CONTINUED AND RECOMMENDED, FEBRUARY 2016

 

Kori Newkirk, installation view with “Republic” in the foreground, 2015, is currently on view at Roberts & Tilton.

 

 

Kori Newkirk's installation of objects and images intrigues and bewilders with equal intensity. The show's centerpiece, “Republic," consists of two rows of 20-odd bicycle wheels conjoined on long poles pierced through the centers, most with tires but several without, their spokes threaded with variously colored compact discs, like the decorative affectations of a bicycle messenger. The installation is rounded out by an array that includes: a single bicycle wheel set apart on its own; a stack of empty aluminum cans facing out horizontally and climbing the wall from floor to ceiling; a cryptic group of mixed-media pigment prints; and two large clear vinyl wall pieces minimally effaced with graphite-colored arcs (made from a combination of particulate and acrylic binder), which can be read as some kind of tire-tread imprints. The small room of the gallery is composed of three off-sized triptychs, each a pigment print of the same urban intersection with the traffic lights alternately in yellow, red or green modes, along with slivers of mirrored mylar cut into carwash-like ribbons, collaged onto the photos as if hanging from the traffic lights. There's a tremendously forceful invitation to interpret the puzzles and/or solve the mysteries that have been provoked, but they're messages whose resolutions remain just out of reach. Firmly seducing the viewer with viscera and keeping us on a conceptual edge, Newkirk successfully leaves us to project our own answers onto his straw man narratives, of which there are ultimately none … only questions (Roberts & Tilton, Culver City).

Michael Shaw

 

 

 

Dana Weiser, “Enacting My Koreanness (self portrait in performance) in White,” 2015, digital photograph, 30 x 30”, is currently on view at Walter Maciel.

 

 

Continuing his investigation into spatial relationships and color, Greg Mocilnikar adeptly breaks up the landscape into geometric rectangles, angles and lines that float across the surface of his canvases. Brilliant colors of tangerine, aqua and lime green dip in and out of black and gray lines as the shapes interact and move apart in the zone between reality and abstraction. This imagery initially looks chaotic but has a definite unity and cohesive movement, drawing us into the rhythm of its forms. Mocilnikar's smaller, more monochromatic paintings also have a great verve and facility that increases the liveliness of his geometric dance of forms.

Dana Weiser examines stereotypes and prejudices in her provocative neon and ceramic sculpture and photography. Adopted as a baby from Korea by a Jewish American family and growing up in the Midwest, Weiser had plenty of opportunities to hear the phrases captured in her neon sculptures: "I am not racist or anything but …" or "I don't mean to sound racist but ..." or just simply, "Adopt.”   The jarring photograph "Enacting my Koreanness in Red," one in a series of three from a performance, combines a traditional Korean folk mask in vibrant crimson with the delicate imagery of her contemporary tattoos, her face and identity obscured in an eerie combination of old and new (Walter Maciel Gallery, Culver City).

Kathy Zimmerer

 

 

 

Chris Ballantyne, “Over the Falls,” 2015, acrylic on panel, 48 x 64”, is currently on view at Zevitas Marcus.

 

 

Chris Ballantyne's suburban pseudo-dystopias are easy to get, though still fun to look at. He depicts ranch-style homes, subdivisions, cul-de-sacs and parking lots encroaching upon nature, even as they are encroached upon through the implicit impact of global warming. His seductive style, highly graphic with subtle and seemingly effortless painterly flourishes, has changed little over the last decade. Many of the paintings are executed with acrylic directly onto un-primed panels, a process that entails getting it right the first time, and he always does. Ballantyne's newest landscape subject is that of atolls. One of the strongest works, "Atolls, Fractured Landscape," features three such atolls within a body of water, all deftly rendered via a honeycomb of very subtly shifting swaths of paint sections. The atolls themselves appear partially wet on their larger perimeters, the smaller centers rendered in dry sand and modest tropical forests; the illusion Ballantyne pulls off is that it's easier to read these as neutral geographical facts than it is to pick up on the inherent gloominess that exists within. The show's strongest work, meanwhile, is a small monochrome of India ink on paper called "Clearing,” in which a landscape is marked at its four corners by misty, subtly gradating rows of tropical forest, leaving the large white (unpainted) center a radiating, ghostly screen halo. Now that's a light-handed method of depicting nature's disappearance (Zevitas Marcus, Culver City).

MS

 

 

 

Farrah Karapetian, “Lifesaver,” 2015, chromogenic photogram, 56 1/4 x 40”, is currently on view at Von Lintel.

 

 

Farrah Karapetian's photographic work is as much about process as it is the presentation of a social-political vision. She compellingly makes manifest her intent through a laborious process that involves the fabrication of transparent negatives which are then used to make unique photograms (camera-less photographs) whose surface is an abstract array of complementary colors. The “Relief" in the exhibition's title references not only the surfaces of the images but the idea of water crossings and the numerous refugees who move from place to place in this dangerous and unpredictable manner. Karapetian equates the fragility of these journeys with the delicate surface of her images, while simultaneously depicting symbolic objects like life preservers, escape ladders and life-boats as ominous voids, negative spaces surrounded by abstracted shapes in lush hues that appear to be submerged in splashes and water. While these images are indeed flat photographs, they convey an illusion of depth (Von Lintel Gallery, Culver City).

Jody Zellen

 

 

 

Jose Manuel Fors, “Umbrella I,” 2016, negatives and steel umbrella, 52” diameter, is currently on view at Couturier.

 

 

Jose Manuel Fors' exhibition "Wide Shadow" continues this Cuban artist's interest in photography and memory. Many of the works are fragments in which Fors has cut antique black and white photographs into tiny squares and glued them together into small stacks which are placed on the wall in a large grid. It is impossible to reconstruct the original picture, so viewers must link the fragments in their mind's eye, trying to create relationships between the faces and bits of nature captured within the frame. In other more sculptural works the photographic stacks/piles have been attached to the wire frames/skeletons of discarded umbrellas. Again the relationship between the images remains obtuse, but the lines that are the skeleton of the umbrella create a path connecting the images, thus tying broken memories together. This evocative installation is both nostalgic and enlightening as it speaks to and about a country that is forever changing by virtue of individual and collective memories (Couturier Gallery, Miracle Mile).

JZ

 

 

 

Michael Henry Hayden, “Untitled (Blind),” 2015, acrylic, paper, aqua resin, fiberglass and wood, 40 x 32 x 3", is currently on view at Acme.

 

 

Though it's not especially rare when what appears to be the work of two different artists turns out to be one and the same. It is, however, quite unusual when one body of an artist's work succeeds, while the other bombs, in the same show. Such is the case with tromp l'oeil artist Michael Henry Hayden's show "Knock Knock," the majority of which is made up of a series of panels featuring a section of a domestic interior wall made up of a double light switch, a door molding and a door, with a chain latch draped in the locked position. Each “Untitled" piece is given its own realistic lighting-and-shadows effect, suggesting different times of day and potentially its own mood, depending on what the viewer projects. While the craftsmanship is fine, "Knock Knock” falls short because it's unable to transcend a particular flavor of mass-produced, color-challenged schlocky-ness. By contrast, the two “Untitled" pieces in the back room, which are re-creations of tasteful, white accordion-style window blinds (the ones you might find in a higher-end office setting), hit the mark. Not only do they revel in a complex co-mingling of the lightweight-ness of their source with the firmness of their materiality (acrylic, paper, aqua resin, fiberglass and wood are the media), they also offer satisfyingly visceral viewing from head on and from their profiles, where their ridges descend into a gradual collapsing at their base. Plus, you just want to touch them like nobody's business. If any Hayden series production is worth continuing (he's also worked on one of palm fronds), it's these; the doors can and should be closed (Acme., Miracle Mile).

MS

 

 

 

Lita Albuquerque, “Albebo Acceleration,” 2015, pigment on panel and white gold on resin, 60 x 60”, is currently on view at Kohn.

 

 

The works in Lita Albuquerque's exhibition “Embodiment" continues her investigation of space, depth and perception. These new wall pieces are large-scale sculpture/paintings in which lush earth-toned raw pigments are juxtaposed with concave disks covered in gold or silver leaf. The center of each work glows like the setting sun or rising moon, drawing the eye like a magnet. Each glow is surrounded by a vast field of color that shimmers and reflects the light that bounces from the skylights and floor. The eye is drawn first to the glowing aura of the silver and gold, but then you venture out from the center to the edges, caught in that pure and unrelenting field of color. Each piece takes one on a journey from known to unknown. One cannot help but let the imagination wander. Albuquerque has had a long history both as a performance artist and a visual artist whose work is centered on the relationship of the body to the world it inhabits and its place in worlds beyond that. These new works continue her nuanced and rich articulation of the spiritual made manifest through abstraction (Kohn Gallery, Hollywood).

JZ

 

 

 

Toba Khedoori, “Untitled (tile),” 2014, oil on linen, 23 3/4 x 37 5/8”, is currently on view at Regen.

 

 

Toba Khedoori's infrequent local appearances always warrant a substantial dose of anticipation, and also bring with them an added layer of pressure to deliver. Her latest proffering is a bit flat by her standards, but nonetheless is an enjoyable meditation on her special brand of image-making subtleties. One of her classic motifs, exquisitely rendered holes (or perforations) near the center of otherwise black or monochrome surfaces, continues to deliver in two pieces here: one on paper and the other, a more stark and convincing version on canvas. A freehand-painted grid, with black lines as thin as a pen on a white background, periodically runs askew of its inherent structure. This is the most poetically ponderous of the group, the most deeply engaged and engaging in the exchange of the artist's making with that of the viewer's looking. A patch of branches and leaves aloft on an empty white ground bears a similar potency. Two paintings (calling them 'drawings on canvas' would not be inaccurate) feature patches of a mosaic floor, each with its own halo of white reflection. Both simultaneously create an illusion of glazed ceramic slickness and an absence of color. In the quietly reflective, somewhat hermetic context of this show as well as Khedoori's oeuvre generally, the potential to read these as floors of an Islamic temple can be taken as a sly gesture, especially for viewers grasping for some type of narrative. But elsewhere, a painting of thin, dark-to-black horizontal bands on canvas, and a pixel-style grid of subtly shifting black and grey squares on paper come across as merely repetitive (and labor-intensive) exercises. That these efforts don't pay off at all leaves you yearning for something more to make the show feel fully resolved (Regen Projects, Hollywood).

MS

 

 

 

Rafael Rozendaal, “15 05 10 IMDb,” 2015, Jacquard weaving, 56 3/4 x 104 3/4”, is currently on view at Steve Turner.

 

 

Continuing his exploration of imagery transmutations via the web, Rafael Rozendaal has moved from wall projections to the more material: Jacquard woven tapestries. The nearly nine-foot-wide abstractions (which mirror the proportions of a computer monitor) are heavily saturated patterns culled from the skeleton website structures of such well-traveled domains as Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest; he uses a web plug-in to construct his hybrid designs, which feature brightly colored arrangements of window-browsing rectangles and squares. A resulting paradox is that, as intense as these colored geometries are, they recede rather than encroach. The weaving, observed up close, is dual-patterned, allowing an ample amount of breathing room in their final appearance. It’s not unlike the way contrasting pixels interact (as opposed to highly dense, non-breathing paint applications). The final visual experience seems to cycle through this perceptual analysis — how is this visual structure created, and in turn played upon my eyes? — as opposed to something more purely retinal. It may be a true visual analog to the web-viewing experience, which is an intriguing intellectual exercise, if visually less than profound (Steve Turner, Hollywood).

MS

 

 

 

Wyatt Mills, “I Seem to Have Forgotten the Recipe,” 2015, is currently on view at Project.

 

 

An old fashioned barber takes a little off the top in Wyatt Mills' “The Man.” The painterly gestures suggest swift movements and a flurry of activity that takes place on a checkerboard floor. Yet we are appalled to see bits of brain chopped off like pieces of hair. The nonchalant sitter hardly seems to notice as he reads his newspaper. The incredible energy that radiates off Mills’ series of paintings entitled “Normal” evokes the visceral quality of Francis Bacon with the energy of Willem de Kooning. Another seemingly ordinary painting features an elderly woman working in her somewhat dated kitchen. In “I Seem to Have Forgotten the Recipe,” swirls of paint suggest violent movements that contrast with the fragile nature of the individual. She does not appear to be distraught, yet everything about the image suggests just the opposite. What happens inside the minds of these characters finds its way out in the open, creating an equally exciting yet discomforting look inside what seems normal but isn't (Project Gallery, Chinatown).

G. James Daichendt

 

 

 

Paul Donald, “Endymion (Jérome-Martin),” 2015, wood, bondo, acrylic paint, 10 3/4 x 4 1/4”, is currently on view at CB1.

 

 

Paul Donald takes that ever-elusive art historical subject — the male nude, specifically the Greek figure of Endymion — and probes both traditional depictions as well as the possibilities of the white male nude in contemporary art. The first part of the exhibition consists of a few tiny paintings, as well as chunks of wood that have been cleanly sliced in half, their smooth facades painted in brushstrokes of sunset red, royal blue and grass green. On these blocks and canvases are the Endymions of Fragonard, Brenet, de Roussy-Trioson and others, outlined in faint, almost imperceptible marks. The second component of the exhibition is performance-based: a tiered wooden bench sits in the back of the gallery, and for a time Donald reclined languidly atop it. While only the bench is there now, an iPad shows us the scene with Donald in it. The artist was thus intensely vulnerable, the subject of the viewer’s gaze in a way white men are only infrequently. His simultaneous absence and presence, coupled with the painted objects’ barely-limned figures, allow us to ruminate on the possibilities of man-as-object rather than man-as-viewer (CB1, Downtown)

Kristin Osborne-Bartucca

 

 

 

Ryan Foster, “Second Chance, Long Time Smoke,” 2015, oil on panel, 11 x 14”, is currently on view at Richard Heller.

 

 

There is something disconcerting about Ryan Foster's paintings. Upon careful viewing, what is seen in the foreground of one painting appears in the mid-ground of the next — a bit out of focus and in the background of the next even further distorted. Foster is a skilled representational painter. What makes the images compelling is his ability to paint in myriad styles in a single painting. The Alabama based artist has perfected the illusion of painting one work that folds into another over and over again. The works allude to the passage of time as well as the dissolution of the object. Foster's subjects are surreal landscapes filled with homeless and disabled characters who pay no attention to that which unfolds around them. In these works, the harder one looks, the more one sees. Also on view are small scale intimate gouaches by Oslo based artist Charlie Roberts (Richard Heller Gallery, Santa Monica).

JZ

 

 

 

Terry Braunstein, photomontage from “Who Is She?”, 2012, digital photograph, 30 x 40”, is currently on view at the Long Beach Museum.

 

 

A trio of solo shows featuring three female artists whose approaches to making art are as disparate as their creativity will stop viewers in their tracks. The exhibition on the first floor is Terry Braunstein’s “Who Is She?” Beginning with photomontages from the 1980's, the answer to the title’s question turns out to be the artist herself. At least, that's the opinion of Tosh Berman, who was completely overwhelmed by Braunstein's creative imagination when he wrote the introductory essay in her catalogue. I agree with Berman's overall assessment that she is "a creative genius,” but my take away is that "Who is She" refers to all women everywhere, from the beginning of the 20th-Century to the present. Using a cut-out of a 1920's "Bloomer Girl" to represent the so-called "fair sex," Braunstein employs this image to move "immovable mountains," solve impossible problems, jump through hoops, do agile acrobats, and juggle responsibilities. In short, not only does "She" run the house, cook, garden, and look after the children, "She" has become an indomitable force who fights to make the world a better place in which we all live. Not only that, but this artist's brilliance is expressed in myriad creative approaches using multiple media and devices: art books, notebooks, prints, photomontage, mixed media, found objects, photography and watercolors.

 

Upstairs, the work of Barbara Strasen occupies the stairwell, the landing, and one enormous gallery. Working in both bold and delicate color (overlaid with poetic patterns and lines), she combines opposing images in the aptly titled "Layer by Layer." Objects you'd never expect to find in the same work are gracefully rendered on top of one another, as the title implies. For example, one huge, wall-sized assemblage has snippets of fabric and details from the William Morris Agency in bold colors, while on top of this swirling composition are delicate renderings of iguanas. In another smaller work, Strasen has paired the iguanas with lettuce. The third artist, Lori Lamont, works in a completely different style. Titled "Under the Influence,” the works here are most certainly influenced by advertising, consumerism, drugs, television and inner-city ethnicity (Long Beach Museum of Art, Long Beach).

Shirle Gottlieb

 

 

 

Orlando Dugi, evening gown (from the Red Collection), Santa Fe, New Mexico, 2014. hand-dyed silk duchesse satin, silk organza, and silk thread; cut glass and sterling silver beads, French coil, Swarovski crystals, vintage beads and crystals; lining of duchesse satin and tulle; currently on view at the Bowers Museum. Collection of the artist. Photo: Blair Clark.

 

 

In the world of non-fiction publishing, there is a cottage industry devoted to the history of color: purple and blue and green and black and red and pink and ochre. We can learn that Alfred Hitchcock once held an all-blue dinner party, complete with blue plates, utensils and served blue steak. However as interesting as these anecdotes can be, it is rare for art history to address the physical of color in paintings or in cultural objects. Take red, not the pigment, but the dye, a strong and vibrant color, which is the subject of “The Red That Colored the World.” Red is a specifically American color, initially discovered in Latin America by the Spanish colonizers. Europeans had used madder and kermes as sources for red pigment, but the color was not as strong or lasting. Until Hernán Cortés saw the red of the Mesoamericans, Europeans had no idea how unsatisfactory their red had been. Today we know that the vibrant and brilliant color exported from Mexico to Europe comes from a tiny bug called the cochineal, or “cactus blood,” which gathers together in mass, only to be crushed into color. Once this marvel of a pigment was discovered, Europeans were willing to go to war to control the trade, and the Spanish became wealthy thanks to red, second at the time only to silver for prosperity. Artists used the color as a glaze, which enhanced the vibrancy of the red pigments. The British soldiers, the redcoats of the Revolutionary War, wore this red, which was dyed into the wool of their “lobster back” jackets. Today the value of cochineal red is easy to see. Garments worn by the pre-Columbians on display here show that the red of the 12th century is as saturated as the rugs made last year, also on exhibit. In the 1930s Mariano Fortuny designed a simple red sheath dress consisting solely of cactus blood pleats. In 2014 Orlando Dugi used the famous red to dye his glorious red evening dress with its stunning cochineal bustier. Both dresses look as if they were made yesterday, a testament to the power of a bug so tiny it took the invention of the microscope to find it (Bowers Museum, Orange County).

Jeanne Willette

 

 

 

Dion Johnson, “Encounter,” 2015, acrylic on canvas, 48 x 72”, is currently on view at Jamie Brooks.

 

 

“Intent Fortuity” is about the eternal duality of artistic will sparring with spontaneity of process. Gregory Hayes is a brushless painter. He uses a dropper to apply one acrylic drip-at-a-time in meticulously placed patterns of vertical and horizontal rows. The moment the paint is released, each drip contributes to the formation of soldier-like rows, while the individual drip splatters in its unique way. The distinctly liquid paint takes over, becoming less round and more convex, as it slowly descends onto the canvas or paper below. Whether using a single color or a mixture of colors, Hayes reinvents the repetitious color application of a single stroke that echoes neither Seurat nor Pollock. Rather, Hayes shows that, given his logical approach to painting, when partnered with process there is an essential unpredictability of outcome.

Dion Johnson juxtaposes a push-pull of an open void against a crush of linear vertical stripes using seductively bright acrylic color. Each canvas is rich with vigorous relationships of color, space, patterns and structures that create an appealing dimensionality on a flat surface. Johnson starts by sketching the image on his computer, selecting elements and how they will relate to each other once translated to the canvas. There the human touch of an artist’s hand takes over, where pressure makes paint flow in varying concentrations as the artist loosens the grip of impersonal technology.

Eric Zammitt creates wall-bound and freestanding sculptures that are composed from countless solid and colorful pieces of Plexiglas that he slices into small squares or rectangular strips that are wed into visually intriguing patterns. The artist seamlessly creates configurations that have an optical, emotional and spiritual effect. He also establishes connections to non-art disciplines, conveying a vastness of ideas. At times a myriad of squares seem to move horizontally or vertically; and yet, through his uncanny way with placement, images also move diagonally. In this way Zammitt’s artistic intention seems to work hand-in-hand with the will of materials; the two merge into one (Jamie Brooks Fine Art, Orange County).

Roberta Carasso

 

 

 

Judith Foosaner, “Breaking and Entering #29,” 2014, acrylic and paper on canvas, 66 x 66”, is currently on view at RB Stevenson.

 

 

Judith Foosaner and Frances McCormack share a penchant for examining spatial relationships using abstracted biomorphic forms as a primary vehicle to achieve their effects. Foosaner sets strict parameters for her paintings, which incorporate collage and free-hand sketches into her mostly large scale works. Working in a color palette limited to black, white and grays, Foosaner uses rhythm, line and pattern to activate figurative forms. "Dance Jamaica” and "Crow Flies” call to mind the loosely drawn organic forms of Matisse, while the small paintings "Night Flight #3" and “Vignette #6" recall Matisse’s paper cuts minus the vivid color. Within articulated shapes we see charcoal line work that in some cases is erased and then re-drawn highlighting the artist’s decision-making process. An additional series of five acrylic and paper works on panel exude an intimacy and authenticity not entirely present in the other works. They possess a primitive, unselfconscious and loosely fluid sense of movement with the kind of calligraphic feel present in Chinese calligraphy.

 

In contrast to the starkness of Foossaner’s limited color palette, McCormack uses a vivid range of lush rich color. There is a strong underlying structural composition to her landscape-like abstractions. McCormack uses intermingled tubular forms, tree and limb-like shapes, and loosely formed architectural columns. It is a fantasy forest that is distinctively her own.  These large format works have a physicality and energy that vibrate in a world of invented space. McCormack’s paintings invite us to invent our own stories about the meaning of these works. The intensity of color and strength of natural forms evoke nature and growth. She gives us a glimpse into her inner world through the paintings’ titles: "Study for Self Portrait as a Tree," “Dusk and the Underground” and "Upright and Rooted" (RB Stevenson Gallery, La Jolla).

Cathy Breslaw

 

 

 

Dr. Dain L. Tasker, “Fleur-de-lis,” 1936, vintage gelatin silver print, 9 1/4 x 7 3/8”, is currently on view at Joseph Bellows Gallery.

 

 

Dr. Dain L. Tasker was chief radiologist at Wilshire Hospital in Los Angeles at a time when the use of x-rays were in full development, having been invented just three decades earlier. Fascinated by what was revealed in an ordinary x-ray, Tasker used the machine as his “camera” to reveal the form and character of flowers. Admired for their beauty and distinct process, Tasker’s images are vintage representations of their subject that fit into the context of contemporary photography eight decades after their creation in the 1930’s and 1940’s. Tasker's black and white gelatin silver prints reveal the structural aspects of flowers with a direct yet intimate sensibility. Prints include a range of flower types: roses, lotuses, holly, columbine, tulips, fuchsias, calla lilies and more. Simple, straight-forward compositions allows us to focus on the complex intricacies and the layering of the unique elements of each flower. These single-flower portraits possess qualities of movement, depth, grace and beauty. In contrast to his contemporary, Imogen Cunningham, whose black and white flower images were sharply focused, bold representations, Tasker reveals an essential fragility that is vividly present in these botanical forms. Given that these works are an intense study of x-rays, the aesthetic byproduct Dr. Tasker achieved, helping us see flowers in a new way, is striking (Joseph Bellows Gallery, La Jolla).

CB

 

 

 

Santi Visalli, “Robert De Niro,” 1974, black and white photograph, is currently on view at CSU Channel Islands.

 

 

Who knew that when he was young that Robert De Niro was longhaired and soft faced and rather winsomely handsome? The soon-to-be movie star, prepping for his role as Vito Corleone in "The Godfather" approached a Sicilian immigrant, the photographer Santi Visalli, for advice on the dialect he would speak in the film. By that time, Visalli was well known in the movie industry, and he photographed De Niro, his soft waving hair framing his face, before Hollywood turned him into a not-so-pretty tough guy. It was typical of Visalli to capture a fleeting moment in the life of someone famous, marking a specific point in time. Visalli was an Italian Robert Frank, endlessly fascinated with his adopted country. But he photographed not ordinary Americans, but famous politicians and movie stars, celebrities and artists. Coming to America as the citizen of a defeated nation, Visalli was on assignment from the Italian government. His mission was to show America, still a mystery to Europe recovering from a disastrous war, to the Italians. Unlike Frank, Visalli’s photographs are not candid snapshots of individuals unaware they are the subject of scrutiny, but a celebration of individuals who had achieved fame, the people who mattered. At that time, and for most of his career, those people were male, from Robert Kennedy to Andy Warhol. When we see women in the photographic oeuvre of Visalli, they are, with rare exceptions, movie stars. Likewise, only a few people of color appear and, they are, with the exception of Martin Luther King, mostly sports stars. Visalli was strongly influenced by Henri Cartier-Bresson and his concept of the “decisive moment,” that instant in time when the photographer captures the essence of a scene. But Visalli also shows the way we were, what we the people thought was consequential and what we valued. We see Nixon at the height of his power before it all went wrong; we see Maria Callas, beaming with the joy of triumphal singing; we see Arthur Ashe before his untimely death from AIDS. If Frank immortalized Americans at their most louche, Visallli showed us our heroes at their peaks, wrapped in the pride that goes before the inevitable fall into age or disgrace. For a decisive moment, we were as beautiful as that young De Niro (CSU Channel Islands, John Spoor Broome Library Art Gallery, Ventura County).

JW