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Notes on Looking, April 29, 2010

Hello friends and Fellows, Let’s call this issue of Notes “An Occasional (but hardly comprehensive) Guide to LA Artists Who are Spreading the Good Word by Showing Their Work In Various National and International Venues” If I miss something you know about don’t get crabby, just shoot me an email and smile at my ignorance. (Note that the color purple in the Notes on Looking color key reference guide denotes Olympian superiority of quality and superhuman conceptual and aesthetic powers, of LA artists that is. Cheers world!) Tam Van Tran, Mind is a Pure Expanse of Space at Anthony Meier, 1969 California St., San Francisco, 94109 Closing May 14. Amanda Ross-Ho, Somebody Stop Me, Mitchell-Innes and Nash, 534 W. 26th St., New York, 10001. Closing May 1st so hurry. By the way, nice mention of Amanda in the current New Yorker.  And no news on that website project of hers. (The hardest working artist in Los Angeles is clearly spending more time making work than typing code and uploading images.) For more Ross-Ho relentlless-osity here’s an interesting interview btwn Ross-Ho and Elad Lassry posted in Bomb Magazine in Feb 2010. Chris Lipomi, Interactive Visual History Compression (The Ks),  Michael Lett Gallery,  478 Karangahape Rd., PO BOx 68287 Newton, Auckland, New Zealand, 1145 Closing May 15. In this show Lipomi continues his typological survey of contemporary art using the alphabet as his organizing principle. (And why not? It’s as valid an organizing method as abstraction or figuration or… anything else.) Alice Könitz, Kieran Kinney, Martin Kippenberger, Michael Kreber, George Kuchar and himself Chris (k)Lipomi all have work in the show....

Notes on Looking, April 22, 2010 (w/Prince Poppycock links updated to Official Poppycock sites)

Hello friends and Fellows, If all the excitement in all the world were packed into one place and time it would be last Saturday and Sunday in LA, cross my heart and hope to die. Starting at the end and then circling back around to the beginning: David and I attended Mateo Tannatt’s performance Konzert at Marc Foxx Gallery on Sunday evening. (As I type I’m listening to an excerpt of composer Ryan Tanaka’s Konzert #1/String Quartet #7 as well as his String Quartet #6 – click on Recent Works to hear these and more.) I’m loving the recording and loving also my memory of performer John Quale (I offer you more and more recent info on Quale here at his Prince Poppycock site) as he created before our eyes the role of a glamourous, self-posessed, thoughtful… hobo with the voice of an angel. Quale is “one of those disastrously beautiful boys who turn the heads of women and men in the street…” and “…that we call androgynous when we mean that he’s beautiful before he is anything else, including male or female.” (Quoting on male beauty cultural critic and perfume philosopher Tania Sanchez from her review of Caron’s Le Troisiéme Homme in the ground-breaking text Perfumes.) Performances in art galleries sometimes can be confounding and require more patience than bring pleasure. Here the combination of John Quale’s Smiths / Thin White Duke era David Bowie inspired pop vocalising and Ryan Tanaka’s somewhat Bartokian quartet beautifully played by Chris Votek (cello), Melinda Rice (violin), Yvette Holzwarth (violin), and Andrew McIntosh (viola) came alive (balletically? in a mid-twentieth century Broadway...

Notes on Looking, April 15, 2010

Hello friends and Fellows, I missed you last week. La Cienega galleries in Culver City, playing follow the leader with big boys Blum and Poe, had a Friday night opening on April 7th. Eek! What can it mean? Um, probably nothing; but I favor exclamatory openings, even pointless ones. Where would the marketplace be without manufactured excitement? Retrogradiato cruciata refers to the structure one uses for composing a sestina, a complex poem form 12th Century troubadours employed to delight and woo maidens. (Apparently Medieval maidens were charmed by abstruse mathematical formulae sung by handsome young men in tight, bright hose. Well sure.) Briefly, the form requires 6 six line stanzas completed by a three line envoi passage. Written in blank verse, the final word of each of the first six lines must repeat formulaically as endings in the following stanzas and then again in the envoi where two previously final words appear in each line. Whew! Greg Wilken at Country Club Friday night screened his film Retrogradiato Cruciata on the generously wide-screen living room wall of Schindler’s Buck House, employing the 12th Century compositional structure with film clips and sound in a film that utilizes found, archival clips and lovely 16mm films that Wilken has shot on his travels around the world. Wilken’s choices include shots of libraries and archives, pedestrians negotiating rainy city streets, fantastical glowing underwater creatures, lightning storms in the tropics, film of the Buck House itself and other architectural spaces, each clip carefully and beautifully demonstrating the contrast and repetition that exists among color, pattern, shape and structure in our visual world. All of this...

Notes on Looking, April 1, 2010

Hello friends and Fellows! Sorry I’m late this week but all of us here in Notes on Looking Land are a little under the weather with a cold. Even typing hurts my head. Tylenol, lots of fluids and brevity, that’s my plan. William Wegman, Some Tricks at Marc Selwyn. Go. Go again. Again: go! If you must cheat, the entire show seems to be on Selwyn’s website but then you’ll miss the sweet and vital relationship that develops between a person and a photographic image printed at human-scale. This show has a short run for one of Selwyn’s shows: March 27 through April 24. So hurry! (God, one of Selwyn’s shows late last year seemed to last forever! Every time I checked the site or drove by, there it was. Why so brief with great work like this?) I’m embarrassed to admit that I wasted valuable years thinking of Wegman only in the context of cute dog pictures. Fortunately, we who are ignorant can learn. In their last few permanent collection shows MOCA has featured examples of Wegman’s early conceptual photography, and I particularly remember looking at See Saw an Crow, two spot-on simple tricks that keep bouncing around in my head long after. Since then I’m able to use my now-opened eyes to really look at what’s going on in the later work. Selwyn has excellent, really excellent photographs spanning the period from 1972 through 2008 in this current show. (By the way, thanks once again MOCA for teaching me by showing me.) All my rambling says nothing without seeing Wegman’s amazing work. Which fortunately can speak quite...