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THE INTERSECTION OF ART, DESIGN & ARCHITECTURE // ISSUE 29


08-11 OCTOBER 2015

11-14 FEBRUARY 2016

HOHMANN

73-660 El Paseo | Palm Desert, CA | (760) 346-4243

www.hohmannfineart.com/fabrik


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FA C I L I TAT E | FA B R I C AT E F I N E A R T | DESIGN ARCHITECTURAL ELEMENTS H O S P I TA L I T Y | R E S I D E N T I A L

@VITANOVAMOSAIC


CONTRIBUTORS MASTHEAD

JACKI APPLE is a Los Angeles-based visual, performance, and media artist, designer, writer, composer, and producer whose work has been presented internationally. Her writings have been featured in numerous publications including THE Magazine LA, The Drama Review, Art Journal, and High Performance. She is a professor at Art Center College of Design.

Publisher Chris Davies Associate Editor Peter Frank

SHANA NYS DAMBROT is an art critic, curator, and author based in Los Angeles. She is currently LA Editor for Whitehot Magazine, Arts Editor for Vs. Magazine, Contributing Editor to artltd., and a contributor to Flaunt, Huffington Post, Montage, Desert Magazine, Porter & Sail and KCET’s Artbound. She studied Art History at Vassar College, writes loads of essays for art books and exhibition catalogs, curates and/or juries a few exhibitions each year, and speaks in public every chance she gets.

Managing Editor Aparna Bakhle-Ellis Creative Director Chris Davies Art Direction & Design Chris Davies and Paul Soady

PETER FRANK is art critic for the Huffington Post and Associate Editor for Fabrik magazine. He is former critic for Angeleno magazine and the L.A. Weekly, served as Editor for THE magazine Los Angeles and Visions Art Quarterly, and contributes articles to publications around the world. Frank was born in 1950 in New York, where he was art critic for The Village Voice and The SoHo Weekly News, and moved to Los Angeles in 1988. Frank, who recently served as Senior Curator at the Riverside Art Museum, has organized numerous theme and survey shows for the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York, the Venice Biennale, Documenta, and other venues. McPherson & Co. ‑Documentext published his Something Else Press: An Annotated Bibliography in 1983. A cycle of poems, The Travelogues, was issued by Sun & Moon Press in 1982. Abbeville Press released New, Used & Improved, an overview of the New York art scene co-written with Michael McKenzie, in 1987.

Contributing Writers Jacki Apple Shana Nys Dambrot Peter Frank Kio Griffith Lanee Lee Roshan McArthur Kristen Osborne-Bartucca Max Presneill Colton Stenke Phil Tarley

EDITORIAL & ADVERTISING Editorial editorial@fabrikmedia.com Advertising advertising@fabrikmedia.com

ROSHAN MCARTHUR is a British freelance writer based in Los Angeles. Since moving here 13 years ago, she has explored many facets of American culture from burlesque to big business, for publications including Marie Claire, In Style, New Scientist, and Ernst & Young’s Exceptional.

Contact 269 S. Beverly Drive, Suite 1234 Beverly Hills, CA 90212 http://www.fabrik.la

INFORMATION Fabrik Magazine is published by Fabrik Media, Inc., 269 S. Beverly Drive, Suite 1234, Beverly Hills, CA 90212. Contents cannot be reproduced in part or in full without the written permission of the copyright holder. The opinions expressed are those of the artists and writers themselves and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of Fabrik or Fabrik Media, Inc. Copyright © 2015. All rights reserved. PRINTED IN LOS ANGELES

READ STORY ON PAGE 26

THE INTERSECTION OF ART, DESIGN & ARCHITECTURE // ISSUE 29

ON THE COVER Ernesto Neto, Soul Breathing (detail), 2013 Still from the film Station to Station © Station to Station, LLC

LANEE LEE is a Los Angeles-based writer who uses her craft to pursue her passions: travel, culture, cuisine, and discovering artisans from around the globe. You can follow her latest quest at www.laneelee.com and @wanderlushdiary.

KRISTEN OSBORNE-BARTUCCA is a freelance educator and arts writer based in Los Angeles. She is the creator and host of The Contemporary Art Podcast, in which she covers both established and emerging artists. MAX PRESNEILL, COLTON STENKE & KIO GRIFFITH FROM ARTRA CURATORIAL, a volunteer organization for the implementation of new modes of exhibition, locally, nationally and internationally, that feature artist-led emerging platforms and opportunity based interactions and community building via social practice type events. Founded in 2009, the group has instigated large scale art events and exchanges, as well as the alternative art fair Co/Lab,  throughout Los Angeles and has new projects being presented in China, France and UK in 2014, as well as the continuation of their MAS ATTACK series of events both in LA and other US cities. PHIL TARLEY is a Fellow of the American Film Institute and an artist member of the Los Angeles Art Association. An art and pop culture critic, he posts stories on the WOW Report, and writes about contemporary art and photography for Fabrik magazine and Art Week LA. A critical essayist for art advisory service Katharine T. Carter & Associates, Tarley cultivates and promotes artists and helps galleries with their curatorial, exhibition catalog and press related needs. His series of political and ethnographic videos is housed in the New York Public Library permanent collection and has screened in film festivals and museums including the AFI Fest and the Guggenheim Museum. Tarley’s writing and photography has appeared in the LA Times, the LA Weekly, Adventure Journal, The Advocate and Adult Video News. He curates contemporary photography for the Artists Corner Gallery in Los Angeles.


CONTENTS 8

38

Spotlight: Architect Barbara Bestor

26 Spotlight: Doug Aitken: Station to Station 38 Profile: Oliver M. Furth: At the Nexus of Art and Integral Design 52 Profile: Dianna Molzan: Framing Paint 58 Spotlight: Eric Stampfli’s Still 60 Spotlight: Seen: Japan in L.A. 76 Fresh Faces in Art: Emergent Presence: Eight LA Artists

You Should Know

92 Art About Town: Peter Frank’s Museum Views 98 Art About Town: Peter Frank’s Exhibition Reviews


BESTOR BOOM FROM CLOTHING SHOPS TO PIZZA JOINTS, ARCHITECT BARBARA BESTOR IS BUSIER THAN EVER SCULPTING L.A.’S CITYSCAPE. —

WORDS LANEE LEE

BLACKBIRDS. PHOTO © LAURE JOLIET


SPOTLIGHT

Inspired by the statement “Everyone should experience strange beauty every day,” Barbara Bestor infuses every design with this attitude—from Sunset Junction’s Intelligentsia Coffee + Tea shop to the Nasty Gal offices in DTLA to Blackbirds, an 18-unit housing community in Echo Park that hit the market in June and already almost sold out. Restorations are her beat too. Currently, she’s working on one of the city’s historical ‘holy of holies’ homes: Silvertop, designed by mid-century architect John Lautner. In honor of Bestor Architecture firm’s 20th anniversary, we caught up with Bestor to chat about channeling Lautner, architect inspirations and tonguein-cheek concepts for Gen-X senior housing. Using three terms, how would you describe your architectural style? Modern. Colorful. Atmospheric. Greatest design challenge with Blackbirds? The very complex, hilly terrain! The houses are embedded in steep grades so there is a very complicated network of retaining walls that was both burden and opportunity. Type of person or family you envision living in one of the Blackbirds houses? I think anyone—couple or family—who is open to being part of a small community. It’s definitely geared to this notion of urban neighborliness and proximity building community. 10

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SPOTLIGHT

BLACKBIRDS. PHOTO © LAURE JOLIET


BEATS BY DRE. PHOTO © JASPER SANIDAD


SPOTLIGHT

Congrats on the AIA award for Beats By Dre headquarters. Favorite aspect of the space? Thank you! I like the brass walled staircase and the blue courtyard reading space. Those aspects are always a bit of a surprise to newcomers, as well to our own team. Is it merely coincidence or something you specifically vibe with in Silver Lake that many of your recent projects are based there, such as the Silverlake Conservatory of Music, Blackbirds, and Lautner’s Silvertop house? I have been a voluntary resident of this area since I was in graduate school and I think I’ve stayed because of the combination of amazing experimental architecture and an informal, creative lifestyle. I created my book Bohemian Modern: Living in Silverlake about 10 years ago. I still think the general notion I described about the area holds true: the history of modern architecture is eccentric, beautiful and very livable (versus the haughty, antiseptic characterization modernism had been throughout the 70s and 80s) . Regarding the Silvertop house, is the intention to restore the original design or keep the bones intact and totally revamp the interior? It is definitely a restoration, not a reconstruction nor a remodel! We spent several days at the Getty scanning all of the drawings ever made for the house. There are two areas—the kitchen and master bath—that were never finished originally and then done somewhat cheaply and unusually in the early 70s. And we are reworking the interiors of those rooms but with deference to the adjacent rooms and the original plans. Feelings about taking on such a legendary architect’s designs? It is a fantastic learning opportunity in an architecture-geek kind of way and also very fun. We are working simultaneously on both Silvertop and a teeny tiny Lautner from the 40s—the Salkin house—and they couldn’t be more different. Yet, there is such a strong design sensibility and visual continuity with the Frank Lloyd Wright work on the West Coast. It is very exciting.

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BEATS BY DRE. PHOTO © JASPER SANIDAD


SPOTLIGHT

If you could channel Lautner, what do you think his advice would be on the redesign? “Don’t mess this up!” I met Lautner several times before his death and he was very much the visionary maverick. I don’t think he would be a fan of anyone working on his masterpiece. Advice to other architects when restoring an iconic building or home? Think of it as an act of stewardship. You are perhaps adding another layer but don’t ever diminish or suffocate the original. The original work is the source of the historical value. Three architects or artists, living or deceased, which inspire you most? Alvar Aalto, Lina Bo Bardi and Frank Gehry. Most overlooked female architects in history? The last few years have been a boon for the rediscovery of female greats, including: Lina Bo Bardi (most recently), Julia Morgan (finally), Charlotte Perriand and Gae Aulenti. What strange beauty have you encountered recently? All over. I love the 18th and 19th century American wooden houses, the new buildings in the U.S. by Swiss architecture firm Herzog & de Meuron, the color of the taco stands in L.A. and even the funny graphics and shapes of the various new electric cars coming on the market. Career wise, what accomplishment are you most proud of and why? I am very proud that I did the show about Deborah Sussman* and got to know her and celebrate her work while she was around to participate, tell us stories and enjoy the acclaim! (*In 2013, Bestor co-curated the graphic designer’s retrospective titled, Deborah Sussman Loves Los Angeles at the WUHO Gallery in Hollywood.)

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TORO CANYON HOUSE. PHOTO © JOHN ELLIS


TORO CANYON HOUSE. PHOTO © JOHN ELLIS


TORO CANYON HOUSE. PHOTO © JOHN ELLIS


SPOTLIGHT

NASTY GAL. PHOTO Š LAURE JOLIET

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SPOTLIGHT

NASTY GAL. PHOTO © LAURE JOLIET

Next project you’re most excited about? A friend and I are developing an idea for senior housing for Generation X-ers called Grey Gardens. I think it is super timely and also a fun combination of housing, retail, and urban spacemaking—all of my interests! Barbara Bestor is Principal of Bestor Architecture, founding chair of the graduate program at Woodbury University’s School of Architecture and executive director of the University’s Julius Shulman Institute. In 2013, the Floating Bungalow house in Venice, CA was featured in MOCA’s survey of contemporary LA architecture. Most recently, Bestor’s firm was awarded a 2015 National AIA Award for Interior Architecture for the Beats By Dre project. More information on Barbara Bestor can be found at www.bestorarchitecture.com

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A MAGAZINE YOU CAN WALK THROUGH Austere is a new kind of space for design and innovation, described by Dwell as "a magazine you can walk through". In the spirit of Scandinavian design, we look to surround ourselves with fewer, better things. Our recipe calls for equal parts innovation, functionality and beauty. Welcome to Austere. Visit us at our 5,000-square-foot flagship retail store and contract showroom in downtown Los Angeles, in East Hampton c/o The Maidstone Hotel or online at Austere.co

Austere Downtown Los Angeles — 912 South Hill Street, Los Angeles, CA 90015 Austere c/o The Maidstone Hotel — 207 Main Street, East Hampton, NY 11937 844-AUSTERE (+1 844 287-8373) — hello@austere.co — www.austere.co Brands and designers include Alvar Aalto, Absolut, Aedle, Agnes Fries, Alexander Lervik, Anki Gneib, Artek, Asplund, BikeID, Bjoorn, Björk & Berries, Björklund, Böle Tannery, Bruno Mathsson, Caroline Villard, Claesson Koivisto Rune, De La Espada, Fibers & Friends, Fiskars, Fjord Fiesta, Georg Jensen, Grythyttan, Hasselblad, Henzel Studios, Hine Brushes, Hofsjö, Huddleson Linens, iittala, Ilse Crawford, Jasper Morrison, Jens Quistgaard, Kaj Franck, Kasthall, Lith Lith Lundin, LK Hjelle, Louis Poulsen, Love Hultén, Mandal Veveri, Marc Newson, Marie-Louise Hellgren, Menu, Millkeeper, Mitab, Nocs, Northern Lighting, Our Legacy, People People, Playsam, POC, Point65, Roros Tweed, Saas Instruments, Sandqvist, Schnayderman’s Shirtmakers, Skaargarden, Skultuna, Smaller Objects, Sort of Coal, Stelton, Stutterheim, SvenskCo, Tangent GC, Teenage Engineering, The White Briefs, Tid Watches, Tingest, Vasuma, Wästberg and more.


LA ART SHOW 2016 MODERN

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LA CONVENTION CENTER, WEST HALL FROM REMBRANDT TO RUSCHA AND BEYOND PAINTING • SCULPTURE • WORKS ON PAPER • PHOTOGRAPHY • VIDEO THE MOST COMPREHENSIVE ART SHOW IN THE WORLD OVER 130 PROMINENT GALLERIES FROM AROUND THE GLOBE

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DOUG AITKEN: STATION TO STATION —

WORDS ROSHAN MCARTHUR IMAGES COURTESY OF THE ARTIST

OLAF BREUNING’S SMOKEBOMB ARTWORK IN STATION TO STATION


SPOTLIGHT

In the summer of 2013, a train traveled 4,000 miles from New York City to San Francisco. It was a kinetic light sculpture, decked out in LED lights that responded to motion and sound. On board was an eclectic mix of artists, musicians and writers who stayed with the train for various legs of its 24-day journey. They shot laser shows on the tracks, filmed the train as it burst through paper barricades, had spontaneous jam sessions, and talked. Whenever the train stopped at stations, things happened—art, DJ shows, performances by singer-songwriters like Beck and Patti Smith, marching bands, scream rockers and sign twirlers, a singing auctioneer and a percussive whip artist. Everything was filmed. The driving force behind Station to Station was award-winning Venicebased multimedia artist Doug Aitken, who has turned the experience into a movie of the same name. The film is made up of 62 one-minute films including bursts of music and art, thoughtfulness and randomness. Famous talking heads include Jackson Browne and Ed Ruscha, as well as the more anonymous—a random hitchhiker and a folk artist in the middle of the Mojave Desert. We spoke to Doug Aitken in July while he was in London for a monthlong Station to Station ‘living exhibition’ at the Barbican Centre. Fabrik: What inspired Station to Station? Doug Aitken (DA): I wanted to create a project that was nomadic. I was attracted to having a situation that was constantly changing. If you lose the sense of place, the comfort of where you are, and that’s taken out of the equation, you have a totally different condition creatively. What is it about the American landscape that lent itself to the project? DA: Most people who live in cities are conditioned to this idea that you have New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Boston, Chicago, these beacons of light, and a lot of what happens in between is forgotten or ignored. The project was really stimulating for that reason. You’re moving through the plains, or you’re moving through the desert, or you’re moving through some kind of repetitious farmland. It talks to the idea of a larger sense of landscape, a larger sense of place. We have an idea of a society that’s turned on, that’s moving fast, that’s stimulating. I wanted to find a balance between that and places that are more about negative space and emptiness. 28

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DOUG AITKEN’S LED TRAIN ARTWORK IN STATION TO STATION

ERNESTO NETO’S YURT ARTWORK IN STATION TO STATION

DAN DEACON PERFORMS AT THE OAKLAND HAPPENING IN STATION TO STATION


A WHIPPER PERFORMS AT THE LOS ANGELES HAPPENING IN STATION TO STATION


SPOTLIGHT

With the stream of short segments, there’s a sense that you’re dipping into many experiences, which is very indulgent, but also that you don’t have to commit to any one. Why did you choose to make the film like this? DA: I wanted the project to show that this is a very kaleidoscopic landscape, with many, many voices. For myself, it was an attempt to tell a larger, wider story, a broader landscape than a conventional narrative. We spent about 14 months editing, and I found it was more like we were creating music than film, and I found these rhythms to the minutes. Sometimes there’d be something that was harsh and abrupt and violent, and another time you would have two or three that merged together in a really seamless, elegant way. I was attracted to that because it felt unique to me, and it felt like, when I watched it, I was always engaged in the present. In the movie, Beck describes time as compressed when you travel, so that a week seems like a month. He also says travel makes unexpected things happen. Was that true for you? DA: When you’re outside of the location that you’re most familiar with, when you’re in motion, you fall into situations that you feel not so safe and not so secure with. You’re vulnerable, and also your perception is open to taking in different kinds of experiences. Station to Station isn’t a tour. It’s constantly changing. There is almost no one who is on the entire journey. The specific purpose for that was to have different experiences circulating and have something that was kind of living - a living organism, in a way. How did you choose the subjects for each segment? DA: There were people who seemed intuitively to be right for it, but other individuals came into the project that I didn’t know. We spent a lot of energy looking at lesser-known parts of the country to see who was out there and bring them into the fold. We wanted to make a project which gives the spotlight in equal parts to someone who’s out there undocumented, creating things off the grid. But the project was incredibly organic, so a lot of things just happened.

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AARON KOBLIN AND BEN TRICKLEBANK’S ARTWORK “LIGHT ECHOES” IN STATION TO STATION

BECK TALKS ABOUT THE ROAD IN STATION TO STATION

SIGN SPINNERS PERFORM AN ARTWORK BY DOUG AITKEN IN STATION TO STATION


SPOTLIGHT

There are many thought-provoking words in the film. For example, writer and artist Gary Indiana says, “I’m extremely suspicious of normal people. I think that they’re devious for the most part because they’re lying.” How does this relate to the project? DA: He’s talking about the idea of complacency, thinking that everything is all right and everything’s fine, and we’re comfortable and we can just continue like this. The idea of embracing change can be a threatening idea to some people. I was hoping this project would have a sense of change and motion and friction embedded in it, seeing mediums rubbing up against each other in unusual ways, and seeing individuals creating things that were not quite within their safety zone. Trains and their journeys are very linear, yet there’s an anonymity to the locations, and no sense of one story necessarily following the other. Was this deliberate? DA: Absolutely. I wanted to work more with the idea of time than space. Space would be saying, “OK, now we’re in New York, now we’re in Mojave, now we’re in Los Angeles.” I really wasn’t interested in that at all. I was interested in the idea of a large collective dialogue, a collection of individuals at a moment in time. Has living in Los Angeles influenced your work? DA: Los Angeles is constantly changing. When you think there’s something in front of you, what’s behind you has altered and transformed. That’s what I find really attractive about living here, that idea of constant flux. Station to Station opened in Los Angeles’ Nuart Theatre on August 21.

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THE INTERIOR OF URS FISCHER’S YURT ARTWORK IN STATION TO STATION

THURSTON MOORE RECORDS ON THE TRAIN IN STATION TO STATION

KANSAS CITY’S MARCHING COBRAS PERFORM IN STATION TO STATION


APPLICATIONS NOW OPEN. April 29-May 1, 2016 Raleigh Studios, Hollywood photoindependent.com


OLIVER M. FURTH AT THE NEXUS OF ART AND INTEGRAL DESIGN


WORDS SHANA NYS DAMBROT

IMAGES ABOVE: INTERIOR PROJECT & PORTRAIT PHOTOGRAPHS BY STEPHEN BUSKEN


PROFILE

Seminal nonprofit gallery

and project space LA><ART decamped from its original Culver City space and moved to a very civilized new home in Hollywood earlier this year and is currently gearing up to celebrate its tenth anniversary this Fall. At the same time, the organization has been rolling out newest initiative, LA><ART><DESIGN—a peripatetic membership group that took shape late last year—dedicated to illuminating the exuberant diversity of Los Angeles in the contemporary history of design and decorative arts. LA><ART><DESIGN is headed by Oliver M. Furth, a decorator by day and Chair Emeritus of the LACMA Design Council, whose life’s work is finding innovative ways of “pushing the design dialogue forward.” Furth was a founding member of LA><ART, whose mission to “offer the public access to a new generation of artists and curators supporting both risk and dialogue, producing new work for new audiences, and inciting the conversation on contemporary art in LA,” tracks perfectly with what Furth envisions for the design community. His background in architecture, art history, and interior design—the same that led him to work in Christie’s 20th-century decorative arts department, and later to LACMA—plus his own native-son’s appreciation of LA’s magnetic appeal to makers and builders, finally inspired him to make this vision real. About a year ago, he went to friend and LA><ART Director Lauri Firstenberg for advice on starting a design-centric nonprofit program based on 40

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PROFILE

BRANCH INSTALLATION BY DECORATIVE ARTIST DAVID WISEMAN. PHOTO BY JOE KRAMM.

CHARLES HOLLIS JONES INSTALLATION. PHOTO COURTESY VERONICA FERNANDEZ.

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PROFILE

ARTIST TANYA AGUIテ選GA INSTALLATION. COURTESY OF LOS ANGELES COUNTY MUSEUM OF ART. PHOTO COURTESY GINA CLYNE PHOTOGRAPHY.

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PROFILE

their model. “I was thinking of it as adjunct to my work at LACMA,” says Furth, “and then after several conversations and a bit of wine, we decided to partner instead!” “We are over the moon to have Oliver directing LA><ART><DESIGN,” concurs Firstenberg. “His vision to support the next generation of designers in our city gestures to our original mission to create an independent platform for the support of artists, architects and designers. Our new home is both a production and discursive space. Oliver’s series of talks has generated new areas of discussion and in so doing has expanded our audience and our base.” Furth thinks of the audience for this group as curious-minded but in need of a place to start. He had a dream for “a design-dedicated whitespace such as we don’t really have in LA, partly because we don’t really have an established community here. Like the city itself, the design community is fragmented, and needs to be united. LA’s contemporary decorative arts world is vibrant and diverse but it lacks focus. It’s independent but isolated.” By centralizing a program of access to scholars, writers, makers, and collectors, LA><ART><DESIGN is looking to harness the dispersed interest into a core community where, as he puts it, “We can all learn together.” The experiences available to group members include visits to exhibitions, panel talks and studio tours, and original curatorial programs at LA><ART and elsewhere around the city. The first event was at Shulamit Nazarian’s house (an A. Quincy Jones masterpiece of palatial mid-century modernism) last fall; they’ve done half a dozen events since then including a tour of a private collection of Dutch and Italian modern and contemporary design. Architectural Digest’s West Coast editor Mayer Rus moderated a talk between architect Marwan Al-Sayed and designer/interior architect Billy Cotton about the current climate in LA and why they both came here from elsewhere to do what they do. Their studio visit with sculptor and designer David Wiseman, known for his work in a range of media from porcelain to lighting fixtures, crystal and found materials, included a bronze-pouring demonstration. Furth is drawn to figures like these, “People who are emblematic of LA both by being both insiders and outsiders.” Makers in conceptual and collecting demand who are early citizens of the LA><ART><DESIGN nation include Tanya Aguiñiga, an LA-based furniture designer raised in Tijuana, whose work seeks to articulate what she calls “border experiences: the interconnectedness of societies, the beauty in struggle

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SHULAMIT NAZARIAN’S A. QUINCY JONES HOME


PROFILE

SHULAMIT NAZARIAN, OLIVER M. FURTH, LAURI FIRSTENBERG AND GALIA LYNN

CHARLES HOLLIS JONES. PHOTO COURTESY VERONICA FERNANDEZ.

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PROFILE

and the celebration of culture.” Working at institutional to intimate and even wearable scale, Aguiñiga is passionate about design’s potential for storytelling and even social and political activism. Charles Hollis Jones and Justin Beal held a conversation at the LA><ART gallery space, exploring the present moment in Jones’ career that sees a revival of interest in his iconic, game-changing work in Lucite and Plexiglas that helped define the look of Hollywood in the 1950s and ‘60s. Beal, a sculptor and progressive furniture designer himself, belongs to a younger generation who are increasingly enamored of these once-futuristic materials from a wholly new point of view. Both men, like Aguiñiga, think of objects as narrative sites—a charming concept whose unpacking felt comfortable inside an exhibition of abstract painting. Coming up in the fall, the group will visit ceramicist Adam Silverman in his newly established solo studio. He’s gone out on his own after doing acclaimed work at Heath for the last five years. One of the finest potters working in the field anywhere in the world today, Silverman happily calls Los Angeles his home, and is as knowledgeable about its deep history with avant-garde ceramics as he is expressive, innovative, and awe-inspiring in his studio. In fact, this history is as much a part of what Furth hopes to illuminate, as is the landscape of contemporary practices. “Our history,” he wryly notes, “goes back farther than 1964! And people are hungry to know more about it. The city is maturing. I’ve lived here my whole life and I’ve seen it change and evolve so much just so far in my lifetime. There is such diversity in practices, mediums, styles. Bronze, ceramics, computers, 3D printers, wood, glass, plastic; non-toxic, upcycled and recycled objects, sustainable materials ... Being ‘green’ was a fad of the 2000s, but now it’s just accepted and incorporated, almost assumed, in our daily lives. At this point, for me, it’s about pushing the dialogue. I like to say that LA now is like Vienna 100 years ago; that’s how great it is! But it’s up to us to engage with what is already happening and build on it to keep that energy here in the city.” More information can be found at: laxart.org/pages/laartdesign

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Fast sacks. Safe sacks. ArtSacks. Say goodbye to piles of bubble wrap, rolls of packing tape, stacks of cardboard and hours of packing and unpacking your artworks for shows, exhibitions and fairs. This is pretty simple. Slip you work into one of our felt sacks, flop the top over, and you’re on your way. It’s even faster to unpack. What used to be hours, is now minutes. All the time protecting your valuable work from chips, dings and scratches. There are 9 sizes that hold artwork from 16” x 20” up to 50” x 72”, with extra padding around the bottom, which allows you to put your art down safely just about anywhere. Check us out at www.ArtSacks.net.

ArtSacks. For the sake of your art. ©2015 Bochworks LLC


PROFILE

DIANNA MOLZAN FRAMING PAINT —

WORDS KRISTEN OSBORNE-BARTUCCA IMAGES COURTESY OF THE ARTIST

At LACMA’s exhibition Variations: Conversations in and Around Abstract Painting, which closed in March 2015, Dianna Molzan’s small, spare work occupied a wall towards the rear of the gallery space. In the midst of monumental works by Mark Bradford, Mark Grotjahn, and Rashid Johnson, Molzan’s initially seemed precious, unassuming. Indeed, it is impossible to ignore how exquisitely beautiful and well-made the works are, but this is not all there is to them; rather, they possess a conceptual vigor belied by their small size and relative uniformity. Throughout her career, Molzan has sought to engage with the history of art; explore the related milieus of fashion, design, and pop culture; and probe the particulars of what makes a painting a painting. Born in Tacoma, Washington, Molzan now lives and works in Los Angeles. It is not a stretch to relate aspects of her work to the city: many pieces are rendered in vibrant, funky colors; there is an emphasis on craftiness, on 52

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PROFILE

hands-on intimacy with material; the pieces are evocative, theatrical, quirky. They ignore any hierarchy or specificity of medium, straddling the line between painting and sculpture. None possess titles, and most conform to the same visual iconography. They are fresh, guileless, and possess of a life of their own. That life is one of both painting and sculpture, for Molzan seeks to review and critique painting–to play with its most basic components to demonstrate the medium’s continued possibilities. Molzan takes the aspiration of the color field painters of the 1960s–emphasizing the flatness of the picture plane to get to the essence of the medium–and kicks it up a notch. She exposes and emphasizes the frame and stretch bars, and shreds, cuts, unravels, and twists the canvas. The wall often peeks through or is completely exposed. Most of her recent work is easel-size, rectangular, and affixed to the wall. As for the paint itself, which is applied after the canvas has been manipulated, it can at times seem almost haphazard in its splashes, drips, and sprays, or, in other instances, appear technically precise and deliberate.

DIANNA MOLZAN; UNTITLED, 2015; OIL ON CANVAS; 64 X 84 INCHES; COURTESY OF THE ARTIST AND KAYNE GRIFFIN CORCORAN, LOS ANGELES; PHOTO: BRIAN FORREST.


PROFILE

The nonhierarchical quality of Molzan’s oeuvre derives from her deep love of the museum with its manifold offerings under one roof. She has spoken of marveling how an el Greco painting, a Claes Oldenburg sculpture, and a pre-Colombian pot exist under the same roof with no assertions that one’s merits surpass the others’. Her abiding love of art, which began when she was young and sustains her in her own practice, manifests itself in her work by homages, allusions, and influences to other artists and their work. Untitled (2012), the work shown in Variations, is a modern take on Eva Hesse’s Hang Up. There is no canvas stretched over the white frame; rather, about half of the frame is visible, and the other half is replaced with a soft, deep blue velvet tube of fabric swooping down from the top left corner and arcing up to connect to the right side of the frame. The pristine white wall, as in Hesse’s piece, is the main draw. Two works from Molzan’s 2013 exhibition at Los Angeles’s Overduin & Co. (formerly Overduin and Kite) also utilize and emphasize the wall, as well as call attention to the basic materials of painting. Untitled is only a frame, but the wood is wrapped tightly with scrunchy fabric. Untitled is also only a frame, the wood painted in a shade of bronze. Small white canisters resembling paint cans hang from delicate strings tied to the top of the frame. Similarly, Untitled (2009), one of the standout pieces in her 2011 Whitney solo exhibition, reveals the wall by cutting an oblong shape out of the stretched canvas. The gesture is reminiscent of Lucio Fontana, one of her clear influences, but is more playful, more charmingly piquant than mysterious or ominous. The cut-out shape is one half of an ‘X’, with the other part of the letter formed by a strip of creamy yellow paint on a white background. Many of Molzan’s works reference the history and practice of painting more emphatically. Untitled (2009) is one of her most sumptuously painted works. Stretched canvas covers about two-thirds of a wood frame with the rest exposed, the wall visible underneath. Molzan alludes to Joan Mitchell in her tight, concentrated brushstrokes; daubs of brilliant reds, blues, yellows, and greens cluster together atop the stained canvas to create an impressionist, floral tableau. Lest we embrace allusion too much, however, Molzan allows her paint to drip onto the bottom rung of the frame, reminding us that what we are looking at is merely paint on a canvas. Untitled (2010-2014) features a beige canvas with a protruding step at the bottom, a cascade of thick paint pouring down the

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PROFILE

DIANNA MOLZAN; UNTITLED, 2015; OIL ON CANVAS WITH CARA-BINERS; 36 X 22 1/2 INCHES; COURTESY OF THE ARTIST AND KAYNE GRIFFIN CORCORAN, LOS ANGELES; PHOTO: BRIAN FORREST.

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DIANNA MOLZAN; UNTITLED, 2015; OIL ON CANVAS; 72 1/2 X 15 1/2 INCHES; COURTESY OF THE ARTIST AND KAYNE GRIFFIN CORCORAN, LOS ANGELES; PHOTO: BRIAN FORREST.


PROFILE

center of the piece like a waterfall. The colors are rich and textured like the work of Kandinsky or Franz Marc, and the vertical orientation of the brushstrokes and their move down the canvas strongly assert the physical action of painting. Similarly, the artist’s gesture is particularly evident in Untitled (2011). On the bottom right and left sides of the blank canvas Molzan paints in tiny, confetti-like brushstrokes reminiscent of Lee Krasner. Down the center of the canvas hangs a strip of paint-covered canvas, stuffed and knotted like a rope. This same rope’s imprint is in the middle of each painted section, a strip of blank canvas amid a riot of color. Like Hans Hofmann’s push and pull tension, Molzan creates drama by uniting flatness and three-dimensionality as well as absence and presence. The most recent exhibition of Molzan’s work is at Los Angeles’s Kayne Griffin Corcoran Gallery. Her pieces in About Face engage with similar concerns as others in her oeuvre. One work is all about the frame, with the mint-green structure interrupted with irregular squares of ivory paint. Hanging from it are five little stuffed pouches, each with a Miro-esque design on it –a squiggle, a few eyes, a pair of bright red lips. It’s an absurd, surrealist work that alludes to painting’s ability throughout history to evoke anything from amusement to a profound sense of the uncanny. The other work conforms to the more traditional definition of a painting. Untitled is a large work that embraces elements of both cubism and impressionism with a discordant color scheme reminiscent of contemporary painters such as Laura Owens and Charline von Heyl. The dominant force on the cotton candy-colored canvas is a swath of greenish blue paint with thick black lines cutting through it to outline cubist shapes. Clustered up underneath the squares and triangles are thickly daubed strokes of paint in every hue of the rainbow. Within this one piece Molzan manages to allude to both past and present modes of painting as well as create something fresh and visually compelling. Despite Molzan’s self-imposed limits regarding material and her frequent adherence to uniformity in size and spatial orientation, her painting-sculpture hybrids are vibrant manifestations of a playful yet analytical mind. Molzan has deemed herself an “enthusiast” in terms of her varied art historical influences and interests, and she succeeds in rendering us similarly energized and enthusiastic.ii __ i Molzan, Dianna. (2011, April 6). 500 Words: Dianna Molzan. Retrieved from www.artforum.com. ii Ibid.

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SPOTLIGHT

ERIC STAMPFLI’S STILL —

WORDS PHIL TARLEY IMAGE COURTESY OF THE ARTIST

In 1928, Georgia O’Keeffe painted giant orange poppies. “If I could paint the flower exactly as I see it,” she said, “no one would see what I see because I would paint it small like the flower is small. So I said to myself– I’ll paint it big…and they will be surprised.” Georgia O’Keeffe’s Oriental Poppies are gigantic. It is Flower Power at its most intense. Size, color and vastness make us one with the flower; make us feel the flower’s flowerness. Now come Eric Stampfli’s blossoms, adding new dimensions to what O’Keefe designed. His florid-torrid mix of passion, color, sexuality and gigantism makes an even bigger, even more sensual statement. Stampfli freezes his favorite blooms in large blocks of ice that he quickly positions in a highly articulated studio lighting set up and photographs them dripping with shades of colors we have never seen before. As the ice melts, it reflects, refracts, and adds different degrees of transparency and opacity. Sometimes the posies look like impressionist paintings, as if the flower is hiding under the petticoats of a Degas ballerina. Other times, they are frozen in delicious icicles, wet with color. 58

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ERIC STAMPFLI; LLIUM ORIENTALIS— STARGAZER LILLY

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The photographer embeds the enormous 48 x 70 inch prints in half an inch of icy plexiglass. They seem to hover on the wall like uber-glossy jewels. Stampfliâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s exhibition, STILL, will run from October 17â&#x20AC;&#x201C;November 21 2015 at the Artists Corner Gallery in Hollywood. A reception for the artist is planned for the opening night. For more information, visit www.ArtistsCorner.us.


SEEN JAPAN IN L.A. AN EDITED CONVERSATION BETWEEN CURATOR/ ARTIST KIO GRIFFITH AND WRITER/ARTIST JACKI APPLE ABOUT FOUR EXHIBITIONS EXPLORING CULTURAL HISTORY, MEMORY, MATERIALITY, IMPERMANENCE, AND PERFORMANCE IN CONTEMPORARY JAPANESE ART.

WORDS JACKI APPLE IMAGES COURTESY OF EACH RESPECTIVE ARTIST, JACKI APPLE AND KIO GRIFFITH

NORVAL GIL, 100 YEARS. ©SALLY PETERSON


Metamorphosis Of Japan After The War: 1945-1964 West Los Angeles College. June 12 - July 11, 2015 Kachofugetsu: FlowerBirdWindMoon Arena 1 Gallery, Santa Monica. June 13 – July 18, 2015 Xinla Bansho: Forest Of Exponentials Paul Loya Gallery, L.A. June 20 – July 7, 2015 Hyakka Ryouran: Riot Of Flowers Eastside International, L.A. June 27 – July 26, 2015

CURATED BY Kio Griffith as part of Tokyo+Yokohama Projects Exchange/ ARTRA Curatorial, with support from The Japan Foundation

IMAGE ABOVE: JUNICHI SEKI; LEFT TO RIGHT –VEGETATION 1, 2, 3; FOREST OF EXPONENTIALS AT PAUL LOYA GALLERY.


SPOTLIGHT

JA: Why did you decide to organize this month-long event of four exhibitions showing artists from Japan? What inspired you and how did it come about? KG: I had been thinking about it for a while when I organized the first part of this exchange show that you were also involved in last fall (2014) using nine spaces in Tokyo and Yokohama combined. The publisher at Yokohama Financial Times, Mr. Sugiura, told me that I still had time to apply for the satellite programming for the Yokohama Triennial event launching in early August. … I had to shift into high gear, conceptualize everything and see how it all falls into place. However, it was fortunate that the main theme of Yokohama Triennial was based on L.A.’s own Ray Bradbury and his novel, Fahrenheit 451. Ironically, Bradbury’s former home in Cheviot Hills was recently torn down by urban developers. I thought, ‘what is history anyway?’ The theme carried on the same tone: how can history retain itself through generations? So much of it is lost in translation. And now Bradbury’s home is being demolished! JA: The erasure of a sense of place. Such a Los Angeles, or is it American, phenomena… So then Ray Bradbury was the inspiration for the Triennial for Japanese artists as well, or only for the Americans? KG: Yasumasa Morimura was the director for last year’s Triennial. Much like Cindy Sherman, he transposes himself as iconic characters that reside in popular and political cultures. Morimura applied the Bradbury theme of precariously transferable knowledge and data through even more precariously dependable or undependable memory retention of the human brain. The core Triennial programming straddled over several institutions, facilities and communities, encouraging satellite programming to follow suit and activate peripheral communities that I searched for. JA: Was the emphasis around this Triennial show in Japan science fiction, or political because of Bradbury’s ideas–i.e. book burning and the loss of cultural memory? KG: It covered every aspect of Bradbury’s theme in 451 throughout the nine gallery spaces in the show. It was set up a bit like reading a book. The sections of the exhibition were portrayed as chapters. The themes of oblivion and literature were examined from various angles, including books that were published during World War II, the words of which were interpreted at the time as encouraging war. Making a statement on the forgotten in another chapter of the exhibition were canvases that looked blank until you got a little closer to them. According to Morimura,“these works are meant to 62

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CHIAKI SAITO; KEGON (HUAYAN) 2015–FLOWERBIRDWINDMOON AT ARENA 1 GALLERY.


TAKEYOSHI TANUMA; DANCERS ON THE SKD THEATRE ROOFTOP, 1949— METAMORPHOSIS OF JAPAN AFTER THE WAR


SPOTLIGHT

convey the idea of ‘presence,’ which, like air, is something that is always around us even if we can’t see it.” So, there was play with sound/silence, image/absence, existentialist concepts throughout the show. JA: Now that you’re telling me that Bradbury was the inspiration, I understand why my book from The Library of Disappearance was in that show. Something so small you can barely decipher it. KG: To complement Morimura’s concept, I chose titles from Bradbury’s short stories and essays. I picked nine titles in total. The show you were in was called Here There Be Tygers, which is a play on the saying “here be dragons.” Old English mapmakers formerly placed the phrase at the edges of their known world—where the wild things are. To make it a fair exchange of artists and spaces presented, I needed to find the counterbalance in Los Angeles to Japan’s somewhat smaller spaces … Four venues locked in eventually and then an interesting request came from The Japan Foundation when they were in need of finding a venue for their traveling postwar photography show. It wasn’t in the original plan, but being the 70th anniversary of the end of the Second World War, I took this on as something meant to be and placed this exhibit in one of the already slated four spaces, at West LA College. JA: Let’s talk about that a bit. It’s an historical show, and one of tremendous significance, because it reveals the evolution of postwar photography in Japan and the recovery as well as reemergence of Japan as a cultural and economical power… One of the things that was significant was that the work from the late 1940s-early 1950s not only gave one real insight into the level of destruction but personalized it, as opposed to it being generalized. It revealed it in terms of peoples lives, not just a question of buildings or places, but erasure of a sense of place and the ways in which people gradually rebuilt their cultural identity. KG: Yes exactly. The exhibit begins with Hiroshi Hamaya’s photograph of the sunrise on August 15th, right after the Emperor’s radio broadcast announcing and acknowledging defeat. The people included in the show are some of the leading photographers in the last half of the 20th century, and very influential in shaping contemporary photography in Japan.

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KAORU HIRONAKA; “FUTURE_IS” HERE—RIOT OF FLOWERS AT EASTSIDE INTERNATIONAL. PHOTO BY KAORU HIRONAKA

JA: They have been very important to restoring the cultural life of the country by telling their story to the outside world. Which brings me to this thought. Here we have this show organized by The Japan Foundation, … and we would expect a show of this scale … an exhibition of major work, historically and internationally, to be shown at the Getty, or LACMA. But no museum in the country has picked up this show. And then it ends up here in this obscure little gallery in a community college that nobody knows about. And the question that of course comes up is why? What lies behind that? Do you have any thoughts about this? KG: This brings me back to your insights on the subject of “erasure.” Perhaps the fading interest for historical exhibits within the newer younger audience combined with lack of funding from major corporate conglomerates shelves these unseen shows. 66

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JA: The politics of the “new boys on the block,” the new generation of artists out of China born well after the Cultural Revolution of the 1960s, or even Tiananmen with a lack of cultural memory? It’s the hot, new sexy thing on the street and there’s a lot of money in that market. KG: Japan has a long and fascinating cultural exchange and conversation with the West that goes back to the 19th century. So the influences of Japan on Western art and also the West on Japan are embedded in the arts on both sides. Its isolation was the vehicle for its phenomenal development of cultural craftsmanship, challenged and achieved at high levels. Especially in the knowledge and technique of expanding the visual notion of perspective.

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SPOTLIGHT

JA: During my last trip to Japan (May 2015), I visited the National Museum of Art in Ueno Park, in Tokyo. There were these large paintings that were quite abstract and titled Six Perspectives Of A Mountain. And they were dated in the 1700s! They represent six perspectives of the same mountain in one painting— that’s almost 200 years before Cubism–while it was not until the end of the 19th century in the West, first Cezanne with Mt. St. Victoire, and then Braque picking up and expanding on those ideas! That is pretty interesting. So coming back to this dialogue with the West and the exchange that has taken place, and the importance of Metamorphosis Of Japan After The War: 1945-1964 exhibition. The situation of historical erasure along with the rejection of this show here seems misguided, if not a revisionist repression of memory. At any rate, you decided you’re going to bring a generation or cross section of Japanese artists over here and give them an opportunity to have that exposure and exchange with American artists in Los Angeles. Plus it offers us some insight into how the Japanese artists think about materiality, process and impermanence. KG: So, to back up and further answer your previous question about how I organized the four shows including the Metamorphosis Of Japan postwar photography show, which I co-presented, it’s actually in a similar neighborhood of the six perspectives way of thought, the painting that you brought up earlier in this conversation. The perspectives in these shows worked best in my thought if they were expanded universes as in Buddhist philosophy. The Japanese have these lexemes, or wise-sayings, “YojiJukugo,” that are constructed of four kanji characters, minimal and immense in depth, and can be interpreted in any direction provided the reader has a balanced mind, not tainted by a value or certain emotion. I saw that the three shows following the postwar photography exhibit could be set as three acts or chapters mirroring the series of shows that happened last October in Japan. The titles of the shows are idiomatic expressions derived from Buddhist literature, reverberations of beauty and aesthetics both in an historical and contemporary context of the Japanese social experience. FlowerBirdWindMoon (Kacho Fugetsu) came to mind as the fitting title for the opening show of the three acts: All things in nature; all containing a spirit. The show was composed of 37 artists’ works from Japan and local L.A. artists. Forest Of Exponentials (Xinla Bansho) was the second edition, which explored private forests of exponential matters from pure mark making to political issues and manifestos. The third, Riot Of Flowers, was an all woman show, which explored what is seen and unseen in differ-

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SPOTLIGHT

CHIHIRO MINATO; HOLESCAPE, 2015窶認OREST OF EXPONENTIALS AT PAUL LOYA GALLERY.

ent color spaces 窶ヲ RGB, CMYK and the naked eye. In other words, the range of translatables. JA: Going back to this question of historical erasure and cultural memory 窶ヲ In Forest Of Exponentials, your piece Revolutions Per Minute plays around with the boundary line of fact and fiction and historical memory by taking all of these titles from various manifestos which are quite famous, and others which are more obscure, and visually relocating them within the graphic style of the time in which they were written, or actually spoken, and then making them into

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SPOTLIGHT

KIO GRIFFITH; REVOLUTIONS PER MINUTE, 2015—FOREST OF EXPONENTIALS AT PAUL LOYA GALLERY.

what appear to be 45 rpm records which don’t actually exist. In other words, there are no recordings of these manifestos as performed in that manner, but the record labels appear to be completely authentic and old … They have all the label names, but are not necessarily the record labels that produced records of these texts. But they could’ve been. There’s that moment of ambiguity, and the suspension of disbelief... KG: —from the Industrial Revolution bringing us convenience with well built analog machines to the Technological Revolution which strips us of jobs and brings us convenience in the guise of ‘ease of use,’ yet without knowledge of the back-ends of these

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SPOTLIGHT

invisible apps all set to the clock of erasure… My work focuses on those themes— physical and philosophical matter that didn’t make it over the 21st century bridge. In this series, it’s the 78rpms and 33rpms and the 45rpms that get replaced by the formats that have rendered record labels and concept albums useless. JA: There is this sense of loss, this historical amnesia, and it induces this feeling of displacement, like getting caught in a time warp … And the manifestos as texts could be lost, because of the declining interest of reading lengthy material. KG: And in its availability online it would be a challenge to figure out the context these thoughts originally derived from. JA: Some of us still try to give (our students) a contextual frame to the manifestos … but it’s very difficult if they have no historical memory or point of reference, and if they don’t know what’s going on in the larger world in which these things were meaningful and powerful and influential or even what they protested against. KG: So in the Forest Of Exponentials show, the erasure has seeped into the trees themselves and the foliage and the creatures in the forest, so to speak. Chihiro Minato’s installation in the show of cut up books, art catalogs of famous collections overlapping with modernism, pop culture and displaced global locations was excellent. JA: He selected art catalogs from very specific periods in art—one of which was Impressionism and Post-Impressionism. And the influence of Japanese art at the turn of the century period is only partially acknowledged historically. It’s acknowledged in a very particular way but the scale of influence especially in the area of Art Nouveau—how much of it was taken from Japanese art and design—is not part of the Western Art historical discourse. KG: Each artists’ pieces worked at different levels of concept, physicality and impact. JA: Let’s take Miyuki Yokomizo’s colored grid paintings. They are kind of a translation, almost like a musical score of a performance …The paintings are actually a form of documentation of the process, where the performative aspect is crucial. It makes me think of Gutai without the theatrics. It might have been good to have had the performative aspect on a video to go with the paintings.

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SPOTLIGHT

What about the three large paintings … in which you did have a sense of the process… KG: Those are by Junichi Seki who is curator at the Yokohama Musuem of Art. The three selected paintings work seamlessly as in a time-lapse exposure of the same mindscape from dark to light to slightly dark again. JA: So in a way they are also time-based paintings, and performative paintings that are the result of an immediate response to his environment ... They feel like you’re entering into a fluctuating space, as if you can actually see what string theory proposes the universe looks like, all vibrating strings … Which is an interesting transition to the FlowerBirdWindMoon show, All things in nature; all containing a spirit. … and the site-specific work by Chiaki Saito of hand made paper activated by crystals poured over filigrees of paper fibers. They spread out into the space like a tree sprouting branches. KG: Her family is four generations of fireworks makers in Ibaragi prefecture, north of Tokyo. JA: That explains a lot. Her piece is like an aftermath of an explosion. It is rather wonderful, very lacy and all white, like a burst of light, a beautiful firework in the sky made tangible … there’s the sense of ephemerality and fragility because of the medium, as if you can blow on it and it will dissolve. How fascinating that she comes from a family of firework makers. Once the show is over, there’s nothing left afterwards. Her pieces are gone. And you can’t really sell them because they are made for that location, time and place. So that brings us back to this question of impermanence. The idea of impermanence that is so embedded in Japanese aesthetics and philosophy runs throughout all the exhibitions. KG: Opening the doors to that gallery made me very careful in the sense that I could easily destroy the installation with a little gust of wind sending some of the crystals flying about in space. JA: Let’s talk about another piece that I found very ephemeral and beautiful and kind of magical—Tomoaki Sato’s piece with the butterflies on the wall. But not just butterflies. There were these little boxes below and some kind of light projection coming from them, as if the actual materiality of the butterflies were 72

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SPOTLIGHT

CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: GOLD 2014-01 (KENT); GOLD 2012-01; PAPERS 2014-02 (KENT). MINAKO KUMAGAI

merely structural vehicles for the reflections and shadows that seemed to come from these little boxes. You had no sense of the source of all the fluttering patterns and light around these very delicate paper shapes. KG: It’s sort like a aquarium without water—clear acrylic cubes with butterflies trapped in them, held in place and free flowing at the same time. The physical life forms are in the cubes and the ghost spirits are hanging out with the paper structures … JA: To paraphrase a Zen master, Here, not here. Same thing. And it certainly captures the essence of the show’s title, All things in nature; all containing a spirit. Web fabrik.la

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SPOTLIGHT

SATOSHI SAEGUSA; 10000 YEAR MEETING 2015—FLOWERBIRDWINDMOON AT ARENA 1 GALLERY.

To switch gears completely—what about this work in the show … I don’t how to describe it other than it was like a bunch of strange plumbing tubes that were flexible but not plumbing tubes. They came in a rainbow series of colors and they protruded out of the walls like some kind of alien worm, some snake-like thing in a bad dream. But friendly and not sinister, more like strange seductive toys … plumbing gone amuck, as if they’ve taken on some kind of rebellion against the house. Destructive and humorous at the same time. Like anime creatures … completely synthetic and fictive yet containing implied sentience. Post-minimalist pop culture hybrids.

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SPOTLIGHT

KG: These are Satoshi Saegusa’s works. His medium is vinyl. This is a lifetime obsession of his since childhood in which he discovered elasticity and the breaking limits of stretching the material. JA: So he was a little scientist. KG: More like a bondage/fetish/scientist! ... A slightly science fiction approach to sculpture! But he’s also very influenced by Gutai. He flirts with the avant-garde but has a fondness for structure in the traditional sense of arrangement as in ikebana. Only his is a “worm” garden sprouting out of the walls. JA: Another person is Minako Kumagai whose works look like brass, bronze, marble, and gold but all are made out of paper. Again there is this disparity, this fault line between perceptual and actual realities … KG: They are non-functional vessels, not hollow, ambiguous, ... Relic-like. They all look very heavy— JA: —and simultaneously ancient and contemporary, beautifully crafted abstract artifacts to be discovered in the future and puzzled over. Except, they are made of paper and might easily succumb to the elements. JA: There was one more show, Riot Of Flowers, and it featured all women. How did they feel about that? Was there a “feminist” contradiction there in referring to all these women as flowers and flowers being thought of as “feminine?” KG: No actually, not that I sensed. The artists seemed to improvise on the theme and retune the bandwidth of feminism … JA: What do you hope or anticipate the outcome of this kind of exchange can be and where can it go? KG: The initial idea was to go beyond a once in a few years novelty show, and build a community-driven exchange where works are transported and/or made on site. ... What transpires is the intuitive sense that observes art’s place in nature: its appearance, meaning and value set in contemporary world affairs in which the un-seeable is viewed from a third eye, the inaudible is imagined through living colors, and the unspeakable can be understood through telepathic means. For more descriptions of the artworks, see Fabrik’s continuation of this story online at www.fabrik.la.

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FRESH FACES IN ART: EIGHT LA ARTISTS YOU SHOULD KNOW

EMERGENT PRESENCE BY ARTRA CURATORIAL

| ARTRA Curatorial is comprised of Max Presneill (MP),

Kio Griffith (KG) & Colton Stenke (CS)

JESSICA KIRKPATRICK Using the idea of primary but binary inter-relationships of symbiotic necessity, Kirkpatrick paints figurative landscape scenarios, which mutate into aspects of abstraction and back again. The dislocated, both metaphorically and physically, characters and locations suggest suburban angst and uncertainty in an allegory of identity. The narrative of illusory realities is coaxed into alignment through a collage process leading to a ‘realist’ style of painting that retains a mystique akin to a David Lynch movie, with its accompanying tensions, anxieties, and plain weirdness. (MP). http://berkeleyjess.blogspot.com

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(ABOVE) ARREST I, OIL ON LINEN, 15.5” X 22”, SEPT 2013 (LEFT) CHORA I, OIL ON CANVAS, 72” X 72”, OCT 2013


FRESH FACES IN ART: EIGHT LA ARTISTS YOU SHOULD KNOW

ALEXANDER KROLL The colorful manipulations of paint that Kroll presents mirror an exciting engagement with the intuitive, risk-taking process that he brings to the studio coupled with a refined sensibility that structurally engages order and chaos with organizing principles that place layer over layer to formulate emotional histories. They are a visual â&#x20AC;&#x153;attempt at a theory of everything,â&#x20AC;? as he says, that recombine techniques and methodologies in myriad ways to explore the full range of possibilities within the medium. (MP). http://alexanderkroll.com

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(ABOVE) WINTER NEON SLIPPING DOWN, 2015, OIL, ACRYLIC, ENAMEL, FLASHE, SPRAY PAINT AND INK ON WOODEN PANEL, 24 X 18 INCHES (LEFT) DAWN AT THE BOX OFFICE, 2014, OIL, ACRYLIC, FLASHE AND URETHANE ON CANVAS 96 X 84 INCHES. HORT FAMILY COLLECTION, NEW YORK, NY


FRESH FACES IN ART: EIGHT LA ARTISTS YOU SHOULD KNOW

ALAN NAKAGAWA Sound travels far beyond the audible range, the known languages, signals, and noise lingering in vibrations of thoughts, memories, and experiences. Alan Nakagawa examines the biophysical properties of the unheard, the otherwise fortuitous instance overlooked with or without concurring vibrations. These symbiotic experiments are carried out in sound research, sculpture, performance, and installation encouraging the audience to sense beyond our acceptable boundaries. Nakagawa’s emotional portrayal in memory of his father, OYAJI; The Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind, is an intimate installation of two sound beds, audio loop, sound system, and a lamp in the shape of a ship (the point of his parents’ encounter in 1957): a guiding light for the passage his father (assistant chef) and mother travelled from Japan to Los Angeles in search of a better life. Horses at the tracks, tempura frying, Akita dogs howling and Ma Jong game pieces shuffling and clattering modulate into cumulated frequency clusters alluding to experiences of his father’s ailments. (KG). http://collagecollage.com

(ABOVE & RIGHT) OYAJI; THE BREAKDOWN OF THE BICAMERAL MIND. MIX MEDIA INSTALLATION, ALAN NAKAGAWA, 2015, C.O.L.A. EXHIBITION, LOS ANGELES MUNICIPAL GALLERY. PHOTO BY SIT WENG SAN”

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FRESH FACES IN ART: EIGHT LA ARTISTS YOU SHOULD KNOW

GALA PORRAS-KIM In ancient and possibly contemporary (displaced by technology) nomadic culture of unknown origins and undeterminable destinations, the human capacity of transposing existential bandwidth depended on the archival quality of its receptacle, natural tangibles then, intangible codes now. Gala Porras-Kim explores the epistemological capacity of artifacts with or without human intervention and the potential and challenges of transferrable nuances of unfamiliar cultures. PorrasKimâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s conscientiously selected rocks in For Prospective Rock/Artifact Projection trace back to the Papaloapan River in southern Mexico, where in 1986 fishermen uncovered four artifacts bearing an undeciphered Isthmian script. Providing variables (rhythm, phrase, time lengths, grammar), the rocks formulate chance operations from which the viewers can approximate and expound theories; video footage of a submerged boulder crossfades information available to the listener. (KG). http://commonwealthandcouncil.com/exhibitions/feb15/GP/images.html

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(ABOVE) THE WRITING OF STONES, 2015, SANDSTONE, LINEN ON PANEL, 48 1/2” X 37” X 3” (LEFT) COMPOSITE ARTIFACT 3, 2015, SANDSTONE, SCHIST, MONZONITE, RESIN, LED, WOOD APPROX. 5 1/2” X 14” X 9 1/2”


FRESH FACES IN ART: EIGHT LA ARTISTS YOU SHOULD KNOW

VINCENT TOMCZYK By rebuilding physical objects in cardboard or paper, Tomczyk creates an odd interaction for the viewer. Both surprise and awe at the craftsmanship but also an interesting conundrum of expectation and perception where the eyes are fooled by the simulacrum, at odds with what is known or realized. The objects contain a hidden history of their own making, of course, but more importantly they reflect, for the artist, histories and biographies that emotionally link people and experiences. Although these hermetic associations are separated from a direct connection, as our subjective selves always are, these objects display a poignant aura of personality. (MP). http://vincenttomczyk.com

(ABOVE) EMILE GRIFFITH, 2014, PAPER 11 X 8 X 8 INCHES (RIGHT) LUCIAN FREUD, 2013, PAPER & MIXED MEDIA 48 X 32 X 34 INCHES

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FRESH FACES IN ART: EIGHT LA ARTISTS YOU SHOULD KNOW

DEVON TSUNO Taking account of current urban sprawls and nature coalescing in Los Angeles’ ever-flowing metroscape, Devon Tsuno documents the city’s myriad facets in hard-edge abstractions defining a new tradition of a master printer/painter using street cred tools, sprays and stencils in lieu of woodblocks applied to traditional handmade washi (rice paper) with acrylics. The city will wrap itself in its graphic representation of Tsuno’s vibrating hues activated in optical patterns of water, a pervasive sense of prismatic reflections on the pathos of color sequences. The image-captures are boundless, viral in their replications, variable in their hope, placeholders for future xeriscaping. (KG). http://devontsuno.com

(ABOVE) WATERSHED REALLOCATION LOS ANGELES:  BALLONA CREEK WALL PAPER, WATERSHED REALLOCATION SHELVES, 5,000 WATERSHED BALLONA CREEK PRINTS SAM FRANCIS GALLERY, SANTA MONICA, CA 144 X 180 INCHES, 2014

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(ABOVE) FLASH FLOOD 3 (LA RIVER) SPRAY PAINT AND ACRYLIC ON HANDMADE WASHI PAPER 16 X 12 INCHES, 2015


FRESH FACES IN ART: EIGHT LA ARTISTS YOU SHOULD KNOW

ARIANE VIELMETTER Of dignified wallflowers hanging in anticipation, comforted by anonymity, contemplating identity, their ephemeral revelations bestride bloom and wilt. Inspirited by â&#x20AC;&#x153;floriography,â&#x20AC;? the Victorian practice articulating complex sentiments and often socially unacceptable messages, Ariane Vielmetter corresponds in floral language in her investigation of the fallen and vanished perspicacious female minds throughout arts and literature. Vielmetter uncovers an alternate history validating lineages and credibility to identify with and build on. In Blue Violets, the violet is used as the motif to survey certain acts of disappearances and camouflage. The various implications and representations of the fragile flower are mindfully fabricated in drawings, repurposed ephemera, textiles, repeated patterns, and floral prints. (KG). http://arianevielmetter.com

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(ABOVE) WHITE VIOLETS, 2015, GESSO, WATERCOLOR, AND WATERCOLOR PENCIL ON PAPER, 18” X 12” (LEFT) FLORAL ARRANGEMENT, 2015, MIXED MEDIA, APPROX. 30” X 30”


FRESH FACES IN ART: EIGHT LA ARTISTS YOU SHOULD KNOW

ANN WEBER Weber uses cardboard as her medium (sometimes cast in bronze for public projects) and achieves beauty from the quotidian on a monumental scale that is both humble and spectacular at the same time. Though recycled, an environmental nod, these sculptures are more akin to Arte Poveraâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;an Italian art movement from 1967-72â&#x20AC;&#x201D;with their simple forms, base materials, and direct meaning. Her background in ceramics is reflected in both her attention to craft skills and in the sculptural forms, which address memory, interactions, and anthropomorphic relationships. (MP). http://annwebersculpture.com

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(ABOVE) AFTER ELLSWORTH (RED), 2014, FOUND CARDBOARD, STAPLES, POLYURETHANE, 85 X 22 X 5 INCHES (LEFT) AFTER BERNINI, RIO DE LA PLATA, 2013, FOUND CARDBOARD, STAPLES, 52 X 37 X 11 INCHES


ART ABOUT TOWN WITH PETER FRANK

Peter Frank’s

MUSEUM VIEWS ORANGE COUNTY MUSEUM OF ART My Generation: Young Chinese Artists THROUGH OCTOBER 11 The step-by-step entry of the People’s Republic of China into the world cultural arena paralleled the globalization of that arena overall, and at certain times the Chinese presence in contemporary art seemed to overshadow that of any other emerging nation. At other times that presence seemed to be freighted, even impeded, by the country’s recent past—understandably so, given the traumas to which artists, in particular, had been subject under Mao; but a combination of obsession and caution, and the frequently misunderstood appropriation of western artistic modes, gave a sheen of bathos to China’s first post-modernist, post-Maoist artists. Several recent shows in the USA of younger artists, especially artists born after Mao’s own death, have revealed a rapid maturation. My Generation: Young Chinese Artists, the latest survey, is the most exciting and unpredictable, and thus the most reassuring. To be sure, Chinese artists’ focus on their society’s fissures and foibles has not lessened. Much of the work in My Generation reflects on the world the artists live in; there is relatively little self-absorption or surrender to arcane theorizing, and the level of wit and even abandon has risen sharply. This may be due to curators Barbara Pollack, a New York-based critic and inveterate Chinawatcher, and Li Zhenhua, founder and director of the Beijing Art Lab; they have clearly chosen not a “typical” cross-section of artists, but the best they could find. Still, it can be argued that an art scene that produces artists as keen and often moving as these is ready for prime time. The range of media and formats, from installation to photography, is as broad as it would be in any survey of contemporary art generated by and in a sophisticated discourse. The flavor, however, and indeed the subject matter, is largely urban, lyrical and metaphorical, and to a certain extent satirical but (refreshingly) not cynical. There is a ready, almost casual acceptance of montage— that is, the kind of superposition of things that evinces what you could call the 92

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CHI PENG (CHINESE, BORN 1981). SPRINTING FORWARD 4, 2004; C-PRINT; 55 X 81 X 2 1/2 IN. (FRAMED) COLLECTION OF ANDREW AND HEATHER RAYBURN

Photoshopping of everyday life. Dreamlike confrontations, grotesque distortions, quasi-analytical hallucinations, and mysterious, provocative objects predominate. Even so, no body of work in the exhibition can be mistaken for any other; Pollack and Li have, if anything, emphasized delineation of style and subject. That is to their credit, but the distinctiveness of the work itself is to the artists’. Several collectives, including Birdhead, Double Fly Art Center, and Irrelevant Commission, are featured in My Generation. Collaborative groups have become a fairly common feature of art-working around the world, but, given China’s recent history, the very idea of working collectively can be seen as logical from one angle, fraught from another. The collaborative structure apparently allows artists, among other things, to conduct sociological inquiries and experiments that much more effectively and securely. But individual artists predominate here, and easily maintain and display their peculiar (on occasion very peculiar) sensibilities. Keep an eye out in particular for Hu Xiaoyuan’s humble-seeming anti-sculptures; the vast, almost habitable structure of Jin Shan; Liu Chuang’s hilarious, should-go-viral video of an urban action (in which two identical white cars, traveling beside each other, maintain the minimum speed limit Web fabrik.la

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throughout Beijing); the outsize animals Lui Di’s photographs improbably plant in apartment building courtyards; the low-burn (and vaguely morbid) eroticism of Song Kun’s paintings; the ambitious graphic elaborations of Sun Xun (perhaps the only work in the show reliant on traditional Chinese art); Cui Jie’s complex elaborations of modern structures (painted but taking off from architectural rendering); and the improbable, extravagant quasi-tapestry Xu Zhen—employing his production company, MadeIn—has hung across an entire huge wall. In fact, all the artists in the show are worth attention and even careful study; its frequent levity and parody notwithstanding, this work deserves to be taken very seriously. For more information, please visit http://www.ocma.net

BIRDHEAD (CHINESE, FOUNDED 2004). THE LIGHT OF ETERNITY NO. 3, 2012; 36 BLACK-AND-WHITE INKJET PRINT; 20 X 24 IN. EACH (UNFRAMED); COURTESY OF THE ARTISTS AND SHANGHART GALLERY, SHANGHAI.

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OCEANSIDE MUSEUM OF ART In the Abstract: Midcentury San Diego Painting & Sculpture THROUGH NOVEMBER 1 America’s love-hate relationship with modern art came to something of a head in the 1940s and ‘50s, when the middle class finally reached a level of security and could afford to exercise a modicum of intellectual curiosity (a modicum maintained with notable intensity by the broadcast media of the era). Also, we went to war to maintain freedom of expression, and if the guy down the block made peculiar things out of cast iron or the pleasantly dotty pharmacist also liked to paint weird shapes, well, that was their hard-won right (unless they were sending secret signals to Stalin, of course). Those amateur, and not-so-amateur, abstractionists were answering to a mid-century Zeitgeist that invited them

RUSSELL BALDWIN. SARAH WARD’S NOISY CAR, 1965, OIL ON WOOD, CARDBOARD, AND MIRROR, 26 X 29 X 5.5. COLLECTION OF ROXIE AND SARAH WARD.

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to look towards Europe—and, increasingly, New York—for cues as to what the imaginative spirit was capable of inventing. This kind of middlebrow sophistication suffused throughout the US especially after the war, culminating in the cultural explosion of the Kennedy years. In the Abstract examines how it manifested in one rather unlikely place, San Diego.

SVETOZAR “TOZA” RADAKOVICH, UNTITLED, C. 1963, BRONZE, 18.5 X 12 X 5.5 IN. COLLECTION OF JEAN RADAKOVICH.

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“Unlikely” because San Diego was a comfortable, conservative navy town, regarded even by “cultureless” Los Angeles as an artistic wasteland. The selection of paintings and sculptures Dave Hampton has assembled in In the Abstract does not try to portray San Diego as anything but a backwater, but it does argue that it was a modernist backwater, capable of harboring, if not quite nurturing, geometricists and surrealists and abstract expressionists, people who could produce credible artworks that fit into the tenor of the times. In seeking to convey the full spectrum of San Diego abstraction, Hampton allows work of lesser (if still acceptable) quality to hang cheek by jowl with better work and, more importantly, work of different styles to cohabit walls. Some of these styles—and in certain cases, even specific artworks—predate the mid-century period; but if we’re looking at not just what was made in this period but what was then available and taken seriously by San Diego artists and art enthusiasts, it makes sense to include at least a few works from as far back as the 1920s. There are many individual delights and even surprises here, work of startling presence that make one curious about their makers: the glossy, jazzy sculpture Sarah Ward’s Noisy Car, a 1965 concoction by Russell Baldwin, for instance, indicates a deep understanding of LA’s finish/fetish movement and equally of Bay Area funk—at the time of their emergence. The sensitive post-cubist paintings of Fred Hocks, Tova Radakovich’s curious bronzes sprouting limbs from cavities, and Lynn Fayman’s intricate photographic experiments also attract, and reward, prolonged attention. Similarly intriguing is the presence of certain names familiar to art (and design) historians—Harry Bertoia, Ed Garman, Guy Williams—but in the context of other places, not southernmost California. The very few usual suspects are aboard (John Baldessari with a very small canvas, Richard Allen Morris with a notably early work). (One surprising omission: Robin Bright. Perhaps he wasn’t abstract back then?) It’s of note that, while the gestural works predominate in number here, they don’t dominate the show, crowded as it is, but balance nicely with the more hard-edge painting and sculpture. In the Abstract is less a lesson in history than it is a visit to it, a peek at (or, if you would, a wallow in) the art that hung in neighbors’ homes and got reproduced in local design magazines at a crucial moment in American cultural history. For more information, please visit http://oma-online.org

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REVIEWS FABIEN CASTANIER GALLERY MULTIFARIOUS ABSTRACTION (JUNE 20-JULY 25) Its thesis—that Latin American artists have a particular interest in, or at least way of, collapsing the divisions between high culture and low—needed more room than a normal-size gallery allows. But the five artists assembled in Multifarious Abstraction do all persuasively fuse “serious” and “popular” art in forms at once familiar and peculiar-seeming to our Anglo eyes. Ricardo Rendón, one of three Mexicans in the show, bridges both art-craft and fine-folk divisions, fashioning compellingly awkward structures out of ungainly but beautiful materials. Rendón is especially adept at juxtaposing pliant and rigid objects into formations that strain towards the utilitarian but get diverted into the decorative. Chile’s Magdalena Atria paints with plasticine, exploiting the synthetic substance’s slickness and coloristic over-richness to generate fluid, bubble-rich panels saturated with candy hues. Mariángeles Soto-Diaz, out of Venezuela, employs a lively geometry, redolent of mid-century South American constructivism, to critique the lingering sexism and racism of artistic discourse. Her installation The Pink Elephant in the Room cast its dynamic linear structures entirely in rosy shades, so as to insist on an otherwise obscured feminine presence that has in fact been prominent throughout Latin American modernism. Antonio Muñiz produces soft, elegant gestural paintings which are not really gestural because they’re not really paintings: their delicate, expansive clots and trails result from the application not of pigment but of smoke, employing a candle rather than a brush. Multimedialist Rubén Ortiz-Torres was represented here by a single work, the deliberately harsh and irksome Womb Envy, a urethane relief painted with thermo-chromic paint and high-density foam—car paint, in other words, used to coat a plaque with a pregnant bulge branded with handprints in a send-up of finish/fetish (Judy Chicago’s not least).

DIANE ROSENSTEIN GALLERY EBEN GOFF, INCLUSIONS, (JUNE 26-AUGUST 22) Eben Goff is at once a formalist sculptor, an explorer of material and process, and a poetic evocateur who gives an ecological spin to land art. With such a range of concerns driving his work, it’s no surprise Goff engages a wide variety of 98

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FABIEN CASTANIER GALLERY: RUBEN ORTIZ-TORRES WITH HIS PIECE ENTITLED  WOMB ENVY, 2014, URETHAN, THERMOCHROME PIGMENT, HIGH DENSITY FOAM/ALUMINUM. EBEN GOFF. ARC, 2010-2015; ALDER WOOD, ALUMINUM, STEEL, PIGMENT, RUBBER; 88 1/2 X 41 X 97 INCHES  (PHOTOGRAPHS BY MARTEN ELDER) © EBEN GOFF, COURTESY DIANE ROSENSTEIN, L.A. 

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forms and materials in his art, working on larger and smaller scales (sometimes at once). In fact, Goff’s show of mostly three-dimensional objects was augmented crucially by several large-scale photographs (most black and white) of the Montana high desert. These images turn out to be documents of a “performance” Goff realized, moving a sculpture—Arc, the largest in the show–across two open-pit copper mines. Arc is what its title infers, a looming, roughly elegant solid wooden curve mounted on wheels that has aged well but quite evidently. Indeed, age and decay flicker about Goff’s sculpture—but so does a shiny newness, almost as if these compound woodmetal-stone objects are struggling to maintain their vitality against the inevitability of wear. This gives these attractive yet ungainly free-standing and wall-mounted presences a pathos rather different than the sabe no wabe aesthetic; instead of privileging the worn, Goff privileges transition. The most obviously performative (and least readily attractive) works in the show are composed of seemingly brand-new aluminum struts around which debris fished from the Los Angeles River has been twisted, as if the most elegant dinnerware had sunk itself into fetid pasta. These funky fishing expeditions are oddly obvious for Goff, but in their coarse polarity they cue us to his investigation of gunk and sheen.

SUSANNE VIELMETTER LOS ANGELES PROJECTS SHANA LUTKER, PAUL, PAUL, PAUL, AND PAUL, AND BART EXPOSITO, STRANGE ALPHABET (JULY 10-AUGUST 22) Shana Lutker’s demi-stages, rigorously designed quasi-architectural sites that at once frame and enact art-historical moments, would seem to have little to do with the eccentric geometries Bart Exposito paints and draws. But Exposito’s keenly described, looping (and loopy) lines and his sour but luminous palette give his work a cartoonish edge and, resultingly, an almost narrative presence—exactly the kind of presence Lutker’s decks and seats and tables establish overtly. Furthermore, a constructivist aesthetic, clean and brittle, drives the work of each. Exposito’s current batch of images all hint at a figural presence, albeit something of a stick-figural one; they seem to feature bodies and heads, the former sporting limbs, the latter eyes. When he lived in Los Angeles, Exposito oscillated back and forth between such abstract wit and a cooler, less freely referential approach; it’s a bit much to aver that his move to Santa Fe has allowed in a high-desert Native American influence, but there is a bit of the kachina in these apparitions. For her part, Lutker has rooted her quasi-installation (an arrangement of discrete sculptures all of which pertain to the same subject) in an event 90 years past, one of the “bourgeois riots” initiated by the Surrealists in Paris as a provocation against their artistic and political adversaries. Lutker has been 100

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SHANA LUTKER. PAUL, PAUL, PAUL, AND PAUL, 2015; INSTALLATION VIEW, 2015 SUSANNE VIELMETTER LOS ANGELES PROJECTS. PHOTO: ROBERT WEDEMEYER

BART EXPOSITO. STRANGE ALPHABET, 2015; INSTALLATION VIEW, 2015 SUSANNE VIELMETTER LOS ANGELES PROJECTS. PHOTO: ROBERT WEDEMEYER

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tracing The History of the Fistfights of the Surrealists in this manner, with constructions brimming with allusions to the events, their protagonists, key props, and even the distortions years of art-historical legend have given to the original accounts. The bent, askew dinner plates scattering themselves across oddly shaped tables, the wall hung with napkins, the march of strangely-formed shoes down a staircase all allude to the formal banquet at which the to-do took place, the gendarmes who got involved, and other details that “set the stage” for what in Lutker’s context would be a ritualized re-enactment—not the re-living, but the re-dreaming, of the event itself.

CASA 0101 THEATER HIDEO SAKATA (JULY 19-AUGUST 23) Born in Nagasaki, Hideo Sakata has worked in Los Angeles for almost four decades, but his sensibility remains thoroughly Japanese in its visual tenderness and its search for mindful repose—that is, a condition of perception at once aware of the real world and beyond its stresses. Indeed, the most arguably “western” paintings in this small, tantalizing survey of Sakata’s career were the earliest ones, figurative, even narrative and symbolic, anti-war and anti-violence statements done in Japan in the 1970s. The glowing, often crystalline abstractions Sakata has realized since moving here don’t simply represent events or conditions of being, they present them; inviting focused contemplation as they do, they embody states of dissolution and formulation, ignorance and enlightenment much like icons or tangkas, inviting focused contemplation through the meditative organization of many larger and smaller elements. One repeating motif is a narrow vertical area at the center of which a bright light glows. This is the image Sakata took away from the atom-bombing of his native city seventy years ago, an image associated with utter destruction that he has turned into a point of transcendent entry.

LAUNCH LA GALLERY XI HOU, TRANSIENCY (AUGUST 1-29) Xi Hou’s abstract paintings are redolent of nature, light, and their interaction. Composed of myriad fluid segments, lines and color areas that interlock like jigsaw puzzle pieces but are shaped like raindrops and aqueous reflections, these canvases embody the vitality of the natural world without seeking either to depict it directly or to reduce it to symbols. Hou grounds her approach in a visual formula, using wandering lines—often “drawn” as raised edges on the canvas surface—to determine adjacent irregularly formed areas that contain contrasting colors. Hou fre102

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HIDEO SAKATA. ROOSTER SERIES #1 AT CASA 0101

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quently runs the same color across several discretely drawn areas: such discontinuity of patterning throws off the formulaic nature of her approach—emphasizing not so much her artistic intervention in nature as the apparently inconsistent but ultimately superior logic of nature itself. As a result, what could otherwise have been (and may at first even seem like) a simplistic method of generating pretty images becomes an engagingly lyrical way of thinking about light and color, another coherent way of seeing the world. Hou devoted one wall of her exhibition to expressing her environmental concerns through more obvious references, even covering the wall with false grass; but the eloquence of her regard for nature rests squarely in her painting, scintillating and yet meditative as it is.

LORA SCHLESINGER GALLERY LAWRENCE GIPE, WHERE WE WERE, AND HOW WE GOT THERE, AND ROBIN COLE SMITH, AFTERGLOW (JULY 18 - AUGUST 29) The rhetorical but self-critical nostalgia that is Lawrence Gipe’s stock in trade has little to do thematically with Robin Cole Smith’s gentle paeans to nature. Indeed, Gipe’s thunderous, cinematic conjurations of an industrial modernism, seemingly glorifying the 20th century’s technological triumphalism, would seem to mock Smith’s delicate, close-in studies of plants and insects. But in limiting their palettes to shades of gray, these two masters of the tonal celebrate vision and the perception of atmosphere as much as they do their respective subject matters. Many hyper-naturalists render tree leaves and bee wings with a brittle sharpness; but Smith refrains from such quasi-scientific examination, preferring to paint things as we might see and even sense them, perhaps in a field from which the morning mist has not fully burnt

ROBIN SMITH. VANISHING ACT, 2015. ENCAUSTIC AND MIXED MEDIA ON PANEL; 20” X 62”

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XI HOU AT LAUNCH LA; SOUNDS OF THE EARLY BIRDS BREAK THE FOG, 2010; 75” X 55”. ACRYLIC ON CANVAS.

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LAWRENCE GIPE. WHERE WE WERE, AND HOW WE GOT THERE INSTALLATION PHOTO. COURTESY LORA SCHLESINGER GALLERY. PHOTO: ALAN SHAFFER.

off, perhaps as night falls. These are not studies in light, however, so much as they are studies in sight, how any of us might see something this close, this common, and yet this wondrous at any given time of day, year, or life. Gipe employs exactly the same affective chiaroscuro but heightens it slightly so that it takes on melodramatic contrast—and evokes the limited sight not of the human eye but of the early 20th century camera, training that contested lens on contemporaneous urban spaces. In Gipe’s handling, the romantic aura that clings to these spaces mocks its own cliché—more subtly in the individual paintings, which depict empty streets and looming bridges with a film-noir mystery, than in the lengthy pastiche mural drawing that gave his show its name. But if subtlety is a goal of Smith’s, it is a technique of Gipe’s, a means of constructing experience. Constructing experience is exactly what Gipe does in Where We Were, the study (currently comprising half the finished work) superimposing aerial views of great metropolis and ambitious building projects with transportation machines and power-generating plants, and the people—well, peoploids—who run them. Right down to its name, Where We Were suggests nothing so much as an interwar World’s Fair fantasy caught up in the pomp of progress—save for the rusted irony Gipe’s deliberately mis-scaled superpositions introduce. 106

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The Beverly Hills Art Show October 17th & 18th 2015

a free drop-in event

Mallory Morrison, detail, The Deep, photograph a special feature at the October show â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Drenched, Dehydrated, or Driven by Wind: Weather in Art

240 artists | 4 blocks of art learn more: beverlyhills.org/artshow | 310.285.6830


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Fabrik - Issue 29