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

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AWOL" width="245" height="300" srcset=" 245w, 150w, 451w, 500w" sizes="(max-width: 245px) 100vw, 245px" title="AWOL" />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...Read More »

The Transcendental Minimalist: Agnes Martin

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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

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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

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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.

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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 »

“Distracted Mourning” – Guy Richards Smit’s Mountain of Skulls

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These notes are for Marilyn.

                                                      “Let’s talk of graves, of worms, and epitaphs….”

William Shakespeare, Richard II, III:2

I woke up this morning thinking about death – my own and others’ (including a friend who may be known to readers of...Read More »

Between Shadow and Illumination – Robert Mapplethorpe: The Perfect Medium

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Patti Smith (1975), gelatin silver print; courtesy The Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation

Fresh (if that’s the word for it) from the carbon cycle conundrums posed by...Read More »

“Everything is connected….” – Changing Circumstances: Looking at the Future of the Planet –

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AWOL is in Houston this evening – with official leave this time (at least in theory, still leaving no accounting for her invisibility the last two or three weeks in Los Angeles) – at the 2016 FotoFest Biennial. The theme of this year’s Biennial is Changing Circumstances: Looking at the...Read More »

James Welling: Choreograph – Regen Projects, through March 26th

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It is impossible to do justice to a show of the scope, ambition and sheer beauty of James Welling’s current exhibition of recent work at Regen Projects in a single blog post. But it would be no less impossible and even irresponsible to let it go without some...Read More »

“Let them eat cake and charge it please and thank you very much.” - Break Bread at Think Tank Gallery

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We don’t ordinarily think of pastel colors as carrying the power or intensity of the deepest, most vibrant primaries, especially red; or for that matter a dense black or sharp black-and-white contrast. But pastels can have great associative and mnemonic power, in many instances as distinct and intense as that...Read More »

Various Small Fairs – Art Los Angeles Contemporary, 2016

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I think we can all agree that there are too many art fairs. We could almost stretch that to say there are too many fairs, period. We generate too many products – most of them of an astonishingly brief life-span, and worth still less of anyone’s attention; and consume far...Read More »

The Man Who Fell to Earth (Part 3 of 3)

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“We like dancing and we look divine.”

David Bowie, “Rebel Rebel”

from Diamond Dogs, 1974

Finally – Bowie. Forever Bowie. “Peace, peace! he is not dead, he doth not sleep….” I want to quote Mick Jagger (to be very specific about it) quoting Shelley (from Adonais –...Read More »

“Some Make You Sing….” (Part 2 of 3)

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Something kind of hit me today

I looked at you and wondered if you saw things my way

. . .    

We’re taking it hard all the time

Why don’t we pass it by?


David Bowie, “We Are the Dead”

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“Fill Your Heart….” (Part 1 of 3)

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“If we can sparkle, he may land tonight….”

David Bowie, “Starman”

(from The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars, 1972)

Joy to the World: My Holiday Season in a Nutshell

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Happy New Year, dear reader(s). I know I was living up to the blog title just a bit excessively in the last month of this just past year; but I wasn’t just staying at home. First of all, there was Norma – the Los Angeles Opera’s production of Bellini’s...Read More »

Trust the Momentum – Karen Finley: Love Field

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If there was a central flaw or fracture to Karen Finley’s The Jackie Look, it had mostly to do with a lack of clarity of its dramatic objective and trajectory. Finley seemed to be trying to both deconstruct an icon (or more precisely its refractions and reflections in a morphing...Read More »

Karen Finley’s "The Jackie Look"

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AWOL" width="300" height="248" srcset=" 300w, 150w, 451w, 511w" sizes="(max-width: 300px) 100vw, 300px" title="AWOL" />There are probably as many words written about the ‘Jackie look’ by now as there are actual images documenting it. A quick scan of just a few of these images taken...Read More »

The Idea of North / The Disease of Humanity

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The North is very much on our collective minds lately – especially in the wake of recent news that TransCanada has suspended its application procedure to build the 1200-mile Keystone-XL pipeline to transport tar sands-extracted oil across the U.S. Plains states to the Gulf of Mexico – at least temporarily...Read More »

Making the “Un-Private” Public – and Urban

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In many ways, Monday evening’s “Un-Private Collection” panel/conversation at Disney Hall, featuring The Broad Museum’s principal architect, Elizabeth Diller, of the Diller, Scofidio + Renfro firm of architects, and moderated by the distinguished architecture critic, Paul Goldberger, was the capstone of the series – certainly to date, and possibly for...Read More »

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