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Luis De Jesus Los Angeles
2685 S La Cienega Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90034 | T 310 838 6000


September 26, 2018



In 2016, poet and author Claudia Rankine received $625,000 as a stipend from her MacArthur Genius Grant and decided to put the funds toward founding The Racial Imaginary Institute, an organization that gives artists and writers a platform to address issues of race. This summer, the Institute has found its new home at The Kitchen in New York, through a series of programs surrounding the exhibition On Whiteness, incorporating a day long symposium, a library of books, residencies, and performances.   more

Within her own work as a part of the Institute, Rankine states “…it is important that people begin to understand that whiteness is not inevitable, and that white dominance is not inevitable.”1 In this sense, Rankine suggests that whiteness’ hyper-visibility is what allows it to become invisible; a racial default that society has built itself around—the consequence of which is white people having the luxury of achieved racial ‘neutrality.’

While blackness and otherness has been the object of attention in conversations surrounding race, it is equally important that we raise questions and consciousness around whiteness and its pervasive monopoly over cultural narratives. The exhibition presents a collection of artworks that utilize the formal qualities of proximity, orientation, sensation, and visibility to foster a reflexive relationship between the viewer and the work.

The exhibition opens into a small room with a lowered ceiling and a blindingly bright light shining directly into viewers’ eyes—a club-like light fixture spinning overhead. Experiencing this installation by Baseera Khan, [Feat. ] with lowered ceiling (2018) is like being in a parody dreamscape of a nightclub. The harsh spotlight strikes like a deer in the headlights, while the lowered ceiling makes one feel so disproportionately large that proceeding to the main room of the exhibition is disorienting.

Continuing into the space, viewers are confronted with the bust of a white woman missing an eye. As a white woman, facing this bust at eye level, the image feels in some way like a mirror held up: me, like her, half-seeing (my vision still recovering from the glare of light). Looking out to either side of the woman’s bust at the surrounding works—scanning many large-scale vertical sculptures, video installations, and photographs—the physical scale and dimensionality of each of the selected works invite a confrontation as one body facing another.

Ken Gonzales-Day’s Untitled III (Antico [Pier Jacopo Alari-Bonacolsi], Bust of a Young Man and Francis Harwood, Bust of a Man, The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles) (2010), is a photograph of two busts staring intently at one another. Antico’s Bust of a Young Man (approx. 1455–1528) depicts a Roman looking curly-haired male, where Hardwood’s Bust of a Man (1726/27–1783) is one of the first European depictions of an African man in sculpture. Both appear to be cut from the same slick black material, more like ebony than like marble; yet, one is stone and one is bronze. Both sculptures are owned by The J. Paul Getty Museum. The faces, facing one another forever in time, serve as a record of the art world’s relationship with whiteness and the ubiquity of European assimilation of global culture. Both sculptures have a regal air, and if anything, the African man appears distinct only for the fact that this image is less engrained throughout Westernized history. As for the Roman figure, his whiteness appears indistinct, as it assumes what has been defined as the default status throughout historical narratives both in the art world and at large. [ READ MORE ]

September 25, 2018


Artist Chris Engman transports natural landscapes such as waterfalls, caves, and vast deserts to domestic interiors by securing large-scale photographs to the room’s walls, ceilings, and floors. “I believe photography derives its power precisely from the fact it can’t be entered, however much we may want to,” Engman tells Colossal. “When I make photographs I try to be mindful of this, even to exploit it.”

His most recent work, Containment, is his first installation which allows visitors to step inside.   more

The work features a rushing stream surrounded on two sides by dense forest, and on the top by a branch-covered sky. Engman thinks of the work as a singular photograph, even though it consists of more than three hundred individual prints applied to the surface of the installation’s temporary walls. Although the piece can be entered, unlike his other works, there is still a hesitation on the part of the viewer. Engman explains that once one enters the work its believability as a singular landscape becomes penetrated. Each step deeper inside the work makes the photographed landscape appear increasingly warped and unreal.

“Even so,” says Engman, “compared to a singular framed photograph the experience of this installation for the viewer is much more physical and immersive. The structure is a room, not an image of a room. The photograph is an object, in addition to being an illusion. It has weight, and volume, and changes as you walk around it. Making this installation has been a thrilling process, and this new way of working seems to afford many new possibilities.”

The work is curated by Carissa Barnard of FotoFocus and is exhibited alongside several of his photographs at the Cincinnati Arts Association’s Alice F. and Harris K. Weston Art Gallery in Cincinnati, Ohio through November 18. The exhibition is a part of the 2018 FotoFocus Biennial, a photography and lens-based presentation of over 400 artists at art spaces across Cincinnati, Dayton, Columbus, and Northern Kentucky. You can visit exhibitions and attend programming for the biennial through January 2019. Engman will have his third solo exhibition with Luis De Jesus Los Angeles in February 2019. [ READ MORE ]

September 24, 2018


From a distance, Paul Anthony Smith’s “picotage” pieces, 2012–, resemble movie stills interrupted by television static. Up close, they look like pictures dotted with tiny dabs of white paint. Smith creates these small, textured imperfections by carefully picking apart his mounted photographs with a ceramic needle, exposing their white undersides.  [ READ MORE ]

September 18, 2018


On the Canvas: Motorcycle journey inspired artist's London show

An  more

exhibition of new works by an internationally acclaimed Canadian artist was inspired by a motorcycle trek across North America.

Erik Olson’s Hold the Line, opening Thursday at Michael Gibson Gallery, was painted this summer in a second-floor studio built for the artist above the London gallery.

Olson began painting about his experience when he arrived in London after spending three months on a 2018 Triumph Bonneville.

The project was inspired two years ago when gallery owner Michael Gibson showed the artist the vacant second-floor space above the gallery, which Gibson had wanted to develop. The Calgary-born artist, who now lives in Dusseldorf, later contacted the gallery about his plan for its use.

Hold the Line reflects Olson’s “memories, experiences and landscapes from his trip.” [ READ MORE ]

September 12, 2018


Pictures at an Exhibition presents images of one notable show every weekday.

Today’s show: “Paul Anthony Smith: Containment” is on view at Luis De Jesus in Los Angeles through Saturday, October 13. The solo exhibition is the Jamaican-American, Brooklyn-based artist’s first with the gallery. [ READ MORE ]

September 07, 2018


The arts season is off and running, with openings all over Los Angeles and beyond! Here’s a guide to the top exhibitions and events in the coming week.

Paul Anthony Smith, “Containment,” at Luis De Jesus Los Angeles. Smith collages bits of photographs of people taken throughout the African diaspora (Jamaica, Brooklyn, Puerto Rico) and then carves into these to create patterns that mask and mute the original image. Afterwards, he scans, manipulates and silkscreens the result, creating yet another layer of distortion.   more

Opens Saturday at 6 p.m. and runs through Oct. 13. 2685 S. La Cienega Blvd., Culver City, [ READ MORE ]

September 05, 2018


November 1–3: Miami

On Archipelagos and Other Imaginaries–Collective Strategies to Inhabit the World

The New York–based arts organization Creative Time is holding its annual summit in Miami for the first time. Titled On Archipelagos and Other Imaginaries—Collective Strategies to Inhabit the World, the three-day conference will include workshops, panels, discussions, interactive performances, and more.   more

The speakers’ list includes María Magdalena Campos-Pons, Elvis Fuentes, and Yanelys Nuñez Leyva and Luis Manuel Otero Alcántara, two organizers of the recent #00Bienal. The conference film series will include work by US-born Cuban artist Antonia Wright. Co-presented with Art in Public Places of the Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs. [ READ MORE ]

September 04, 2018


A record number of venues across Greater Cincinnati and Ohio will play host starting this month to the largest photo biennial in the U.S.

FotoFocus, an Over-the-Rhine-based nonprofit that champions photography and lens-based art, presents the work of more than 250 artists, curators and educators at its fourth Biennial, an event that launched in 2012.   more

More than 80 venues, including museums, galleries and universities across Cincinnati, Northern Kentucky, Dayton and Columbus, will serve as host sites from as early as September to as late as February 2019.

This year’s theme, Open Archive, examines the need to preserve photographs and to tell stories through their collection, organization and interpretation. Biennial highlights include: Program Week (Oct. 4-7), the heart of the event; a monthlong series of exhibitions, screenings and events; installations by Chris Engman and Mamma Andersson; an exhibition by Akram Zaatari; a performance by Teju Cole and composer Vijay Iyer; and a keynote address by Clément Chéroux, senior curator of photography at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. [ READ MORE ]

August 25, 2018


Lives on the line: How the art of Danica Phelps takes on environmental and humanitarian dimensions

Danica Phelps draws with uncommon grace. Her line moves with liquid ease, following the momentum of time. It describes what happens in her life, and it also makes things happen. As her beautifully affirming show at Luis de Jesus Los Angeles gallery attests, her line has agency.

For more than two decades, Phelps, who divides her time between New York and Massachusetts, has been making drawings that chronicle her everyday experiences, annotated with visual tallies of her finances.   more

At the bottom of a page, she typically affixes horizontal strips of paper densely painted with vertical stripes representing money earned and money spent, one green line per dollar taken in, one red line for every dollar going out. Sales of drawings are recorded within drawings, making for a regenerative circularity. [ READ MORE ]

August 23, 2018


Since 1996, Danica Phelps has been keeping track of her income and expenses, integrating details of her financial life into her artworks. Often placed below simple, yet elegant and descriptive pencil drawings, Phelps creates long strips of short vertical lines— red for expenses and green for income— where each painted mark on the page represents a dollar. Using her finances as a point of departure, her layered and multi-dimensional artworks investigate the relationship between labor and value, both within and outside the art marketplace.   more

Cleverly titled Many Drops Fill a Bucket, this exhibition not only presents her iconic drawings, but also includes an installation of small sculptures made from detritus she and her son collected on recent visits to beaches in California, as well as the drawings they inspired.

During these trips, Phelps and her son would comb beaches to remove shards of trash and later assemble what they collected into small (Richard Tuttle-esque) sculptures. In downtime when not cleaning up the beaches, Phelps would draw. She documented the sculptures she and her son created as well as moments from their daily activities—relaxing, eating, making the sculptures, etc. Once finished, Phelps auctioned the sculptures on Facebook to raise money for non-profits and charities like the Ocean Conservancy, Pro Activa Open Arms, World Animal Protection, Refugees International, Climate Central, Oceana, Smile Foundation India and Resilient Power Puerto Rico.  [ READ MORE ]