Tim Hawkinson
Now that his mind-boggling retrospective has been dismantled and packed away, Tim Hawkinson finally has time to move into his new studio. He’s hinted at compacted, cubic human bodies and feather motorcycles, but we’ll have to wait and see. In the meantime, the public can now see the 360,000-pound Bear sculpture he created for UCSD, and rumors persist of an L.A. landing for his gargantuan Uberorgan sound sculpture in 2006. (DH)
by Elizabeth Perrin

Anna Helwing
One of the first gallerists to set up shop on South La Cienega Boulevard, in
2003, newcomer Anna Helwing has more than held her own against the cocky pre-eminence
of her first neighbor, Blum & Poe, and helped to make that grimy strip of storefronts
one of the most consistently interesting art stops in town. Moving from Zurich
in 2000, Helwing put in a year at Christopher Grimes Gallery before setting
off on her own, and she brings to this endeavor a refinement reminiscent of
her former employer. Her artists are young and mostly local — Jessica Bronson,
Emilie Halpern, Portia Hein, Kelly Poe, Robert Russell and Mindy Shapero, among
others — but she manageslu to avoid the trendy slacker vibe that’s growing so
stale in the Chinatown galleries. An easy sophistication prevails, and her shows
are generally thoughtful, intelligent and aesthetically rewarding. Poe’s delicate
photographs of birds were particularly memorable, and the paintings in Russell’s
recent exhibition were by far the most beautiful portraits of pigs I’ve ever
seen. 2766 S. La Cienga Blvd., (310) 202-2213. (HM)
Roger Herman
Herman is the closest thing to a Julian Schnabel–style ’80s painter Los Angeles
has — except for the self-deprecating humor and perversely clichéd or mundane
subjects of his work. Lumpy ceramic vessels adorned with erotic cartoons recently
crowded Santa Monica Museum of Art’s project space, and he’s currently working
on a suite of enormously scaled flower paintings, when he’s not teaching at
UCLA or running hot Chinatown gallery Black Dragon Society. (DH)
George Herms
Herms’ recent retrospective at Santa Monica Museum of Art revealed the enduring
elegance and wit of his assemblages of found funky objects. A poet of rust,
a junkyard alchemist, he has continued in recent years to salute the musicians,
writers and artists who helped him hone his own vision as a young artist. (MD)

Everything #2 (2003-04)
Courtesy Christopher Grimes Gallery

Anthony Hernandez
Hernandez has made a career of pointing his camera where others rarely look:
into homeless encampments, abandoned buildings, the corners of stalled construction
projects, and the muck of the L.A. River. His large, square-format prints flirt
with abstraction and redeem these lonely locales with clarity and elegance.
David Hockney
When he hasn’t been promoting his radical theory that olde painters used optical
devices (duh!) or championing smokers’ rights, swinging-London transplant Hockney
has been creating sumptuous opera sets and — in his watercolors of the East
Yorkshire landscape — some of his best paintings in decades. (DH)
Evan Holloway
After last year’s solid show at Marc Foxx, highlighted by his analysis of
coprophagous social infrastructures (a.k.a. shit-eating grid), post-Charley
Ray sculptor Evan Holloway has had solo shows in London and Brussels and appeared
as an éminence grise in L.A. Louver’s hot-young-talent survey, “Rogue Wave ’05.”
Untitled (2002)
Courtesy Cirrus/Patricia Faure

Salomón Huerta
Emerging from grad school in the late 1990s, Salomón Huerta made cool, spare,
highly controlled paintings of people with their backs turned, then cool, spare,
highly controlled paintings of Southern California bungalows, interspersed with
startlingly intimate, trystlike odes to individual women (one in 2001 and one
this year). Among the most distinctive voices to emerge from the identity debates
of the past decade, Huerta is an ambivalent portraitist, perpetually playing
with the viewer’s presumed right of universal access. (HM)
Steve Hurd
One of the few L.A. painters to emerge in the ’90s with an attitude besides
market complacency, Hurd consistently turned his righteous painting chops against
themselves. A recent Sunset in a show at Angles is the first glimpse
of a stunning new body of pixelated photo-based political painting. (DH)
by Anitra Menning
Courtesy Institute for Figuring

Hyperbolic Planes Take Off
Think the world is all straight lines and points and spheres? Think again. Margaret
and Christine Wertheim’s Institute for Figuring will show you that the world
is also hyperbolic. The institute is the primary home of Cornell mathematician
Daina Taimina’s hyperbolic crochet pieces. In 1997, Taimina figured out a way
to make durable, easy-to-handle physical models of a mind-bending kind of space
called hyperbolic space: She would crochet them. In a hyperbolic plane, the
surface curves away from itself at every point. Scientists had been pasting
together paper triangles to demonstrate hyperbolic geometry ever since it was
discovered in the early 1800s. Paper constructions were fragile, difficult to
make and easily torn. But Taimina’s crocheted models are an elegant solution
to a long-standing problem. Lately, Taimina, who learned traditional handicrafts
as a child in her native Latvia, and the Wertheims — also avid knitters/crocheters
— have been turning out the hyperbolic models like hotcakes. The models’ growth
has been exponential, both literally and figuratively. Since the IFF’s exhibit
at Machine Gallery in Echo Park in August, the institute has been invited to
stage five shows next year, and art patron Eileen Norton has even commissioned
a series of them for her personal collection. Pieces range from 4 inches to
2 feet in diameter and look like blue lettuce, or orange sea kelp, or the pink
scrunchies that cheerleaders use to tie up their ponytails. In addition to being
mathematically accurate, they’re colorful, fun to play with and cute in a complex
way. A perfect match for the institute’s mandate to elucidate the aesthetics
and poetics of scientific thought. “That it took something as simple as female
handicrafts to make the most abstract science visible,” says institute founder
(and Weekly science columnist) Margaret Wertheim, “is the beautiful thing about
them.” We couldn’t agree more. (Gendy Alimurung)
Nancy Jackson
In beautifully crafted sculptures, paintings and drawings, Nancy Jackson offers
a kind of philosophical soul all too rare in the contemporary art world. Actually
dealing with what it means to be human, her work has a complex beauty and deep
content that should be required viewing for those addled by art theory and mired
in PoMo self-reference. (MD)
Photo by Kim Bockus


Julie Joyce
Julie Joyce has worn a few hats in her career: handling exhibition and publication
projects at the galleries of Fred Hoffman and Dorothy Goldeen; working as a
critic for the journal Art Issues; and authoring catalog texts notable
for both their insight and their accessibility. But where she has shone is as
director of the Luckman Gallery at Cal State L.A. What should be a sleepy outpost
has, under Joyce’s guidance (as an actively curating director), become a serious
destination on the contemporary-art circuit in Los Angeles. Joyce has offered
overdue retrospectives of work by Charles Gaines, Todd Gray and Patrick Nickell.
Her recent exhibition of work by Marnie Weber once again exemplifies her ability
to sniff out the talent right under our noses. Her show of Charles Garabedian's
works on paper was stunning, and her reintroduction of the paintings of Jack
Goldstein was well ahead of the curve in what has now been a massive reassessment
of Goldstein’s relevance in the ’80s and his influence on painting at the moment.
And at a time when the Scottish artist Hew Locke already was gaining an international
reputation with ambitious installation works, it was Joyce who gave Locke his
U.S. debut. Each of these exhibitions points to Joyce’s smarts. All have been
ambitious undertakings, all have been finely presented (Joyce seriously knows
how to hang a show), and all have been accompanied by publications involving
respectable writers. State school, tiny budget, limited resources. Miracles
do happen. (CM)
Of the handful of galleries that pioneered Chinatown as a contemporary-art
community, China Art Objects and the Black Dragon Society have gone on to international
fame. Less well-known is the third gallery to open there — INMO, named for its
benign Korean owner/director. Inmo Yuon ran the gallery for four and a half
years (including shows curated by myself and Weekly contributor Peter
Frank) — although his interest in dining out sometimes seemed keener than his
desire to hustle collectors — before crashing and burning in a splendidly tabloid
fashion. Luckily, in this case, no one was badly hurt. Inmo nursed his wounds
for a while — his old space has now reverted into one of those mahjong social
clubs — before re-emerging, improbably playing the Korean Mafia boss in Michael
Mann’s Collateral. He could have forged a Hollywood character-actor career
out of the offers that came his way as a result, but instead he’s been everywhere
on the art scene again and is preparing to open his new 3,000-square-foot gallery
at 114 W. Fifth St. (formerly Billy’s Grill & Coffee Shop), in the heart of
the downtown scene that many hope will be the sequel to Chinatown. “The space
is almost an artwork in itself. There are all these great international spaces
with unique identities — Galleria Continua in San Gimignano, Scai Bathhouse
in Tokyo, Swiss Institute in Soho and so on. They’re my inspiration. I want
to have something different, not just another gallery. A new system for new
art,” he says. (DH)
Solway Jones
Where most dealers seem stuck pining for the “greed is good” ’80s, Michael Solway
and Angela Jones have revived and updated the free-for-all optimism of the late
’60s. Their first gallery seemed like a hallucination — plunked in the middle
of East L.A., a stone’s throw from the St. Vincent de Paul as-is yard, alternating
exhibits of idiosyncratic visionaries like John Cage, Richard Hamilton and Buckminster
Fuller with always-interesting locals like Patrick Nickell. Since moving to
Mid-Wilshire, Solway and Jones have expanded both strategies with an important
historical survey of the late Hannah Wilke, new work from the legendary William
Anastasi, and a knockout show from local death-candy painter Mark Dutcher. (DH)
Johnson, Breadface (cast
plastic with oil paint, 2004)
Photo by Joshua White, courtesy
Taxter & Spengemann/
Hammer Museum

Matt Johnson
Breadface poster boy for the Hammer’s slam-dunk “THING,” Matt Johnson
had already made a ridiculous splash in New York, with The Times, Village
and Artforum vying for the honor of being first to praise his
sculptures. His 2006 show at Blum & Poe is one of the most anticipated L.A.
solo debuts in memory. (DH)
Mike Kelley
“Day Is Done” — Mike Kelley’s biggest gallery show to date — opens at Gagosian
in New York City November 11. The third volume of his texts Interviews by
Mike Kelley, 1986-2004
is out, and a new double CD by his art-noise band
Destroy All Monsters is set for release. Busy dude. (DH)
Martin Kersels
Kersels’ ominous slapstick sensibility has produced everything from his kinetic
artificial-limb-and-rubber-band sculpture Twist to his recent video of
the hapless inhabitants of a house turned rock tumbler. In early December at
LACE, big-boned Kersels reunites with his seminal ’80s performance troupe Shrimps.

Toba Khedoori

Persian-Australian Angeleno Toba Khedoori is one of the better arguments for
the international-melting-pot theory of L.A.’s significance. Her delicate but
epically scaled oil and wax paintings on paper — recently examining piles of
rocks instead of architectural details — are seen most often at her N.Y. dealer
Zwirner but occasionally pop up locally at Regen Projects. (DH)


R.B. Kitaj

It’s been almost 10 years since R.B. Kitaj, in the midst of intense personal
and career crisis, moved to Los Angeles from London, where he had been pigeonholed
as an English Pop artist. The exuberant, erotic suite of paintings dedicated
to his late wife reaffirms life, art and the utter stupidity of pigeonholing.

Tom Knechtel

Tom Knechtel is our most sophisticated master of classical rendering, offering
a soul and wit beyond mere showy technique. Rare lyrical pleasures, his drawings
and watercolors of animals mix imagery from a wide variety of Eastern and Western
sources. Knechtel’s complex allegorical paintings are Mozartian operas, full
of mistaken identities, visual puns and headstrong illusions. (MD)
Kruger, Untitled
(It’s Our Pleasure to
Disgust You)
Courtesy MOCA

Barbara Kruger
She was already an art-world heroine when she blew off New York and settled
here in the ’90s to teach; but for all her success, Barbara Kruger has lost
none of her feminist fury or Post-Structuralist skepticism. She still uses her
youthful experience as a woman’s-journal photo editor to compose graphically
formidable message montages, appropriated photos overlaid with tough, lyrically
worded slogans comprising deconstructions of consumer manipulation: anti-billboards.
Liz Larner
Her career-making, wall-destroying Corner Basher (1988) may not have seemed
like a formalist statement at the time, but Larner’s work in the intervening years
— including her recent mangled, patriotic scrapheap RWBs and abstracted
freestanding porcelain Smiles — has shown her knack for narrative and physics
engaging with an ever-widening visual and spatial vocabulary. (DH)
Larner, RWBs (2005)
Courtesy Regen Projects

Joyce Lightbody
In her small-scale collaged drawings and sculptures, Joyce Lightbody creates
dense worlds of poetry and feeling. A fiercely independent advocate of personal
expression, she offers intricate, fanciful worlds illuminated by tiny images
cut from postage stamps. Her translations of lyrical texts into systems of dense
imagery and musical notation are profound sensory mixes in the tradition of
Kandinsky and Klee. (MD)
Meg Linton
Former curator of the University Art Museum at Cal State Long Beach and director
of the Santa Barbara Contemporary Arts Forum, Meg Linton had big shoes to fill
when she took over the Ben Maltz Gallery at Otis, a post long held by beloved
L.A. art-scene veteran Anne Ayers. But Linton has proven herself a worthy heir
with ambitious programming, including “Shahzia Sikander: Dissonance to Detour,”
on view through November 12 in tandem with the Pakistani-born, New York-based
artist’s residency at Otis. (CM)
Sharon Lockhart
Lockhart’s cool, quiet, enigmatic images are among the most eloquent manifestations
of the narrative impulse that swept photography in the 1990s. Lockhart’s tender
approach to childhood and adolescence in particular imbues her work with an
emotional resonance often lost in many of her peers’ more theatrical configurations.

Liza Lou

Liza Lou is probably the most improbable and controversial art star to come
out of L.A. in the past decade. Her uberkitschy, beaded Kitchen (1995)
was a testament to obsessiveness and art-world impropriety, dismissed by many
as outsider delirium. Now that Lou has had a MacArthur Genius Grant and shows
at trendsetting Deitch Projects and White Cube Gallery, insiders are backpedaling
furiously. (DH)

Monica Majoli

Underground legend Majoli is one of the city’s most intense artists, working
obsessively on paintings and watercolors that make most art seem cheap and easy.
Her electrifying panels depicting private sexual acts and wrenching self-portraits
have been followed by a new series of watercolors, of solitary figures encased
in rubber. These strange, ethereal works tap into mystical realms fueled by
a kind of sacrificial loneliness. (MD)

Daniel Martinez

Martinez’s bad-boy stance is no put-on. Driven by a volatile imagination and
an arch regard for social foibles, Martinez deconstructs everything and its
counterpart — racism and ethnic nationalism, Hollywood and its audience, artists’
careerism and the art-world nexus that rewards a few, devalues the many. Martinez
makes his points with outrageous objects, off-putting images and confrontational
installations. (PF)

Paul McCarthy

What has it been, a decade, since poopmeister Paul McCarthy had an actual hometown
gallery show? In spite of this, and his retirement from UCLA, his subversive
influence remains strong, and he pops up in the oddest places — like the Natural
History Museum, where his surprisingly romantic nautical bent has found voice
in this spring’s “Conversations” exhibit. (DH)
Kelly McLane
With a romanticism tempered by black comedy and an unmitigated respect for the
sublime, Kelly McLane’s meticulous, meaty drawings and paintings conjure the
forces of nature and fate, as manifested in deserts, forests, mountaintops,
vistas, plains and night skies that will forever remain bigger than we are.
Centered around the surreal bio-scape of the L.A. River, her new work pushes
her investigation of the freakish, trashed and pathetic state of American culture
to even deeper levels. (MD)

Jason Meadows

An artist whose emergence in the late ’90s helped signal the arrival of a new
generation of L.A. sculptors — defining an oddball, DIY aesthetic and taking
inspiration from everything from step ladders to lawn furniture to IKEA bric-a-brac
— Jason Meadows also became a key figure in the stable of L.A. gallerist Marc
Foxx. A recent show at Sister in Chinatown, for which Meadows produced custom
bases or pedestals for a selection of artists who then made pieces to go on
top, was one of the freshest local sculpture shows in recent memory. (CM)

Kristen Morgin

Since seemingly coming out of nowhere (actually, the ceramics faculty at Cal
State Long Beach) to dazzle everyone with her cargo-cult Cadillac hearse in
the Hammer’s “THING,” Morgin has been featured in the World Ceramic Biennale
in Korea and has several shows lined up, including one at L.A.’s Marc Selwyn.
Courtesy Sister Gallery

Joel Morrison

A mix of old-school formalism, postmodern irreverence and a solid dose of street
smarts defines Joel Morrison as much as his sculptures, which are made by corseting
together castoffs, flea-market finds, canned goods and 99-cent-store bargains
inside layers of padding and packing tape. The bulging masses are then sheathed
in metallic tape or fiberglass, or cast in stainless steel or aluminum. Perched
on pedestals ranging from paint cans to custom-made, multifaceted bases, they’re
abstract while hauntingly, vaguely referential, as their insides still dictate
the contours of their skins — like much of Los Angeles, trashy and trampy on the
inside, slick and shiny on the outside. (CM)

Sandeep Mukherjee

Mukherjee’s stunning self-portraits on incised Mylar were among the most revelatory
works of the past decade. He is a quiet master of site-specific drawing installations,
and his new shift into organic abstraction heightens the visual spectacle, providing
contrasts of geometric patterning with swelling masses of colored dots. The
new Mylar paintings read as luminous landscapes, emanating a kind of inner light.
His new abstract work is on view at Sister in Chinatown, Oct. 29-Dec. 17. (MD)

Dave Muller

With Three Day Weekend (his decade-long experiment in the art of networking)
and a Hammer Museum retrospective of his quirky watercolor homages behind him,
Dave Muller has discovered his inner formalist, with slices from friends’ record
collections blown way out of proportion and transformed into surprisingly substantial
museum-scale paintings. (DH)

Manfred Muller

Born in Dusseldorf, where he studied with Joseph Beuys, Muller relocated to
L.A. in 1989 and has been transforming industrial materials into extravagantly
gorgeous sculpture and site-specific installations ever since. A gifted colorist
whose approach to composition is infused with the bold clarity of the Russian
Constructivists, Muller’s spent the past decade on the fringes of the L.A. art
scene, quietly mastering his materials. His work of the past year is nothing
short of stunning. (KM)
Muller, Urb Magazine
Courtesy Regen Projects

Kori Newkirk

Newkirk, whose work melds social consciousness, art-historical engagement and
formal ingenuity, won this year’s $25,000 William H. Johnson Prize, installed
a panoramic sculptural version of his photo-realist curtains of pony beads at
San Diego’s Museum of Contemporary Art and had hit museum shows in Toronto and
Oslo. (DH)

Ruben Ochoa

Driving your parents’ 20-year-old van around town hardly sounds cutting-edge.
But Ruben Ochoa, who grew up in Oceanside and studied fine art at Otis and UC
Irvine, managed to transform his family’s ’85 Chevy into a mini–art gallery,
complete with track lighting and hardwood floors. “I’m interested in engaging
with the public,” says the 31-year-old artist, who was initially inspired by
the long political history of muralists. After painting a few murals of his
own, though, Ochoa wasn’t satisfied. “Doing murals seemed false in a way,” he
says. “So I moved on to do work that I call more an intervention.” Ochoa’s “CLASS:
C” van gallery is definitely an intervention. After retooling the vehicle, which
had been used for his family’s tortilla business, Ochoa solicited work from
artists and then took to the streets. Sometimes he’d park near other galleries,
but “they didn’t want me around at first, because they thought I was a parasite.”
Ochoa found warmer responses elsewhere — he’s parked at Culver City bars, the
Rose Bowl and random street corners, and artists have used the van as the center
for “walk-in” movies and as a prop in performance pieces. (In one, titled Jale,
Albert Lopez pulled the heavy vehicle with a rope through a busy intersection.)
Ochoa’s other projects similarly intervene in public space. With Artificus,
he responded to the city’s decision to cut down unruly ficus trees by making
a full-size concrete tree. And for a temporary installation at ESL, Ochoa went
around the neighborhood borrowing ladders for a piece about balance, trust and
sharing. Once again, a bunch of ladders may not sound so radical, but Ochoa
doesn’t really care. “I really like this idea of trust, of engaging with the
public,” he says. “It’s like customer service, building relationships. That’s
what it’s about for me — going back and forth, intervening.” (Holly Willis)


The moving van/gallery

Catherine Opie

Courtesy Regen Projects

Catherine Opie began her career in the early ’90s, making frank, proud, unapologetically
confrontational portraits of people whom many in mainstream America would just
as soon not look at: transvestites, transsexuals, drag kings and queens, and
leather-clad S&M’ers.
Then she shifted gears, moving from the people on the fringes of society to
the architecture at the center of it. In L.A., she photographed freeways and
mini-malls; in Manhattan, the cavernous alleys of Wall Street in early morning;
in Minneapolis, the skyways suspended between downtown buildings. Outside of
Minneapolis, she photographed ice houses floating on snowbound lakes, tapping
a vein of poetic formalism that reached near perfection in a subsequent series
of Malibu seascapes.
There are common characteristics, however: a certain aesthetic classicism, a
concern for the meaning that exists on the surface of things and, above all,
an abiding interest in the concept of community. Lately, she’s taken a domestic
turn, returning to her flat colored backdrops to produce a series of wonderfully
tender portraits of children and topping one of her most searing early works
— a self-portrait from behind, revealing a childlike drawing of a happy domestic
scene (two female stick figures and a house) carved painfully into the flesh
of the artist’s back — with its visual, conceptual and emotional inverse: a
tranquil, almost regal portrait, taken from the front, of Opie nursing her infant
son. (HM)
Rubén Ortiz Torres
Born in Mexico City and transplanted to L.A. on a Fulbright in the early 1990s,
Ortiz Torres employs a democratic variety of media, from photography and film
to baseball caps and car parts, to chart the rich psychic and sociological territory
of border consciousness with intelligence, humor and an eye for the revealingly
absurd. (HM)

Kaz Oshiro

Careful where you set your cocktail or plug in your guitar. From nothing more
than paint and canvas, wood and a little bit of Bondo putty, Kaz Oshiro, Okinawa-born
graduate of Cal State L.A., produces exacting replicas of modular modern life
in its various forms: amplifier and speaker stacks, kitchen cabinets, fast-food
restaurant “Thank You” trash receptacles and home appliances. All are deft conflations
of minimalism, Finish Fetish, hyperrealism and Pop. (CM)
Laura Owens Untitled
Courtesy MOCA

Laura Owens

Girlhood fantasy writ large, the paintings of Laura Owens are delirious confections
buttressed by luscious technique, smart composition and a brilliantly poetic
sense of space. Love ’em or hate ’em — and there are plenty who hate ’em — they’re
wonderfully impossible to ignore. (HM)


To read part one of the story, from The
Rev. Ethan Acres to Mark Grotjahn click here

To read part three of the story, from Jennifer
Pastor to Diana Zlotnick click here

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