All notes written by Emi Kuriyama | Notes on Looking

Phoenix Rising, Part 3: laub, me, and The Revolution (The Theory of Everything) A conversation with Emi Kuriyama, Jennifer Moon and laub

  11/22/2015 3:22PM in Culver City Emi Kuriyama: We can talk about whatever, but . . . hmm . . . how did you two meet? I heard you met at laub’s opening (click here). Who made the first move? laub: I did! Jennifer Moon: You did?! l: because I was like, “I’m in The Revolution (click here)” JM: Oh, yeah yeah, but you didn’t ask Young [Chung] to introduce us. l: No no, what happened is the night before when I was installing, Young had this sit down with me and said, “You know, you’re part of the family now and that means you have to know the other artists that are here,” so that night I looked up everybody on the list of Commonwealth and Jennifer was the one I remembered. Jennifer. The Revolution. I had that in my head. JM: The water thing. l: Yeah. Jennifer was bartending and I went to get water, but then— JM: We both reached for the glass at the same time. l: Yeah yeah yeah. EK: Wait, for real? JM: Yeah yeah yeah. [LAUGHTER] JM: So that was funny, and I poured some water and smiled and— l: And then I came back and we had that conversation. JM: And Young was like, “Oh, you haven’t met yet. laub, Jennifer. Jennifer, laub,” and he ran away, and laub said he was into The Revolution. EK: That’s a really good pick up line. JM: Yeah yeah. I know, right! And then he messaged me the next day saying something short like, “Your life force and energy has impacted me. Would like more.” And...

When we were young

When we were young is a group exhibition of early work by five mid-to-late career artists at Gallery Luisotti. There’s John Divola’s UCLA MFA application from 1970-71, when he was still an undergraduate at CSUN; spoiler alert—he was accepted to UCLA and has taught at UCR since the late-1980s. And images Christina Fernandez hasn’t shown since a fiery (read: traumatic-sounding) critique at CalArts in 1994. And photographs from the 1980s that Ron Jude forgot about for a few decades and then printed in 2010 as an appropriation of his younger-self. And, finally, Mark Ruwedel’s Evans Street Portfolio (1983) and Catherine Wagner’s California Landscapes (1972-79), a glimpse at two budding artists already in tune with themes they’ll pursue for years to come. It’s sweet without becoming saccharine, like suddenly happening upon charming pictures of a lover’s awkward adolescence and delighting in all the newfound difference and recognizable similarities between their past and present. Pencil marks ghost the matting of Divola’s MFA application—little indexes of a young artist measuring out his own framing. The images themselves are tightly cropped, flat and formal pictures of what looks like manicured gardens against the backdrop of suburban homes in the San Fernando Valley—so unlike the playful wildness of Zuma (1977), only six years ahead in some imagined linearity of John Divola’s career. When I’m in a deliberate environment with clean white walls and perfect lighting for a collector’s eye, it can be hard to remember just how messy making can be, but When we were young focuses on this messiness as a presentation of an oftentimes meandering road toward mastery—more about sustained commitment to...

Patricia Fernández, Box (a proposition for ten years)

Patricia Fernández’s Box (a proposition for ten years) is taller than it was when I first met it on a warm Sunday in late April. Back then, in the back room of Commonwealth & Council, the blood red and brown wooden box came up to my chest. I could easily peer down at its carved and dimpled surface, lift its swinging top to inspect its patinaed hinges, and kneel as I pulled enchanting, delicate objects from their shelved home with my bare hands. But now at LAM Gallery the Box comes up to my nose.  Instead of looking down I lift myself up, balancing on the balls of my feet to peer over the top of the thing to see if anything has changed. It has. It grew. It’s growing. And it’ll keep growing until 2022. At LAM Gallery, the Box’s innards are spread out, pinned, and presented on the white walls of a narrow room. Around the original wooden carrier, Patricia has hung a medley of objects, suspended in circulation as if a soft explosion has cast a constellation of lingering memories and fragmented mementos into orbit. The woodworking insignia of Patricia’s maternal grandfather marks the box as well as segments of wooden trim, some worn and painted white from the 2014 exhibition of the Box at CW&C, are installed in a wandering succession across the surrounding walls. In this way, the exhibition history of the Box becomes embedded in the work as it is re-displayed over time. As the sculpture ages, objects accumulate within its elongating chronicle. The persistence of tradition into the present runs throughout Patricia’s...