When I make my two day LA art rounds I go to about 60 to 75 galleries. I customarily like, or at least find interest, in about 25 exhibitions. That is why this blog is called “Best Picks”. I have learned to go see as much as I can (approaching everything) because I never know when a show will significantly engage me. It is finding the pearls that makes the diligence of the traipse necessary. This trip to LA was more work than “pearls”. Nonetheless, here are my “Best Picks.”
Laura Lima at Tanya Bonakdar (Hollywood through Jan. 22).
Rio de Janeiro’s Lima presents three bodies of work in this, her first, Los Angeles exhibition. The most successful is exemplified by the image above. De-constructed straw hats are rewoven and placed within fanciful wood constructions – forming what could be a large communal nest or, to use a Paolo Solari metaphor, an archology. There are aspects of this work which remind me of the huge and intricate nests constructed by the Sociable Weaver birds of southern Africa (as seen below).
Wolfgang Tillmans at Regen Projects (Hollywood through Dec. 23).
There is no doubt that Tillmans is an artist of note. In this, his eighth exhibition with Regen Projects, various photographs and a new sound and video installation are presented. I have always thought of Tillmans as narcissistic and self-indulgent. The art world will celebrate him with a Fall of 2022 major exhibition at New York’s MOMA. One can save the trip to NYC by seeing this Regen Projects show. Then there will time to go out and see something more engaging.
Llana Savdie at Kohn Gallery (Hollywood through December).
Colombian born, Savdie, lives and works in New York. The paintings in this exhibition seem to start with a “figurative armature” that then gets over-painted becoming abstractly reconfigured.
Pablo Rasgado at Steve Turner (Hollywood through Nov. 20).
An archaic process using glues, mastics and time allows Rascado (lives and works in Mexico D.F.) to remove portions of wall surfaces (a Renaissance technique called “strappo”). Having collected such fragments from around the world, he juxtaposes them into large abstractions. Humm.? The press release for this exhibition suggests that the panels are a ”history” of their time and that by being re-constructed evoke multiple readings. Right; sure.
Dickens Otieno at Steve Turner (Hollywood through Nov. 20).
The Kenyan, Otieno, shreds aluminum cans and then weaves the aluminum strips into tapestries. ‘Tis labor intensive work and I could not help feeling that the Ghanian super-star, El Anatusi, opened the door for the world to explore this distinctly central African practice. It is tough to best El Anatusi.
Robert Gunderman at Diane Rosenstein (Hollywood through Dec. 4).
I have known Robert Gunderman since he and Randy Sommer started Food House in Santa Monica. After all the decades of interaction, it was only after Randy and he closed ACME that I became aware that Robert was a painter – a trained painter. Having missed the several opportunities to see his work – this solo exhibition is my chance to get up to speed with Gunderman the artist. His work is confident and dramatically strong. Hats off to you, Robert.
Self-Addressed at Jeffrey Deitch (Hollywood through Dec. 23).
LA born (1977) Kehinde Wiley has become a super-star portraitist. His abiding interest in Black identity as a response to the Euro-centric dominance of portraiture is delineated by this exhibition of 44 African artists (curated by Wiley). African art is not monolithic and this exhibition offers views of the breadth of what it means to be “African”.
Richard Avedon at Gagosian (Beverly Hills through Dec. 18).
There are ten huge exhibition prints from Avedon’s landmark exhibition “In the American West”. In 1978 the Amon Carter Museum of Fort Worth commissioned Avedon to produce images of the American West. Taking five years to travel 21 western states, Avedon took thousands of photos of Americans going about their lives. Of the 125 images chosen for the Carter exhibition, ten were produced at monumental scale (nearly seven feet high) and are here presented by Gagosian. Using portraits of the working class was a move that profoundly affected the trajectory of portrait photography. This is a don’t miss exhibition.
Don Suggs at LA Louver (Venice through Jan. 8).
Don Suggs died in 2019 at the age of 74. I am a huge fan of his long history of art making and scope of work. The five large scale paintings in this exhibition were created just before his death. They re-present a previously executed, resolved painting on which he re-works the image by the addition of overriding geometries; reinvigorating meaning. Also exhibited are small scale drawings demonstrating the geometric obsessions that were of active interest.
Lorna Simpson at Hauser & Wirth (DTLA through Jan. 9).
An expansive exhibition of paintings, photographs, collages, and sculptures offers in depth insight into this artist’s interests and processes.
above - two images by Lorna Simpson
Gunter Forg at Hauser & Wirth (DTLA through Jan. 9).
The German painter Gunter Forg (1952-2013) was a multi-disciplinary artist whose interests frequently revolved around architecture. The abstract “Grid” paintings in this exhibition demonstrate his painterly interests from the 1990s through early 2000s.
Paul McCarthy at The Box (DTLA through Dec. 18).
There is little I can say about the messy concretion of disparate objects and materials that McCarthy slathers together. He writes a long paragraph (in explanation?) that is published in the gallery’s press release. That writing is as unintelligible as the work. McCarthy has almost mythic stature in LA. He was a professor at UCLA teaching video, performance, installation and art history. His audience “breakthrough” was facilitated by the 1992 Paul Schimmel curated “Helter Skelter” at MOCA, LA. I don’t know – the word scatological comes to mind.
Monique Van Genderen at Vielmetter (DTLA through Nov. 20).
Van Genderen splits her time between Los Angeles and La Jolla. This, her fifth solo exhibition at Vielmetter, highlights two monumental (35 feet long) paintings (called “A Side” and “B Side”) executed on raw canvas. Van Genderen has her fans.
Jibz Cameron at Cirrus (DTLA through Jan. 8).
This writing was taken from the Maccarone Gallery site:
“Drawing has remained a constant practice alongside the film, video, and performance work of Cameron, who moved to L.A. in 2015 to pitch a television series developed with actor Jack Black, brought her avant-garde performance to a wider public with her acclaimed Weirdo Night, and recently sold a short series to FX network titled Garbage Castle, on hold due to the pandemic. All the while, working on paper has been a way for Cameron to explore and develop the ideas and emotions involved in projects like these.”
Her drawings portray an unflattering, jaded view of life from a disturbing lesbian viewpoint. I am not a fan of the work even as I find the image above to be poignant.
Lindsay August-Salazar at Lowell Ryan Projects (West Adams through Dec. 11).
What is abstraction? Well for this artist who is a commercial hip-hop backup dancer, with an MFA from UC Irvine, whose work is influenced by Russian Constructivism, Lettrism, and landscape Surrealism – these drive her abstract painting. Sometimes I come away thinking all art is based on “the speak”.
Sonia Gomes at Blum & Poe (Culver City through Dec. 18).
This Brazilian artist has collected fabrics and articles of clothing along with found natural and human-made objects. She collages and assembles these articles to represent Afro-Brazilian heritage. Sonia Gomes says: “My work is Black, it is feminine, and it is marginal. I am a rebel.”
Get out, look at art; have fun.
Doug Simay November 2021