Jonathan Griffin

Criticism and essays on art and culture

Katy Grannan

 

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April and Robert on Mattress Under 9th St Bridge, Modesto, CA, 2013, © Katy Grannan Courtesy Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco and Salon 94, New York

 

For the past five years, Katy Grannan has been driving 100 miles south almost every week from her home in Berkeley on the edge of San Francisco Bay to Modesto in California’s Central Valley. Like other cities along State Route 99 – Stockton, Merced, Fresno, Bakersfield – Modesto is one of those places that tourists driving between San Francisco and Los Angeles pass through without stopping. The Central Valley is where, in the 1930s, John Steinbeck set The Grapes of Wrath and Dorothea Lange took her famous photographs of migrant sharecroppers. Both were beacons for Grannan during the making of The Nine, her first feature-length film, which will be screened in London next week. Read the rest of this entry »

Elaine Cameron-Weir

Venus, Los Angeles

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The 14,500 square-foot former warehouse occupied by Venus, two blocks east of the Los Angeles River, is one of the largest spaces for showing art in the city. For certain artists, it must seem problematically vast. Earlier this year, Marianne Vitale responded to the building’s challenge by filling it with 60 tonnes of railway track and stacks of massive pine posts. The fine sculptures of Elaine Cameron-Weir, however, typically operate at the level of the jeweller’s worktable or the scientist’s lab bench. Her exhibition Snake With Sexual Interest in Own Tail could be read as an essay on the elasticity of our perception of scale. Surprisingly, in this outsize building, it worked. Read the rest of this entry »