Jonathan Griffin

Criticism and essays on art and culture

Tag: mateo Tannatt

Walk Artisanal

3716 Eagle Rock Boulevard


It’s no secret that the eastside of Los Angeles is gentrifying fast, and that most of us in the contemporary art community wring our hands in weak perplexity over the part that we play in the process. Nevertheless, many residents of Glassell Park were happy to see a new coffee shop open on Eagle Rock Boulevard in early 2015. Yelp reviewers have approved of the “clean and creative atmosphere.” (“Super chill place and the quality of people is very high as well,” wrote Anthony E.) Notwithstanding the “rude” servers, the clientele seems broadly to approve of the new establishment. Read the rest of this entry »

Undead and/or Dead Living: The New Social Category

Mateo Tannatt on Zombies

Mateo Tannatt’s diverse artworks are hard to summarise in general terms. However, one frequent point of departure for the artist is the idea that public urban space – particularly corporate space – is a stage for involuntary performance by all those who use it. Tannatt has made installations, photographs, paintings and films; for the recent Performa 11 biennial in New York, he devised Pity City Ballet, a performance resembling a television talk show which took place in the lobby of the Saatchi & Saatchi headquarters in Manhattan. The following exchange, with the art critic Jonathan Griffin, developed over the weeks leading up to that performance. Griffin and Tannatt are both based in Los Angeles. Read the rest of this entry »

Mateo Tannatt

The urban homeless are particularly afflicted by a lack of privacy; faced with performing their private lives in humiliating visibility, many compensate by retreating into the city’s cracks and shadows. When, in 2010, Mateo Tannatt was offered his second solo exhibition at Marc Foxx, he wanted to acknowledge the bustling mid-city environs, adjacent to Beverly Hills, in which the gallery is located. He was surprised to come upon a derelict restaurant, a few blocks from the gallery, which two homeless men had claimed as a temporary dwelling. ‘Rendezvous Vous’, the exhibition that emerged from Tannatt’s fascination with this overlooked space, was a meditation on public performance and invisibility, on social alienation and the role of the artist.

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