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Current Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions
Doug Simay’s Best Picks
Alison Saar at LA Louver (Venice through July 1).
Of the multigenerational Saar artist-family, Alison is my favorite.  This exhibition is her usual investigation
of African-American history.  Some of her sculptures reinterpret classic and White European motifs in her
pursuit of African-American identity.  These are elegant and are visual poetry.  
Don Suggs at LA Louver (Venice through July 1).
I have been seeing Don Suggs out and about in the visual sphere of late.  And, whenever I do – I exclaim.  
This fine exhibition is no exception.  Both the pictured works are from 2016.  Above is a “Paradise Print”
with painted circles and geometry on top of a photographic print.  Below is a “Paradise Painting” where
Suggs has painted all aspects of the work.
Salomon Huerta at Christopher Grimes (Santa Monica through July 1).
Huerta’s work history covers a lot of territory.  He has produced fastidious, realist drawings that are in
every manner “Old School”.  He has produced angular architectural landscapes that bang abstraction into
design.  He is famous for his stylized heads seen from the rear that define a view of Latino.  In this
exhibition, Salomon Huerta paints boxers in washy watercolor.  The only part of these paintings that is
precise are the eyes.  It is through these “portals” that these “power figures…linked with violence”
becoming engagingly human.
Huerta is an adept and skilled artist who always manages to evolve interestingly and successfully.
Salomon Huerta
Dan McCleary at Craig Krull (Bergamot through July 2).
Dan is showing small works across a variety of techniques.  Best known for his luminous portraits in oil, in
this exhibition he presents still-lifes in watercolor and oil, and color etchings.  The evidence of Dan’s work
ethic and long tenure is clear.  He marvelously shares with us the beauty that he sees around him.
  Dan McCleary
Javier Carrillo at Craig Krull (Bergamot through July 2).
Dan McClearly created an art training program for mid-city youth called Art Division.  Three artists of the
Art Division Print Collective, Javier Carrillo, Roberto Ortiz, and Jairo Perez, are showing their work in the
gallery next to Dan.  There can be no better validation for a school than to see its students learn and
master.  Javier Carrillo’s reduction linoleum prints are really super.
John Humble at Craig Krull (Bergamot through July 2).
Humble’s photographs are totally straight – no studio or editing manipulations.  He waits for the right time
to record an image using a very high density camera.  He shows LA as he finds it – views of splendor
within the seemingly mundane.  Along with Jeff Brouws, John Humble defines color in photography.
Paco Pomet at Richard Heller (Bergamot closing).
Overall the spirit of LA’s dealers is glum.  They are having problems with too few collectors and closed
wallets.
So it is joyous to see that Paco Pomet’s show is almost sold-out (at $12,500 a pop).  These are humorous,
psychedelic paintings that in so many ways reference Mark Tansey.   
Ed Moses 2006
Ed Moses at William Turner (Bergamot through June 25).
Ed Moses is now 90 years old and is still a very active painter.  This exhibition, which spans two spaces,
sorta shows a selection of his work over the last 50 years.  I have seen the artist at the gallery and he is
spry for 90 – but he ain’t 60.  His work over the last decade has been the most accomplished yet.  Moses
is a definition for “paragon.”
Ed Moses 2015
Curtis Hoekzema at FIG (Bergamot through June 25).
This exhibition runs hot and cold.  Since I prefer to accentuate the positive – when Hoekzema paints in a
stylized, cartoon-like manner he is most effective.  Rarely do I see James Doolin channeled.  At his best
Hoekzema does that well.
Federico Solmi at Luis de Jesus (Culver City through July 9).
Like a video, kitsch Red Grooms Solmi represents garish worlds where powerful rulers act out badly.  His
skills in computer animation are beyond my understanding.  This is absurdist theater presented on a most
advanced digital platform.  There is no other human doing work like this; yet even if there were, Solmi
would have to be head of the class.
Chuck Kelton at Von Lintel (Culver City closing).
Kelton’s work is photographic using light, paper, and chemistry in the dark room to make seeming
landscape images.  Except there is no camera or negative.  His apparent landscapes are a meld of
photograms (exposing photographic paper to light) and chemograms (exposing photographic paper to
developer and fixer).  
Mark Sheinkman at Von Lintel (Culver City closing).
These are striking drawings as paintings.  On a painted base Sheinkman applies crushed graphite that he
then carves away or erases to create layer upon layer of illusion.   
Frank Stockton at Samuel Freeman (Culver City through June 25).
Some exhibitions work because of audacity.  Frank Stockton paints audaciously.  Against scumbled
backgrounds he floats obscure gestures displaying undaunted confidence.  Having just finished his MFA
at UCLA in 2015 his painting confidence seems prematurely large.  This man likes early Philip Guston.  His
work pays homage to Cy Twombley and DeKooning.  If his painting trajectory stays true, the next decades
promise a vigorous talent.
Peter Opheim at Zevitas Marcus (Culver City through June 25).
Opheim makes small clay models. He paints these models at heroic size in thick impasto.  The resulting
images are humorous at the same time as being grotesque.  It did not take long for me to marvel at
paintings that were about the physicality of paint – his little monster still-life characters in service of the
joy of painting.  These paintings historically reverberate with Art Brut and CoBrA.
Gina Ruggeri at 101/Exhibit (West Hollywood through July 30).
Ruggeri’s abstract collages of painted and stained fabrics don’t present a vantage-point perspective.  
They are visually immersive.  
Nathaniel Mary Quinn at M+B (West Hollywood through June 25).
The paintings seen in this exhibition at first glance seem to be collages.  No.  Without preparatory
drawing or modeling, Quinn paints complex, intimate portraits that look exactly as if collaged.  His
intuition is constantly at work.  He paints with charcoal, oil, paint-stick, gouache, and oil pastel.
Barbara Kasten at MOCA Design Center (West Hollywood through August 14).
Kasten (b. 1937) lives and works in Chicago.  For 40 years she has constructed fantastic color
photographs that honor her interest in the Bauhaus and Laszlo Moholy-Nagy while orchestrating
photographic set-ups that boggle belief.  I was hoping that this exhibition would offer far more substance
and pizzazz than it does.  I have seen Barbara Kastens to-die-for whereas this exhibition seems more
dead than alive.  MOCA has lost its way.
Manny Farber at MAK Center (West Hollywood through August 14).
“Birthplace: Douglas” is the only Manny Farber (1917-2008) painting that can be read with a narrative (the
tale of where and when he was born).  Seeing it hanging in the Schindler house at the MAK Center creates
its own spiritual energy.  Schindler came out to LA to supervise the building of Frank Lloyd Wright’s
Hollyhock House in 1920.  Schindler became a visionary architect in LA and La Jolla and the Schindler
House was the first California Modernist house.  There is a lot of mid-20th Century history bound up in
both the painting and the house.   
George Condo at Spruth Magers (mid Wilshire closing).
Being a fan of Condo for a couple decades, this exhibition is his best yet.  Condo is a rare, successful
contemporary artist who has embraced figuration.  His “psychological Cubist” paintings are based upon his
studied mastery of all the greats from Rembrandt to Picasso.  He has the comic-cartoon of late Guston.  
Roberto Matta, Goya and Picasso all come to mind as I view the work.  This was my favorite, #1, exhibition
this trip.
George Condo
Patrick Graham at Jack Rutberg (La Brea through July 30).
This exhibition was curated by Peter Selz.  It is a survey of 30 years of Graham’s work.  Graham is a titan
in his homeland, Ireland.  Jack Rutberg has been a champion of his work since the mid-1980s.   As one
might expect Graham’s work is heavy on sturm and drang.  The painting’s surfaces are thick and violently
manipulated.  Old School European in my book.  
Deanna Thompson at Kayne Griffin Corcoran (lower La Brea through July 30).
The viewer can tell that Deanna Thompson (1958-2015) lived and worked in the desert.  I recognize her
subject as the same as John Divola’s “Isolated Houses”.  But differing from Divola’s photographs,
Thompson’s works carry a more human set of responses probably due to the emotive/spiritual power of
painting (brush and paint).  
Sam Gilliam at David Kordansky (lower La Brea through July 9).
Sam Gilliam (b.1933) is major figure in American Art.  He is also one of Washington DC’s most famous
artists.  These works from the late 1960s and early 1970s were done while Gilliam (an African-American)
was in DC during the Civil Rights Movement.  They have not been seen in decades. Gilliam removed the
stretcher bars to let his large canvases drape and become architectural.  His paintings denied classical
categorization and spoke to freedom of experience.
Wallace Berman at Michael Kohn (Hollywood through June 25).
I have been observing Wallace Berman’s (1926-1976) work since I was just a tadpole art observer.  
Berman was a Los Angeles iconoclast whose view extended into the greater world.  The artists of his time
knew of him (Peter Blake included Berman’s image in the crowd pictured on the cover of the Beatles’ “Sgt.
Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band”). The curators Claudia Bohn-Spector and Sam Mellon have done a
terrific job of surveying Berman’s work and presenting it with accessible wall text.  This is a wonderful
learning exhibition.
Elliott Hundley at Regen Projects (Hollywood closing).
Hundley’s work is dense, very dense.  Within his paintings are paintings within paintings.  Concentrating on
a part is as involving as attempting to see the whole.  These sculptural tableaux are abstract, figurative,
and cinematic.  I am reminded of Lari Pittman with implication of an unintelligible narrative.  Elliott Hundley’s
video counterpart is Marco Brambilla.
LA Today at Royale Projects (LA River through June 26).
This is a luscious exhibition of nine LA artists curated by Carl Schlosberg (who curated Century City
Sculpture 2015).  I most enjoyed seeing work by Peter Shelton (above), Gary Lang, Ruth Pastine, and
Kenneth Capps.
Get out, look at art; have fun.
Doug Simay        6/15/2016
doug@simayspace.com