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Current Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions
Doug Simay’s Best Picks
My art circuit this last week was fraught with anxious dealers and portents of calamity.  While the
international art auctions deliver record dollars spent, emergent and middle level art sales seem
moribund.  The upper middle class and what remains of the middle class has stopped buying.  Me thinks
current political times must be squashing optimism and folks are hunkering down both intellectually and
fiscally.  Soon we will hear of a couple more gallery closures.  Over the last four decades I have witnessed
and lived through at least four down cycles.  This current one is quite serious.  We must support what is
important to us.  Without our creative outlets, where will we incubate hope?
Andrea Zittel at Regen Projects (Hollywood through Aug. 12).
Zittel continues to operate at the intersection of art object and living environment.  In a gallery exhibition (as
this), her work seems like art object.  Yet I think her truest work still plays best installed in the environment of
Joshua Tree.  The sculptures presented here are precious, walk-in Constructivist sculptures.  That doesn’t
quite seem the Zittel ethos.
Yung Jake at Steve Turner (Hollywood through July 22).
Yung Jake operates at the interface of hip-hop, video, social media and contemporary art.  This exhibition
was as much a backdrop for performances by his contemporaries (at the opening) as it is a collection of
his works on view.  
Peter Cain at Matthew Marks (Hollywood through Sept. 1).
Peter Cain (1959-1997) was best known for paintings of distorted automobiles.  This exhibition displays a
cross-section of his various works.  Matthew Marks has been Cain’s dedicated dealer in life and now in
death.  His car paintings update and add a Surreal spin to Pop artist, James Rosenquist.
Roberto Matta 1972
Surreal/Unreal at Jack Rutberg (La Brea through Aug. 19).
The Getty is initiating the second Pacific Standard Time region-wide (San Diego to Santa Barbara) series
of exhibitions that will examine Latin-American/Latino art in the Southland.  Called LA/LA these exhibitions
officially launch in September.  With usual Rutberg excellence, the gallery jumps the gun with its exhibition
of ten Latino artists with connections to LA called “Artists of Mexico”.  
In addition, the gallery presents an exhibition called Surreal/Unreal.  Roberto Matta (1911-2002) was born
in Chile (though his most significant works were executed whilst living in NYC and Europe).  Rutberg has
some wonderful works on paper by Matta.  That alone is reason to stop here.
Sasha Koozel Reibstein
Blurred Boundaries at Couturier (La Brea through July 28).
The artists in this exhibition are fundamentally ceramists.  When they take off in different directions – the
boundaries of ceramics get blurred.
Sasha Koozel Reibstien is a San Diego artist.  Lately she has been growing and incorporating mineral
crystals into her ceramic biomorphs.
Alison Petty Ragguette makes her bizarre forms by combining porcelain, glass, silk, and silicone.
I have only seen Patti Warashina’s work (particularly her sculpture) in her native Seattle.  She is a highly
regarded artist – deservedly so.  This painting captures what her ceramic works look like.
All in all this a very curious and stimulating exhibit by quite accomplished artists.
Alison Petty Ragguette
    Patti Warashina
Alexander Yulish
Ace Wilshire (mid-Wilshire through July 16).
There is plenty worth seeing at ACE.  The featured exhibitions are Ruth Pastine and Alexander Yulish.  
Yulish’s paintings verge on too flamboyant.  When they channel Kandinsky as well as the CoBrA,
Corneille, they are most effective.
The visual treats on the current gallery walls are three huge 1992 paintings by Roger Herman and three
long, horizontal 2005 paintings by Gary Lang.
Roger Herman 1992
Gary Lang 2005
folded concrete by Analia Saban
Analia Saban at Spruth Magers (mid-Wilshire through Aug. 19).
This exhibition is superb.  If one were only to see one gallery show in LA – this is it.  Ms. Saban makes
the improbable, plausible.  Her appreciation of the physicality of materials is core to her practice.  The
devotion she brings to amalgamating dissimilar materials in order to constitute new physical realities is
almost not understandable. Brilliant. I am indebted to Thomas Solomon for introducing me to her work
many years ago (2009).
Surface detail Analia Saban
Jeff Koons at Gagosian (Beverly Hills through Aug. 18).
Manufactured in mirror-polished stainless steel and then coated with layers of transparent color –
should Koons work be seen in an art museum or in a science and technology forum?  They are
magnificent objects to behold.  The artistry of Koons may be bringing lots-o-cash and technology
together.  
Chris Finley at Chimento (DTLA through July 22).
I am used to seeing Chris Finley’s work in the former ACME environment.  I think this body of work
(expressionistic renderings of Olympic weightlifters) works well with the adventurous tenor of Eva
Chimento’s gallery.  Using sign enamel on rigidly stretched canvas is truly seductive.  While attracted – I
am also a bit taken aback by what might also be seen as explosively apocalyptic. Eva continues to forge
ahead with her “take no prisoners” representation of “push/pull” artists.
Robert Mallary 1965
Robert Mallary at 356 S. Mission (DTLA closed).
Most of the work presented in a large group show that is just closing serves to highlight the excellence
of sculpture by Robert Mallary.  Mallary (1917-1997) taught at Pratt from 1959-67 and then University of
Massachusetts, Amherst. He was a Neo-Dada “Junk Artist” in good company with John Chamberlain,
Lee Bontecou, and Claes Oldenburg. And, he was perhaps the first artist to use a computer to design
sculpture in 1968.  Despite being a “real artist” with a lifetime of avant-garde practice, Mallary was only
infrequently discussed in critical circles and less frequently represented by galleries.
Constance Mallinson at Jason Vass (DTLA through July 22).
Constance Mallinson loves to paint.  She picks objects, portrays them, and then floods the canvas with
her endeavors.  She is fascinated by forms, forms layered upon forms, and the jumble of realism that
becomes in its density - emotive.  In the painting pictured above, she has exploded the pile of her
subjects.  This expanding galaxy reminds me of Manny Farber with whom she must share a kindred
spirit.
Jim Shaw
Jim Shaw at Blum & Poe (Culver City through Aug. 19).
Shaw is a prodigious artist with eclectic tastes.  He writes his own “script” and his audience loves him for
it.  Shaw defines iconoclast.
Jim Shaw
Kysa Johnson, detail
Kysa Johnson at Von Lintel (Culver City through August).
Looking like subatomic tracers in a Hadron collider experiment, the drawn paintings of Kysa Johnson
zoom back and forth from macro to micro-cosmic.  Are we seeing an expanding universe in deep space
or subatomic entropy?  Or are these glyphs that could spell out the meaning of life?  Curiously, I don’t
need to know why I am looking so intently.
Jinju Lee at Baik Art (Culver City through July 20).
Korean artist Jinju Lee uses techniques unfamiliar to me.  “Boonchae” (a Korean painting method) uses
crushed mineral pigment; applied to canvas coated with adhesive.  
I read a lot of gallery press releases.  As a rule, they are verbose tracks of crap that attempt to show off
the education of the writer rather than facilitate the experience of the art being promoted. The press
release for this show is an example of what could and should be:
                                             
http://baikart.com/exhibition/dialogical-self/
Morris Louis at Honor Fraser (Culver City through Aug. 19).
When I was young, a freshman in college, I thought Morris Louis (1912-1962) was a god.  The artist
folded and draped unprimed canvas - allowing gravity to direct the flow of paint; thus defining his sense
of abstraction.  This exhibition is boggling for the number, quality, and approachable intimacy of works
on view.  This is a museum quality exhibition - experienced in the unpopulated calm of the gallery.
John Divola at galleryluisotti (Bergamot through Sept. 9).
It is a pleasure to see the Divola flour works again.  At 60 x 48 inches these silver prints were executed
in 1990.  Divola took handfuls of flour – throwing them at a still wet, abstract painting.  The photograph
documents the result of this act of “Expressionism”.  The document does not speak to the
Conceptualism of his act.  Rather these works blandly seem to reflect either the Cosmos or the
atmosphere above our heads.  Divola’s work is always dead-pan “exploring the contradictions of a
medium caught between document and artifice.”
DJ Hall at Craig Krull (Bergamot through July 8).
DJ Hall continues to stage and paint brilliant, celebrations of summer in Southern California.  These
scenes of nonchalant entitlement around the swimming pool – belie the current cruel realities governing
life for the 99 percenters (and art dealers who represent emergent and middle-class artists).  Art can be
about joy and be a technical tour de force – territory Ms. Hall portrays well.  An antidote to
Conceptualism, this show is.
Get out, look at art; have fun.
Doug Simay        July 2017            doug@simayspace.com
Eric Beltz at CB-1 (DTLA through July 15).
Considering Eric Beltz, the pencil is mightier than the brush.  His superb drawings are cinematic.  I have
never not responded enthusiastically to Mr. Beltz’s work.  My apologies to the artist – the image above is
trivial compared to the experience of standing before his work.  Eric Beltz could be the heir-apparent to
Vija Celmins.  If that seems preposterous – stand before the work.  The precision of his geometric
abstractions can be like looking at the cosmos or the sparkling surface of a bright ocean surface.  In
some drawings, when he adds precise botanical foregrounds one understands that this man has broad
interests and keen perception.