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Current Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions
Doug Simay’s Best Picks
Matt Wedel at LA Louver (Venice through May 11).
Wedel’s ceramic sculptures are huge - fired clay forms as big as I have ever seen.  I suspect Viola Frey
executed a couple works approaching this scale.  And Jun Kaneko’s massive glazed vessels also operate
in similar heroic scale.  But Wedel’s unbridled glee with forms and process is infectious.  Without using any
studio assistants, he builds forms echoing the organic nature of Yayoi Kusama’s sculpture.  Wedel’s
exhibition is well paired with a show of Charles Garabedian’s current work in the upstairs gallery.  
Garabedian is now 89 years old.
Louise Nevelson at L&M (Venice through May 11).
Nevelson’s large black wooden sculptures have regularly been seen out-and-about in the sales arena
during the last 5 to 8 years.  It must be impossible to keep the semi-gloss black sculptures as clean and
“sharp” as the day they were made; so many of her black sculptures begin to “grey“ after many years.  
There are a couple black sculptures in this L&M exhibition of work from the 1970s that look as if they just
came out of the artist’s studio.  That is a treat.  In addition, there are some two-dimensional collages with
color that Nevelson (1899-1988) did in the 70s as well.  It is exhiliarating to see her working so competently
with color.
Craig Kauffman at Frank Lloyd (Bergamot closing).
Frank Lloyd continues to guide us on wonderful tours (in the form of exhibitons) through the considerable
histories of the considerable artists he represents. Mirroring L&M’s 70s focus, this Kauffman (1932-2010)
exhibition portrays his work from the mid 70s.  Kauffman was about color and form - not necessarily used
in customary ways. In these “paintings” The canvas can either be in front of or behind its stretcher -
“stretcher” being more sculptural than functional in its own regard.
Audra Weaser at Ruth Bachofner (Bergamot through June 1).
Weaser earned her MFA at Claremont in 1992.  Her abstractions are constructed by sensitively layering
color and glazes that get sanded through in parts.  The resultant abstractions shimmer like atmospheric  
waterscapes.
Tom Eckert at Lois Lambert (Bergamot through May 12).
Eckert has been a professor of art at Arizona State - Tempe since 1971.  He is a meticulous craftsman as
evidenced by this remarkable trompe l’oeil series of works in wood.  By carving, laminating and using
lacquers he is able to make cloth-thick wood seem transparent.
Christopher Murphy at Lora Schlesinger (Bergamot through June 1).
Whether using brush and paint or, in the case of this exhibition, a pencil, Christopher Murphy displays
consummate mastery. He is so skilled presenting the “scene” that the viewer adopts what is presented as
“real”.  This allows Murphy room to manipulate the emotional tenor of the work.  That he does.  Look for
the yin in his compositions. Beauty can be a trap with violent consequences.  As stated in his catalog “an
explosive moment is both furious and tranquil.”  “Tragic joy.”  “Terror and beauty.”
David McDonald at Carter & Citizen (Culver City closing).
These newest sculptures by David McDonald are fragile and “open”.  They are in contradistinction to his
preceding work that has been fairly volumetric.  As a result these works become more “feminine” by
evincing weaving and embroidery.  They define “volume without mass“.  The small maquette-like
sculptures seen here have vastly greater presence than expected for their actual size.
Takashi Murakami at Blum & Poe (Culver City through May 25).
Murakami’s paintings are a mash-up of different styles and forms.  They are quite different from the 2007-
8 exhibition at MOCA.  The new paintings are populated by demonic and decrepit figures that stand like
totems in a psychedelic landscape.
Marcos Ramirez Erre at Luis de Jesus (Culver City through May 11).
We San Diegans know Marcos Ramirez Erre and his work well.  This exhibition is seriously about games
that offer serious contemplations about our interconnected world.  The artwork seems straightforward - if
not simple - in its construct.  But what might seem to be graphic design harbors a brilliant synthesis of
concept presented as if a game.  I am very impressed with the intellect at work in these playful works.
Channa Horwitz at Francois Ghebaly (Culver City through June 8).
Channa Horwitz is soon to be 81 years old.  She has designed an enticing mural on the outside wall of
the gallery and designed this installation within.  This is her first three dimensional installation in the US.  
It is based on orange grid graph paper to which she applies formal language in the form of mathematical
rules in applying serial logic.  This woman was a conceptual practitioner before Conceptual became
capitalized.  Regretfully, the artist died on April 29th.
Christian Tedeschi at Western Project (Cculver City throughMay 4).
Walking into the three artist show at Western Project is like taking a “brain Altoid”.  Margaret Griffith, Kyla
Hansen, and Christian Tedeschi function synergistically when seen together.  Their work suggests that
there are lots of ideas left for artists to explore.  This view of Tedeschi’s “Untitled” sculpture (composed of
yellow plastic broom straws and black ooze that looks like tar) seems like it should have a proper name
and Facebook page.
Vernon Fisher at Mark Moore (Culver City through April 27).
I have always like Vernon Fisher’s work.  This exhibition of current work offers little new insight as it
seems very much like most of his preceding work.  But he does have a way with the chalkboard.  His
manner of notations impute taxonomy and meaning.  They seem like the left-behinds from lectures about
serious matters.  His notations bear the same serious import as Cy Twombley’s paintings.
Greg Colson at Otis (Westchester through June 1).
Meg Cranston and Jeseca Dawson of Otis have taken on the ambitious project of “cataloging” what is
going on and where in the LA contemporary artist world.  This first installation called “This Side of the
405” includes 33 artists with studios west of the 405, north of the 105, and south of the 10.  Seeing this
cross-section of work reaffirms the power of LA art-making.  Greg Colson’s sculptural piece is made
from various rulers, each of which has the name of a street on it.  The rulers are assembled to reflect
the correct map of these LA streets.
Julie Blackmon at Fahey Klein (La Brea).
The exhibition currently being featured by the gallery is work by Diane Arbus (through May 18th).  We
all know those images better than very well.  But the exciting “new” photographer to be seen is Julie
Blackmon with 5 pieces in the back room.  Blackmon is based in Springfield, Missouri.  Pay attention -
she will be a star.  
Olga Seem at Couturier (La Brea through May 25).
Olga Seem just celebrated her 86th birthday.  Presented in this exhibition are works in ink and acrylic
on paper, mounted on canvas.  The grid of the works structure gets intruded upon by her organic
forms. I see an echo of Agnes Martin in the backgrounds and the spirit of Luther Burbank in her
rendering of biological forms.  Clearly Olga Seem’s vitality is not in question.
Maritta Tapanainen at Couturier (La Brea through May 25).
I cannot guess the wellsprings that supply Maritta Tapanainen’s  appropriated printed paper.  That she
is able to take hundreds of pieces of precisely cut paper to collage “legitimate” new universes is
proved again by this strong series of new works.  Pairing Seem with Tapanainen is inspired.
Raul Guerrero
“Letters from Los Angeles II” at Jack Rutberg (La Brea closing).
Jack Rutberg is such a treasure.  He is getting better with age.  He curated this show and his writing
for the catalog is provocative and possibly correct.  Using 70 works by 40 LA artists, he advances his
premise that text is core to the Los Angeles artistic identity.  Think: LA (abbreviation for Los Angeles),
the Hollywood sign, MGM, Ed Ruscha. He has done a wonderful job drawing together lots of artistic
history presenting the use of text by visual artists.  In illustration of the exhibition, I use a painting by
Raul Guerrero and a drawing by Iva Hladis.

Iva Hladis
Raimonds Staprans at Peter Mendenhall (mid Wilshire through May 11).
Three very recent paintings (portraying two glasses on a table) are hung on the three walls of the
main gallery.  This is a beautiful show.  These are the best Staprans I have ever seen.  I have felt the
artist suffered from the constant comparisons with Diebenkorn.  Over the last couple years I have
increasingly come to understand and distinguish Staprans as a uniquely important Bay Area painter.  
These three paintings nail it.  
Cecilia Miguez at Louis Stern (West Hollywood through May 11).
These are the best Cecilia Miguez scuptures to date.  They can be identified from across the street
as being classic Miguez sculptures. But in this period she has pared things down and lessened the
volume of assemblage arcana.  The new found elegance of her white female figures is frankly
elegant.  For the first time, I did not engage in comparing her to John Frame.
Llyn Foulkes at Hammer Museum (Westwood through May 19).
The Hammer strikes again.  This career retrospective is beyond fabulous.  Llyn Foulkes is the real
deal.  Take time in this exhibition to watch the video of his music performance.  Foulkes is an LA
original; legitimately iconoclastic.  I cannot write a simple summary of such a profoundly original
artist.  I can only say that this exhibition must not be missed.  Foulkes is an under-recognized genius
in our midst.  
Steve Rogers at CB1 (Downtown through May 12).
What a pleasure to see Steve Rogers’ terra cottas again.  I first saw them at Ed Lau’s Space Gallery
in 1979 and then at Rosamund Felsen through the 80s and 90s.  Terra cotta is at the same time
fragile and permanent. It is like the sculptural equivalent of encaustic painting.  Rogers displays such
sensitivity and expertise with the medium that the low fired earth imbues his sculptural forms with
naturalness - a timelessness shared across historical cultures from the Olmecs to the Etruscans, to
the Xian armies made for Qin Shi Huang.
Lisa Adams at CB1 (Downtown through May 12).
Lisa Adams paintings slide between abstraction and representation - happily using both referents to
establish multidimensional recollections.  Her work is about story telling.  The tale’s fragments are so
jumbled that a true narrative does not materialize.  But that’s OK.  As is said about travel, it is about
the process of getting somewhere.
Gronk at L2kontemporary (Chinatown through May 4).
It has been some years since I have seen Gronk’s work out in the gallery world.  He is an iconoclast
to be sure.  Most of the work in this show is on paper and modest in size.  My favorite pieces have a
sense of hieroglyphics.  They seem universally “human” rather than ethnically Chicano.  Their
modesty is most unexpected.


Get out, look at art, have fun.
Doug Simay     April 2013
doug@simayspace.com
Sam Gilliam at David Kordansky (Culver City through May 11).
The paintings in this exhibition are from the mid 1960s. They are hard-edge abstractions with a Kenneth
Noland-like sensibility.  I like Gilliam’s much later work in which his exuberance leaves the confines of the
canvas to involve the architecture.  Still this is an opportunity to see a Washington DC based artist of
considerable importance in defining the Washington Color School, in being a proponent for art
education, and in being a successful Black artist in an otherwise white-man’s world.