Artist and icon Chris Burden passed away on May 10. It was a shock to the art world; since his early days as a hardcore body and performance artist, Burden has been an indestructible force and a pathbreaker in the field. His last completed work, Ode to Santos Dumont, is a poetic paean to the first aeronaut, Brazilian inventor Alberto Santos-Dumont, who piloted a helium-filled dirigible around the Eiffel Tower in 1901. Like Santos Dumont, Burden had been obsessed with aeronautics for many years, and built elaborate Erector Set airplanes and motor-controlled sculptures. Ode is itself an ode to the late artist, who began his practice in the 1970s by testing his bodily limits, and spent the last decade of his life testing his patience and creative ingenuity. At LACMA, where the zeppelin flies in graceful circles for fifteen minute intervals four times a day, the light pouring in through the Resnick Pavilion’s floor-to-ceiling windows illuminate the craft’s lozenge-shape body, giving it a phantasmic and transcendental glow. One feels, for a moment, that it is the light of Chris hovering over.
In her solo show at Luhring Augustine in New York, Janine Antoni cast body parts and household furniture in wax, forming ethereal, surrealist combinations inspired by milagros, small devotional items left by Latin American worshippers at church altars. The show is on view at Luhring Augustine’s Chelsea location until April 25. The exhibition statement is prefaced by the following text by the artist, evocative of her poetic forms and recalling the centrality of ritual dance to her practice:
Throw back your head and sip from the bowl of your own breast. Wear your mother’s pelvic bones as a collar. Become a snake, intertwining your spine with another and crawl across a woven rug. Let your head melt through your lover’s chest and listen for their heart. Embrace someone so fully that your ribs weave to become one.
Parker Ito’s show at Chateau Shatto, A Little Taste of Cheeto in the Night, is a fully-immersive, claustrophobic, phantasmagoric experience. The artist transformed a vast, multi-roomed warehouse behind the gallery with architectural interventions, punching holes in the walls and ceiling. Double-sided paintings hang from silvery chains and LED light strands, and the floors are haphazardly carpeted in astro-turf and red plush. Custom-made slippers, screen-printed buckets, ceramic figurines and action figures litter the space, sometimes in precise constructions, and at other times lying about in wait for a crushing step. Photos simply don’t do the show justice; go and see it for yourself before it closes on April 26.
Blum & Poe in Culver City opened its newest exhibition of Alma Allen’s work last night. Allen’s elegant biomorphic forms in wood and stone filled the spacious galleries like toadstools and lava rocks, creating a kind of fantastical garden–both intimate and vast.
From the exhibition statement:
“Constructed primarily in stone, wood, and bronze, Allen’s mid- and large-scale sculptures had never been publicly shown before their inclusion and wider discovery in the 2014 Whitney Biennial. A teenage runaway without a high school degree, the self-taught artist began an initial period of intense hand carving using salvaged materials while often homeless. Demonstrating an attunement with imbalance and precariousness, Allen’s sculptural forms are a marked departure from iconic stone carvers Constantin Brancusi and Isamu Noguchi, to whom his untrained sensitivity for shape and material have been compared. Recurring forms in Allen’s work take a cue from quantum particles and body organs and make indirect associations to psychological pain and wonder.
Many of Allen’s new sculptures, made of marble, travertine, and Claro walnut, weigh several tons. Despite their solidity, the works appear to undulate and vibrate, as if they are about to be sucked in or pushed out by some external force to the point of dissipation. In a series of bronze sculptures, the edges of an unknown trajectory are revealed, as tensive and fluid as the expanding universe. Presented in groupings and as individual forms, Allen’s sculptures arrive out of inherent chaos and chance provided by nature, as well as the precision of technological operation and mastery, all the while suggesting a range of anthropomorphic and visceral associations”