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Vincent van Gogh, “Self Portrait as an Artist”, o/c, 25 13/16 x 32 1/16”, 1887-88.

We aren’t ready to review this show yet--Peter Frank does make note of it in this month’s column--but so many people have asked us “when,” “where,” and “how much” that we thought we’d better let you know: this is a ticketed event--you’ll have to call the Museum or Ticketmaster--that will run through mid-May. Cost per ticket is $17.50, or $20 on the weekend, and the place will be open seven days a week for this show. With about 900,000 tickets available more than 300,000 will be gone before the January 17th opening (our press time falls before the opening). So the crowds will be large, but you should be able to get into what will be the second most attended show (after Tutankhamen) in the Museum’s history (Los Angeles County Museum of Art, LACMA West, West Hollywood).

Ann Carter, "Pool Drop," elevator installation,
neon lightbox/cast polyester resin/incandescent lights, 1999.


Ann Carter has taken advantage of the open elevator shaft and a captive up and down audience to fashion an exceptional site specific work in this continuing series of (yes!) freight elevator installations. Colored droplets adorn the entire back wall of the shaft and are illuminated by a boxed light source within the elevator itself. Visitors can watch the drops float down past them as they move slowly up from the ground floor to the project room above. The soft colors of the tear-shaped drops are offset by the bright neon quality of the lighting in a foreboding nightscape (POST, Downtown).

Installation of altered cards (l.) and an inaugural performance (r.) were part of "Shikishi."

This celebration of the New Year, that of the Rabbit, was inaugurated by a performance combining music, prayer and archery and an exhibition of Shikishi, or coloring cards. These cards were sent out to more than one hundred people including artists, priests, politicians and homemakers who they were asked to express their thoughts on the end of the millennium. The results are a medley of drawings, paintings, calligraphy and poetic thoughts that are delightful to meander through. Ranging from the colorful pseudo-ceramic plate by artist Keiko Fukasawa to a dense, ominous drawing by the performer Oguri, the palette is as broad as the perspectives on any new millennium could be (George J. Doizaki Gallery, Japanese American Cultural and Community Center [JACCC], Downtown).

Monuments to the Future: Designs by El Lissitzky is an exceptionally well designed installation that presents both documentation of El Lissitzky's projects and many individual works, including books owned by the Getty Research Institute. The works are presented in a manner that is consistent with El Lissitzky's style. A key member of the Russian Avant Garde, El Lissitzky made photo collages and text-based works that spoke the language of the political situation of the time. He was know as a revolutionary not only because of his political beliefs but also for his radical approaches to artmaking. El Lissitzky believed, like compatriot Kasimir Malevich, in a utopian dream of internationalism and sought to promote an international style of abstraction (The J. Paul Getty Museum, Getty Center, West Los Angeles).

Kelly McLane’s surreal and exquisitely painted animals and humans bring the notion of stupid pet tricks to a new level. Paintings of “Dolly”-like sheep with five legs and extra birth canals gaze out at us in a state of serene contentment. In a work dominated by a fluffed and combed poodle the dog looks into your soul with tragic red-rimmed eyes, seemingly expressing the emotions that her bland, grinning human family is afraid to. There is a melancholy humor in these edgy comments on the fraught relationships we humans carry on with one another through our pets and barnyard animals (George’s Gallery, Hollywood).

John Frame's minute moral landscapes and allegorical tales have been long in the making, and they revel in both their exquisite manufacture and literary complexity. They are witty juxtapositions of absurd images and fragments of text that have been carefully crafted out of wood. Wonderful to behold and engaging to decipher, Frame addresses human foibles with cunning and grace. A small monkey's head peers out of a careening sloop bearing the dictate “WHEN.” A figure whose midriff has been replaced by a carved trellis reading "desire" discusses something with another figure, who is almost nothing but midriff hanging amidst tree branches. Frame's sculptures pose probing questions about who we are and why we do the things we do with skill and intelligence (Kohn Turner Gallery, West Hollywood).

Kevin Hanley presents two video projects in addition to his usual computer generated photographs. Hanley is interested in the formal properties of images and draws colors out of photographs he has taken, extending them into the background. His video works are more obtuse, but also utilize digital technology. He uses advanced computer technologies to enhance the jerky movements of a performer as well as to create a corner piece in which two projections of the same figure mirror each other on the wall (Acme Gallery, West Hollywood).

Photographic images from the Champion Studios from the 1950's are presented in association with recent collages by Richard Hawkins. Both sets of images feature young men posing for the camera in different stages of undress. Hawkins is interested in creating distorted views of young male celebrities, where the Champion Studios made celebrities out of young men. The juxtaposition of these two seemingly vastly different sets of images proves them to be quite similar (Richard Telles Fine Art, West Hollywood).

Jessica Bronson, "World Picture," video
installation, 1998. Photo: Fredrik Nielsen.

Jessica Bronson's video installation World Picture is a moving and jarring work that focuses on the subject of a high speed chase along Los Angeles Freeways. Bronson juxtaposes images shot from a helicopter looking down on the crowded roadway with random close-ups of moving cars. The images are projected on two curved screens that encompass the viewer's field of vision. As you move from screen to screen, the images bombard you making you hyper- conscious of the freeway as the dominant topology of L.A. (The Museum of Contemporary Art [MOCA], Downtown).