Archive for the reviews of literature Category

Chinatown openings, November 5, 2011

Posted in photo essays, reviews and commentary, reviews of literature on November 7, 2011 by Carol Cheh

Micol Hebron refills her crystal vagina

Just when you thought vagina art had been exhausted, Micol Hebron, the undisputed queen of the genre, steps up and takes it to yet another level. Her new show at Jancar Gallery—titled Sisterhood is Powerful and partially done in collaboration with her sisters Siobhan and Tiernan—is all vaginas, all the time, all in your in face.

There are exquisite vagina portraits in the front gallery and glittery vagina drawings in the basement. There is even one genius painting that repurposes Jackson Pollock’s and Lucio Fontana’s iconic gestures to create an AbEx-Spatialist vagina canvas. But the centerpiece, a true showstopper, was a huge crystal vagina grotto that secreted a steady stream of delicious (and quite strong) piña colada, which guests were invited to help themselves to. I had two cups, garnished with cherries and orange slices, and was buzzed for the rest of the evening. This, on top of the retro-feminist high of hilarity that I always get from Hebron’s cheeky, cheery, and totally unapologetic paeans to the beauty and power of vaginas. Go sisters! (You can read Hebron’s own detailed commentary on this show here.)

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Native Strategies journal launch, featuring a performance by Jmy James Kidd, Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions (LACE), Hollywood, August 11, 2011

Posted in reviews and commentary, reviews of literature with tags , , on August 15, 2011 by Carol Cheh

Jmy James Kidd

It’s been an exciting week for performance art in our city. Following last Tuesday’s bar-setting event curated by The Action Bureau at Human Resources, LACE hosted a launch party for the Native Strategies journal, published as a complement to the Native Strategies series of curated performances.

Put together by the hard working team of Brian Getnick, Zemula Barr, and Molly Sullivan, the first issue of Native Strategies covers a series of performances that took place in the spring under the rubric of So Funny It Hurts. Artists Alice Cunt, Kale Likover, Nathan Bockelman, Lauren Weedman, Asher Hartman, Paul Outlaw, and Curt LeMieux were asked to present performances highlighting the complex uses of humor as a tool in their work. The journal both documents and expands on these performances through photographs, substantial essays written in response to the performances, and in-depth interviews with the artists.

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Llano del Rio, Scores for the City: Social Choreography and Imagination for Southern California

Posted in reviews and commentary, reviews of literature on April 2, 2011 by Carol Cheh

Every inhabitant of Los Angeles has to deal with spatial geography. The sheer proliferation of it everywhere. The necessity of traversing huge swaths of it in order to get to jobs, events, meetings, recreation. The hours spent not at places, but in between them. To the uninitiated, it can seem empty and numbing. But to the practiced Angeleño, it becomes first an opportunity for detoxification and zen meditation, and then eventually, a space where imagination, nuance, and possibility can flourish, unhindered by the tighter spaces, structures, and expectations of a more compact metropolitan area.

Llano del Rio, the artist collective that produces a series of thematic maps of LA, recently came out with its second edition, titled Scores for the City. Whereas its first publication, A Map for An Other Los Angeles, was more of an actual map, sketching out interesting and productive alternative venues throughout the neighborhoods of Echo Park, Silver Lake, Highland Park and beyond, Scores for the City takes a conceptual leap forward. Treating our sprawling habitat as something of a moving canvas of time and space, Llano del Rio has assembled a collection of performative scripts and recollections, designed to animate the past, present, and future of this city we live in. In the collective’s own words, “All actions passive or aggressive in the landscape phenomenologically have consequences… shaping consciousness, demanding more, rewriting the city by how we are in it.”

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Soap at MOCA In Depth

Posted in reviews and commentary, reviews of literature on October 18, 2010 by Carol Cheh

Currently for sale in MOCA’s bookstores is Soap at MOCA In Depth, an actual Soap Opera Digest–style magazine that was financed by James Franco as part of his larger “performance art project.” It is a mildly amusing text, blending as it does several different pieces on Franco; real stories on a variety of General Hospital cast and crew members; essays by art-world cohorts Jeffrey Deitch, Kalup Linzy, and Carter; and light visual satire (see images above and below). It is equal parts performance text, soap fan collectible, and Funny or Die outtake. Sadly however, it’s still informed first and foremost by a suffocating cluelessness.

It seems that Franco and Carter will never figure out what performance art is, and why it’s different from acting and the theater. Carter, an artist I’ve only ever heard of in the Franco context, claims “the only difference between acting and performance art is their final destinations”: the movie screen and the gallery wall. Franco attempts to place his artist/serial killer character in a lineage with other “artists today who go too far,” including “that guy who had his boyfriend cut off his penis and then cooked and ate it” and “what’s her name? The French artist who does all the plastic surgery on her face.” I’ll wager we’re not in the satirical portion here.

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