On View Now | Mark Bradford and the Revival of Abstraction
I must admit that I am often disappointed by contemporary abstract painting. The technical freedom available to and implicit in abstraction would appear to offer entire worlds of possible production, but too much abstract painting today operates within carefully pre-determined formal codes of what abstraction ought to look like, which results in artwork that often uses color and form so as to conjure an aura of meaningfulness yet cannot escape seeming quaintly derivative. Perhaps the art market and institutions have by now weighed so much so on the freedom of aesthetic production, forming and informing our personal and collective comprehension of what constitutes abstract painting, that today abstraction as a formal category often lapses into familiar territory.
It gave me great pleasure, then, to conclude that Mark Bradford’s monumental new work, currently on view at Sikkema Jenkins & Co. in New York, continues the artist’s almost single-handed revival of contemporary abstraction from its doldrums, and affirms to my mind that progressive abstract painting indeed still has much to offer.
For the Portuguese architect Eduardo Souto de Moura, the 2011 winner of the Pritzker Prize for architecture, there are two potential responses to the presence of a ruin in a landscape. The first is the default Romantic expression of bittersweet wonder. The second, and more intriguing, is to ask: “What can I do here? What does this suggest to me that I am able to build?” Mr. Souto de Moura is the subject of “Reconversão,” a new film by the Los Angeles filmmaker Thom Andersen, who could be the architect’s cinematic doppelgänger.
I grew up when video games were a brand-new form of entertainment. I remember seeing Pong for the first time and thinking it was the cheapest animated show I had ever seen. Once I realized that it was an interactive game and that I could control what was happening on the screen, I was captivated. A love affair was born.
When President Lincoln suspended habeas corpus in 1862 (a couple of times, actually), he conceded the possible unconstitutionality of what he had done but concluded that since the move was necessary in a time when half the country was at war with the other half, he would take his chances with Congress, the courts, and history. The country’s current chief executive finds Lincoln comparisons disconcerting, but this is a case where he might pay attention, because his legal grounds for unilaterally raising the ceiling on the national debt in a time of congressionally inflicted crisis are no weaker than Lincoln’s and probably stronger.
Daniel Rosenboom has been a welcome and eclectic commodity around the local scene with his nimble band or his Balkan-accented group, Plotz. Though a backing saxophonist for Vinnie Golia as well as vocalist Josh Groban, the trumpeter-composer firmly established himself as an artist deserving of larger recognition with 2011's “Fallen Angeles,” a bracing mix of swing and off-centered craft from his septet.
Rosenboom, who's a product of the fertile graduate program in music at the California Institute of the Arts, sets the controls even further out with the ambitious, genre-mashing “Book of Omens,” (slated for release this spring).
REDCAT, CalArts’s downtown center for contemporary art, has a new gallery director and curator. Ruth Estévez, who starts her new position this week, moves to Los Angeles from Mexico City, where she worked as a curator and writer. From 2007 to 2011, she served as chief curator at the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo Carrillo Gil before going on to co-found the independent organization LIGA — Space for Architecture, which examines and promotes contemporary architectural practice in Latin America.
Michael Asher, Famed CalArts Professor and Conceptual Artist, Honored at Memorial Service
The mood was one of respect and reflection last Friday, Dec. 7, as hundreds of friends, colleagues, student and teachers gathered in the Main Gallery at the California Institute of the Arts in Valencia to celebrate and remember the life of long-time beloved faculty member and widely regarded conceptual artist Michael Asher.
Asher, who passed away after a long illness on Oct. 15 at the age of 69, is often hailed as one of the most influential figures in the contemporary art world, particularly noted for his work in a genre known as institutional critique, involving artistic takes on the structures of the art world itself, such as museums and galleries. Read Story
Review: Jordan Wolfson's 'Raspberry Poser' a seductive visual poem
A translucent, animated condom filled with red candy hearts is an animated protagonist in Jordan Wolfson's marvelous video installation at REDCAT, the New York-based artist's solo debut in Los Angeles. Projected onto a white screen suspended on the diagonal in a white room carpeted in wall-to-wall white rug, the non-narrative video feels unmoored and adrift in a languorous state of liquid reverie. We soon float along with it. Read Story
Julia Holter’s early work, much of it recorded while studying at the California Institute Of The Arts, is almost a trip through the thought processes leading up to this year’s ‘Ekstasis’ album. Showing her workings, you could say. Read Story
Cartoon Network Orders 1/4-Hour Animated Series ‘Clarence’
Cartoon Network has greenlit Clarence, a new animated series created by up-and-comer Skyler Page. The network has ordered twelve 15-minute episodes from the project about Clarence, an optimistic boy who wants to do everything because everything is amazing. This is the third short-form series to come out of the shorts development initiative at Cartoon Network Studios this year, joining recently announced Steven Universe and Uncle Grandpa. Read Story