Jonathan Griffin

Criticism and essays on art and culture

Alex Becerra

LTD, Los Angeles


Alex Becerra is a young painter who seems to value freedom over pretty much everything else, even at the expense of such musty old notions as moral responsibility or restraint. Left to its own devices, his mind goes, most often, to the naked human form: to pictures of fulsome ladies in compromising positions, up-skirt shots caught in mirrors, women with legs akimbo, examining themselves. In this exhibition, Pablo Picasso’s Les Demoiselles d’Avignon (1907) is evoked more than once. Becerra makes unapologetically reckless pictures that are, at their best, thrilling to look at and, at their worst, vexing to think about. In this exhibition, there is never a dull moment. Read the rest of this entry »

David Hockney

‘Not Interested in that Sort of Thing’

David Hockney, “Nude, 17th June 1984.” Photographic collage, 63 × 44 ̋. Edition of 20. © David Hockney.

David Hockney, “Nude, 17th June 1984.” Photographic collage, 63 × 44 ̋. Edition of 20. © David Hockney.

“Well I think she’s rather beautiful,” said my grandmother. It was Christmas. I must have been 11 or 12, and the large book that she had open on her lap—her gift to me—was open at an image so ridiculously sexy that my pre-pubescent cheeks were flushed deep red and my scalp was tingling. Read the rest of this entry »

What Nerve!

Rhode Island School of Design Museum, Providence


Jim Nutt, Her Face Fits, 1968

The rambunctious exhibition “What Nerve! Alternative Figures in American Art, 1960 to the Present” began life as an idea for a show about the Hairy Who. Seeking to broaden the scope of the project, curator Dan Nadel traced the lines of influence around the 1960s group of Chicago Imagists to include an alternative, subversive history of modern art that is little studied in art colleges and under-represented in museum collections. Read the rest of this entry »

The History of Technology

Jessica Silverman Gallery, San Francisco

Philipp Timischl

When Aristotle imagined a technological future in which ‘every instrument could accomplish its own work’, it was to the weaver’s shuttle and the lyre-player’s plectrum that he turned for examples. It is probably just coincidence but, in ‘The History of Technology’, woven fabrics and the sonorous tones of a stringed instrument featured prominently. Read the rest of this entry »

Daniel von Sturmer

Young Projects, Los Angeles


Upstairs in the polished, air-conditioned and usually deserted corridors of West Hollywood’s huge Pacific Design Center, time seems to move at a slower pace than on the noisy summertime streets outside. Where better, then, for an extensive survey of the patient studio experiments of Melbourne-based video artist Daniel von Sturmer? Read the rest of this entry »

Korakrit Arunanondchai


The Mistake Room, Los Angeles

I seem to be in the minority in my cautious enjoyment of Korakrit Arunanondchai’s spectacular installation Letters to Chantri #1: The lady at the door/The gift that keeps on giving (2014) (made in collaboration with transgender artist boychild). Most people I spoke to professed to hating it. Arunanondchai is a divisive figure, as is any young artist who rises rapidly to international prominence on waves of hyperbole and who enjoys the rewards of a buoyant market enamoured with large abstract paintings made by people with unusual biographies. Read the rest of this entry »

Josh Mannis

Thomas Solomon Gallery, Los Angeles04 - Upstairs, Downstairs

A couple lie naked on a rug with their feet lolling in the air. She smokes; he holds his chin in his hands and gazes sideways at her, a quiet smile on his lips. They’ve probably just had sex. She is looking directly at us, or she would be – except her large, oval eyes have been entirely blacked out by the artist. They are unnerving empty holes. Read the rest of this entry »


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