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Edgar Arceneaux, The Alchemy of Comedy . . . Stupid at Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects

Wednesday, Nov 8 2006
Edgar Arceneaux’s The Alchemy of Comedy ... Stupid at Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects

The Alchemy of Comedy . . . Stupid, Edgar Arceneaux’s nine-channel video installation features comedian David Alan Grier doing a somewhat personal and at times uncomfortable standup-comedy routine. Because of the many screens and separate locations, the narrative is intentionally unlinear. Arceneaux’s drawings, of Richard Pryor in a hospital bed, of a biblical text about Moses, of alcohol bottles and a wheelchair, all appear to relate to autobiography as well as the tragic story of the late, great Pryor himself. A large ink-jet print, appropriately titled “Richard Pryor running down the street,” is made up of a series of lighter flames, alluding to the moment before Pryor’s accident, just before the comic becomes truly tragic.

5795 W. Washington Blvd., Culver City | (323) 933-2117 | | Through Dec. 2

Dan Attoe, loaded . . . nailed . . . and short on cash at Peres Projects

I wonder what happened to Dan Attoe’s tiny painting gems on Masonite. Maybe it’s just because he’s from Washington state, but they always had a Twin Peaks feel to me, in the sense that the forest had a dark and supernatural feel, and that the people who lived there were pale and creepy. It was hard for anyone not to be seduced by them. I am usually encouraged when an artist bravely explores new territory, but Attoe’s exhibition at Peres Projects made me mourn his older work. The gallery, filled with Attoe’s new neon wall sculptures, is transformed into a wood-paneled bar. Don’t get me wrong, the new show speaks to the same small-town world that is also home to dive bars and taverns, but a gallery-turned-dirty-bar feels like something we don’t need to see again anytime soon. Many of the neon sculptures bear self-effacing slogans like the show’s title, which feels very early-’90s “loser.” Maybe I’m just getting old.

969 Chung King Road, Chinatown | (213) 617-1100 | | Through Dec. 6

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