Jonathan Griffin

Criticism and essays on art and culture


Various venues, Portland, OregonPortland2014

In the April issue of frieze, Dan Fox prefaced his review of the 2013 Carnegie International with some observations about the perplexing lack of consensus around what, today, a biennial is actually for. ‘Portland2014’ is the third in this current formulation (the Oregon Biennial ran from 1949 until 2006) but its agenda and format are still, evidently, very much up for grabs. Read the rest of this entry »


François Ghebaly Gallery, Los Angeles


Here’s a good one: a New York gallery comes to Los Angeles to do an exhibition of its artists in a colleague’s space. The exhibition opens a week before the home-coming leg of Mike Kelley’s touring retrospective, installed at the Museum of Contemporary Art, two years after the revered artist’s suicide. What do the New Yorkers title their show? ‘Depression’. Read the rest of this entry »

John Tweddle

Kayne Griffin Corcoran, Los Angeles


John Tweddle is one of those artists who never really fitted into any scene he found himself in. The astonishing, eccentric body of work that he has produced during his lifetime may be both the cause and effect of this condition. Born in 1938, he left rural Kentucky to go to art school in Kansas City and Atlanta, then moved to New York at the end of the 1960s. A decade later, appalled by the commercial art world, he turned his back on the city and moved back South. Today he lives and works in Santa Fe, New Mexico, which seems about right for an artist of his bent. Read the rest of this entry »

Frances Stark

Marc Foxx, Los Angeles


About three years ago, something unexpected happened in Frances Stark’s art. After two decades of making work about herself––about her anxieties and obsessions, her identity crises and motivational struggles––she started making work about other people. Stranger still, her subjects became, in most instances, young men of color.  Read the rest of this entry »

Thomas Demand

Demand Dailies

Early last December, Thomas Demand’s studio of 12 years, next to the Hamburger Bahnhof in Berlin, was bulldozed. Demand had known that sooner or later this day would come – the building’s prime location made it vulnerable to developers – but it marked the end of an era for the German artist. He had lived in the city since 1995, around the time that he first became known for his photographs of life-sized card and paper models of vacant interiors recreated from found photographs, often associated with poignant human narratives. Read the rest of this entry »

Raster Raster

Aran Cravey, Los Angeles

Artie Vierkant, Air filter and method of constructing same 18, 2013, US Patent 8118919 B1, aluminum, charcoal fiberglass mesh, organza, 68 x 32 in

Artie Vierkant, Air filter and method of constructing same 18, 2013, US Patent 8118919 B1, aluminum, charcoal fiberglass mesh, organza, 68 x 32 in

Any post-Postmodernists who dared hope that contemporary art had become ‘post-movement’ must have been dispirited, in recent years, to see the tag ‘post-Internet’ growing in ubiquity. Art magazines have done their best to nail down a definition of this vague field, in some cases recruiting the same curators who are bold enough to try to identify its principal characteristics and exponents in group exhibitions. Read the rest of this entry »

Math Bass

Overduin & Co., Los Angeles

Math Bass

Math Bass was known, until recently, principally as a performance artist, although she has long made sculptures and drawings. Her performances – which, I admit, belong to a genre that I find rather pretentious – often combine solemnly delivered poetry or song with passages of improvised group activity. Dogs and Fog, an event Bass presented at Overduin & Kite in 2011, convened dry ice machines, cinder blocks and 20 or so dogs who padded amongst the crowd. A circle of singers, the artist among them, intoned in harmony a song written by the artist. The dogs seemed uninterested. Read the rest of this entry »


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