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Tag Archives: Mike Kelley


Benjamin’s Arcades Project—the notes for which he left with Georges Bataille before killing himself on the Pyrenees in 1940 after leaving Nazi-occupied France—was made up of thirty-six folders on such subjects as “Fashion,” “Mirrors,” “Panorama,” “Dream City and Dream House,” and “Flâneur,” (a term Benjamin popularized). For THE ARCADES exhibition, curator Jens Hoffman (assisted by Shira Backer) has brought together works by Walead Beshty, Andrea Bowers, Chris Burden, Walker Evans, Lee Friedlander, Andreas Gursky, Pierre Huyghe, Mike Kelley, Collier Schorr, Cindy Sherman, Taryn Simon, and James Welling.


THE JEWISH MUSEUM, 1109 Fifth Avenue, at 92nd Street, New York City.



*David Wallace, “Walter Benjamin’s Unfinished Opus, Revisted Through Contemporary Art,” The New Yorker, May 9, 2017:


A view of The Arcades: Contemporary Art and Walter Benjamin, at the Jewish Museum. Artwork, all by Adam Pendleton: Black Dada Reader (wall work #1), 2016; what is…?/Chagall (study), 2017; Dada Dancers (study), 2016.
Photograph by Will RagozzinoSocial Shutterbug


Regen Projects’ Spring 2017 show is an extraordinary survey of art from the 1990s.

WHAT I LOVED: SELECTED WORKS FROM THE ’90S includes Catherine Opie’s Vaginal Davis and Justin Bond; Glenn Ligon’s Untitled (I Remember the Very Day); Lari Pittman’s Existential and Needy; Karen Kilimnik’s Actresses sisters as murderers; erotic work from Wolfgang Tillmans, Marilyn Minter, and Cindy Sherman; Elizabeth Peyton’s Stephen Malkmus; Jack Pierson’s large collage tribute to ’50s iconography, Self Portrait (James Dean); Mike Kelley’s Party Girl; wall texts by Kara Walker and Lawrence Weiner; and an extensive series of drawings by Raymond Pettibon. Sixty works by 27 artists are on view.

WHAT I LOVED: SELECTED WORKS FROM THE ’90S, through April 13, 2017.



Glenn Ligon, Runaways [detail] 1993 Suite of 10 lithographs 16 x 12 inches each Courtesy Regen Projects Los Angeles

Glenn Ligon, Runaways [detail]1993
Suite of 10 lithographs
16 x 12 inches each
Courtesy Regen Projects Los Angeles


2014 was an exciting year for Los Angeles, when the world finally acknowledged the city’s ascendancy as America’s culture capitol. It was a banner year for gentrification, with rising real estate prices forcing residents out of neighborhoods now deemed “hip”, like Highland Park and the L.A. River’s string of warehouses, renamed the “Arts District”–making Los Angeles the least affordable rental market in the country. And in the midst of all this, L.A.’s repertoire of museums, top galleries, nonprofit art institutions, and artist networks continued to grow at a stunning rate.

Here are ten of my favorite events (and places) of the year:

1. Mike Kelley at MOCA


The New York Times called it a “game-changer” for Los Angeles and the international contemporary art world. For countless L.A. artists, though, the work of multimedia master Mike Kelley had been an inspiration for decades, since Kelley’s days as a CalArts wunderkind and later years teaching at Art Center College of Art and Design. Ending its tour at MOCA’s Geffen Contemporary from MoMA PS1 and the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, the show featured over 250 works over all of the Geffen’s 55,000 square feet of exhibition space with videos, room-sized installations, drawings, intimate sculptures, and a large gallery featuring all of Kelley’s transfixing Kandor sculptures. Kelley addressed broken dreams and childhood trauma in every imaginable medium, to truly moving effect.

2. Paramount Ranch Art Fair


Only in L.A. would an international art fair occupy the clapboard storefronts of an abandoned Western saloon town movie set. In late January, several dozen galleries from New York, Los Angeles, Berlin, London, and other cities around the world set up shop on the dusty wood floors of Paramount Ranch in Agoura Hills, used by Paramount Studios in the 1930s and ’40s to film Westerns. The atmosphere was palpably relaxed: patrons roamed with beers in hand, participating in a collaborative painting project hosted by Ooga Booga and watching projection-mapped performances by artist duo Animal Charm.

3. The Ace Hotel

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Although arguably not an event, the Ace Hotel opened in the historic United Artists building on Broadway in downtown Los Angeles in late January, and from the very start became of hub of music and art. The hotel’s Spanish gothic theater has hosted talks with art world luminaries like John Baldessari and Hans Ulrich Obrist, film previews of movies like Inherent Vice, and concerts by big-ticket bands like Coldplay. Patti Smith is slated to perform there next month. Many have credited the Ace for revitalizing South Broadway, which since early January has become home to atelier Acne Studios, Aesop, Tanner Goods, and OAK, among others.

4. Paris Photo


Yet another “only in L.A.” fair, 2014’s Los Angeles edition of Paris Photo, the international fine art photography fair from Paris, was held in the historic New York City backlot of Paramount Studios. Fake brownstones in facsimiles of NYC’s Upper East and West Sides, Greenwich Village, and even Downtown neighborhoods held photographic work from galleries on four continents. Meandering through the streets of the elaborate urban set, one couldn’t help but think of Jean Beaudrillard’s simulacrum. Most ingeniously, Paris Photo’s location embodied the illusion and artifice inherent in the photographic image.

5. Exposed: Songs for Unseen Warhol Films at UCLA CAP


It was difficult to choose a favorite event from the packed fall calendar of UCLA’s Center for the Art of Performance, formerly UCLA Live. The same month that featured a performance of Japanese sound artist Ryoji Ikeda’s Superposition also brought together four incredible musicians to live-score never-before-seen short films by Andy Warhol. Soundless and often shot in a fixed position, the films were brilliantly accompanied by Martin Rev of Suicide, Tom Verlaine of Television, Bradford Cox of Deerhunter, and Eleanor Friedberger of The Fiery Furnaces.

6. Made in L.A.

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Just south of UCLA’s campus, the Hammer Museum hosted its second installment of the ambitious Los Angeles biennial, Made in L.A. The show featured 35 Los Angeles-based artists with “an emphasis on emerging and under-recognized artists” (though as Artforum pointed out, it wasn’t clear who wasn’t recognizing whom). The exhibition occupied every gallery space at the Hammer–unprecedented in the museum’s 20 year history–and was the first major biennial exhibition to feature a majority of women artists. From curator Connie Butler’s collaboration with the ONE Archives to the phenomenal programming–superb films, live courtyard performances, debauched dance parties (co-hosted by KCRW), KCHUNG Radio’s TV studio in the museum lobby, and Piero Golia’s live-sculpting project of George Washington’s nose from Mt. Rushmore–Made in L.A. was not to be missed.

7. CicLAvia


Los Angeles’ wildly popular CicLAvia biking-advocacy group shut down city streets between Echo Park and Boyle Heights this fall, opening scenic routes through downtown Los Angeles to cyclists from all over the county. Legitimizing years of DIY “protest rides” by biker crews like Crank Mob and Critical Mass, CicLAvia lobbied the city to close major streets to automobile traffic for just a few days a year. The event turned out hundreds of street vendors and nonprofit organizations. Most impressively, the city’s financial burden was shouldered entirely by the increase in Metro ridership, from bikers traveling to the starting line by train.

8. FYF Fest


Turning 10 this year, FYF has grown fast…very fast. Started by then-18-year-old L.A. native Sean Carlson in 2004, the festival ditched its R-rated name (Fuck Yeah Fest) several years later, when it moved from the Echoplex to the Los Angeles State Historic Park to accommodate headliners like the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, The Rapture, James Blake, and Devendra Banhart. Since its inception, FYF has been committed to showcasing the best new talent in independent music, and 2014 was no different. Although the two-day fête’s new digs at Exposition Park were a bit chaotic, stellar performances by Chet Faker, Darkside, Flying Lotus, Grimes, Mac Demarco, Jamie xx, and many others–as well as independent vinyl record vendors and nonprofit booths–kept the spirit alive and well.

9. A Club Called Rhonda


This year the formerly “underground” bimonthly dance party A Club Called Rhonda bubbled up and spilled over the edges of LA’s nightlife scene like a boiling tidal wave. For the club night’s circle of self-styled “pansexual partiers, “[Rhonda] is the uncompromising queen: pushing thirsty throngs into the the loud and living throne of Dionysus through this thing we call body music.” In 2014, ACCR’s stage at the Pacific Coast festival in Newport Beach hit the front page of the Los Angeles Times; this month, its founders were featured in a large LA Weekly spread. Rhonda International now offers Caribbean cruises and a hedonistic poolside party at Palm Springs’ Ace Hotel during the Coachella music festival. While the hype might appear to stick mostly for the club’s effective branding and outrageous style, nothing matters more than music: past Rhonda DJs have included house-thumping favorites Basement Jaxx, Todd Edwards, Little Boots, Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs, and Etienne de Crecy, and its New Years Eve 2015 extravaganza at the Standard Hotel will feature electronic duo Hot Chip.

10. Pierre Huyghe at LACMA


Last, but certainly not least, is French conceptual artist Pierre Huyghe’s new show at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Traveling from the Centre Pompidou, the LACMA installation is arguably the museum’s most ambitious for any contemporary exhibition yet. Shifting video screens, a ceiling Pong game, briny tanks of sea plants and crustaceans, a rink of black ice, a live beehive and dog, and a whirring snow machine are just a few of the show’s surprises–yet far from gimmicky, they combine to form an austerely beautiful whole. This totally immersive experience is not to be missed.

Thank you for reading the Paris, LA blog this year! As 2015 begins, we hope you join us and get lost in familiar places…



A very unique exhibition is currently on view in Shanghai, Decorum: Carpets and Tapestries by Artists features over one hundred examples of woven works. The carpets and tapestries span four continents and date from the 6th Century to today. The exhibition features examples of fiber art from, among others, China, Egypt, Bulgaria, the Arts & Crafts movement, feminist movements, Neo-Craft movement, and the New Tapestry movement, along with Modern and Contemporary artists such as Picasso, Le Corbusier, Vassily Kandinsky, Sonia Delaunay, Joan Miro, Annette Messager, Mike Kelley, and Pae White. Decorum is on view until July 13 at the Power Station in Shanghai, China.















The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA, Los Angeles

Artist Ann Magnuson hosts a mini-carnival in the spirit of Mike Kelley. Featuring special guests, live music, games, and a tribute maypole dance. Squeeze extra enjoyment out of this event by attending in costume and bringing a ratty stuffed animal to sacrifice to the pagan god of Art. Messy fun for all!

Glen Meadmore calls his music “pure unadulterated corn-hole and hillbilly homo-punk.” Meadmore was a member of the infamous Anti-Club in Los Angeles and formed the band Pedro, Muriel and Esther with internationally renowned performance artist Vaginal Davis. Meadmore’s most recent recording, Cowboy Songs For Lil Hustlers, was produced by Steve Albini. His band includes Dean Opseth on bass and Dave Kendrick formerly of Devo.

Kristian Hoffman is a singer/songwriter, producer, arranger, performer and CBGB regular who fronted the seminal punk-pop band The Mumps with Lance Loud, as well as The Swinging Madisons and various stellar solo projects. A frequent collaborator of Magnuson, Hoffman also worked as musical director for Klaus Nomi and Rufus Wainwright and is currently musical director for Prince Poppycock and the Brookledge Follies. Hoffman will be joined by musicians Pierre Smith, Joe Berardi and Kim Serene in performing music from The Luv Show, Magnuson’s 1995 album partially recorded with Mike Kelley and Supersession, “Talent is a Vampire” and “Obscene & Pornographic Art” by Magnuson’s cult psychedelic band Bongwater, and The Beatles’ “Helter Skelter” in honor of the seminal MOCA exhibition.

Squeaky Blonde is a Los Angeles-based performance artist, musician, actor and designer whose work has been showcased at LACMA, The Hammer Museum, Berkeley Art Museum, Machine Project and in publications such as Art Forum, 7 Hollywood, Paper Magazine, Oblivion, LA Weekly, Propaganda, Frontiersand BUTT Magazine. Squeaky has been a nightlife personality for nearly two decades and continues to charm and terrorize audiences worldwide. His unique style blends elements of macabre high art with occult overtones, facets of surrealistic and maniacal hedonism topped with a dash of dada-esque lunacy that compliments his unique vocal range and operatic schrei. Visit www.squeakyblonde.com for upcoming dates and future projects.

Gregory Barnett, the sex and camp prone performance artist of the Psych-Out Da Da GoGo Family joins fellow cult members Diamondback Annie, Nick Duran and Meg Wolfe, in his “Home For Wayward Satyrs” in a series of “Rituals For Reprobates.” Barnett is creating an original durational dance/performance piece that is inspired by Mike Kelley which will incorporate afghans, satyrs, and other Kelley references, as well as a new Magnuson track called “Be A Satyr,” inspired in part by Donna Summer.

Michelle Carr founded the Velvet Hammer Burlesque and is now curator at arts collective HM157. Carr also founded legendary all-ages music venue Jabberjaw.

Sean DeLear is a Los Angeles-based artist and performer who Magnuson met during her initial visits in the 1980s. Part of the art and music scene that inspired her permanent move, DeLear embodies the L.A. punk ethos. DeLear will sign the theme song to John Waters’ 1974 film Female Trouble. Watch out!

Marc Plainguet (“Your Pal Satan”) joined the event after Magnuson posted the event on her Facebook page. Plainguet’s submission included an accordion rendition of Joy Division and photograph of himself painted beet red and wearing devil horns. According to Plainguet, “your Pal Satan goes to and fro in the world and walks up and down in it playing his damned accordion to help you see the darkness.”

Stephen Holman is a wonderfully inventive and madcap Anglo-American performer and visual artist whose work incorporates painting, stop-motion animation and performance art. Magnuson first met Holman back in the day when he was directing in the era-defining performance troupe Theatre Carnivale. Magnuson said, “it was only after Magnuson scheduled the One-Hour Bacchanal that I realized I had to invite him because I remembered that the idea of having everyone perform simultaneously was partially inspired by the Big Mess collaborative he used to do with performance art legends Johanna Went, Brian Routh, and the late, great Tom ‘Alien Comic’ Murrin.” Holman will be “combining an assemblage of surreal props, quick-fire non-sequiturs and occasional bouts of action painting in order to deliver an authentic medieval bestiary lecture, complete with strange snacks, alchemical experiments and readings from steamy romance novels.”

Robert Dayton is “The Canadian Romantic” and he plans to display his Great White Northernly Lust at the Bacchanal while cloaked in a new ceremonial Love God robe direct from that Province of Passion, Ontario. For more about Robert visit www.robertdayton.com.

And we really hope other performers, artists and other local merry-makers show up and contribute to the madness! The invitation is officially OPEN!

Ann Magnuson with Kristian Hoffman, Joe Berardi, Pierre Smith & Kim Serene, Glen Meadmore with Dave Kendrick & Dean Opseth, Squeaky Blonde, Michelle Carr, Stephen Holman, Sean DeLear, Robert Dayton as “The Canadian Romantic”, The Psych-Out Dada Go-Go Family Dancers: Gregory Barnett, Diamondback Annie, Nick Duran & Meg Wolfe, and Marc Plainguet as “Your Pal Satan”