Martin McMurray, Draining the Swamp of Eden (2006) above and below
(Photos by Gene Ogami)

Must See Art

Martin McMurray’s “The Procession” at Susanne Vielmetter

The title of Martin McMurray’s show comes from a new series of paintings depicting former political leaders with large caricature-like heads and small bodies squeezed into tiny luxury cars. The corrupt men speed away from their former glory in these cartoonish 1960s paintings that call to mind the Hanna-Barbera animated series

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Wacky Races

. Also on view are drawings from McMurray’s conceptual and imaginary magazine


, which is targeted toward Third World dictators as a way to stay up on Western motorcades. Funny, but it’s McMurray’s book paintings that steal the show. Each one is painted on a block of wood so that it becomes its own three-dimensional object. Every title and author is made up to evoke a memoir of a tyrannical leader or a reworking of history, such as

A Cunning Baffling Well Meaning Lout

(Zaire’s Mobutu Sésé Seko) or my favorite,

Draining the Swamp of Eden (Nicaragua’s Daniel Ortega)


5795 Washington Blvd., Culver City | www.vielmetter.com | (323) 933-2117 | Through March 10

Alia Malley’s “How Soon IS Now” at Peel Studio

In her first solo exhibition, Alia Malley shows rich color photographs documenting places that are characteristically Californian: alarmingly blank electronic billboards in Commerce and Norwalk, or JPL’s deep-space antennae in the red desert near Barstow. In Redlands Malley captures an empty water park amid a sea of palm trees smack dab in the middle of an agricultural field. Many of her locations call to mind forgotten pastimes, or now-defunct corporate headquarters such as IBM or Unocal. Malley makes it easy to imagine each empty space buzzing with inhabitants, as if the voices of the crowds were still echoing through the haunting stillness.

5529 Hollywood Blvd., L.A. | Through March 8

Alia Malley, Redlands (2005)


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