Category: Film

The L.A. of the near-future and serial killer books.

Joaquin Phoenix in
Joaquin Phoenix in “Her.” Director Spike Jonze’s meeting with architects Diller Scofidio helped inspire the feel of the movie.

For my latest in ARCHITECT, I talk to Elizabeth Diller about future L.A., deconstructed operas and serial killers. Find the Q&A here.


Calendar. 11.01.13.

A still from the film Lions Love (…and lies), 1968, by Agnès Varda. From the exhibition Agnès Varda in Californialand, at the L.A. County Museum of Art.
A scene from Agnès Varda’s 1968 film Lions Love (…and lies) pays tribute to Magritte. From the exhibition Agnès Varda in Californialand, at the L.A. County Museum of Art. Opens Sunday, in Mid-Wilshire. (Image courtesy of Max Raab and Agnès Varda.)

  • L.A.: Jim Shaw, at Blum & Poe. Opens today, in Culver City.
  • L.A.: Bob Mizer & Tom of Finland, at the MOCA Pacific Design Center. Opens Saturday, in West Hollywood.
  • L.A.: Life: On the Moon, at Various Small Fires. Opens Saturday at 3pm, in Venice.
  • L.A.: Smashism: A Night of Video, Performance and Ephemeral Installation. Opens Saturday at 7pm, in Chinatown.
  • L.A.: Nam June Paik, at Thomas Solomon Gallery. Opens Saturday, in Chinatown.
  • L.A.: Chris Ware in conversation with Michael Silverblatt: Writing the Graphic Landscape, at the Fowler Museum. Takes place in two weeks, on Thursday, November 14, at 7:30pm. Advance RSVP is required.
  • S.F.: Diane Arbus: 1971-1956, at Fraenkel Gallery. Through December 28.
  • Portland, Ore.: Ann Hamilton, a reading, at Elizabeth Leach. Opens Saturday.
  • Portland, Ore.: Samantha Wall, indivisible, at Ampersand Gallery. Through November 30.
  • NYC: Rituals of Rented Island: Object Theater, Loft Performance and the New Psychodrama — Manhattan, 1970-1980. Through February 2, on the Upper East Side.
  • NYC: William Kentridge, The Refusal of Time, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Through May 11.
  • NYC: General Howe, Nursery, at Kianga Ellis Projects. Through November 9, in Chelsea.
  • NYC: Eugenio Espinoza, Going Blind Faith, at Blackston Gallery. Opens Sunday at 6pm, on the Lower East Side.
  • NYC: Dale Henry: The Artist Who Left New York, at the Clocktower Gallery. Through November 29, in downtown Manhattan. This is the last exhibition in the Clocktower’s gallery space.
  • NYC: Be sure to check out Tony Feher’s Albuquerque Landing on the Grand Concourse in the Bronx. He turned an empty lot into a color field painting just north of the Bronx Museum — and respected the graff! Props to him. Coincidentally, I took a pic of this same lot back in August.
  • NYC: Alexander Calder, Calder Shadows, at Venus Over Manhattan. Opens Monday at 6pm, on the Upper East Side.
  • NYC: Rachel Farmer, Ancestors, at A.I.R. Gallery. Through November 30, in Dumbo.
  • Kingston, NY: Mark Hogancamp, Saving the Major, at One Mile Gallery. Opens Saturday at 6pm, in the Hudson Valley.
  • Washington, D.C.: Our America: The Latino Presence in American Art, at the Smithsonian American Art Museum. Through March 2.
  • Blacksburg, Va.: Jennifer Steinkamp, Madame Curie, 2011, and Leo Villareal, Digital Sublime, at the Center for the Arts at Virginia Tech. Through December 1 and 15, respectively. (P.S. someone help Virginia Tech with their horribly long URLs.)
  • Miami Beach: TIME, at the Bass Museum. Opens Saturday.

Calendar. 09.18.13.

Film still from Una dia De Vida, directed by Emilio 'El Indio' Fernandez, 1950, at LACMA. (Copyright Televisa Foundation)
Film still from Una dia De Vida, directed by Emilio ‘El Indio’ Fernandez, 1950. From the exhibit Under the Mexican Sky: Gabriel Figueroa — Art and Film, at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Opens on Sunday. Saw this show at the preview, by the way, and it’s all kinds of wonderful. Do not miss. (Image courtesy of the Televisa Foundation.)

  • L.A.: Santa Ana Condition: John Valadez, and When You Sleep: A Survey of Shizu Saldamando, at the Vincent Price Art Museum. Opens Saturday at 5pm.
  • L.A.: Cakewalk, a group show, at Hudson|Linc. Opens today at 5pm at the Design Lab at Pacific Design Center in West Hollywood.
  • L.A.: John Bock, Keren Cytter, Paul Pfeiffer, Gillian Wearing, and Akram Zaatari, at Regen Projects. Through October 26, in Hollywood.
  • L.A.: George Herms, Emergio, at OHWOW. Through October 26, in West Hollywood.
  • L.A.: Mike Kelley: Photographic Works, at Patrick Painter Gallery. Through October 5, in Santa Monica.
  • L.A.: David Welzius, Relief, at Monte Vista Projects. Through October 6, in Northeast L.A.
  • Granada Hills: California Living, Eichler’s Balboa Highlands Tract — Nate Page, organized by Machine Project, on various houses off of Balboa Blvd. This Thursday from 8-11pm, in the Valley.
  • Santa Ana: Beatriz Cortez, The Time Machine, at the Grand Central Art Center. Through October 13, in downtown.
  • East Lansing: Michelle Handelman: Irma Vep, The Last Breath, at the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum. Opens Friday, at Michigan State University.
  • Chicago: MCA DNA: Warhol and Marisol, at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chiago. Opens Saturday.
  • NYC: Paulo Bruscky, Art Is Our Last Hope, at the Bronx Museum. Opens Thursday, in the Bronx.
  • NYC: Behind Closed Doors, Art in the Spanish American Home, at the Brooklyn Museum. Opens Friday.
  • NYC: T.J. Wilcox: In the Air, at the Whitney Museum. Opens Thursday.
  • NYC: An I for an Eye, a group show organized by Stamatina Gregory and Andreas Stadler, at the Austrian Cultural Forum. In Midtown.
  • NYC: Steve Lambert’s installation Capitalism Works for Me! is going to be in Times Square this Friday, starting at noon. All part of the Alliance Française’s Crossing the Line Festival.
  • NYC: Victoria Cohen: Hotel Chelsea, at Third Streaming. Through October 25, in SoHo.
  • NYC: Edward Burtynsky, Water, at Howard Greenberg Gallery. Opens Thursday, in Midtown.
  • NYC: Sensitive Geometries: Brazil 1950s - 1980s, at Hauser & Wirth. Through October 26, on the Upper East Side.
  • NYC: The New York Art Book Fair, at MoMA PS1. Thursday through Sunday, in Long Island City.
  • London: George the Dog, John the Artist, at Howard Griffin Gallery. Opens Thursday, at Shoreditch High Street.

Photo Diary: Stanley Kubrick retrospective at LACMA.

Two screens playing clips from various Kubrick films flank the entrance to the show. I watched ‘em all.

A vitnage Adler typewriter, an original prop from The Shining. Wanted so desperately to touch it.

A reproduction model of the war room for Doctor Strangelove. Very Frank Lloyd Wright.

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“Apart from drugs, art is the biggest unregulated market in the world.”

Man, I LOVE Robert Hughes when he’s railing against money!!! And this short documentary series about how money has come to rule the world of contemporary art is so good, I’ve posted posted all six episodes here. Not only is the message (and the historical footage) all kinds of amazing, the scenes that show Hughes staring dramatically into space are straight out of Masterpiece Theatre. There are many fantabulous moments in this doc (footage of Robert Rauschenberg crashing Robert Scull’s auction of his work is one of them), but my most favorite comes in Episode 6, in which Hughes interrogates collector Alberto Mugrabi about art. IT IS FUCKING SUBLIME (even if Hughes conveniently overlooks the fact that Rauschenberg was kind of phoning it in at the end).

Seriously, light a fattie and watch this. It is sooooo good on so many levels.

Double hat-tip to Jörg Colberg for pointing the way on this. The additional five episodes can be found below.

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Why Andy Warhol’s ‘Empire’ looks janky.

A still from Andy Warhol’s Empire. (Image courtesy of MoMA. © 2011 Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.)

Last month, when Liz Arnold (the damsel behind @WNYCculture) and I spent the day live Tweeting all eight hours of Andy Warhol’s static shot of the Empire State Building at the Museum of Modern Art, a number of folks brought up the issue of the film’s quality. Though originally shot on 16mm film, Empire was being shown as a digital transfer (as was the rest of the Andy Warhol: Motion Pictures exhibit — except for a single screen test, featuring Ethel Scull). Now, I’m no film geek (I know more about rainforest ecosystems than I do about film), but the picture did look pretty darn blurry in a non-16mm kind of way, and if you sat in the front rows, you could literally see the pixels.

Which is why I read Amy Taubin’s review of the exhibit in the March issue of Artforum with great interest. (Yes, I was reading Artforum. It was a moment of weakness.) In it, she addresses the poor quality of the transfers and asks the very good question, “What, in fact, is being shown?” After poking around, this is what she came up with:

MoMA then referred me to the source of those transfers, the Warhol Museum, and I discovered that the latter had relied on one-inch and Betacam SP tape ‘masters’ made from the 16mm films. These crude, outdated analog video formats were used as the intermediates for the digital files…

In other words, what we were gazing on at MoMA wasn’t just a copy — but a copy of a copy. (Crazy!) Or as Taubin puts it: “garbage in, garbage out.” For the record: I verified this directly with a spokesperson from the Warhol Museum — who also told me that the 16mm-to-Beta transfer took place back in the ’90s. In other words, for eight hours, we stared at a copy of an old copy.

So, there you go, film nerds: question answered. And if you happen to be within reaching distance of the March Artforum, you’ll find Taubin’s worthwhile (if nuclear) review on p. 260.

Andy Warhol: Motion Pictures is up at the Museum of Modern Art through Monday.