Past Exhibitions
Current Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions
Doug Simay’s Best Picks
I do not usually publicly comment about San Diego exhibitions.  But the three shows highlighted below are
better than anything currently showing in LA.  Wow, for us locals that makes for an easy art afternoon.
Ron Nagle at San Diego Museum of Art (Balboa Park through Feb. 22).
With the world all ga-ga over Ken Price we are best reminded to find out who else uses clay to pursue the
highest caliber of sculpture.  The Ron Nagle exhibition at the SDMA is superbly presented and Nagle is
amongst the best ceramic artists.  It would be a shame for you to miss this exhibition.
Astrid Preston at R.B.Stevenson (La Jolla through Feb. 28).
Astrid is a tireless, constantly self-refreshing artist.  While not a survey exhibition and most heavily
presenting current work, this exhibition offers a chance for San Diego to see a major LA talent.  
David Fobes at Bread and Salt (Barrio Logan through March 15).
David Fobes applies his mastery of perception and control in a group of new paintings made of collaged
wallpaper samples.  Fobes is a senior San Diego talent. He passes his wisdom and encouragement to his
students while never relenting in exploring his own horizons.  James Brown and Isabel Dutra have worked
diligently to keep fresh, accomplished art in the San Diego landscape.  On the other side of downtown San
Diego from La Jolla, Bread & Salt offers artistic excellence a platform. This is a big deal show.
Troika at Michael Kohn (Hollywood through “unpublished“).
Troika is a trio of artists (2 Germans (Eva Rucki and Conny Freyer) and Sebastian Noel (French)).  Their
work uses many different materials and methods.  To quote the press release: “They manipulate our
perception of the world and ask the question why we know what we know, and whether this knowledge is
certain.”  The image at the top is a detail of “Calculating the Universe” made of small dice arranged using
simple rules from which random patterns emerge.  Below is a detail from “Cartography of Control” in which
the feeble attempt to manage a powerful electric charge burning paper demonstrates the lack of control.
untethered” at Cirrus (Downtown through Feb. 14).
This group show brought out from Cirrus’ inventory is stupendous.  It ranges from the early resin work by
Ed Moses from 1970 (above) to the recent Jay McCafferty burn painting (2013, seen in detail below).  
Along with several Charles Christopher Hill pieces, I was in nostalgic heaven.  As noted below, Jean Milant
and Cirrus have been core to the LA art scene for 44 years.  In 1977, I first learned my gallery chops
visiting this gallery and seeing these artists.
CB1 Gallery (Downtown).
Three days before his grand opening, Clyde Beswick is confidently ready to enjoy his new space on Santa
Fe.  It is a grand exhibition space and will bring more weigh to the offerings downtown.  When Hauser &
Wirth & Schimmel opens on E. 3rd Street, the next hot LA gallery district will stretch, with Santa Fe as the
central corridor, from E. 3rd Street to the Mistake Room at 20th Street.  Cirrus will be back in the thick of it
as it has been during the last couple downtown art booms.  Being a fan of CB1 programming, I am very
happy for Clyde who deserves pride in his new home.
Tom of Finland at David Kordansky (lower La Brea through March 7).
I mention Tom of Finland because of the number of homoerotic shows currently up.  Francois Gehbaly is
showing Mike Kuchar and Hal Fischer’s “Gay Semiotics” is at Cherry and Martin.  So there are three
opportunities to indulge in homoerotic indulgence - if that is of interest?
Amir Zaki at ACME (mid Wilshire through Feb. 7).
Zaki is a photographer.  Half of this exhibition consists of “straight” color photographs that are both
detailed (as to appear like a Blossfeldt photograph) and yet could be painted.  The other half of his
presented work is manipulated close ups of water pounding the shoreline.  They are textural and gestural
leaving me to wonder what I am seeing - knowing that they are flat photographs but wondering if they have
been painted much like a Pat Steir.
Kimberly Merrill at Lora Schlesinger (Bergamot through Feb. 21).
With a 2004 BFA from Laguna College of Art and Design, this is Kimberly Merrill’s first solo exhibition.  She
knows what she is doing and we can all look forward to her future.
Larry Bell and Eric Zammitt at William Turner (Bergamot through Feb. 21).
The gallery presents 16 of its artist in a group show called “Ethereal”.  Group shows seem to most usually
be summer fare - when the viewing public is more interested in being outside than inside the galleries.  
Now, in the middle of January, my expectation is for dealers to put on strong, solo shows.  There are many
group shows about town - as if summer doldrums are at work.  It may be just me, but “optimism” does not
seem the operational world in this month’s LA art scene.  The Larry Bell 2012 piece above demonstrates
that Bell continues to move forward, working with a technique that is all his.
The 2014 Eric Zammitt imaged below is just a detail from a large 75” x 40” luminous piece made of colored
acrylic tiles.
Din Q. Le, Oliver Michaels, and Izhar Patkin at Shoshana Wayne (Bergamot through Feb. 14).
Shoshana Wayne’s show called “Rhizome: Multiplicities of Abstraction” displays 10 artists.  Dinh Q. Lee has
come a long way.  His beautiful, woven 53” x 53” photograph of roses is offered at $50,000 (not pictured).  
Oliver Michaels (above) composites images to create square images within square frames - converting
reality into the absurd.
Izhar Patkin (below) pushes paint through the back of wire mesh to create seemingly “woven” paintings with
mixed cultural metaphors.
Peter Voulkos at Frank Lloyd (Bergamot through Feb. 14).
This story eclipses another excellent Frank Lloyd exhibition.  It is that this is his last public show.  He is
going to close the Bergamot gallery, move inventory to Pasadena, and deal privately.  Frank Lloyd has
given his Bergamot-public an opportunity to see the best of art and the best of Southern California
artists.  I will miss such excellence.
This might be the time to mention that Angles in Culver City is closing.  
Because of MTA’s development of a trolley station right across the street from LACMA, Stephen Cohen is
moving to Hollywood at the new power corner of “Highland and Santa Monica”.  I am curious to see where
Edward Cella moves.
The current reshuffle will significantly change the landscape of LA’s gallery scene.
John Valadez at Robert Berman (Bergamot through Feb. 21).
It is a pleasure to experience Valadez’ cinematic, “Chicano-baroque” art.  He was last seen in a survey
exhibition at the MCA San Diego in the third quarter of 2012.
Dan McCleary at USC Fisher (Exposition Park through March 7).
The title of this 20 year survey of works (1993-2013) is “Ever Day Sacred”.  It is an appropriate title for
Dan’s work.  He imbues secular moments - having coffee, working at a desk, watching TV - with a calm,
some might say detached, spirituality that resonates with Vermeer,  Hopper, Edouard Manet.  In a Post-
Conceptual world his realist paintings are about “being” and “reflecting”.
Andy Kolar at Walter Maciel (Culver City through Feb. 14).
Kolar’s sculptures always announce and distinguish themselves.  His manufactured shapes and pastel
colors are unique.  It is great to see him now affiliated with Walter Maciel - a dedicated gallerist.  The
Maciel gallery has well over doubled in size having just expanded into the next door, former LAX<>ART
space.  South La Cienega has just been improved.
Blue McRight at Samuel Freeman (Culver City through Feb. 14).
McRight remains an iconoclast - creating works that meld natural forms with recycled industrial tools.  She
literally binds them together.  These hybrids, chimeras, are at the same time curiously whimsical while they
portend larger, perhaps sinister, meaning.
The week before making my LA rounds I was in the Fort Worth-Dallas metroplex to see an exhibition of
George Caleb Bingham.
Follow this link to see that report:  
Get out, look at art, have fun.
Doug Simay   January 2015