Matthew Marks opened the fifth location of his gallery (he has 4 in New York) last week on the east side of West Hollywood. Located just south of Santa Monica Boulevard, the building features a permanent architectural intervention by Ellsworth Kelly, who is also featured in the new space's inaugural show,. The 40-feet long rectangular black form, inspired by the artist's Study for Black on White Panels (1954) and Black Over White (1966), hovers in relief along the top of the facade's length, a minimal gesture that is both monumental and understated.
The building, both inside and out, is as much the product of its architect, Peter Zellner, as it is of Kelly. The interior, a sizable 3,000 square feet, features six square glass skylights recessed into the ceiling. These provide shadowless daylighting to the space, in accord with the artist's specifications. In the main space, Kelly shows six new relief paintings [through April 7]—mostly rectilinear canvases superimposed by equally colorful oblong monochromes, each parabolic form appearing to defer to an uneven gravitational pull to the left or right.
The crowd gathered outside of Santa Monica's Barker Hanger last Thursday for the preview of Art Los Angeles Contemporary (ALAC) was heavy on volunteers. Dressed in matching white workman jumpsuits, these young men and women were arranging blocks of dry ice into ziggurats and laying out flares for a restaging of Judy Chicago's Disappearing Environments (1968/2012), an installation that shrouded the fair's entrance in red-lit fog. Displayed out of its original context—Century City, the L.A. neighborhood then rapidly rising with finance and entertainment high-rises—any hint of its original critique was relinquished.
Asher Penn tends to upload images of his new bodies of work to the Web like leaked tracks of a pop singer's forthcoming album, publishing them on his own site sometimes more than a month before the show's opening. He did just this for his latest exhibition, "The Banana Question," at Young Art, Los Angeles [through Jan. 22] that comprises three mixed-medium sculptures, a series of photographs, and 10 books of ink drawings (all works Untitled, 2011). The young, New York-based Penn is skilled at manipulating the devices that frame a work's content—his website, for one, and the installation here, which resembles a retail storefront window, with its displays of shirts, stock photographs and books for sale.
The title of Matt Saunders's current show, "China in Nixon" [through Dec. 22 at Blum & Poe, Los Angeles] turns the title of John Adams's 1972 opera into abstract absurdity. The title's inverted place and figure, references performers who are improbably filled, indeed enlivened, by space.
For her most recent exhibition at Overduin and Kite in Los Angeles, Kaari Upson has created works in charcoal and smoke—materials with residue. Memory is the impetus for "The Larry Project" (2007–), an ongoing body of work for which Upson invents abandoned personal items of a fictional man she calls Larry.
Four Corners (all works 2011) is an enclosed wooden crate that contains debris the artist has accrued in an ongoing effort to destroy a charcoal cast she has made of a life-size Larry doll. In an effort to rid herself of him, the artist supposedly destroyed the doll inside that same box, leaving only its blackened effigy. Recorded sounds of dragging, slamming and throwing thunder inside the container. Her tools (broken tennis rackets, a mask), charcoal marks (waveform scrawls, erratic scuffs and rubs), and the cast's remains can be viewed through a peephole accessed by lying on the ground; or through a square porthole, lined on all sides by mirrors, refracting views of a two-channel surveillance video. The artist has inventoried her destructive gestures, indexing them with straightforward titles in a series of charcoal tablets cast between malleable metal sheets, on view in the second gallery.
Pink latex casts of chandeliers, gates and a balcony rail resemble melted remains after a fire, stand-ins for the artist's site-specific project on the site of where Larry's house once stood, in San Bernardino, CA.
Two slide carousels, 80 slides each, approx. 9-minute loop. Courtesy Callicoon Fine Arts, New York.