Jonathan Griffin

Criticism and essays on art and culture

Tag: los angeles

David Hockney

‘Not Interested in that Sort of Thing’

David Hockney, “Nude, 17th June 1984.” Photographic collage, 63 × 44 ̋. Edition of 20. © David Hockney.

David Hockney, “Nude, 17th June 1984.” Photographic collage, 63 × 44 ̋. Edition of 20. © David Hockney.

“Well I think she’s rather beautiful,” said my grandmother. It was Christmas. I must have been 11 or 12, and the large book that she had open on her lap—her gift to me—was open at an image so ridiculously sexy that my pre-pubescent cheeks were flushed deep red and my scalp was tingling. Read the rest of this entry »

Daniel von Sturmer

Young Projects, Los Angeles

danielvonsturmer-cinemacomplex

Upstairs in the polished, air-conditioned and usually deserted corridors of West Hollywood’s huge Pacific Design Center, time seems to move at a slower pace than on the noisy summertime streets outside. Where better, then, for an extensive survey of the patient studio experiments of Melbourne-based video artist Daniel von Sturmer? Read the rest of this entry »

Joe Goode

Kohn Gallery, Los Angeles

goode_flatscreennature

Joe Goode has long made pictures designed to be looked through, not at. His work is deadpan, and seemingly innocuous. The LA Times critic William Wilson, in 1971, called it ‘neutrality-style art’. Perhaps this mildness is why he never got quite as much attention as his childhood friend Ed Ruscha, who also does deadpan but who usually cuts his neutrality with non-sequiturs (often verbal) that are arresting and funny. Goode only trades in the very lightest of humorous touches – a milk bottle painted mauve, for instance, placed on a shelf in front of a mauve monochrome canvas. That was his early Milk Bottle series, (1961-2), still amongst his best-known work. Read the rest of this entry »

Take It or Leave It

Hammer Museum, Los Angeles

Gober September 12

Large-scale historical shows, when done in a certain way, can be intellectual steamrollers. A museum exhibition is a powerful rhetorical device; gallery after gallery of judiciously selected aesthetic material beside didactic wall texts can make a particular hypothesis or observation seem indisputable, or a historical moment appear satisfyingly coherent. 
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Robert Heinecken

Heinecken

Robert Heinecken liked to describe himself not as an artist or a photographer but as a “paraphotographer.” He explained that he used the term like “paralegal” or “paramedic”: knowing only enough about his field “to keep someone out of trouble until the real guys show up.” Read the rest of this entry »

Mark Leckey

Leckey 14-CMYK-retouched
‘I smell things. I listen to things. I feel things. I taste things. I look at things. It is not enough to look and listen and taste and smell and feel, I have to do those to the right things, such as look at books, and fail to do them to the wrong things or else people doubt that I am a thinking being.’

Amanda Baggs’s YouTube video, In My Language (2007), shows her silhouetted against a window, fluttering her hands through the air in front of her. Her motions are repetitive: she rocks back and forth, she jangles wire around a doorknob, she passes her finger through the stream of water from a tap. All the while she is humming – singing along with what is around her, as she puts it. Read the rest of this entry »

The Surrealist Bungalow: William N. Copley and the Copley Galleries (1948-49)

William N. Copley with his own paintings in Paris, 1951, two years after he closed the Copley Galleries and left Los Angeles. Photo: Mike De Dulmen. Courtesy the Estate of William N. Copley.

William N. Copley with his own paintings in Paris, 1951, two years after he closed the Copley Galleries and left Los Angeles. Photo: Mike De Dulmen. Courtesy the Estate of William N. Copley.

“No one in their right mind would have considered trying to open a Surrealist gallery in the California environment, which, of course, is what we decided to do late one whiskied evening,” wrote the artist and collector William N. Copley. “In the white haze of the morning after, we were both too proud to perish the thought.” 1 Read the rest of this entry »