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As Far As I Could Get is the enticing title of John Divola's overdue survey. Divola, who teaches at UC Riverside, is a photographer who is highly respected if under recognized. This show is held at three different institutions, each focusing on a different body of work. The first opened September 3 at the Pomona College Museum of Art. Zuma was his break-through. From 1977 to 1978, he photographed the interior walls of an abandoned wreck of a house on Zuma Beach in the early morning and late evening. As time went on, the graffiti, scorching from fire-fighters, even Divola's own marks made their way onto the wall while a window frames the changing sunrise or sunset in the distance. On October 6, another selection of his work, including 20x24 Polaroids, goes on view at LACMA while the movable feast continues on October 13 at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art with several bodies of work, including Forced Entry, the series documenting the neighborhood where vacant houses were left after the city forced owners to sell their properties to make room for the airport expansion.

 

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John Divola, "Zuma #25," 1977
Pigment print on rag paper
Courtesy of the Artist

 

In a similar vein, Monograph provides a comprehensive overview of the work of photographer James Welling at the Hammer Museum. The show was organized by Cincinnati Art Museum curator James Crump though Welling heads the photography department of UCLA. Considered a highly influential teacher and artist, Welling shows at Regen Projects yet seeing diverse bodies of work in one setting should reveal much about his highly aesthetized conceptual photographs. Opening September 29.

 

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James Welling, "0469," 2009
Inkjet print
Hammer Museum, Los Angeles

 

At the Getty, from October 1, there are photographs by Abelardo Morell, a 25-year survey of work by the Cuban photographer while At The Window brings together photographers as diverse as William Henry Fox Talbot and Uta Barth to explore the idea of the window in the history of the medium.

 

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Abelardo Morell, "Tent-Camera Image on Ground:
View of the Golden Gate Bridge from Battery Yates," 2012
Inkjet print

© Abelardo Morell, courtesy of Edwynn Houk Gallery, New York
Lent by the artist, courtesy of Edwynn Houk Gallery, New York

 

But you may not want to wait and from now through Saturday, most galleries have new shows. I've seen one already. Tom Wudl's exquisite flower paintings at L.A. Louver reward a long amount of study. Similar in detail to Persian miniatures, the petals are limned in gold and they are often combined with exquisite jewels, painted in a way that brings out their depth and sparkle. Their higher purpose, in making and viewing, is revealed by titles such as the painting that took three years to complete: Unattached, Unbound, Liberated Kindness (2013).

 

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Tom Wudl, "Unattached, Unbound, Liberated Kindness," 2013
Pencil, gouache, 22 karat gold, and gum arabic on rice paper
Courtesy L.A. Louver, Venice, California

 

Also on view there are the shocking, powerful sculptures by Alison Saar, in a show titled Slough, inspired by time spent in post-Katrina New Orleans. The show features the generously proportioned figures of women, often eating bits of cotton, the branches and brambles sometime growing visibly within them. However, I found the sculpture of a figure squatting, gnawing on a child's chair with actual white teeth, to be most upsetting, even unforgettable. For more information, go to LALouver.com.


 Banner image: Detail from Tom Wudl's Unattached, Unbound, Liberated Kindness, 2013

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