Jonathan Griffin

Criticism and essays on art and culture


American Artist

REDCAT, Los Angeles

American Artist, Octavia E. Butler Papers: mssOEB 1-9062 I (Social Studies), 2022. Huntington Library stationary, graphite, pencil, felt, 26 x 39.5 inches (framed). Image courtesy of the artist; Commonwealth and Council, Los Angeles; and REDCAT, Los Angeles. Photo by Brica Wilcox


About 15 minutes’ drive from the mirrored towers of downtown Los Angeles, a shady canyon throngs with oaks, willows, sycamores, and cottonwoods. Treefrog tadpoles wriggle in the creek. Snakes hunt among the rocks. Visitors to Hahamongna Watershed Park, named after the Tongvan village that once existed there, also cannot miss the adjacent white buildings of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a giant research facility owned by NASA. Read the rest of this entry »

Tamara Henderson

REDCAT, Los Angeles


Canadian artist Tamara Henderson’s exhibition “Seasons End: Panting [sic] Healer” drew on journeys both geographic and psychic, and had all the dislocating strangeness of a theater wardrobe or prop room. The dense agglomeration of sculptures, installations, fabric tapestries, and paintings (all 2016) was an expansion of Henderson’s presentation earlier this year at the Glasgow International, the work for which she began developing during a residency in Arbroath, Scotland, in 2015. Material for the exhibition was also gathered in Turkey; in the sculpture Seasons End Vehicle, a ramshackle motorcar has stuffed into pockets in its trunk a map of Istanbul, in addition to a leaflet listing tourist attractions near Inverness.  Read the rest of this entry »

Jordan Wolfson

REDCAT, Los Angeles


The HIV virus, in case you didn’t know, is depicted in molecular biology as an icosahedron (a 20-sided polygon) or a sphere, out of which protrude peg-like nodules representing the glycoproteins that fix onto and infect other cells. Dozens of these jolly red forms bounce across the screen in Jordan Wolfson’s part animated, part live-action film Raspberry Poser (2012). Their rubbery pegs wobble as they jump on the sinks in posh showrooms and across the wooden floor of a luxury gym. They bound through the sunny streets of New York’s Soho, and swell to bursting against photographs of scantily clad teens on spring break. As they frolic amongst these scenes of shameless desire they are buoyed by the heavy, synthetic beats of Beyoncé Knowles’ Sweet Dreams from her 2008 album I am … Sasha Fierce. Read the rest of this entry »