Jonathan Griffin

Criticism and essays on art and culture

Tag: los angeles

Los Angeles Gallery Share

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D’Ette Nogle, Wardrobe Selections for Gallery (2013–2018), 2018, at Hannah Hoffman Gallery

At least Condo, in London and New York (and soon also Mexico City and São Paulo), and Okey-Dokey, in Düsseldorf and Cologne, had snappy names and branding. The latest manifestation of the increasingly popular gallery share model, hosted by three Los Angeles galleries, does not have a name. Its program, in which eight international galleries and one peripatetic “off-space” have descended on Hannah Hoffman Gallery, Kristina Kite Gallery, and Park View/Paul Soto for the month of March, seems to have evolved very organically. One might even call it ad hoc. Read the rest of this entry »

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Caroline Walker

Anat Ebgi, Los Angeles

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Caroline Walker, Fishing, 2017, Oil on linen, 250 x 200 cm

How much can we find it within ourselves to feel sorry for a beautiful middle-aged white woman who lives in a stylish modernist house surrounded by high walls of tropical foliage with heart-stopping views over the endless gridded expanse of Los Angeles? How about when she floats in her aquamarine pool, one outstretched hand trailing in the water, while her hunky pool boy skims leaves and bugs from the surface nearby? Read the rest of this entry »

Robert Colescott

Blum & Poe, Los Angeles

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Robert Colescott, Portrait of the Artist at 85, 1978, Acrylic on canvas, 83 7/8 x 65 3/4 x 1 5/8 inches. Courtesy of Blum & Poe, Los Angeles

The last work in Robert Colescott’s exhibition at Blum & Poe is a drawing that, for me, comes close to unlocking the entire show. In it, God – a long-haired, bearded white man – flanked in his throne by two jackbooted, fascistic angels, directs Martin Luther King (identifiable by the gunshot wound in his chest, and also a helpful label) towards hell, where a black-skinned Lucifer, grinning grotesquely, beckons him down. Read the rest of this entry »

Father Figure

Anxieties about modern American manhood played out in the bedrooms of little girls

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Martin Kersels, Tumble Room, 2001, installation, courtesy the artist and Mitchell-Innes and Nash

“A crock of shit” is how Mike Kelley once described what he called the “modernist cult of the child.”[1] He was talking about the idealization of children – of childhood, rather – over the past two centuries, since Romanticism exalted it as a pure state, uncorrupted by the mores and hang-ups of culture and society. In visual art, this was manifested in the self-consciously childlike styles of Picasso, Miró and Klee, and the later affectation of children’s art by Dubuffet, Jorn, and countless others who, for associated reasons, also fetishized the ‘primitive’ and the ‘insane’. “Where do the children play?” asked Cat Stevens in 1970, testifying to the persistence of that myth of purity even through late ‘60s counterculture, the era of the Flower Children.[2]  Read the rest of this entry »

Made in L.A.: a, the, though, only

Hammer Museum, Los Angeles

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Huguette Caland, installation view, Hammer Museum, Los Angeles. Photograph: Jonathan Griffin

One of the best things about ‘Made in L.A. 2016: a, the, though, only’, is that – title notwithstanding – it is quite possible to forget that the work in the exhibition was made in LA. Now in its third edition, the biennial is still finding its purpose, torn as it is in different directions. Tasked with showcasing emerging and under-recognized artists, each iteration’s curators are widely expected to reflect back at the city an image of itself that is, at once, recognizably authentic but also unfamiliar, transcendent and subjective. Read the rest of this entry »

SPRAY

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John Knuth, Angeles Crest, 2015

Ultimately, it’s about God, or at least a whiff of the divine. And also about not getting shit on your hands.

Read the rest of this entry »

Ed Ruscha

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One Sunday in 1966, Ed Ruscha was driving a Buick Le Sabre back to Los Angeles from Las Vegas with his friends Patrick Blackwell, a fellow artist, and the guitarist Mason Williams. With them they had an old manual typewriter, a Royal ‘model X’, its frame bent beyond repair. For a lark, they decide to heave the thing out of the passenger window, at ninety miles an hour. It exploded on the tarmac, disappearing in the rear view mirror as they sped onward through the desert. Read the rest of this entry »