Jonathan Griffin

Criticism and essays on art and culture

Category: Art Agenda

K.r.m. Mooney

Reserve Ames, Los Angeles

_MG_28903

Since it is impossible to say—in the work of K.r.m. Mooney just as in the world—where one thing ends and another begins, it seems appropriate to start by considering the structure that houses this exhibition. An ancient wooden shed, it was once a garage for the large Craftsman home it sits behind, built in 1906. Wide sliding barn-like doors open onto patched timber walls and a cracked concrete floor stained from years of dripping motor oil. Weeds sprout through some of the cracks and papery pink bougainvillea petals blow in from the garden. As a concession to the aesthetic formalities of the white cube, a pristine white rectangle of wall divides the front gallery from the storage area behind. Read the rest of this entry »

The Live/Work Gallery

Spaces is a feature of art-agenda that proposes a thematic examination of galleries based on the analysis of their physical and spatial configurations. Every two months, art-agenda publishes a new reflection on the spatial characteristics of galleries, their architecture, identity, and relation with their historical and geographical context.


The second feature of Spaces focuses on the confluence of domestic and exhibition environments.

ParkView-Feb2015-Installs-018_hires

In the first feature in art-agenda’s Spaces series, Chris Sharp enumerated the various species of apartment gallery, a family of spaces that he described as having evolved in contradistinction to the white cube. Sharp’s analysis was made largely along architectural—and thus stylistic and perceptual—lines. Wainscoting, paneling, and cabinetry are all pertinent identifiers of the apartment gallery, unless, as Sharp puts it, the room as been “white-cubified.”

Before reading his piece, I myself had been reflecting on the growing number of commercial galleries that are operated from dealers’ homes. My interest, however, was quite different to Sharp’s. What did it mean, I had begun to wonder, when the proprietor of a gallery actually lived in (or above) the space where they did business? Under what circumstances can art and life, commerce and domesticity, productively exist under the same roof?

Read more…

Sayre Gomez and JPW3

François Ghebaly / Night Gallery, Los Angeles

Sayre Gomez, 'I'm Different'

Sayre Gomez, ‘I’m Different’

Someone has cut a large hole in the chain-link fence that separates Los Angeles’s François Ghebaly Gallery and Night Gallery. Perhaps eight feet in diameter, it is large enough to drive a car through and at the opening of concurrent recent exhibitions by Sayre Gomez (at Ghebaly) and JPW3 (at Night), the circumference of the hole was dressed with burning incense sticks, like a low-fi ceremonial portal from one dimension to another. Read the rest of this entry »

Frances Stark

Marc Foxx, Los Angeles

Stark06_fs_2014_from_therealstarkiller_429

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 »

Paramount Ranch

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Paramount Ranch, Los Angeles, Feb 1–2 2014

On a recent Saturday morning, while half of Los Angeles’s art community was shelling out ten dollars to park their cars outside the dispiriting aircraft hangar of Art Los Angeles Contemporary, the city’s preeminent art fair, and the other half was trying to find an empty meter downtown for Printed Matter’s enormously popular LA Art Book Fair at MOCA’s Geffen Contemporary, I was heading west on the 101 Freeway, driving fast out of town. After half an hour or so, the houses thinned and gave way to scrubby, dry hills populated by pelotons of cyclists and nervous-looking fire crews. Read the rest of this entry »

Carnegie International 2013

Carnegie Museum of Art, PittsburghCI130362_swords

“You can’t bring culture to people, you can only bring it out of them.” That’s Robert Rauschenberg, in a 1968 manifesto titled “Proposals for Public Parks” which the curators of the 2013 Carnegie International—Daniel Baumann, Dan Byers, and Tina Kukielski—have reprinted in the catalog for their exhibition. Rauschenberg’s assertion poses a ticklish problem for the trio, whose assigned mission it has been (as first mandated by Andrew Carnegie in 1895) to bring culture to the people of Pittsburgh. Invigorated by Rauschenberg’s paradox, they have installed an edition of the Carnegie International (last held in 2008) that is both deeply rooted in its historical and geographical situation, and expansive in its purview. Artists from Switzerland and England lure visitors into the museum with eye-catching outdoor sculptures while, inside, the first work one encounters is by Polish artist Paulina Olowska, who has borrowed a collection of puppets from a Pittsburgh theater. Elsewhere, art from New York, Tehran, Zagreb, and Johannesburg seeks to connect the far-flung with the close at hand. And—notwithstanding the peripatetic art crowd that descended on Pittsburgh for the exhibition’s gala opening—it is the local audience that the 2013 Carnegie International seems designed to address. Read the rest of this entry »

Made in Space

Night Gallery, Los Angeles
Made in Space 1

Is it possible to talk about art made in Los Angeles without crediting the city with everything that makes its art unique? Why are artists in Southern California so often asked to explain how their work is influenced by its infrastructure or climate? Is “Made in Space,” the exhibition curated by artists Peter Harkawik and Laura Owens, an antidote to these tendencies or is it a symptom? Read the rest of this entry »