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Current Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions
Doug Simay’s Best Picks
Charles Gaines at Hauser & Wirth (DTLA through Jan. 5).
Gaines is an important educator (at CalArts since 1989).  His is a “visual” conceptualism.  Black and white
photographs of palm trees are overlaid with plexiglass that has been gridded with fine lines.  Within the
blocks created in the grid he lays in color according to a schema where different colors represent layers of
the topography of the image.  The resultant “map” is an analytic index of the image. Such is the nature of
Gaines’ conceptualism.
Philip Guston at Hauser & Wirth (DTLA through Jan. 5).
The reason to come to Hauser and Wirth is to see this exhibition.  Two series of works are presented: the
Roma paintings (from 1971) and Nixon drawings (from 1973).  Guston was initialIy an abstract painter.  In
the very late 1960s he began painting figurative work.  In 1970 Guston’s Marlborough exhibition of
figurative paintings was roundly criticized.  It was so stinging that Guston retreated to the solitude of
Woodstock, NY to paint.  The Roma paintings are from that time and are a record of his figurative lexicon
(for which he is most famously known).
In 1973 he produced a huge archive of satirical drawings called the Poor Richard drawings.  These critical
drawings portray Nixon, Kissinger, Spiro T. Agnew, and John Mitchell.  Though simple line drawings, they
contain a biting commentary on the bumbling presidency of Nixon.  It is engrossing to walk through the
series of images.  The parallels between Nixon and Trump are uncanny.
Allow enough time and do not miss this terrific exhibition.
Guston "Poor Richard" series
Guston "Poor Richard" series    Spiro T., Nixon, Mitchell
Shepard Fairey at Over the Influence (DTLA through Dec. 29).
Shepard Fairey’s work is so ubiquitously seen in our visual environment that I have come to dismiss it as
advertisement.  This exhibition is quite engrossing.  After seeing Guston’s Poor Richard drawings, the
Fairey show dovetails nicely.  The Angela Davis poster took me back to 1968 when I was a freshman at
UCSD.  My very first college course and lecture was delivered by Herbert Marcuse.  A couple days later
that course’s section meeting was led by Angela Davis.  My earliest college instruction was politically
Left.
Shepard Fairey
Katy Ann Gilmore at DENK (DTLA through Dec. 28).
I continue to be seduced by Gilmore’s work.  Her painting seems like metaphysical origami.  Quoting the
press release: “(Gilmore articulates) the world through intersecting line and concise planar geometries,
creating spatial impressions far larger that the sum of their minimal parts.”  She uses acrylic ink pens;
drawing on Dibond.  Hers are very calculated works and still there is mathematical “poetry”.
Ramiro Gomez at Charlie James (Chinatown through Jan. 4).
It is always a pleasure to visit with Charlie James.  He is straight forward, exuberantly supportive of his
artists, and dedicated to being an effective art dealer.  Ramiro Gomez has been his “break through”
artist (connecting with collectors).  I like Ramiro’s work.  In his last show he re-interpreted early Hockney
paintings placing Mexican laborers on the pictorial plane.  This exhibition similarly presents the Mexican
labors who keep LA functioning.  For this exhibition , Ramiro uses a number of different techniques.  
I think of John Sonsini’s paintings of day laborers as the personalities and Ramiro’s paintings as what
those laborers do.
Linda Besemer at Suzanne Vielmetter (DTLA through Dec. 21).
Suzanne Viemetter has now doubled her space in the 1700 S. Santa Fe building.  She currently has
four individual artist exhibitions presented.  Linda Besemer’s work originates in the computer where she
allows faults and glitches in the CAD process to survive.  She then takes the digital compositions and
hand paints them onto canvas.  She calls this process “abstract(ing) the abstract”.  Curious at best.
Robert Yarber at Nicodim (through Dec. 7).
My favorite artist in the Nicodim stable is Robert Yarber.  Unfortunately Nicodim’s current Yarber exhibition
is at his Bucharest gallery.  The mammoth building at 1700 South Santa Fe continues to grow and evolve
artistically.  Expanding on Vielmetter’s offerings, Gavlak, Wilding Cran, and Nicodim have now opened
shop in the building.  There is still plenty of room left to lease.  It will be curious to watch how this, for now,
art dominant venue evolves.
Phyllis Green at Chimento (West Adams through Dec. 21).
Eva Chimento presents seven Phyllis Green sculptures produced between 1993 and 1996.  The original
exhibition in 1994 was presented at the Jan Baum Gallery.  These seven sculptures are all that are left
from the “Turkish Bath” series.  While the sculptures have both male and female qualities, the layering of
“flocking, feathers, and fabric” lends a distinctively female quality to the works - the very strong works.
Russell Crotty at Shoshana Wayne (West Adams through Dec. 21).
Russell Crotty is best known for his ball point pen drawing on globes.  He is also an amateur astronomer –
invited to be in residency at the Lick Observatory in 2015-2016.  His new body of work is transcendent.  
His materials are new – ink, acrylic, tinted bio-resin, fiberglass, and plastic.  The subject matter appears
like spacecraft, space stations, and otherworld architecture.  This show and body of work have converted
me into a Crotty fan.
Russell Crotty
       Constance Mallinson (detail)
Constance Mallinson at Edward Cella (Culver City through Jan. 4).
Presented here are early paintings from 1979-1982.  I would not have recognized them as Mallinson’s
given my familiarity with her work starts a decade or so later.  These early paintings are reductive, fields
of pattern that she has laboriously created brushstroke by brushstroke.  I appreciate the instruction on
this artist’s trajectory.
Hugo Crosthwaite at Luis de Jesus (Culver City through Dec. 21).
There are few who can match the powerful drawing of Hugo Crosthwaite.  His energetic, almost
cartoon-like, graphite/charcoal drawings portray the intersection of borderland Mexico and the US.  He
deserves and has earned the awards and accolades.  
Kenny Scharf at Honor Fraser (Culver City through Dec. 14).
Scharf has a distinctive visual signature that announces its creator.  The gallery is filled with his
paintings, sculpture, and furnishings.  All Scharf – everywhere.  His exuberance is infectious.
Kenny Scharf
Dean Monogenis at Walter Maciel (Culver City through Dec. 21).
The works in this exhibition are acrylic on paper.  He continues his interest in architecture.  Rather
than paintings of improbable architecture in the landscape, these works are fantasies of constructed
amalgamations of unrelated objects forced to find their balance.  His technique is clear and precise.
Alessandro Pessoli at Nino Mier (Hollywood through Dec. 21).
Pessoli’s work is exuberant.  When I looked at images of it online – I was not impressed.  But in person,
his paintings have active and attractive personality.  He draws upon the figurative motifs of Italo Scanga
and Georg Baselitz.  I like when a painter gets carried away with their process and the “calculations” fall
away.  The huge terracotta sculpture in mid-gallery is nuts.
Alessandro Pessoli
Alex Hubbard at Regen Projects (Hollywood through Dec. 21).
Compared with Pessoli, Alex Hubbard’s large paintings are calculated processes.  I think they
take their power from their scale and the curious use of high-tech materials.  The show is worth
seeing.
Alex Hubbard
Jonsi at Tanya Bonakdar (Hollywood through Jan. 9).
Try not to miss Jonsi’s exhibition.  It is sublime and as unique an installation as I have ever engaged in.  
The main gallery is an almost empty, neutral white painted room with very bright light (the white light is
so all encompassing that there are no shadows and it is if one has walked into a James Turrell tunnel).  
A ten channel audio track sonically bathes the viewer to complete the hallucinatory experience.  Along
with two other brilliant works, this exhibition is mighty worthwhile.  “Seeing, hearing, feeling” - immersion
makes it hard to separate one from the other.
Anthony Miserendino at Moskowitz Bayse (La Brea through Nov. 2).
This whole exhibition – from small works to the pictured living environment seen above is carefully
crafted and respectful of the materials that Miserendino uses.  All-in-all the exhibition is reverent.  His
love for materials is evident.  The large environment above is made of gypsum cement, wood, and
burlap.  The shipyard view below is encaustic on slate.  His is an opposite tact towards space
compared with Rachel Whiteread.
Anthony Miserendino
Stephen Wilkes at Fahey/Klein (La Brea through Nov. 30).
In an exhibition titled “Day to Night”, Stephen Wilkes photographed a full day, sunrise to sunset from
one location.  He then took the large number of images and composited them into one image.  The
left side in darkness evolves across the frame to the post-sunset dusk on the right.  For some of
these stunning photographs he spent up to 30 hours perched in the same spot 50 feet in the air;
shooting hundreds of images from the same vantage point.  The final images are dramatic to say the
least.
Gilbert & George at Spruth Magers (mid Wilshire through Jan. 25).
Over the last couple years I have been “bathed” in Gilbert and George.  Every time I go to
London, Gilbert and George exhibitions have been front and center.  The 35 major new works in
this exhibition are strangely refreshing.  Called “The Paradisical Pictures” the exhibition presents
“heightened, saturated, violent, cloying colours (that) convey hallucinogenic portent”.
Gilbert & George
Kara Joslyn at M+B (West Hollywood through Dec. 21).
The work in this exhibition is produced by masking and airbrushing.
        Karl Benjamin
Karl Benjamin at Louis Stern (West Hollywood through Jan. 25).
Rei Kawakubo, designer for Comme des Garcons, has used the paintings of Karl Benjamin
(1925-2012) to design shirts for the Spring 2020 Comme des Garcons shirt collection.  Two leaders of
their respective crafts are thus brought together to demonstrate that high art touches all.  We just
need to acknowledge connections.
Comme des Garcons
Tatiana Trouve at Gagosian (Beverly Hills through Jan. 11).
Quoting the press release: “(Tatiana Trouve) creates hauntingly familiar realms in which forest, street,
studio and dream coalesce.”
Entering the gallery begins the adventure.  Walking up a concrete grey ramp, one arrives on a large,
fractured concrete plinth that surrounds a pond holding the bronze cast of an uprooted tree that has
water dripping from the tangle of its roots.  What is the meaning of the stack of cushions that have been
carved in marble, granite, and onyx?  She offers no apparent translation of this tectonic installation.  Her
drawings are also manufactured by obscure process and are presented like theater.  The phrase “time
and nothingness” does seem appropriate in summarizing this exhibition.
Tatiana Trouve
Channing Hansen at Marc Selwyn (Beverly Hills through Jan. 4).
If Trouve’s works convey masculinity, Channing Hansen immerses himself in all manner of fabric
use (customarily thought of as feminine).  In these works he combines several techniques.  He
combines knitting with weaving and felting.  He prepares and dyes raw fleece which is then spun
into yarn.  A careful viewing of his works reveals a history of fiber use.
Lari Pittman (detail)
Lari Pittman at the Hammer (Westwood through Jan. 5).
Do not miss this exhibition.  It is certainly as good an exhibition as one ca
n see anywhere in this world.  
There are about 80 paintings and 50 works on paper that represent a retrospective of his output.  His
iconography is instantly recognizable.  The “tales” of love, sex, death, art, and politics are in full
splendor here.  Born in 1952, Pittman is one of LA’s very finest artists – able to command his place in
any art arena.
Lari Pittman (detail)
Stephen Aldrich at Craig Krull (Bergamot through Nov. 30).
Every child learns to make paper collages.  By the time young artists become trained, adult artists,
collage is less than a prime time practice.  I think of Kara Walker, Wangechi Mutu, Mimmo Rotella as
collagists.  I should also remember Frederick Sommer who encouraged Stephen Aldrich in his facility
cutting paper from archaic printed matter.  Craig Krull has loyally represented Aldrich for years.  It is
easy to understand why.  The mastery of illusion in Aldrich’s work defines what is possible in handling
paper with precision.
Offered for sale from the Doug Simay Collection:
James Fee
“Night Freighter” Mexico  1996
Toned gelatin silver print
Edition 1/10
Image 15 x 15 inches
Framed at 24 ½ x 24 ½ inches      $2,500

Inquiries to: doug@simayspace.com

Get out, look at art: have fun.
Doug Simay               November 2019

doug@simayspace.com
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