A while after giving up on finding that famous San Francisco vernacular in the shape of Barry McGee/Margaret Kilgallen murals on a street corner we stopped by Jack Hanley to see another SF-based artists’s own take on visual language. Tauba Auerbach’s latest batch of letter-based images, entitled ‘THE ANSWER/WASN’T HERE’, is a delectable exploration of the relationship between language and meaning. Drawings, paintings and a video installation flesh out the artist’s interest in the slippage between idea and realisation, the way in which an idea can be worked out in a myriad permutation of signs. I loved the work that steals the dunkin-donut colour scheme and layers it into a perplexing game of symbolism and exquisite-corpse (or hang-man)-like oblique wordplay. Donuts figure prominently in my band’s day to day life so of course we remembered this one for a good stretch of the road trip.
I wish I could have stayed in San Francisco long enough to see the meditative-sounding ‘The book of shadows’ at the Fraenkel Gallery (opens 31 May – 11 Aug), a show comprised of eighty eight anonymous photographs from Jeffrey Fraenkel’s own collection, selected here for their (conscious or inadvertent) inclusion of each photographer’s silhouette within their own shot.
Down in LA we went to Culver City; a lot of galleries were in between shows, what can you do.. We did see Hirsch Perlman’s ‘ergo despero’ at Blum & Poe, a show including a huge variety of work from the LA-based artist. The strongest for me was a series of long exposure black and white photographs of coast line, where any sense of scale or place is lost, washed out, the stuff of nuclear landscapes and of primeval myths all at once. There was also a series of scratchy large-scale drawings of cats, ‘Schrodinger Cats’, which continued the nuclear tone – the Austrian physicist used the idea of a cat isolated in a box to illustrate the tricky paradoxical nature of quantum mechanics. Perlman’s photocopied ‘US Army Counterinsurgency Manual’, appropriated and for sale here at $29, subvert its purpose, with proceeds benefiting among othersThe Center for Constitutional Rights (working to restore Habeas Corpus) for the detainees at Guantanamo Bay Prison, Cuba.
Clare Rojas, installation view.
The highlight of the day was Clare Rojas’ ‘Kitty Buck’ at Lizabeth Oliveria’s space, doors wide open to the artist’s cornucopia of images playfully teasing at the male image – from her folksy paintings of women laughing with phalluses to her video of her Midwestern alter ego, Peggy Honeywell, singing a ballad amidst a gang of beer guzzling frat boys, it works, and it’s fun.
We lucked out stopping at the Hammer on free day – and right before Ola Pehrson’s Hammer Project, a brilliant recreation in plasticine and tongue in cheek acting of a documentary on the Unabomber case, came down. We’d come by to see ‘Eden’s edge’, a show of recent work by fifteen LA artists (to 2 Sept). A lot of the work I’d already seen but appeared fresh (and darker) when juxtaposed in these rooms – Monica Majoli’s monumental ‘Rubbermen’ watercolour series, Matthew Monahan’s Pompeii meets Metropolis ruin-like sculptures of bodies and things in pieces, and Matt Greene’s porny magic mushroom fields. Most of all, I fell in love with Elliott Hundley’s pin-collages and Rebecca Morales’ incredibly life-like drawings on vellum, and 3-d hole of teeming maggots and moss rifting through the corner of the room. Right outside Pehrson’s project is a wall painting by Jan van der Ploeg (on to 24 June). We took some pictures with it as a backdrop, which really seems to be part of the project’s point – to make it worth noticing the architecture of the atrium, creating a kind of spatial awareness through colour when there may have been but a hint of one before.
Monica Majoli, from ‘Eden’s Edge’.
Matt Greene, from ‘Eden’s Edge’.
Rebecca Morales, from ‘Eden’s Edge’.
Though I didn’t have time to check it out, I wish I could have seen ‘Guild’ at Emmanuel Perrotin (to 21 July) , a group show curated by Daniel Arsham connecting traditional craftsmanship and contemporary abstraction. The gps failed us. Next time I’ll actually bring a map with me.
Lupe Nunez-Fernandez is a freelance writer/editor normally based in London/Madrid but currently enjoying some time in Windsor Terrace, Brooklyn. She is also one half of Pipas, an electronic pop duo.
ArtWalk Culver City 2007
Saturday 2 June 2007
12 Noon – 8 pm
+1 310 253 5716