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Picture as Primary Object – Sarah Charlesworth: Doubleworld

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As we move forward into 2018, we recognize a bit more concretely how our experiences in 2017 and immediately prior influenced and began to reshape our perception of the larger (and certainly the political) world. This is nothing new: a radical cultural change (or its culmination) will do that –...Read More »

Imitation of Life: Really? (group show curated by Beth Rudin DeWoody)

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Picasso knew what he was up against – literally. He pasted it into his art, more or less inventing collage in the process. He (along with a few of his other Cubist colleagues) also played with trompe l’oeil, but he understood this wasn’t the same thing – a device rather...Read More »

Walton Ford’s Natural History for California Dreamers

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I’ve always thought the human preoccupation with borders and perimeters had more to do with its relationship with animal wildlife (not that humans have ever exactly been ‘tame’). I realize I’m speaking a bit off the top of my head – I’ve never done any serious research into this. But...Read More »

Season of the Witch (1) – Hecate

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I’m thinking about family albums right now – not something that comes to mind very often (and now I’m wondering if this is the first time I’ve ever considered this). I suppose this could also be something captured and stored digitally – but for some reason, it doesn’t seem like...Read More »

Engender (group show curated by Joshua Friedman) - Kohn Gallery

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What are the contours of gender? Is there a range of conditions that determine gender along a curve or spectrum we can visualize or somehow represent, measure or analyze? Is there a focal point we can identify that will turn it in one direction or another? Most of us are...Read More »

Coming Down From Machu Picchu – or – the Afterglow

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So I was on the phone with my pal Mary the other day and we were talking about how, between our respective work deadlines and obligations, and taking care of our quadruped loved ones, we essentially never went out anymore. “I mean it’s not as if we’ll ever catch up...Read More »

Moving Shadows, Constant Stars – Young Caesar

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Young Caesar is born of a certain moment – a definably Californian, forward- and global-looking moment. In Lou Harrison’s music and the awkwardly framed conceits of its libretto by Robert Gordon, there is yearning, rather than the ‘ambition’ we might associate with the subject: yearning for an idyll of serenity,...Read More »

Oedipus Wrecked – The Town Hall Affair

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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

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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

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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

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AWOL" width="300" height="207" srcset=" 300w, 768w, 600w, 150w, 451w, 950w" sizes="(max-width: 300px) 100vw, 300px" title="AWOL" />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...Read More »

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

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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

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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

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AWOL" width="232" height="300" srcset=" 232w, 768w, 792w, 600w, 150w, 451w, 1000w" sizes="(max-width: 232px) 100vw, 232px" title="AWOL" />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...Read More »

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

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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

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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

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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)

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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

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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

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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 »

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