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Art

TheBombay Beach Biennale is a renegade celebration of art, music, and philosophy that takes place each year on the literal edge of western civilization, at the shores of the Salton Sea. The Biennale, founded in 2015, transforms abandoned housing, vacant lots, and decaying shoreline into a unique canvas for creative expression. Artists, philosophers, creators and makers across many mediums donate their time and talents to the volunteer-led happening.

The 2019 event encompassed over 150 activations in 72 hours, including an academic conference, live music, performances, opera, ballet, film screenings, and multiple museum openings. Many of the art installations will become permanent fixtures within the town, which is being transformed through an ongoing infusion of artwork, creativity, and community engagement.  

The annual gathering is a celebration for the local residents, artists, volunteers and supporters who are investing their time and resources into the revitalization of Bombay Beach and increasing awareness of the Salton Sea environmental crisis.

I stand waist deep
in the decadence of forgetting.
The vain act of looking the other way.
Insisting there can be peace
and fecundity without confrontation.
The nagging question of blood hounds me.
How do I honor it?
– Essex Hemphill, The Father, Son and Unholy Ghosts, 1996

VSF is pleased to present unholy ghosts, the gallery’s first solo exhibition with Diedrick Brackens (b. 1989, Mexia, TX). Employing the loom to explore intricate weaving techniques from West Africa, Kente textiles, and European tapestries, Brackens stitches together narratives of the American South, rebirth, and the changing of seasons for his new body of work. The titles and themes for this exhibition take inspiration from Essex Hemphill’s poem The Father, Son and Unholy Ghosts.

For Brackens, who identifies as a black queer person, the act of naming and birthing oneself is a radical gesture. Drawing from his personal life, ancestry, American history, and folklore, Brackens’ weavings are encoded with symbolic animals and materials that tease the knotted threads of American identity and sociopolitics. A bloodhound sniffs the ground for a subterranean figure in hiding, alluding to the terrorization of black bodies through the omnipresence of state-sanctioned violence. Catfish, on the other hand, occupy the space of spirits; swimming parallel to a levitating body, inside the heart of an aquatic being, or by hands outstretched to the sky, they are both ancestor and sustenance, the origin of human life. The silhouetted figures are born from Brackens’ projected shadow, a mirror of the self sewn with jet black yarns.

For the three non-figurative works, Brackens reimagines newborn receiving blankets distributed by American hospitals. Weaving his own version of the familiar swaddling cloth, a material meant to provide comfort in place of the trauma of leaving the womb, Brackens channels the domestic history of textiles while acknowledging the practice of hand weaving as an ancient act of creation.

David Kordansky Gallery is pleased to announce The Eighties, an exhibition of work from the 1980s by Chris Martin. Featuring both paintings and works on paper, and including many works that have never before been exhibited, the show provides a window into a seminal period in the Brooklyn-based artist’s 40-year career. It opens on March 16 and will remain on view through April 27, 2019. An opening reception will be held on Saturday, March 16 from 6:00pm until 8:00pm.

The Eighties charts Chris Martin’s transformation from a painter of slow, heavily worked canvases into a radical figure willing to invite the widest possible range of materials and experiences into the studio. If he entered this period as a strictly abstract painter, he emerged as one who employed abstraction as methodology rather than an end result, and who became increasingly interested in infusing his work with archetypal symbols, found materials, and other vivid remnants of lived experience. Some works are truly composite objects: large-scale paintings constructed from multiple canvases, with their geometric formalism slipping into recognizable imagery.

On March 14, Maceo Paisley officially released his book, Tao of Maceo at NAVEL. The book launch was accompanied by a performance with dancer, Brianna Mims and a screening of Paisley’s short film, DYNAMITE, as well as a short Q&A with Maceo & Autre managing editor, Summer Bowie.

The quotations in my works are like robbers lying in ambush on the highway to attack the passerby with weapons drawn and rob him of his conviction.” – Walter Benjamin, “One-Way Street,” 1928

Tanya Bonakdar Gallery is pleased to announce appear to use, a solo exhibition of Haim Steinbach, on view from March 16 – May 18, 2019 at the gallery’s Los Angeles location. For his first solo exhibition in Los Angeles in over a decade, Steinbach will present a new body of work including objects, sculptures, site-specific installations, wall paintings and language-based work.

Since the 1970s Haim Steinbach has developed a widely influential practice that redefines structures of presentation and investigates the relationship between object and art, object and architecture, culture and language, and collection and display. With nods to the tradition of Duchamp and the conceptual logic of Minimalism, Steinbach’s work redefines the status of the object in art.

In this new exhibition Steinbach builds a site-specific architecture, reconstructing the gallery’s space. Using exposed building materials, such as free-standing stud walls and plasterboard, the artist invites the viewer to rethink the ways in which architecture influences our understanding of object, context, surface, the human body, and the relationships forged between them. Steinbach utilizes these materials as both language and form, engendering an experience where the viewer is invited to navigate the space; raising an awareness to how the body functions in its surroundings, while exploring rhythm, repetition and seriality.

Entering the gallery, the viewer first encounters two works that highlight the artist’s ongoing exploration of language, color and narrative. Untitled (Pantone 17-5641) features a tin box supporting a green rectangle. Display #103—the band if it is white and black the band has a green string includes the quote from Gertrude Stein’s “Tender Buttons.” The quote is integrated into a wall, an architectural construct. It faces the tin box that sits in a handcrafted wooden box.

Encore

Reenactment in Contemporary Photography

Contemporary artists who reenact older works of art often put a new spin on the original themes. Featuring seven photographers—Eileen Cowin, Christina Fernandez, Samuel Fosso, Yasumasa Morimura, Yinka Shonibare CBE, Gillian Wearing, and Qiu Zhijie—this exhibition explores how re-staging can highlight underrepresented stories and critique established narratives. Presented in three categories—personal history, political history, and art history—the works showcase very different approaches to engaging with the past.

Close to Home: Erica Deeman, Mark McKnight, Eva O’Leary, and Larry Sultan

March 2 – April 6, 2019

Opening Reception March 2, 6-9pm

Shulamit Nazarian is proud to present, Close to Home, a group exhibition of four photographers that mine their personal experiences–past and present–to express moments of intimacy within larger social and political structures. Engaging with the deep and complicated history of photographic portraiture, each artist renders his or her subjects in part as extensions of themselves, coded with personal and cultural references.

Pioneering photographer, Larry Sultan, seamlessly weaves fact and fiction, creating narrative possibilities that charge domestic familiarity with artifice. Sultan explores the deeply personal, while utilizing both documentary and staged photography to create surreal and psychological spaces that speak to intimacy and power within suburban family life – creating images often captured near the artist’s hometown in the San Fernando Valley.

Eva O’Leary has been producing photographs in and around her hometown of Central Pennsylvania, ironically nicknamed Happy Valley. Gaining access to college parties, dorm rooms, and proms and other social spaces of those in the midst of pivotal coming of age moments, O’Leary examines individual vulnerability in these transitional times. Her work explores intimate moments to deftly confront power dynamics as it falls along gendered lines, especially within the lives of adolescents.

Erica Deeman’s Brown series is a collection of medium format photographs that depict isolated men from the African diaspora, rendered shirtless in front of a brown backdrop that matches the color of the artist’s own skin. Injecting her own presence in the portrait of others,these deceptively straightforward imagesprovide a foil for the deleterious tropes of black male portraiture—particularly images affiliated with the practice of physiognomy and mug shots. Her subject’s gazes are quiet, vulnerable, and self-aware, carrying the power and weight of the photographic history and lineage that she is acutely referencing.

Mark McKnight’s black and white photographs depict the human figure and the landscape with congruence. Often rendering the bodies of queer friends and lovers, McKnight carefully depicts the effects of entropy on the human form and pairs it with similar scares found on architecture, urban spaces, and the landscape. Situated between documentary and the surreal, McKnight’s photographs imply an erotic, yet brutal psychological space, informed by his personal relationships.

– for more information on additional images from this event please contact EMS at emsartscene@gmail.com or Instagram at @ericminhswenson

– for more information on additional images from this event please contact EMS at emsartscene@gmail.com or Instagram at @ericminhswenson

Cristian Răduță’s animals march in droves. A Noah’s Ark of improvised genetic anomalies populate Nicodim Gallery like an emergency spawning ground, but no two are paired or exactly alike. Apelikenesses can be seen from one angle and a shuffle of animalian ciphers from the other. Răduță is their shepherd, bringing to each form a unique trembling glory. This harmonious pattern of origin stories—both raw and cooked—ludically swirl in the artist’s grand tale of a double helix. His creatures are echos of archetypes, songs from a golden record played deep in outer space.

We learn quickly that the primordial soup is not a pulsing mitosis gasping for air, but instead a Home Depot rich in opportunities, crude and visionary, like cast shadows on a cave wall, actualities of some alternate reality—a more real reality. In Răduță’s world, the metaphor becomes literal: a chair’s leg is a hominid’s leg; the gorilla’s sharp purple “pipe” is erected from a circumcised sink pipe. An intimate knowledge of these resources is not necessary, however. They are preverbal and intuitive. Naming them would somehow discourage their being, shaming them from the garden towards an unwanted conformity.

Răduță is a true bricoleur. His efforts have a cosmic intention to map the journey of DNA within a feedback loop of primitive sculptural forms. Răduță believes in the source animal, a being from which this rippling morphology birthed. S/he lives in the gallery in a state of divine dedifferentiation. A glittering patina of fresh flesh in that moment before God took the rib, compromising its transitory state. S/he is the one of oneness—the omnipotent maker. 

These specimens are becoming. To see their perfect imperfection is a gift for the eyes in search of seeing for the first time. They represent an awkwardly powerful stutter in the animal kingdom. Răduță has remembered the moment before language and made do using onomatopoeia instead of the dictionary. These creatures fall off the tip of the tongue and scatter. – per website.

– for more information on additional images from this event please contact EMS at emsartscene@gmail.com or Instagram at @ericminhswenson

I feel like people tend to look at a painting and think, “OK, one artist paints a painting.” As if the condition remains the same ten years ago, three years ago, and now. But . . . the way I create the work constantly evolves. Especially in the past few years, we’ve been able to use a lot of the 3-D modeling programs, so the way I can grasp and understand forms has drastically changed and evolved. . . . Artistic expression really has to do with technique, and how you can actually realize ideas.
—Takashi Murakami

Gagosian is pleased to present GYATEI², new works by Takashi Murakami, as the 2019 “Oscars show,” a much-anticipated annual fixture on the Los Angeles cultural calendar.

Drawing from traditional Japanese painting, sci-fi, anime, and pop culture, Murakami’s oeuvre comprises paintings, sculptures, films, and a stream of commercial products populated by mutating characters of his own creation. His iconoclastic individualism continues the nonconformist legacy of the Edo Eccentrics, a group of eighteenth-century Japanese artists who constructed a powerfully imaginative world filled with bizarre and emotive imagery.

The exhibition title comes from the Buddhist Hannya Shingyo (Heart Sutra), a popular sutra in Mahayana Buddhism. The incantation is often chanted by Zen groups before or after a meditation. At the conclusion of the sutra, the Avalokiteshvara, a popular and recognizable bodhisattva, turns and recites a mysterious mantra to one of the disciples. The mantra is often roughly translated as “gone, gone, gone beyond, gone completely beyond, enlightenment, svāhā.” This articulation has been diversely interpreted as a call to “go” attain enlightenment, as the cry of a baby reborn into an eternal true world, and as a curse.

– for more information on additional images from this event please contact EMS at emsartscene@gmail.com or Instagram at @ericminhswenson

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