Monday, September 10, 2018

On Larry Bell

In the late 1950s and early 1960s, the art world underwent a double schism. On one hand, artists began to embrace commercial imagery and iconography in Pop Art, and on the other hand art was reduced to the simple and primary shapes in Minimalism. In New York, Minimalism began reducing art into basic forms and shapes. Artists such as Donald Judd and Carl Andre were concerned with creating art from primary shapes to convey architecture, like Judd, or poetry, like Andre. Around the same time, artists on the west coast, Southern California in particular, began to experiment by constructing space  in the use of light aptly named "Light and Space." Larry Bell was one of those artist who embraced minimalist visual principles while using glass, light, perception and form. Larry Bell "Complete Cubes," currently on view at Hauser and Wirth, Los Angeles, examines an aspect of his work that combines the physicality of minimalism in the use of the physical cube, while adhering to the application of West Coast Light and Space principles that places his work in the context of other artists like James Turrell, Robert Irwin, and Douglas Wheeler.

While looking at the cubes, one must ask, "What makes Larry Bell a Light and Space artists?" The cubes, strewn around the gallery, come in different sizes. With few exceptions, most of the works are titled "Untitled." Large and small cubes mingle with each other. Do not let the simplicity of the cubes fool you. Each are physical and solid. However, the cubes are constructed in a way that reveal their secrets. Viewing Bell's cubes is not for the passive. Each of the cube's faces are constructed of glass. The glass is treated in various ways, including darkened, stained, cut and shaped into forms within and outside the of the cubes' faces. To understand is to walk around and circumvent each object to experience the effect. Motion creates emotion as the viewer moves and positions the views of the faces on each cube. The glass creates a translucent architecture; an environment within each cube. The degree and extent of translucency uses light and shadow to create multiple effects. The play on geometry is about addition and subtraction, accession and removal, formation and de-formation, and ultimately creation and destruction of the structures within and outside each. Each cube uses the surrounding light and dark as means of studying these various states of formation and its opposition.

Larry Bell's cubes provide a bridge between the Light and Space artists of the West Coast, and the Minimalists of New York City. However, recent development of his cube works suggest a departure from the physical by emphasizing the translucent and ephemeral. The most recent, titled "RWB in Venice Fog" is an installation of three room sized cubes, each comprising of a central color structure surrounded by a translucent container. The colors in each sculpture are blurred; clouded within a container to create an ethereal effect. Bell seems to convey the natural effect of fog upon the basic colors of red, white, and blue. The three cubes dematerialize the solidity and structure of earlier works. It is in the most recent works that Bell harmonizes with his fellow Light and Space artists. The survey of Bell's cubes at Hauser and Wirth, Los Angeles examines the development that demonstrates the emergence an art that is physical in its presence, but disposes of passivity and utilizes light, shadow, form and translucence.



Larry Bell "Complete Cubes"
Hauser Wirth
901 East 3rd Street
Los Angeles, CA

On view through September 23, 2018.

Open Tuesday – Sunday
11 am – 6 pm; Closed Mondays


Larry Bell
Cube 59
2007
Glass coated with inconel and silicon monoxide and clear glass
38.1 x 38.1 x 38.1 cm / 15 x 15 x 15 in
101.6 x 38.1 x 38.1 cm / 40 x 15 x 15 in (pedestal)
Courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth


Larry Bell
Cube 29
2008
Glass coated with inconel and silicon monoxide
30.5 x 30.5 x 30.5 cm / 12 x 12 x 12 in
101.7 x 30.5 x 30.5 cm / 34 3/4 x 12 x 12 in (pedestal)
Courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth
Photo: Matthew Kroening


Installation view, ‘Larry Bell. Complete Cubes’, Hauser & Wirth Los Angeles, 2018
© Larry Bell
Courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth
Photo: Mario de Lopez

Larry Bell
Eclipse
1965
Vacuum coated and etched glass, chrome plated brass
31.1 x 31.1 x 31.1 cm / 12 1/4 x 12 1/4 x 12 1/4 in
Courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth

Larry Bell
Untitled
1964
Vacuum coated glass and chrome plated metal
20.3 x 20.3 x 20.3 cm / 8 x 8 x 8 in
Courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth
Photo: Fredrik Nilsen

Larry Bell
Untitled
1985
Vacuum coated glass with chrome plated metal framing
26 x 26 x 26 cm / 10 1/4 x 10 1/4 x 10 1/4 in
Courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth

Installation view, ‘Larry Bell. Complete Cubes’, Hauser & Wirth Los Angeles, 2018
© Larry Bell
Courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth
Photo: Mario de Lopez

Installation view, ‘Larry Bell. Complete Cubes’, Hauser & Wirth Los Angeles, 2018
© Larry Bell
Courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth
Photo: Mario de Lopez

Installation view, ‘Larry Bell. Complete Cubes’, Hauser & Wirth Los Angeles, 2018
© Larry Bell
Courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth
Photo: Mario de Lopez

Installation view, ‘Larry Bell. Complete Cubes’, Hauser & Wirth Los Angeles, 2018
© Larry Bell
Courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth
Photo: Mario de Lopez

Larry Bell
Untitled
1964
Vacuum coated glass and chrome plated metal
20.3 x 20.3 x 20.3 cm / 8 x 8 x 8 in
Courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth
Photo: Fredrik Nilsen

Larry Bell
Bette and the Giant Jewfish
1963
Vacuum coated glass and chrome plated metal
42 x 42 x 42 cm / 16 1/2 x 16 1/2 x 16 1/2 in
Courtesy Private Collection, Massachusetts
Photo: Fredrik Nilsen

Larry Bell
Bette and the Giant Jewfish
1963
Vacuum coated glass and chrome plated metal
42 x 42 x 42 cm / 16 1/2 x 16 1/2 x 16 1/2 in
Courtesy Private Collection, Massachusetts
Photo: Fredrik Nilsen

Larry Bell
Untitled
1965
Vacuum coated glass
45.7 x 45.7 x 45.7 cm / 18 x 18 x 18 in
Courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth

Larry Bell
Untitled
1965
Vacuum coated glass
45.7 x 45.7 x 45.7 cm / 18 x 18 x 18 in
Courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth

Larry Bell
Eclipse
1965
Vacuum coated and etched glass, chrome plated brass
31.1 x 31.1 x 31.1 cm / 12 1/4 x 12 1/4 x 12 1/4 in
Courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth

Larry Bell
Eclipse
1965
Vacuum coated and etched glass, chrome plated brass
31.1 x 31.1 x 31.1 cm / 12 1/4 x 12 1/4 x 12 1/4 in
Courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth

Larry Bell
Untitled
1985
Vacuum coated glass with chrome plated metal framing
26 x 26 x 26 cm / 10 1/4 x 10 1/4 x 10 1/4 in
Courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth

Larry Bell
Untitled
1985
Vacuum coated glass with chrome plated metal framing
26 x 26 x 26 cm / 10 1/4 x 10 1/4 x 10 1/4 in
Courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth

Larry Bell
Untitled
1985
Vacuum coated glass with chrome plated metal framing
26 x 26 x 26 cm / 10 1/4 x 10 1/4 x 10 1/4 in
Courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth

Installation view, ‘Larry Bell. Complete Cubes’, Hauser & Wirth Los Angeles, 2018
© Larry Bell
Courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth
Photo: Mario de Lopez

Installation view, ‘Larry Bell. Complete Cubes’, Hauser & Wirth Los Angeles, 2018
© Larry Bell
Courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth
Photo: Mario de Lopez

Installation view, ‘Larry Bell. Complete Cubes’, Hauser & Wirth Los Angeles, 2018
© Larry Bell
Courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth
Photo: Mario de Lopez

Installation view, ‘Larry Bell. Complete Cubes’, Hauser & Wirth Los Angeles, 2018
© Larry Bell
Courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth
Photo: Mario de Lopez

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

"Liquid Dreams" a Summer Group Show at Ghebaly Gallery, Los Angeles, California

Liquid Dreams
featuring works by Kelly Akashi, Farah Atassi, Davide Balula, Genesis Belanger, Neïl Beloufa, Lila de Magalhaes, Dorian Gaudin, Sayre Gomez, Patrick Jackson, Koak, Joel Kyack, Mike Kuchar, Candice Lin, Gina Osterloh, Philip Pearlstein, and Kathleen Ryan


Heat
Here in the electric dusk your naked lover 
tips the glass high and the ice cubes fall against her teeth.
It’s beautiful Susan, her hair sticky with gin, 
Our Lady of Wet Glass-Rings on the Album Cover, 
streaming with hatred in the heat
as the record falls and the snake-band chords begin 
to break like terrible news from the Rolling Stones, 
and such a last light—full of spheres and zones. 
August,
            you’re just an erotic hallucination, 
just so much feverishly produced kazoo music, 
are you serious?—this large oven impersonating night, 
this exhaustion mutilated to resemble passion, 
the bogus moon of tenderness and magic 
you hold out to each prisoner like a cup of light?

Denis Johnson 
1995
On view until August 10, 2018

Ghebaly Gallery
2245 E Washington Blvd.,
Los Angeles, CA 90021
323.282.5187
http://ghebaly.com/
info@ghebaly.com

Summer Hours
Tuesday – Friday
10am – 6pm
Or by appointment

Candice Lin, The Tea Table, 2016. Etching. 24.75 x 29 inches.

Kathleen Ryan, Bush, 2018. Cast iron, brass, brass wire, steel wire, glass, amazonite, jasper, rose quartz, quartz, serpentine, onyx, agate, abalone shell, wood, seashells, plastic nuts. 89 x 40 x 32 inches.

Kelly Akashi, Be Me (Guarded Weed), 2018. Blown glass, copper wire, copper foill. 14 x 15 x 33 inches.

Philip Pearlstein, Model with Indonesian Mask, 2015. Oil on canvas. 36 x 40 inches.

Joel Kyack, That Green Balloon Can Be Anything You Want It To Be / Fuck You, 2018. LED monitor, cardboard box, Xerox print, blue tape, wood, video. 91 x 50 x 16 inches.

Kelly Akashi, Goo, 2018. Glass, bronze, steel. 7.5 x 3.75 x 4 inches.

Sayre Gomez, Trash Collector, 2018. Acrylic on canvas. 60 x 60 inches.

Patrick Jackson, ceramic works on display


Kelly Akashi, Lens with Woven Apparatus, 2018. Steel, glass, embroidery floss, rope. 58 x 36 x 4 inches.

Neïl Beloufa, Family Portrait 2017, 2018. Aluminum, resin, cardboard, wood, lights, electrical and USB outlet. 63 x 51 x 6 inches.

Lila de Magalhaes, Never Be, 2018. Velvet, thread, oil pastel. 55 x 41 inches.

Farah Atassi, Composition with Roses and Dominos, 2018. Oil and enamel on canvas. 39.5 x 51 inches.

Genesis Belanger, Juicy, 2018. Porcelain and stoneware. 7 x 6.5 x 7 inches.

Dorian Gaudin, Concrete Effort, 2018. Aluminum, rivets, chrome and paint. 47 x 32 x 13 inches.

Koak, Study in Heat (Motel), 2018. Acrylic, pastel, graphite and casein on stretched muslin. 15 x 12 inches




Monday, May 7, 2018

Thoughts on Being in the Art World Part 2: Curating the Curated Curator


Installation view of group show "Extent" curated by Jill Moniz: A Quotidian Project

Installation view of group show " Public Fiction's The Conscientious Objector" curated by Francesca Bertolotti-Bailey and Lauren Mackler at Schindler House, West Hollywood. 


What is curating? This is a question that needs to be addressed. Recently while watching television, I overheard the announcer state, "a special 3 course meal curated by a chef..." Another time I heard someone say that the towels were specially curated by a certain designer. It seems that word "curator" and the verb "curated" are being used so frequently that it's beginning to lose its meaning. It is the pathetic attempt of the popular culture to elevate everything and anything into art. Despite the Duchampian approach to the concept of art, not everything is art and art can't be everything. I believe that it's time to reclaim the word "curate." Being in the art world means more than just going to galleries and museums to see art. Seeing art is just one step in a million-mile journey. When you start curating, like writing, the engagement with art begins.

So, how can art reclaim the word "curate"? Art can reclaim the word "curate" by asserting meaning into the term. The word cannot be synonymous with word "select." When used in lieu of "select" then towels, meals, dresses, and anything else can be "curated" as if there is an art in the act of selection. The first time I curated a show, I did a studio visit with a prominent artist. This artist proceeded to inquire about what made me a curator. He stated that anyone can curate, but can you "curate" an exhibition where there is meaning to the what is being shown. From that point on I knew that being curator and curating an exhibition would require something more than choosing art that was "cool" or more than the reflection of my personal tastes. The practice of being a curator was about exploring the world and communicating ideas through art.      

When curating art, creating meaning and communicating ideas is essential to any art exhibition. A real curator is more than someone who selects "things" and places them on display. To curate a show, the curator looks at the art, then turns around and looks at the world. The exhibition reflects what is both seen and not seen. The ideas and concepts flow together when art and the artists are brought together to explore ideas, concepts, and the world around. Harold Szeesman recently was the subject of an exhibition at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles where the museum recreated a 1972 exhibition he curated based on the life of his grandfather, who was a hair dresser. Szeesman took a familial aspect of his life and communicated it as an idea where the boundaries between art, life, personal memory and history are blurred. This is just one example of many. Szeesman had the courage to look at his grandfather and created an exhibition that acted as both an homage and as a work of art. 

The curator is never afraid. As someone in the artworld, a curator looks at a lot of art. When you see an unknown street artist that you love, not only place him in your group show, but include him with artists who are MFA graduates from UCLA, and established artists represented by Gagosian, and any other artists who is within and outside the art world. Then, defend it. Don't back down from your decision. You are the curator, and you are bringing the ideas and concepts that have brought the artists into the exhibition. In 1992, the then curator for the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, Paul Schimmel organized "Helter Skelter: LA Art in the 1990s", looking at the state of art in Los Angeles at the turn of the millenium. Schimmel included Robert Williams, the founder of low brow art and Juxtapoz Art and Culture magazine, with artists like Mike Kelley, Charles Ray, and others that were part of the high art scene of Los Angeles. It was brilliant, because with the addition of Williams to exhibition one had a sense that art in Los Angeles was diverse and engaging on many levels. It reflected the zeitgeist of Los Angeles in the late 20th century. I have seen recently a curator included a cult to in a group show about  extraterrestrials and the occult. Curators take the risks and have no fear in the decisions that they make. This willingness adds to the meaning of what a curator does. 

There is definitely a crisis of meaning in the art world today. When too many art experiences focus on "selfies" and other exercises in narcissism, art looses its meaning and ends up communicating nothing. The reason so much can be "curated", because it's about the selector and not about the art. With a curator in the art world, it's about the art and the artists. The art and artists are central. Here's a test. Imagine a group show and take away the curator. Does the art as a whole and together retain it's meaning? Does the group continue to explore an idea, subject, concept, etc.? If the meaning remains, then the curator has accomplished its goal. If not, then the group is just a mere selection and nothing more. I am not completely dismissing a selection versus curating. A selected group of works can sometimes be just as telling as a curated group show.  In general, the truly curated brings meaning to the selected. 


Curating elevates the selection of artwork. It provides the viewer a narrative, or makes a statement through the art that the curator selects. Selecting for the sake of the selector  does not create meaning. I now return to the question at the beginning of this essay, how does the art world reclaim the word "curate" when it is used in every aspect of "selecting" with djs, designers, chefs, book sellers, etc? The word "curate" may have to run its course in the dialog. The current curator has to continue creating exhibitions and shows that say something greater than "this is me" and "this looks cool." Meaning, with elucidation, the work placed together communicates as a whole, and each individually something more than the surface and reflection. Continue to "curate" that communicates depth and the word will then be reclaimed.       

#curating #curate #curateversusselection #itsallabouttheart #communication

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Alex Katz: Cut Outs. Solo exhibition at Paul Kasmin Gallery New York



At its 27th Street space in New York, Paul Kasmin Gallery presents a solo exhibition of “Cut Outs” sculpture by the American artist Alex Katz. The show features four works depicting Katz' wife Ada and one larger multi-figure work. The works are realized in stainless or porcelain enamel coated steel. Alex Katz: Cut Outs. Solo exhibition at Paul Kasmin Gallery New York. 515 W. 27th Street, New York, March 8, 2018.

Video courtesy of vernissage TV
https://vernissage.tv/2018/04/04/alex-katz-cut-outs-solo-exhibition-at-paul-kasmin-gallery-new-york/

Sunday, March 18, 2018

"Annihilation" a solo show of works by Vhils, at Over the Influence Gallery, Los Angeles, California


"ANNIHILATION"
A SERIES OF NEW WORKS BY ALEXANDRE FARTO aka VHILS
OVER THE INFLUENCE GALLERY, LOS ANGELES
Opening reception: 22 February, 6-9pm
Exhibition dates: 23 February – 1 April, 2018

Street art can be problematic. The crisis in street art is as old as when it was first being recognized as a viable art within and outside the confines of the art world. As Rene Ricard in his seminal essay, "The Radiant Child" states when he asks the question "Where is Taki?", the problem is that of meaning. The challenge of a street artist is whether it can create work that is beyond the mere image or the expression that is created. Vhils  takes his art to another level by surpassing the image and exploring ideas outside the surface.  "Annihilation" is Lisbon-based artist Vhils, aka Alexandre Farto, first solo show at the new gallery Over the Influence, located next door to Hauser & Wirth, in Los Angeles, California.Vhils is interested in the interaction of humans with both the urban environment and with each other.

The urban environment is place where identities can be both made and destroyed. Thus the idea of "Annihilation" is explored as both a catalyst and preventer. Created from a variety of source materials – including carved wooden doors, acid-etched metal plates, styrofoam dioramas, hand-carved billboards, and newly developed concrete sculptures -, the work presented in "Annihilation" engages the viewer with the urban context. With a particular emphasis on the impact of the metropolitan way of life. "Annihilation" will share the stories of urbanites who give vitality into the densely populated urban epicenter, resonating and reverberating with the human experience of  living in a contemporary megalopolis. The faces in each work appear and disappear within the confines of the sculpture, collages, paintings and materials created for each object. The people shown are not identifiable, yet they are recognizable as people seen in the crowds and on the streets in the city. One of the most interesting works in the show are 3 video pieces set in Hong Kong, New York, and Los Angeles. The videos show the passing of people as they go about the everyday. Faces and people congregate and interact in an urban setting. The city is both a stage and conflict zone where interaction and relationships are negotiated within the confines of the city.      

By using the city as a stage and exploring both intricacies and interrelationships between those that engage  and in the urban environment, Vhils solo show is successful is going beyond the surface of the image. Vhils explores the idea that the metropolis is a place where identities are annihilated, but in the end the trace remains. The faces and the portraits that appear are traces of the people that seen everyday.    

Over The Influence, 
833 E 3rd Street, 
Los Angeles CA 90013
www.overtheinfluence.com
























On Larry Bell

In the late 1950s and early 1960s, the art world underwent a double schism. On one hand, artists began to embrace commercial imagery and ico...