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Larry Bell, Richard M. Haley

Richard Haley, Mattress Prop (2005)

Larry Bell is not simply repeating himself. Having made his rep, here and elsewhere, in the ’60s with his subtly, almost imperceptibly tinted boxes, Bell returns to the format and puts a new spin on it. It’s not simply that these 20-inch glass cubes are coated with a fine application that tints them silvery blue or an almost golden brown-green, it’s that the cubes have a different feel to them, a different apparent heft. Furthermore, the gallery installation puts them into crucial alignment, by which one can see the whole group through one side of one cube, and the elusive quality of light and color becomes at once more palpable and more ethereal in such a pared-down format. Examples of other recent research into and exploitation of given formats and practices allow Bell to rest on his laurels, as he has remained master of all these methods; but with the new boxes he shows that he’s master of his artistic destiny, too, and can logically inherit from himself a distinctive and endlessly compelling signature style.

Richard Haley, by contrast, skips blithely around the known universe, experimenting like any good young neoconceptualist with ideas. Notably, the Sacramento-based artist charts a course designed to infer and integrate the models of everyone from Joseph Beuys to Bruce Nauman, but more cerebral, and more self-deprecatingly funny than most such recapitulations. The artistic illogic of following simple proposals to their latter conclusions, the “useless work” ethos of protoconceptualists like Walter de Maria, and Haley’s own consistent desire to go out, ever further out, onto the thinnest of tree branches. Larry Bell at Frank Lloyd, 2525 Michigan Ave., Suite B5B, Santa Monica; Tues.-Sat., ?11 a.m.-6 p.m. (310) 264-3866. Richard Haley at Another Year in L.A., 2121 N. San Fernando Road, No. 13, Glassell Park; Mon.-Fri., noon-5 p.m.; Sun, 1-4 p.m. (323) 223-4000. Both thru April 29.

—Peter Frank


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