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Oedipus Wrecked – The Town Hall Affair

It says something that you need not one, but two actors to play Norman Mailer in a performance that places him at the center of a cultural moment he could hardly have held without the connivance of a media machinery he had masterfully charmed and manipulated for almost a decade...Read More »


Strangers On A Train – The Abduction From the Seraglio

The Los Angeles Opera’s co-production of Mozart’s The Abduction From the Seraglio (Die Entführung aus dem Serail), which closed February 19th, updated the action of this singspiel from its original mid- to late-18th century Ottoman Turkish setting, when the Ottoman Empire had reached its greatest extent in central Europe (pressing...Read More »


My Favorite Nazi

They gaze at us with supreme confidence. They are gods after all, aren’t they? Or leaders certainly – leaders of men. That is to say, soldiers – and they are all men, though anatomical details beyond the head are concealed beneath those often strikingly well-tailored uniforms. Not a Leni Riefenstahl...Read More »


Beau Monde: Looking forward by looking back

Sometime between the morning of November 9th and the current holiday season, there was an interruption in the more or less weekly postings in this space. It’s not like it’s never happened before. I do drop out of sight now and again; and there are those intervals when I’m between...Read More »


Home Is Where the Horror Is – Guillermo del Toro (2)

It’s Halloween and it’s about time I finished my walk-through of Guillermo del Toro’s reconfigured ‘Bleak House’ home/office/inspiration space in the Art of the Americas Building at LACMA. What, after all, could have been keeping me so long? Maybe I simply needed a return visit – having gotten lost in...Read More »


Weightless line, transparent plane, unbroken horizon, and the constructive dilemma: the art of Brian Rea

You probably know Brian Rea’s work even if you’re not familiar with his name. In fact, it’s probable that you do know his name by now because his illustrations seem to be almost everywhere from book jackets and frontispieces to half the magazines you pick up, and even tote bags....Read More »


Gun Crazy: Playing with fire at Liz’s Loft

Let me just start by applauding Liz Gordon and her team for the bravado and sheer celebration of mounting a show titled, Guns, in the current political environment. I was about to say ‘contentious’ – but there’s really nothing contentious (or new) about it. Guns are are an ineluctable...Read More »


‘Are the stars out tonight?’ Harmonic convergence for a new art season

The beginning of another arts and culture season also marks a point where we really start to feel the impact of everything we’ve been experiencing over the preceding orbital/calendar year and start to take its measure. Events move swiftly; you can feel as if you’re stepping onto a speeding train...Read More »


Sexy Beast: A Benefit for Planned Parenthood Los Angeles

It’s the first post-Labor Day week-end and we’re approaching mid-September, which means one thing in Los Angeles (and New York, too, I guess – as we head into Fashion Week) – the start of the new arts and entertainment season. LACMA just unveiled an elegant exhibition of the crème de...Read More »


No More Parties In L.A. – Kanye West Crashes Into the Art World

I have a confession. At some point between Graduation and 2010 or 2011 (whenever he last recorded with Katy Perry), I lost track of Kanye West. Yes, of course I was peripherally aware of what he might be doing, whether in terms of his own planned record releases or his...Read More »


Home Is Where the Horror Is – Guillermo del Toro (Part 1)

We live very close to horror in the early 21st century. But then I wonder how much has really changed since, say, the 1940s (although the northern 75 percent or so of the North American continent was relatively at peace during the 20th century up to that time). The 19th...Read More »


The exhausted, inexhaustible, and eternal city – GRIND

Roughly a generation separates me from artist-curator Joshua Nathanson; but we clearly live in very similar moments in very similar cities. (My understanding is that he is based here in L.A., but he was born in Washington, D.C. and studied in New York prior to grad school so there’s definitely...Read More »


Apocalypse On the “Miracle Mile”: Steve De Jarnatt’s Movie Milestone

In the late 1970s there was a running joke surrounding Francis Ford Coppola’s much anticipated, but disaster-plagued and seemingly endless Vietnam War-as-American Heart of Darkness project, Apocalypse Now. While Michael Cimino’s Heaven’s Gate was already bleeding United Artists of money, Apocalypse Now seemed to bleed time. ‘Apocalypse When?’ peers, press...Read More »


The Embedded Fragment – Gronk’s Theater of Paint

Long before I had a clue about art, or at least modern or contemporary art, my older brother and I would occasionally be dropped off at twin fantasylands on either side of Central Park that, to our five and six year-old brains, were like complementary sides of what was really...Read More »


Jorge Gutierrez and Mexrrissey: Crossing Borders and Reinventing Culture – or How Mexican Art and Music Saved My Life Again

After a week that seemed to confirm everyone’s worst expectations for the planet, our dubious species, and its cratering political structures (to say nothing of crumbling infrastructure), it seemed almost miraculous to close on a note that, if it didn’t exactly diminish our pessimism, at least offered a few moments...Read More »


The Transcendental Minimalist: Agnes Martin

So I’m at brunch at Figaro (on Vermont) with two of my best (and one of my oldest) friends from out-of-town; and we’re actually sitting outside on the hottest day of the year (I’m imagining the wait-staff making bets on my imminent demise). There’s a very tea-in-the-Sahara vibe –...Read More »


Strike the Pose: Getting high inside high fashion from way outside – the art of Helen Rae

The art world has been revisiting issues of identity and identity politics in recent months (see, e.g., the current issue of ArtForum), which had their own ‘second wave’ in the late 20th century borne largely upon the convergence of conceptualism, especially in its multi-media manifestations, and feminism (as both feminist...Read More »


Disappearing in Public (and Private): Ramiro Gomez's On Melrose and Domestic Scenes

While much of the focus on Ramiro Gomez’s new show at Charlie James Gallery, and Gomez’s work generally, has been on labor – as subject and focal point; as a device re-framing public discourse around the subject; as the un- or under-addressed component of its surround or background...Read More »


Disappearing In Public (and Private): Ramiro Gomez’s On Melrose and Domestic Scenes

While much of the focus on Ramiro Gomez’s new show at Charlie James Gallery, and Gomez’s work generally, has been on labor – as subject and focal point; as a device re-framing public discourse around the subject; as the un- or under-addressed component of its surround or background...Read More »


A Little Night Music: 21c Liederabend, Op. L.A.

So much of contemporary art and music is preoccupied with a space, both physical and cerebral, between layers, liminal boundaries – the space between potential and actuality; the ‘what-if’ imponderables of what-was, what-might-have-been, and what-might-be. It’s both archaeological and futuristic. We’re peeling away layers of (terrestrial) crust, even as we’re...Read More »


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