Philip-Lorca diCorcia, Marilyn; 28 years old; Las Vegas, Nevada; $30, 1990-92

Courtesy of the artist; and David Zwirner, New York/London

Philip-Lorca diCorcia’s “Hustlers”
published by steidlDangin

December 16 2013
6:14 PM

Between 1990 and 1992, American photographer Philip-Lorca diCorcia traversed California to find locations, scenarios and models for his upcoming series of portraits. A recent recipient of the National Endowment for the Arts fellowship, diCorcia decided to shoot hustlers in Hollywood, dedicating the grant to remunerate them at whatever price they would charge for their sexual services. This bold gesture ultimately provoked a complaint about misuse of government funds, yet led to the artist’s first solo museum exhibition at MoMA in 1993. Philip-Lorca di Corcia’s series “Hustlers” marked the beginning of his involvement with street photography, albeit in a way conceptually opposed to his predecessors’ Henri Cartier-Bresson or William Klein, for whom the “decisive moment” was the cornerstone of a photographic gesture based on hazard and encounter. On the contrary, while diCorcia’s images seem to depict a random event, they rarely imply chance. Instead, they result from a carefully arranged set-up and a pre-determined narrative in locations that evoke the American West—a motel room, a car interior or a fast-food restaurant. Two decades later, and parallel to diCorcia’s eponymous exhibition at David Zwirner gallery in New York, steidlDangin published the monograph Hustlers. Designed by fashion photography retoucher Pascal Dangin, the book includes the original forty photographs alongside fifteen newly produced works. (Martha Kirszenbaum)

Installation view of Bob Mizer & Tom of Finland at MOCA Pacific Design Center, Los Angeles
Photo by

Bob Mizer & Tom of Finland
at MOCA, Los Angeles

December 11 2013
6:17 PM

The Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles presents the first American cross-retrospective of artist Tom of Finland and photographer/filmmaker Bob Mizer, both iconic pioneers of contemporary gay aesthetics and producers of some of the most influential queer, homoerotic and fetish images of postwar America. The exhibition presents a series of collages and drawings by Tom of Finland, born Touko Laaksonen in 1920 in Kaarina, Finland, and described as the “most influential creator of gay pornographic images” by cultural historian Joseph W. Slade. His idiosyncratic illustrations depicts gay subcultures of the early 1950s, particularly bikers and leathermen. Tom of Finland’s illustrations first appeared in 1957 on the cover of gay “beefcake” magazine Physique Pictorial, produced by the Los Angeles-based photographer and filmmaker Bob Mizer, who took thousands of portraits of male nudes from the 1950s through the 1980s. Mizer photographed over ten thousand models in his studio, specializing in handsome, naturalist bodies arranged according his to satirical, dramatic or sci-fi scenarios. He also created over three thousand film titles, such as Motorcycle Thief (1958) or Joe Dallesandro Posing (1966). The exhibition at MOCA, Los Angeles, charts the way the interconnected work of these two artists has profoundly marked American counter-culture of the post-war period and has influenced generations of artists and filmmakers, including, among others, artists such as David Hockney, Kenneth Anger, Robert Mapplethorpe and Andy Warhol. (Martha Kirszenbaum)

Bob Mizer & Tom of Finland’s exhibition at MOCA, Los Angeles, runs through January 26, 2014.

Muwafaq el Rawas, now a Sheikh. Madani's parents' home, the studio, Saida, Lebanon, 1948-53. Hashem el Madani 2007 by Akram Zaatari born 1966
Akram Zaatari, Muwafaq el Rawas, now a Sheikh. Madani's parents' home, the studio, Saida, Lebanon, 1948-53. Hashem el Madani, 2007
Courtesy of Hashem el Madani; and Arab Image Foundation, Beirut. © Akram Zaatari

Akram Zaatari
at MoMA, New York

September 2 2013
4:48 PM

The 100th iteration of MoMA’s bi-annual Projects series will feature two video installations by Akram Zaatari, who will also serve as Lebanon’s representative at this year’s Venice Biennale. Working with film, photography and installation, Zaatari excavates and documents everyday objects that reflect on political and cultural realities of post-war Lebanese society. His works examine the representation of territorial conflicts in the media, the logic of religious and national resistance, the circulation and production of images in the divided Middle East and the depiction of male sexuality. As a co-founder of the Arab Image Foundation, Zaatari’s practice involves archiving the photographic history of the Middle East. Zaatari’s past exhibitions and publications include “Hashem El Madani: Studio Practices or Mapping Sitting,” produced in collaboration Walid Raad. MoMA’s Projects 100 presents Dance to the End of Love (2011), a film installation based on YouTube clips made by Arab youngsters and shared freely online, examining the role of social media as a space of intimacy and public representation. On Photography, People and Modern Times (2010) tracks photographic records that Zaatari researched and collected for the Arab Image Foundation in the late 1990s, questioning the conventions of photographic documentation and evoking the emotions that link the images to their owners. Using the world around him as an ongoing resource, Zaatari creates personal diaries confronting past and present visual cultures, our relation to memory, the intimate and the human. (Martha Kirszenbaum)

Akram Zaatari’s exhibition at MoMA, New York, will run through September 23.

Urs Fischer, The Grass Munchers, 2007
Courtesy of the artist. Photo by Stefan Altenburger

Urs Fischer’s solo show
at MOCA, Los Angeles

August 9 2013
3:00 PM

Three years after the New Museum presented an immersive installation entitled “Urs Fischer: Marguerite de Ponty,” the Museum for Contemporay Arts (MOCA) in Los Angeles opens the largest American retrospective of the New York-based Swiss artist. Fischer’s practice explores the secret mechanisms of perception, combining a Pop immediacy with a neo-Baroque taste for the absurd and a Duchampian fearlessness. This comprehensive mid-career survey, curated by Tate Modern’s Jessica Morgan, is presented at MOCA’s Grand Avenue location and the Geffen Contemporary, both of which will bear a distinct approach to the unique spaces of each venue. In Fischer’s uncanny environment, bread sculptures rub shoulders with teddy bears, melting wax stands along rotten vegetables, skeletons meet movie stars and toys greet grave-like holes. While he famously excavated the floor of the New York gallery Gavin Brown Enterprise in order to dig a crater within the exhibition space in 2007, Fischer’s gigantic clay installation at MOCA was formed on-site by some 1,500 pre-registered visitors who visited the museum in the weeks preceding the opening and sculpted humorous domestic animals, ironic figurines or futuristic landscapes. Twisting and expanding our visions of reality, Fischer’s world is alterable and unexpected, and the pleasure that his sculptures and installations provide seems to be based on our attraction and simultaneous repulsion to the dreamlike appearances that he constructs. (Martha Kirszenbaum)

Urs Fischer’s solo show at MOCA (Los Angeles) will run through August 19.

Copia 2 di FF_Hi_9_Duong
Nhu Duong, Desert Working Gloves, 2013

“Hi From California”
at Freedman Fitzpatrick, Los Angeles

May 16 2013
1:42 PM

It all began on a full moon night in the Californian desert, a few miles away from Joshua Tree National Park. Former Tanya Leighton gallery director Robbie Fitzpatrick and writer Alex Freedman, both dressed in custom suits, hosted a pre-opening party for the launch of their gallery in Los Angeles that featured a Native American-inspired ritual of burying artworks packed in suitcases into the ground. Nestled in what used to be a medical clinic in a Hollywood Boulevard strip mall, Freedman Fitzpatrick presents an opening group exhibition reflecting the owners’ involvement in an emerging European scene and who, from Berlin through Zürich and London, have formed a reunion of artists sharing a sense of generational community. The press release of the exhibition “Hi from California” is composed by Calla Henkel and Max Pitegoff, founders of the Berlin hangout Times, and reflects a personal narrative that seems to grasp a reunion of long-time friends and collaborators. The presented works comprise a wall-size erotic/organic painting by performer Matthew Lutz-Kinoy, a series of black resin puddle sculptures by Londoner Marlie Mul, and an in-situ pipe-sized installation by Zürich-based Mathis Altmann. As to extend notions of disciplines and media, fashion designer Nhu Duong exhibits a pair of gloves in the front window, while Swiss artist Hannah Weinberger conceives a sound piece accompanying the set-up. Deliberately defined as a Los Angeles commercial gallery, yet experimenting in the style of a European non-profit space, Freedman Fitzpatrick clouds the clues and announces upcoming collaborations with Tobias Madison and Lucie Stahl. (Martha Kirszenbaum)

“Hi From California” at Freedman Fitzpatrick, Los Angeles, will run through June 1.

Blue Sky Tank
Courtesy of Paramount Pictures Studio

Paris Photo Los Angeles

April 26 2013
1:34 PM

For its seventeenth anniversary, the elegant Parisian art photography fair Paris Photo launches its first doppelganger edition in the city of angels, opening today and running through April 28th. A debut in an environment passionately allied to the moving image and American visual culture could not appear as a better choice. A highlight of this first Los Angeles occurrence might be, to begin with, its exceptional location—the mythical Paramount studios that have been in operation since 1926 and have witnessed the golden age of Hollywood. Paris Photo Los Angeles hosts over 70 international galleries from fourteen countries. Among them, Los Angeles-based dealers Cherry and Martin will present a double booth with works by Amanda Ross-Ho and the recently rediscovered Los Angeles figure Robert Heinecken; Michael Kohn Gallery will be focusing on a key figure in Californian conceptual photography and collage art, Wallace Berman. In a larger approach to west coast photographic practices, Gallery Paule Anglim exhibits a selection of works by San Francisco artists at the peak of the Bay Area Conceptual movement of the late 1960s, including Bruce Conner. Several European dealers, mostly French, have crossed the Atlantic for the fair, such as the Parisian gallery 1900-2000, dealing in twentieth-century works, or the Austrian gallery Konzett, showing rare vintage prints by Viennese Actionists Günter Brus and Otto Muehl. A public program of discussions, mainly involving American photographers (Catherine Opie, Doug Aitken or Sharon Lockhart), will be held in tandem with a screening series entitled “Sound and Vision,” which will include Chris Marker’s La Jetée (1962) and Philippe Parreno’s Anywhere Out of the World (2000). (Martha Kirszenbaum)

Cyprien Gaillard, Kaspar David Friedrich, 2012
Courtesy of the artist; Triple A, Los Angeles. Photography by: Robert Wedemeyer

AAA, Los Angeles

April 22 2013
2:15 PM

Nestled at the intersection of Los Angeles’ main gallery strip, La Cienega and Venice Boulevard, Triple A is a public art project initiated by François Ghebaly, Emma Gray and Mandrake Bar. Located on the exterior wall of Ghebaly’s gallery, a former muffler shop, the project has invited several international artists to create site-specific, large-scale mural installations, accompanied by limited editions of silkscreen prints over the past two years. Playing with our relation to the digital image, the inaugural work, presented by New-York based Nate Lowman in October 2011, created a half-tone transfer wall painting of an iconic yet controversial image of Julia Roberts that the actress barred from a L’Oréal campaign for its abuse of Photoshop. Other projects appeared graphic and visually striking, such as Justice, London-based Polish artist Aleksandra Mir’s black and white stencil mural that recalls Greek Antique aesthetics; or Garth Weiser’s crumbling Klein-blue wall, decaying over the course of its display. Referring to Los Angeles’ memorial murals found throughout the city, Berlin-based Cyprien Gaillard produced a replica of Caspar David Friedrich’s headstone in Dresden, transposing its romantic value into a urban contemporary landscape: a gritty wall south of one of the most trafficked Californian highways. Triple A has just inaugurated its fifth project, realized by Los Angeles–based conceptual artist Channa Horwitz, who has been working with abstract drawing since the early 1960s. Presented as an extension of the in-situ installation inside the gallery, her mural is composed of a geometric orange grid related to her “language series,” and suggests a delicate and Minimalist occurrence in a brutalist cityscape. (Martha Kirszenbaum)

Sam Gilliam, Theme of Five I, 1965
Courtesy of David Kordansky Gallery, Los Angeles, CA
Photography: Stephen Frietch

Sam Gilliam’s exhibition
curated by Rashid Johnson
at David Kordansky Gallery, Los Angeles

March 25 2013
2:26 PM

At a time of frequent revivals of forgotten historical figures through the prism and eyes of younger generations of artists, Washington-based Sam Gilliam’s solo presentation at David Kordansky – curated by Chicago-born New-York based Rashid Johnson – seems to address an atypical range of issues on generation, media and identity. Born in Mississippi in 1933, Sam Gilliam appears as a key figure in postwar American abstract painting, stretching and wrapping canvasses in order to reveal their texture and color. An African-American artist, whose practice was largely infused by abstract expressionism and Color Field Painting, Gilliam played an active role in the Washington Color School along with fellow artists Morris Louis or Kenneth Noland. Particularly attentive to the social and political movements of the 1960s and 1970s, his work has deeply yet subtly conveyed a reflection on the black condition in the United States. Rashid Johnson’s sculptures, videos and photographs vividly reflect African-American intellectual history and popular culture while challenging notions of “post-blackness” in a rather confontational, frontal way. Johnson interestingly directed his curatorial input towards Gilliam’s early, sober, less political and purely geometrical pieces. Indeed Gilliam’s most exhibited and remembered works are his later lyrical installations comprised of colorful drape canvas, yet Johnson’s selection focuses on acrylic paintings from the early 1960s that are wash-like monochromatic fields inscribed with diagonal stripes, reflecting the theoretical principles of abstraction and materiality. (Martha Kirszenbaum)

Sam Gilliam’s exhibition “Hard-Edge Paintings 1963-1966 will open on 28th March and will run until 11th May.

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