Jonathan Griffin

Criticism and essays on art and culture

Tag: david kordansky

Tala Madani

Tala Madani, ‘Key Words (Holiday)’ (2021) © Courtesy the artist; Pilar Corrias; David Kordansky Gallery; 303 Gallery. Photo: Elon Schoenholz

Tala Madani, who was born in 1981 in Tehran but now lives in LA, has been exhibiting her outrageously funny, politically caustic paintings and animations since the mid-2000s. She has long shown herself to be a deeply skilful painter, even virtuosic, as visitors to her mid-career survey Biscuits at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles can judge, although her ability sometimes manifests in surprising ways. She has established herself as a master of the faecal smear, just as she is adept at painting the prismatic effects of projected light.

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Shahryar Nashat

8762 Holloway Drive, Los Angeles

Shahryar Nashat, “THEY COME TO TOUCH”, 2021.
Courtesy of the artist; David Kordansky Gallery, Los Angeles; and Gladstone Gallery, New York. Photo by Elon Schoenholz.

I still do not really know what color the fitted carpet is that runs through the three floors of 8762 Holloway Drive in West Hollywood. Some shade of sage green, I’d guess, but it could be more lime, maybe more grass, maybe more gold. I do not know because Shahryar Nashat has covered every window in the building with a pink film (again, hard for my dazzled eyes to calibrate) that suffuses the space in a discombobulating, low-contrast pall—akin to the pulsing non-color that appears when you face into the sun with your eyes closed. 

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Doyle Lane

Doyle Lane, c. 1976, El Sereno, Los Angeles. Photograph: Ben Serar

One afternoon in the early ’90s, the banking consultant Rudy Estrada returned to his mansion in Pasadena, Calif., to find two members of the local sheriff’s department standing over a lightly built African-American man spread-eagled on his front lawn.

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Ricky Swallow and Lesley Vance


Lesley Vance, Untitled, 2016, oil on linen, 29 x 22 x 1 inches, Courtesy David Kordansky Gallery

Step out the door of Ricky Swallow and Lesley Vance’s new studio in Burbank, California, and you come face to face with the largest Ikea store in the United States. The blue and yellow behemoth was not there in October 2015, when the artists bought the former green screen manufacturing facility, but today, as they finish the renovation of the building and begin to unpack boxes of tools, materials and artworks, the store has been drawing crowds of shoppers since February. Read the rest of this entry »

Jonas Wood


Jungle Kitchen, 2017. Photo by Brian Forrest; courtesy of the artist and David Kordansky gallery.


In the art world I thought I knew, no one would publicly admit to an interest in golf, least of all a young painter who was just making his name. But that is exactly what Jonas Wood did, a decade ago, when he made a painting of the golf course in Glendale where he was learning to play. Now, 10 years later, he is revisiting the subject in his latest show at David Kordansky Gallery, Los Angeles, which will take over both spaces (and viewing room) of the imposing gallery in November. It does not matter to Wood that the subject of these paintings is the squarest, most buttoned-up, bourgeois weekend pastime going. Read the rest of this entry »

Evan Holloway

David Kordansky Gallery, Los Angeles


It is possible to argue—and, indeed, I heard it argued while visiting this exhibition—that Evan Holloway belongs to the first generation of artists in Los Angeles that did not look outside of California, to New York or to Europe, to define their work, whether through aspiration or through contradistinction. If that sounds like hyperbole, it may not be as far-fetched as it initially seems. In any case, it is undeniable that in the late 1990s, a loose group of L.A. artists—including Holloway, Liz Craft, Jason Meadows, Jeff Ono and Kristin Calabrese—emerged with a distinctly homegrown vernacular. Read the rest of this entry »

John Wesley


David Kordansky Gallery, Los AngelesJohn Wesley 3


When John Wesley makes paintings of women, which he does very often, he makes paintings about men. Against powder-blue backgrounds, he floods their lithe bodies with a flat shade of pale pink, except for a hotter tone used for lips, nails and nipples. These are pictures of heterosexual male desire. When men appear, they tend to be woefully disproportioned and eccentrically dressed. His women, by contrast, are the sylphs of an imagination fired by the dreamy perfection of women in magazines and dampened by the comic pathos of real-life encounters. Read the rest of this entry »

Anthony Pearson

The Man Who Wasn’t There

‘A painting that is an act,’ wrote Harold Rosenberg in his trenchant 1952 essay ‘American Action Painters’, ‘is inseparable from the biography of the artist. The painting itself is a “moment” in the adulterated mixture of his life.’ He continues: ‘With traditional aesthetic references discarded as irrelevant, what gives the canvas its meaning is not the psychological data but rôle, the way the artist organizes his emotional and intellectual energy as if he were a living situation. The interest lies in the kind of act taking place in the four-sided arena, a dramatic interest.’1 Read the rest of this entry »

Pietro Roccasalva

David Kordansky Gallery, Los Angeles

Pietro Roccasalva’s work poses problems to those looking for legible meaning. Although his visual language of recurrent symbols and metaphors looks very much like it should be in some way translatable, most of its etymologies are so deeply entombed in Roccasalva’s eccentric logic that even those closest to him – assistants and gallerists, for instance – are sometimes at a loss to decode it. Read the rest of this entry »

Richard Jackson

David Kordansky Gallery, Los Angeles

Richard Jackson’s preferred brand of paint is called BREAK-THROUGH. ‘A new paint chemistry,’ boasts the label, ‘The tradition continues!’ Half-empty tins of BREAK-THROUGH, in primary colours, lay around his cataclysmic installation The Little Girl’s Room (2011), his first solo show in Los Angeles for 20 years. The rest had been pumped through tubes threaded into the penis of an inverted, pink fibreglass unicorn, and exploded out of its anus. Red, yellow and blue paint is spattered all over the floor, the walls, the ceiling and the unicorn himself.

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