You enter Henry Taylor's current exhibition at Blum and Poe through a brown door with frosted glass window in it. The window has "Principal" written across it in black letters. In the middle of the room you find a rectangle of dirt that looks freshly plowed. A formal dinner table sits on top of it and a chandelier hangs down from the ceiling. You'll go through two other doors, one marked "Detention" and the other "Probation," high school-like references to the institutional limits that have haunted African Americans. But it's not the props, dirt and doors that make Taylor's show compelling. It's the colorful, personality-rich acrylic paintings that feel as if they were made in the moment and pull you swiftly through recent U.S. history. A woman in a white, Depression-era dress looks suspiciously outward in one painting. A man wears what could be a prison jumpsuit from the '90s in another. A roughly rendered blue mark above his head resembles a halo, but he doesn't seem to know he become a slapdash saint. 2727 S. La Cienega Blvd.; through March 30. (310) 836-2062, blumandpoe.com.
Tuesdays-Saturdays. Starts: Feb. 23. Continues through March 30, 2013
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