Jacob Butts at Raid Projects: “Some Stuff I’ve Made”

Hello people of what is currently the valley of the Santa Ana condition. Clear dry hot unsettled air abounds in LA today and the light hollows out one’s eyes. Welcome.

If you care to look and ask yourself questions, if you want to see a show that includes humor, biting social and political commentary, lovely attention to detail and to materials, wit like Ogden Nash (for a Nash reference think Allan Kaprow or Dan Graham in your grandad’s slippers drinking scotch and writing limericks), if you want to be quietly surprised and then completely pleased – go see Jacob Butts’ show at Raid Projects.

Butts’ received his MFA from Claremont in 2009 and an MA at Sacramento State in 2006. “Some Stuff I’ve Made,” his initial post graduate presentation of work and ideas had me imagining a dream where Tony Feher and Wayne White were mooshed together into one recent possibly manic-depressive grad; living in the studio, alone too often, drinking too much and making work.

By the way, and very pertinent here: Butts tells me that for his education at Sac State he was required to attend to the masters – the Greeks through the Enlightenment and then onward to German philosophy and French Critical Theory – all in a way that wasn’t offered in grad school. This shows in his work.

Good grief I’ve misplaced the checklist that I picked up. You’ll get the idea from the images anyway.

Jacob Butts, "Bruise" bricks, paint and felt. Photo by Jason Ramos.

Jacob Butts, "Bruise" bricks, paint and felt. Photo by Jason Ramos.

Jacob Butts, and I'm not even going to try. Now I can't recall whether the titles follow the text or not.

Jacob Butts, and I'm not even going to try. Now I can't recall whether the titles follow the text or not.

The above piece, which I’ll call “Not All My Fault” has favorite glasses, broken. And of course it is not all Jacob Butts’ fault.

Much of the work in this show has Jacob deflecting fault – on his own behalf of on the behalf of an imaginary friend for whom he makes alibis. Making art and passing off the blame for it. Hmm. Do you wonder if Butts sidesteps the credit for this work, too? I wonder how much room there is between credit and blame, between failure and its opposite… whatever that might be.

This image wants to show the sickly swelling of Jacob's mottled blue "Bruise."

This image wants to show the sickly swelling of Jacob's mottled blue "Bruise."

Although he is very invested in the explorations of shame and failure and blame and guilt and fear, the situations Butts uses to illustrate his journey do not seem autobiographical at all.

You should make an appointment to see this show at Raid. Perhaps you never get that close to downtown, or you never travel north of Chinatown or this is just too far east of eden for your comfort. Whatever. Get on a fwy – the 5 in either direction depending on your place of departure, the 101, the 110, or simply hop on Alameda to Main Street. Stop at the Brewery, 602 Moulton Ave near Main St. and Avenue 20, park and go inside.

Oh! Email [email protected] to get in.

"Blue Moon" of which there is much more, just you wait! This is a sweet, honest and heartbreaking sculpture. That I chose to read it as also political may be my own choice - but that is my luxury as one who looks.

"Blue Moon" of which there is much more, just you wait! This is a sweet, honest and heartbreaking sculpture. That I chose to read it as also political may be my own choice - but that is my luxury as one who looks.

Nice use of wax. In a half-assed attempt by the artist to waterproof styrofoam. Um, have you looked at the ocean Jacob? Styrofoam IS waterproof. I like the colors and the material though.

Nice use of wax. In a half-assed attempt by the artist to waterproof styrofoam. Um, have you looked at the ocean Jacob? Styrofoam IS waterproof. I like the colors and the material though.

This armature, or "Firmament" in "There Went the Sun Doo Bee Doo Doo" made me think at once of a picket fence, princess pink, Rietveld and the Russian Constructivists.

This armature, or "Firmament" in "There Went the Sun Doo Bee Doo Doo" made me think at once of a picket fence, princess pink, Rietveld and the Russian Constructivists.

'Jaws' quote, and a lot of 'J' bottles.

'Jaws' quote, and a lot of 'J' bottles.

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