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June 8, 2012 | By Christopher Knight, Los Angeles Times Art Critic
CHICAGO - Roy Lichtenstein's 1963 painting "Whaam!" shows an American fighter pilot shooting down an enemy aircraft in a dramatic explosion of comic-book color. Among his most familiar works, it turns up in the third room of a wonderfully revealing retrospective at the Art Institute of Chicago. But the painting looks very different than it has before - deeper, richer, more bracingly complex. That's one sign of a worthwhile show. "Roy Lichtenstein: A Retrospective" is huge - more than 100 paintings, plus sculptures and drawings, spanning half a century.
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ENTERTAINMENT
April 11, 2014 | By Christopher Knight, Los Angeles Times Art Critic
Unless one is Native American, getting a grasp of complex Native American spiritual cosmologies is not easy. And that distinction, which might be called a quality of profound otherness, is in essence what drives a fascinating show recently opened at the Autry National Center of the American West in Griffith Park. It's a story of survival, of a will to endure in the face of crushing opposition. And it is a story told through beads. "Floral Journey: Native North American Beadwork" might sound like a simple decorative display of ornamented handiwork.
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ENTERTAINMENT
April 4, 2014 | By Sharon Mizota
At 1301PE, German artist Jan Albers uses industrial materials - chiefly polystyrene, the stuff of packing peanuts - to create textured wall pieces that evoke dramatic, craggy landscapes or tortured, ravaged flesh. Often colored an unnatural shade of magenta or a sickly beige, these chaotic surfaces are contained in paradoxically clean geometric shapes encased, Petri dish-like, in clear Plexiglas. At first they seem a bit corporate, the kind of visually engaging but innocuous abstraction that adorns bank lobbies.
ENTERTAINMENT
April 8, 2014 | By David Pagel
At a time when museums seem to be torn between blockbusters and specialized scholarship, it's refreshing to come across "In the Land of Snow: Buddhist Art of the Himalayas" at the Norton Simon Museum, a no-nonsense exhibition that spares the bells and whistles to make a strong case for the virtues of amateurism. Not that long ago, before America was a nation of over-professionalized experts, pretension was something to be made fun of and it was OK to be an amateur. The word's Latin root is "lover.
NEWS
January 17, 2013 | By Christopher Knight, Times art critic
Jason Meadows' new work at Marc Foxx Gallery gamely attempts to engage pressing social and political situations today. Three large recent sculptures and a painted wall relief try different tactics with uneven results. Least successful is “Justice League,” which collides red and blue folded fans alluding to the flying capes of cartoon superheroes. They stand atop a precariously tilting pedestal of the sort on which a politician's conventional statue might be erected. The adaptation of grandiose red-state, blue-state, right-left political conflict is too schematic to be effective, while an implied narrative of volatile collapse seems overly melodramatic.
NEWS
January 17, 2013 | By Christopher Knight, Times art critic
Mysticism isn't new to art, having prompted (among other things) the emergence of pure abstraction into the Modernist lexicon more than a century ago. At Michael Kohn Gallery, a group exhibition of about 30 paintings, sculptures, video, prints and mixed media works from the past 50 years by 14 artists shows that it's alive and well today - albeit with a suitably altered consciousness. “Into the Mystic” takes its subject loosely, proposing that ultimate insight consists of contemplative, intuitive knowledge, not merely facts.
ENTERTAINMENT
July 5, 2012 | By Holly Myers
The premise of Takehito Koganezawa's multi-channel video installation “Paint it Black, and Erase” is simple enough. Positioning a camera beneath a pane of glass loaded with wet, black pigment - an allusion to Hans Namuth's famous film of Jackson Pollock painting on glass - the Tokyo-born, Berlin-based artist made quick, continuous drawings in the pigment with his hands for precisely 111 minutes and 11 seconds. He repeated the exercise four times, to create four separate videos, three of which are installed as adjacent, wall-sized projections at Christopher Grimes Gallery.
ENTERTAINMENT
November 29, 2012 | By David Pagel
Caravaggio painted people like nobody's business. He was even better with darkness, making ink-black shadows seem to open onto infinity. His best paintings combine the riveting intensity of quickly glimpsed details with the spine-tingling scariness of dark alleys and dimly cellars. In his hands, these everyday places are often more terrifying than the void. Nancy Grossman does something similar with her sculptures of human heads. Mounted on stout pedestals and made of finely carved wood and meticulously cast porcelain, her realistic heads are lifesize.
ENTERTAINMENT
March 13, 2013 | By David Pagel
In a new body of work at Mark Moore Gallery, Las Vegas painter David Ryan intensifies the impact of his suave abstractions by roughing them up. This change leaves the goofy gracefulness for which Ryan is known in the background, bringing, front and center, a scrappiness that is nothing if not electrifying, its pleasures jolting and eye-opening.   Much remains the same in Ryan's multipart paintings. Each consists of four layers of synthetic panel the artist has laser-cut into odd shapes, spray-painted each a single, sizzling color and then pieced them together, leaving gaps that reveal otherwise hidden strata.
ENTERTAINMENT
October 22, 2012 | By Leah Ollman
Nancy Haynes carries the torch of postwar abstraction into the present with breathtaking sensual intelligence. Her nine recent paintings at George Lawson are modestly scaled (the largest is 28 x 34 inches), intimate and luminous. Most of each canvas is occupied by a chromatic or tonal progression, a broad band in which one color morphs into another, or a light shade grows dense and dark. These smooth, meticulous gradations are bordered, top and bottom, by a sort of behind-the-scenes peek at the seamless illusion: discrete, short brushstrokes that feather off quickly.
ENTERTAINMENT
April 4, 2014 | By Sharon Mizota
Lew Thomas' first U.S. solo exhibition in almost 20 years focuses on work from the 1970s, creating a kind of bridge between the early days of Conceptual art and the 1980s “Pictures” generation. In this sense, the content and style of the show at Cherry and Martin is familiar; more surprising is the way Thomas' deadpan sense of humor comes through. “34 Avenue Between Geary and Clement” from 1972 is a series of photographs of every building on a San Francisco block. It's urban density's answer to Ed Ruscha's 1966 “Every Building on the Sunset Strip.” Elsewhere, Thomas' work aligns with that of artists like Sherrie Levine and Louise Lawler, who shifted art's focus to the context surrounding the work.
ENTERTAINMENT
April 4, 2014 | By Sharon Mizota
At 1301PE, German artist Jan Albers uses industrial materials - chiefly polystyrene, the stuff of packing peanuts - to create textured wall pieces that evoke dramatic, craggy landscapes or tortured, ravaged flesh. Often colored an unnatural shade of magenta or a sickly beige, these chaotic surfaces are contained in paradoxically clean geometric shapes encased, Petri dish-like, in clear Plexiglas. At first they seem a bit corporate, the kind of visually engaging but innocuous abstraction that adorns bank lobbies.
ENTERTAINMENT
April 4, 2014 | By Sharon Mizota
All the world may once have been a stage, but it is certainly now a screen. In her solo gallery debut at Charlie James, L.A. artist Valerie Green gives us a smartphone eye's view of the sublime: the sky above our heads. The nine images in the series “Look Up” were taken through the moon roof of the artist's car, adorned with the phone's screen protector, a slip of plastic that would be transparent were it not for the marks and scratches of restless fingers. The skies range from gray and rain-spotted to blissfully blue, but the screen protector creates a ghostly image of the phone itself, something like a self-portrait.
ENTERTAINMENT
March 31, 2014 | By Christopher Knight, Los Angeles Times Art Critic
Last fall, when the big traveling retrospective of Los Angeles artist Mike Kelley (1954-2012) opened at MoMA PS1, the Museum of Modern Art's outpost in Long Island City, N.Y., the show looked smashing. Largely that was due to the intrinsic quality of Kelley's diverse work in a staggeringly wide range of media - sculpture, painting, drawing, installation, video, performance, mosaic - plus various mash-ups of just about all of them. Partly, though, it was serendipity. PHOTOS: 'Mike Kelley' exhibit A primary subject of Kelley's art is the way familiar social institutions of daily life - especially school and church, but also including art museums and other representatives of authoritative points of view - inevitably conspire to constrain, pressure and sometimes even warp the very adherents they seek to console and liberate.
ENTERTAINMENT
March 6, 2014 | By Christopher Knight, Los Angeles Times Art Critic
SANTA BARBARA - Michelle Stuart and Alice Aycock are very different artists. Stuart is a kind of cartographer, mapping not just the land but our intimate experience of it. Aycock is more literary, transforming familiar themes like the intrusion of technology into nature and society's spiritual discontents into sculptures that are sometimes participatory. However, the juxtaposition of two sizable, retrospective exhibitions of their drawings at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art is fortuitous.
ENTERTAINMENT
February 21, 2014 | By David Pagel
Art often gets talked about in terms of the freedom it delivers - to those who make it and to those who look at it. For Brian Porray, the idea of freedom is too high-minded, idealized and easily corrupted by zealous self-righteousness. Insubordination is what the young, Las Vegas-born, L.A.-based painter understands, inside and out. It pours forth in torrents from his electrifying exhibition at Western Project, a no-holds-barred carnival of optical kinetics, whiplash spatial shifts and head-spinning highjinks that explain why some see Porray as one of the best of his generation.
NEWS
October 10, 2012
The opening of Regen Projects' impressive 20,000-square-foot building on an unlikely block of Santa Monica Boulevard in Hollywood tilts the city's always peripatetic gallery scene eastward a notch. The new space, beautifully designed by architect Michael Maltzan, provides a large, light-filled main gallery and several smaller auxiliary spaces that can accommodate a wide range of work. That range is on full display in the inaugural exhibition, which surveys recent paintings, sculptures and installations by 32 of the 36 artists in the gallery's stable, from Doug Aitken to Andrea Zittel.
ENTERTAINMENT
February 21, 2014 | By David Pagel
Scott Reeder's first solo show in Los Angeles does double duty, two times over. At 356 S. Mission Road, the multipurpose extravaganza is both an exhibition of big abstract paintings and the set for “Moon Dust,” a DIY film that the Detroit-based artist has been working on for eight years. Reeder's movie is made with amateur actors on a set that is more "Captain Kangaroo" than "Star Wars. " It takes place on a lunar resort that has seen better days and looks as if it's going out of business.
ENTERTAINMENT
February 20, 2014 | By David Pagel
A half-century ago, Andy Warhol named his studio the Factory so that people would stop thinking of contemporary art as an esoteric enterprise pursued by lone nuts in lonely garrets, and start thinking of it as an intrinsic part of everyday life - no more mysterious, nor difficult to enjoy, than the goods served up by modern industry. For Warhol, art lost too much power when it got swaddled in sappy fantasies more appropriate to 19th century Romanticism than 20th century reality. Those saccharine fantasies get resuscitated in “Oscar Murillo: Distribution Center.” The inaugural exhibition of the Mistake Room, Murillo's first solo show in Los Angeles wraps Warhol's unsentimental vision of art's place in life in the kind of naivete that would make him cringe.
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