...]

Notes From Paris: JR’s Au Panthéon

This summer, the Parisian street artist known semi-anonymously as JR installed his massive, black and white portraits inside the classically built Panthéon, tackling that age old divide between art and architecture. Erected in the latter half of the 18th century in the Latin Quarter of Paris, the Panthéon was intended to be a neo-classical church and ended up as a famous mausoleum. The Panthéon has an ornate, Gothic exterior embellished by Corinthian columns and beautiful stonework, and inside boasts lofty domed ceilings, religious murals and stunning marble floors. Glass windows and skylights fill the galleries with natural daylight, giving the interior the hushed feeling of a religious space. For the duration of the exterior renovations … [Read more...]

Swoon’s Submerged Motherlands

Swoon: Submerged Motherlands, Brooklyn Museum, 2014, Installation View — The Brooklyn-based artist Caledonia Curry is known best as the street artist named Swoon. She remains one of the very few female street artists whose style is as recognizable as a Banksy, and who has been wheatpasting her intricate portraits and paper cutouts onto Brooklyn buildings and beyond for over a decade. In the last five years, as the street art movement has gained momentum and commercial appeal in the art world, Swoon has created several site-specific, high-traffic installations. From her Swimming Cities project,handmade rafts that sailed uninvited onto the shores of the Venice Biennale in 2009, to the suspended sculptural installation Thalassa, … [Read more...]

Rhizome Central

Clare Graham, MorYork Gallery and The New Craft Paradigm — To enter MorYork gallery in Highland Park you follow a curve of finished concrete beneath an understated, vaguely neo-deco pediment. The functional, just-so quality of this entrance amplifies the aesthetic shock you encounter stepping into what is either an Aladdin’s cave full of techno-primitive wonder, or a poetic cargo ship adrift on a sea of dreams — possibly both at once. The high-ceilinged space is so full, floor to ceiling, with handcrafted wonders that the eye is never sure where to settle, and therefore stumbles along bejeweled surfaces and up curving forms fashioned in startling ways from the familiar products of mass production. Lacquered cabinets open to reveal … [Read more...]

Sympathy and the Devil

Tea and Morphine: Women in Paris, 1880-1914, Hammer Museum, January 25, - May 18, 2014 — An inventively curated exhibition of late 19th and early 20th century works on paper by fin de siecle artists, culled from the recent acquisition of the Elisabeth Dean Collection, Tea and Morphine achieves its effects by couplings and contrasts. This is show of ‘ands,’ (the emphasis of the title above is my own interpolation). Public and private are displayed in radical contrast. Public is a woman outside the home, here looking at an exhibition through her lorgnette, contriving her costume so that the ruffles of her hat are echoed by her neckpiece, a woman who is to be seen, and who is also seeing. This is the Belle Epoque teetering on the cusp … [Read more...]

Mike Kelley’s Abjection

“When I was young the art world was where you went to be a failure. It was a chosen profession, and you chose to be a failure.” – Mike Kelley, 2004 2013’s exhibition calendar for the major museums in New York City brought a seemingly unprecedented invasion of West Coast artists to our attention. The onslaught included important figureheads like Paul McCarthy, who took over the Park Avenue Armory in his Disney-inspired, pornographic video installation WS, James Turrell, who transformed the Guggenheim Museum into a sublimely colorful skyspace, Robert Irwin, who exhibited one of his classic light paintings at the Whitney and Chris Burden, whose brilliantly lunatic work was tamed and repurposed in the New Museum’s halfheartedly edgy … [Read more...]

The Shack of Film

On the Occasion of ‘Agnès Varda in Californialand’, LACMA November 3, 2013 – June 22, 2014 — ‘Grand Dame of the French New Wave’ ‘Grandmother of the New Wave’ ‘Mother of the French New Wave movement’ !#&?! This is what happens to the woman artist at a certain age — She no longer is. She represents. Not herself. But what she has supposedly brought into being. Her progeny. I mean. Really! Varda’s no grandmother, she’s no great lady . . . She’s alive and well at Agnès in Californialand, an installation in which she is all ages. In the opening texts displayed on the walls of this first U.S. museum presentation of her artwork, Agnès Varda calls this little building in the center of one’s view, … [Read more...]