Jonathan Griffin

Criticism and essays on art and culture

Tag: sterling ruby

Sterling Ruby

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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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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.

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George Herms: Xenophilia

MOCA at the Pacific Design Center, Los Angeles

George Herms must get tired of being referred to as the last of his generation. Born in 1935, he was amongst the youngest of the Beats and a pioneer of the California Assemblage movement. Like many of his peers he saw his lack of art school training as no impediment to combining found objects in the way that he might compose a poem, or jam with jazz musicians. By reputation, and by the evidence of his unkempt but literary art, he’s a free spirit, a mystic. He stands (especially in younger minds) for a now rare artistic archetype, pure of heart and innocent of commercial ambition. Herms is regarded with affection, and, as ‘George Herms: Xenophilia (Love of the Unknown)’ proposes, his work remains a touchstone for a slew of artists working today. Read the rest of this entry »