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Current Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions
Doug Simay’s Best Picks
Lari Pittman 1991
What I Loved: Selected Work from the 90s at Regen Projects (Hollywood through April 13).
Regen Projects opened in 1989.  They have chosen work by 26 artists to reflect on what interested them
in the nineties.  ‘Tis a nice trip down memory lane.   In all my years of trying to like Richard Prince, the
1990 piece below finally curries favor.
Richard Prince1990
Amir Zaki at ACME (Frogtown through March 25).
Zaki is a photographer.  His ACME dealers, Randy and Robert, have extolled his virtues for the last years.  
I am not sure if I have been “sold” or am finally “seeing”.  His coastal rock images reverberate with Max
Ernst’s landscape paintings.  The wood carving images are CAD/CAM produced and printed images that
have nothing to do with photography.  They are like a Chuck Close painting – composed and built piece by
piece.  
Amir Zaki “Carving”
Joe Zucker at Maccarone (DTLA through April 8).
In 1979 I was introduced to Joe Zucker’s work by Daniel Weinberg in his gallery off California street in San
Francisco.  He tried to sell me a terrific windmill painting.  But at the time $2,000 was beyond me.  Since
then the name “Zucker” has been like an aesthetic pheromone.  
For this exhibition Zucker has used 1000 industrial mops, each dipped in various sequences of up to five
colors, they are molded, and then assembled into modules of four mops forming a square unit.  The units
are presented as a grid.  The mops stand in for paint brushes and their handles delineate the plane of a
painting’s surface.  The tools that are used to make paintings become paintings.  The gesture that drives
the brush is frozen in time.  So Zucker’s conceptual drive is to investigate how a painting gets made.
Alex Gross at Corey Helford (DTLA through March 25).
Alex Gross is one of LA’s premier New-Pop-Surrealists.  His technical skills are superb.  With a BFA from
Art Center he then taught there for 9 years until 2005.  He has not been seen in solo exhibition in LA for
over a decade.  Gross’ surrealism is much deeper and effectively psychological than most of his “big eyed
girl” contemporaries.  I particularly like when he channels George Tooker.
Cole Case at Chimento (DTLA through March 25).
This is a landscape show – the LA landscape.  The spiritual reaction to his unpopulated views can either  
be unsettling or quieting.  This yin-yang seems naturally balanced – not forced.  He starts his process by
drawing in pen and ink on site.  It is these pen/ink/wash drawings that have the most reverberating
strength.  His formal paintings are good and the future looks very bright.  Make the chance to see the
small studies.  They are exquisite.
Jon Pylypchuk
Concrete Island at Venus (DTLA through May 13).
Subtitled “The Antidote for Civilization” this group exhibition features work by 31 artists.  I cannot perceive
what links these works other than they are all in the same place at the same time.  Quoting the exhibition’s
“catalog”: “Careen off the highway and into the cushion of your airbag to arrive at this bleak no man’s
land, where you’ll be marooned in plain sight.”  According to the exhibition’s coordinators this is a “lush
entropical paradise”.  There is interest here and it is a show worth attention.  Looking at Jon Pylypchuk’s
sculpture I have learned the meaning of pareidolia.  Harry Dodge’s Emergency Survival Weapons remind
me of Gary Lang’s zip-tie “weapons” I first saw at Ulrike Kantor’s gallery in 1980.
Harry Dodge
Jason Rhoades at Hauser & Wirth (DTLA through May 21).
Jason Rhoades died in 2006 at the age of 41.  Six of his installations (spanning 1994 through 2006) are
recreated in this cavernous gallery.  The artist’s private acts of consumption are celebrated in his
pejorative, “corpulent and lustful” installations.  These extravagant reconstructions are an art insider’s
joke.  Perhaps it is because of the prodigious effort extended to unearth this nihilistic morass, that its
curator (and former partner in the gallery), Paul Schimmel, has had all traces of his former affiliation with
this gallery removed.  Shown the door – Paul Schimmel is now a free agent.  Many great trajectories
ultimately fall back to earth.  Successfully launching garbage doesn’t constitute a “moon shot”.
Lisa Adams at CB1 (DTLA through April 9).
I am used to seeing Lisa Adams paint significantly large canvasses.  The works in this exhibition are all
small paintings (between 20 and 24 inches).  It seems it would much harder to activate a small painting
than a big one.  It is harder to make the “story” with less visual acreage and without the drama of scale.  
Several of the paintings in this show are smashing successes.  They are even more powerful than they
might be at larger scale.  Economy, precision, focus, spirit – the strongest of Lisa Adam’s work have all
these qualities.  Great painters make great small paintings.  True here and true today.
Michael Mancari at CB1 (DTLA through April 9).
Mancari’s work is super-duper.  It has got figurative landscape and lots of deconstruction and abstraction.  
Mancari’s work reverberates with the early paintings of Tomory Dodge (landscape reintegrating into
abstraction).  This work addresses the mind while encouraging the spirit.  Its depth offers what makes art
enduring.
David Gilhooly at Couturier (La Brea through April 15).
David Gilhooly (1943-2013) is most identified by his pun-laden ceramic sculptures that juxtapose unlikely
elements like baked beans with frogs.  In that manner he shares traits with his contemporary, Robert
Arneson (1930-1992).  Gilhooly and Arneson were identified with the Bay Area’s Funk Ceramic
Movement.  This exhibition is my first introduction to Gilhooly’s works on paper.  His humor is never-
ending.  In the print above, Gilhooly’s dog is eating his favorite treat – a Big Mac burger.  It is obvious in
these works on paper that Gilhooly was also connected with William Wiley.
Beverly Pepper at KayneGriffinCorcoran (La Brea closing).
I got in to see this magnificent exhibition on its last day.  What great good fortune.  Working since the
1950s, Beverly Pepper is now 94 years old (and still working).  This exhibition had works from 1968
through the present.  The exhibition was a world class art experience.
Uta Barth at 1301PE (mid Wilshire through April 22).
MacArthur Fellow, Uta Barth has had a charmed career. I bought her work when I first saw it in 1995.  
Anxiously following her career and exhibitions since then, I find myself wishing that I could find the same
level of sublime engagement I experienced in the 1990s.
Richard Wilson at Louis Stern (West Hollywood through March 25).
Louis Stern represents the greatest of mid-century LA Modernists.  Viewing Richard Wilson’s work begs
reflection on Karl Benjamin.  But time evolves and Richard Wilson is not a Karl Benjamin clone.  His planar
work invokes the landscape while rigorously exploring color and optical illusion.
Malick Sidibe at M+B (West Hollywood through April 22).
Malick Sidibe (1935-2016) is a highly decorated and positively considered photographer from Bamako,
Mali.  He employed himself by photographing life around him.  His work offers the outside world a chance
to see the African country of Mali in its evolution from a French colony to a “modern” African country.  Both
Malick Sidibe and Edward Burtynsky offer a chance to see our world through a different lens.  While I find
artfulness in Burtynsky’s work, Sidibe’s seems more like National Geographic photojournalism.  While very
interesting, sociology is not “visual art”.  It is in this similar vein that I have a hard time with a lot of
“conceptual” art.  
Edward Burtynsky at Von Lintel (Culver City through April 22).
Using all manner of vehicles to get his camera high up in the air, Burtynsky offers a view of the earth from
the heavens.  His are straight photographs – not retouched or Photoshopped.  No matter how many times I
see his work, I find interest and am fascinated.  Reiterating the press release… Burtynsky’s photographs
offer “sweeping aerials of otherworldly geometries and intoxicating swathes of color.”
Kenny Scharf at Honor Fraser (Culver City through April 22).
Scharf’s Pop aesthetic is readily identifiable and uniquely his.  I am easily entranced and engaged by his
playful, fantastical assemblage.  The line he successfully walks allows his work to never become a parody
of itself.
Italo Scanga at R.B. Stevenson (La Jolla through March 31).
Ron Stevenson has done a fine job of curating a survey of Italo’s work.  Spanning 20 years of
production, there are series which we all recognize.  Then there are those which got relatively little
exposure.  This exhibition allows us to see them all again.  There are great and glorious works here.  
Italo was great and glorious – he was San Diego’s Picasso.
Get out, look at art, have fun.
Doug Simay        March 2017     doug@simayspace.com