Early this past summer, Los Angeles-based artists Samara Golden and Davida Nemeroff were contacted by Modern Painters magazine, eager to cover their forthcoming two-person exhibition at Various Small Fires, a new space in LA run by dealer Esther Kim Varet, scheduled for the fall. Though a rough concept was in place, very little had yet materialized. Nevertheless, the publication assiduously pursued the two artists for details and explanations, tracking down Golden while she visited New York in June. Golden and Nemeroff soon after began working with a built-in audience for "Modern Painters" [through Sept. 30], a nod to the publication's presence in the early stages of their co-production. The exhibition's title points to the ways in which the media increasingly enfolds itself into artistic processes. As Nemeroff suggested at a preview for A.i.A. the day before the opening, "Maybe this is all for you."
Writing in his 1946 manifesto, "Rehabilitation of Mud," the artist Jean Dubuffet advocated for the creation of paintings made of "monochromatic mud . . . to discover an order (an image) within formlessness of matter so that one can rehabilitate that matter." On view in a solo exhibition [through Aug. 18] at David Kordansky Gallery, Los Angeles, and a showcase at the Hammer Museum as part of "Made in L.A." [through Sept. 2], Ruby Neri's most recent sculptures, towering abstract bodies in clay and plaster, invoke Dubuffet's call for art's primordial return to terra firma. The L.A.-based artist's figures seem to emerge from the earth's depths by an act of spiritual conjuring, congealing into clay, plaster and steel as they rise up.
Amanda Ross-Ho's current show at L.A. MOCA's Pacific Design Center (PDC), "TEENY TINY WOMAN" [through Sept. 23], reinterprets the retrospective. Presented with the opportunity to survey her practice, the L.A.-based artist has chosen to reconfigure motifs, and display them in mutated forms on 17 large-scale Sheetrock panels made to represent, to scale, the perimeter of her downtown studio.
On one panel, advertisements for Windex feature terrified ghost-shaped spills about to be wiped, pinned near an unfinished-looking painting of concentric circles on unprimed canvas; on another panel, a pixelated photograph of a Cabbage Patch doll's arm bearing gold bracelets in chiaroscuro is mounted next to an oil rendering of a draftsman's triangle.
This past weekend saw the "first and only" (a promotional brochure touted) Venice Beach Biennial, a festival of performance, sculpture and installation organized by Hammer Museum curator Ali Subotnick as part of "Made in LA" [through Sept. 2]. The event significantly expanded that survey's mandate to present the work of locals, including vendors and artists in their own right who regularly sell their work on the beach.
Pink balloons led Sunday morning pedestrians past canopied tables with quintessential Venice wares—miniature carved totems, check; fluorescent-hued landscapes on canvas, check; hand-beaded jewelry, check. Non-beach artists opened their practices up to beach conventions. In some cases this meant artists forming underground economies of their own, as Erika Vogt did by circulating her own IOU currency among boardwalk merchants. (Vogt is a finalist for the American Idol-like Mohn prize the Hammer is awarding to one biennial participant.)
2012, aluminum, wood, sublimation print on polyester and concrete, 71 3/4 by 122 1/2 by 135 inches overall. Courtesy Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New Yor