Jonathan Griffin

Criticism and essays on art and culture

Tag: David Hammons

Betye Saar

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Black Girl’s Window (1969), Betye Saar. Photo: Rob Gerhardt/The Museum of Modern Art, New York; courtesy the artist and Roberts Projects, Los Angeles; © Betye Saar 2019

Betye Saar greets me, complaining. ‘I woke up in pain, so I’m grumpy today,’ says the artist, who will turn 93 a few days after we meet in late July. Recently she’s had to do so many ‘silly interviews’, she says, she has been left with no time to work. I’m not offended – it’s an understandable grievance. This year, when she might have hoped to enjoy some quiet time in her studio, or to tend her splendid hillside garden in Laurel Canyon, Los Angeles, she has instead been obliged to prepare for major solo exhibitions at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (until 5 April 2020) and at MoMA in New York (until 4 January 2020). On 2 November she will be honoured at LACMA’s annual Art+Film Gala, a calendar highlight for Los Angeles’ cultured elite. Read the rest of this entry »

David Hammons

Hauser & Wirth, Los Angeles

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‘David Hammons’, 2019, exhibition view. © David Hammons; courtesy: the artist and Hauser & Wirth; photograph: Fredrik Nilsen Studio

Just inside one suite of galleries at Hauser & Wirth is a small display of material related to Ornette Coleman, the late saxophonist and free jazz innovator to whom David Hammons has dedicated the largest survey of his work to date and the first in Los Angeles for 45 years. ‘It was when I found out I could make mistakes that I knew I was on to something,’ said Coleman, who died in 2015. Read the rest of this entry »

Michael E. Smith

After the End

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Untitled, 2013, pigeon pelt, plastic, 26 × 10 cm. Courtesy: the artist, Michael Benevento, Los Angeles, Clifton Benevento, New York, Susanne Hilberry Gallery, Detroit, KOW, Berlin, and ZERO, Milan 

At the start of Michael E. Smith’s recent monograph, published in 2013 to accompany his exhibition at the Ludwig Forum in Aachen, there is a black page with two QR codes printed in white. Underneath each are the capitalized inscriptions: ‘BEETLEJUICE’ and ‘FOR HEADS’. This is the artist’s preface to the book. Read the rest of this entry »