All notes from Archives | Notes on Looking

Catherine Opie at Regen Projects

A seated woman embroiders in brilliant red on fabric that is held in a white crewel hoop; stitching, she listens to another woman whisper. This second woman is dressed in white, like the hoop, or frame. Her dress is a gown. I think of ballet secondly, but first I think of Philomela; for although she is whispering (to her sister?), this woman depicted by Catherine Opie is silent because she is in a photograph. The two reds in the stitching look very much like dripping blood, and also like a vagina. The fabric, which has a zipper, must be for a garment. The second large, figurative work in this exhibition shows two men. One man is laying in the other’s lap. Both these men are bearded, shirtless and unshod, both have body hair that looks untrimmed. One has freckles and the other has a tan line at his shirtsleeves. Although posed, the physical presence of the men, of their bodies, is natural and unaffected. The man laying is looking up and out, to his right, while his partner looks down at him. His eyes are blue, like the faded blue of his partner’s jeans. This man is holding his partner’s shoulder with one hand and his foot with the other. His own foot is lighted in the far corner of the photograph. This picture is a very queer Pietá – a very bear Pietá – and it makes a very personal statement of tenderness, of self-awareness and – a little – of desire. The gentlemen, like all the figures in this show, are 3/5 my size, and in the case of...

York Chang “The Winners” at Greene Exhibitions

Dear York, Congratulations on your show at Rob’s (Greene Exhibitions). I visited Tuesday with Olga and with a mutual friend, David Bell. I recognize some elements of the show, in fact I believe we talked about this incident of capture and hostage-taking by Gustavo Carnevales at the time of our LACE blog project. I also think that you documented the mysterious and dramatic disappearance of Carnevales in the recent Parkfied Review #2 (for which I am and David is hugely grateful). I am interested in (what I take to be a) change of voice for you in this exhibition, perhaps I could say from that of author (albeit an unacknowledged one) to artist (as one whose presence as the maker of the work, or the fiction, is acknowledged all the way through the project). To be blunt, you have come out into the open. It’s funny to me that I respond quite differently to this work than I did to the High Performance project, or to the Visceral Realist project of several years ago. I attribute these new works to you in a direct and physical way. In the past, even knowing that you “made” the films and photos and documentary evidence shows, I had a strange distance; you might have been a scholar, very knowledgeable of the facts that you were presenting, yet equally amazed by them as me. After several years of (so to speak) dancing with your audience to music of an unseen orchestra, it seems to me that we can now see the musical score, the conductor, and the players. I think of your projects as archival and literary...

Henry Taylor at Blum and Poe

In the large front room of Blum and Poe, Henry Taylor has laid furrowed rows of sod, plain dry dirt, and a grand dining table and chandelier. Surrounding this mise en scene are large-scale portraits, which I learn from the press release are taken from WPA photographs of farm workers. The setting speaks well to the claims made in the PR, of religiosity and empire: this could be an empty last supper, and also the aristocratic South dining off the labor of slaves (indeed, the pairing of table and furrows nicely suggest the origins of much American wealth directly and indirectly in slavery). The people are posed on the land, similar to the farm represented in the gallery, and in front of churches; and the paintings have titles such as That Was Then (a man with the word “BOY” painted on the canvas around him) and Everybody’s Momma and Stand Tall – Y’all (a black man and a horse or mule with a giant white hand in the background, as if to sweep the pair away). I’m a little confused by the furrowed topsoil and the fancy dinner setting. Well, not confused really, because the reference to this country’s economic history as being based in plantation slavery is obvious. I’m confused because it seems too obvious. Heavy-handed as the message of his installation seems however, these paintings by Taylor are sweet and affecting and potent. Taylor’s use of the land is powerful, and I remember these furrows throughout the exhibition. The fine table the artist has placed on top and the crystal chandelier and the damask tablecloth are nice, too, but this ground mimicking a farm or a...

Works from the Richards / Tuck collection in support of the Parkfield Project @5CarGarage

Artworks from the collection of David Richards and Geoff Tuck are offered for sale to support the continuing Parkfield Project of artist retreats and residencies. Now in its third season, the Parkfield Project has quietly been expanding on the notion of community in the art worlds of Los Angeles, by drawing together artists with different backgrounds and at varying stages in their careers outside of the demands of the city, and apart from the distractions of career and networking. These respites of semi-communal living in an aesthetically refined yet rural setting allow discussions to take place and encourage relationships to develop among artists. The Collection was gathered over a fifteen year span by the discerning eye of two of the city’s most informed and inquisitive collectors. Individual works of art from the Richards-Tuck collection have been thoughtfully selected by the collectors and by esteemed professional, Emma Gray, to appeal to both well-established collectors who are looking for a special masterwork by an artist of interest, as well as to collectors who are beginning their adventure in the art world, and who wish to own a remarkable work by a renowned artist. Artists included in the exhibition are Samara Caughey, Patrick Wilson, Joel Morrison, Daniel Zeller, Gerhard Mayer, Jim Shaw, Lecia Dole-Recio, Kelly McClane, Stan Kaplan, Florian Morlat, Russell Crotty, Brian Fahlstrom, Iva Gueorguieva, Martin Durazo and, from 5 Car Garage, Jennifer Boysen. A special reception with David Richards and Geoff Tuck is scheduled for Saturday, March 16, from noon to 4:00 PM. 5 Car Garage is also open by appointment. To contact Emma Gray and 5 Car Garage: [email protected]..

Potlatch and good-bye to 637 Wilcox *but not to LA*

Moving. Changing. Living. Remembering. Packing. Giving. Between fifteen years of learning, loving, exploring AND MAKING FRIENDS in LA, and another not yet determined span of time to be spent welcoming many of our friends in the town of Parkfield, CA, David and I are making time to celebrate, to reciprocate the love we have received, and to redistribute among our friends some of life’s bounty that has come our way. Welcome to our potlatch! Every evening between Monday, March 4 and Thursday, May 14. Some weekends, too! Delicious selections of rare and fine port/shallot pate, lovely herb spread, home made hummus and fromage fort (savory leek broth, fine cheeses, yum) are provided for your pleasure by FUFU. (That is Feed Us Fund...

Solomon Bothwell, Part Two: Three Interviews

Guan Rong with John Burtle Guan Rong: So you helped Solomon on his first art C.V. for applying for an art-teaching job? John Burtle: Yes. GR: How did you like the meeting? JB: I hate C.V.s. I love Solomon. GR: Do you think you were being helpful? JB: Yes. GR: How smart do you think Solomon is about getting the ideas? JB. I think smart. I personally don’t like C.V.s because it is not as much about creativity as it is about formatting and plugging information into the format, but Sol is good at that. GR: Did you look at the C.V. after he’s done? JB: No. GR: Do you have any suggestions for other people who are writing an art C.V.? JB: No. Burn it! ——————————————————————– Guan Rong with John Martin (Johnny Jungleguts) GR: Can you briefly tell us what you guys talked about in your art lesson you gave to Solomon? What were the topics? John Martin: We talked about how to make art interesting to people. Art that is also useful, like edibles/ garden project, art can be porn, and art can be a lot of stuff in people’s life. We talked about the differences between liking something and loving something and the differences between wanting something and needing something. People can like what you do, but may not want it. The best way for Solomon to make art might be how to make art/something that people want. I guess making something as a job automatically means that thing is what people want. I also showed example of my drawing. We talked about building a persona as an...