Jonathan Griffin

Criticism and essays on art and culture

Tag: gagosian

Sterling Ruby

sterling-ruby

Sterling Ruby, DEEP FLAG (5532), 2015, Bleached fleece and elastic, 174 1/2 × 316 inches © Sterling Ruby Photo by Thomas Lannes

I am waiting for Sterling Ruby in a supermarket parking lot on the east side of Los Angeles, and wondering what kind of car he drives. Black Range Rovers and Teslas are popular with successful artists in LA. But the 44-year-old Ruby projects something of the image of a showman, so when a custom 1980s Cadillac with chrome rims pulls in, I think for a moment it might be him. On the other hand, Ruby is a father of three, so perhaps pragmatism wins out: a Mercedes estate or even — who knows — a Volvo.

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Los Angeles Reflections

Alex Israel and Brett Easton Ellis, Gagosian, Beverly Hills

Catherine Opie, MOCA Pacific Design Center, Los Angeles

“West Hollywood”, AA|LA, Los Angeles

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Alex Israel and Bret Easton Ellis: Different Kind of Star, 2016, acrylic and UV ink on canvas, 7 by 14 feet; at Gagosian Beverly Hills. © Alex Israel and Bret Easton Ellis; image courtesy iStock and Gagosian Gallery. Photography: Jeff McLane.

Type “Los Angeles” into the search box of iStockphoto.com and you will see over seventy thousand images, many of which look very much the same. For the works in a recent exhibition at Gagosian in Beverly Hills, Alex Israel spent what must have been many grueling hours scouring the database, finally selecting a group of images that distill the clichés underwriting the romantic fantasy that—for some—is Los Angeles. He then UV-printed the photos on large panoramic canvases, with words by Bret Easton Ellis, his collaborator for the show, displayed across them. Read the rest of this entry »

Urs Fischer

Urs Fischer, Problem Painting, 2011
© Urs Fischer Photo by Mats Nordman

Your new series of silkscreens, ‘Problem Paintings’, overlays Hollywood publicity shots with objects such as screws, nails, fruit and vegetables. Has Hollywood always been an influence?

I think you’d have to live in the forest not to have been influenced by Hollywood. You turn on a TV and you’re in Hollywood. I think the entertainment industry and advertising industry shapes everybody these days. It’s like the Catholic Church; Hollywood is like the Vatican. It shapes how you imagine the world to be, who you want to be, what’s good, what’s bad. But that’s for all of us. So, to answer your question, no more than anybody else. Read the rest of this entry »

Mike Kelley

Gagosian Gallery, Beverly Hills

Kandor 18 B (2010), photograph: Fredrik Nilsen

‘Portrait of the Artist as Superhero’

In 2000, Mike Kelley made a film titled Extracurricular Activity Projective Reconstruction #1 (Domestic Scene). It was the first of a series of works that reanimated photographs of carnivalesque performances he found in high school yearbooks such as plays or fancy dress days; he saw them, he said, as ‘rituals of deviance’.[i] Some were simply photographs; others comprised installations, video performances and original music. In 2005, he presented the series in his acclaimed exhibition ‘Day is Done’ at Gagosian Gallery in New York. (Matthew Higgs breathlessly suggested at the time that it was ‘the best show ever’.[ii])

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