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2727 South La Cienega Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90034
310 836 2062

Also at:
19 East 66th Street
New York, NY 10065
212 249 2249
Artists Represented:
Alma Allen
Theodora Allen
Karel Appel
March Avery
Darren Bader
Alvaro Barrington
Lynda Benglis
JB Blunk
Mohamed Bourouissa
Pia Camil
Robert Colescott
Thornton Dial
Carroll Dunham
Sam Durant
Kōji Enokura
Anya Gallaccio
Aaron Garber-Maikovska
Tomoo Gokita
Sonia Gomes
Françoise Grossen
Mark Grotjahn
Ha Chong-hyun
Kazunori Hamana
Julian Hoeber
Lonnie Holley
Yukie Ishikawa
Matt Johnson
Susumu Koshimizu
Friedrich Kunath
Shio Kusaka
Kwon Young-woo
Mimi Lauter
Lee Ufan
Tony Lewis
Linder
Florian Maier-Aichen
Victor Man
Eddie Martinez
Paul Mogensen
Dave Muller
Kazumi Nakamura
Yoshitomo Nara
Asuka Anastacia Ogawa
Kenjirō Okazaki
Anna Park
Solange Pessoa
Harvey Quaytman
Lauren Quin
Umar Rashid
Matt Saunders
Hugh Scott-Douglas
Nobuo Sekine
Penny Slinger
Kishio Suga
Henry Taylor
Alexander Tovborg
Yukinori Yanagi
Yun Hyong-keun
Zhu Jinshi

 

 
Gallery exterior. Courtesy of Joshua White and Blum & Poe Gallery, 2010.


 
Online Programming

Nobuo Sekine

Broadcasts: Tribute to Nobuo Sekine (1942-2019)



Blum & Poe Broadcasts presents a tribute to the late Nobuo Sekine, one of the central figures of the Mono-ha movement in Japan. This month marks a year since his passing.

Broadcasts: Three Day Weekend Presents "The Gallery is Closed"



Engaging directly with this shared global experience of pandemic-motivated social distancing, Blum & Poe Broadcasts, Dave Muller, and Three Day Weekend present an online group exhibition titled "The Gallery is Closed." A number of artists and members of our community have contributed personal drawings and public signs that announce closure and reflect a multitude of absent voices and voices in waiting.

Solange Pessoa

Broadcasts: Solange Pessoa at Ballroom Marfa



Blum & Poe Broadcasts presents a focus on the practice of Brazilian artist Solange Pessoa, in conjunction with her first US museum exhibition currently installed at Ballroom Marfa, Texas. Like many other museums today, Ballroom Marfa is now closed indefinitely—this Broadcast is intended to share significant work that would otherwise be on view to the public.

 
Current Exhibitions

Lynda Benglis

Excavation



May 14, 2022 - June 25, 2022
Blum & Poe is pleased to present “Excavation,” canonical artist Lynda Benglis’s second solo exhibition with the gallery. One might think of excavation as a form of most laborious searching. To be successful within this pursuit, the seeker must not merely arrive at their desired end but must also remove or strip back what has previously existed, displacing or repurposing the original material in order to create a wholly new outcome. Now imagine that the search in question concerns the extraction of a new, cohesive narrative from a lifetime of philosophical and tangible output. To excavate such an entity would be a formidable and impressive task indeed.  In the case of this exhibition, “Excavation” alludes to the present themes in a twofold manner. Firstly, it mines Benglis’s celebrated past to make new history by furthering the artist’s explorations of the gestural and the form of the knot. Secondly, this presentation materializes through the exchange of negative and positive space—a process that is also undertaken in digging or displacing earth—through the act of cast-making, wherein one creates nothing from something and then something from nothing again. Swirling, spiraling, rising, and cascading, the sculptures that comprise “Excavation” nod to a form that Benglis has used to much acclaim and scrutiny throughout the course of her career: the gesture of the knot. “Village Voice” critic John Perreault famously decried Benglis’s original sparkle knot sculptures, created between 1972 and 1974, as “too garish to be pretty and too beautiful to be vulgar.” The sculptures in “Excavation,” these almost knots, thumb their noses at this comment. Woven less tightly than their predecessors, these works, which curl and intersect yet never truly bind, create a burning anticipation that doesn’t quite resolve itself. Benglis has connected her interest in knots to time spent crocheting with her grandmother, thus situating her use of this form in a long lineage of craft and women’s work. If the knots presented in “Excavation” were to be used in traditional craft, however, they would be unable to fulfill their intended functions. Their constructions are too weak, their ends too untethered, to be mistaken for the beautiful yet utilitarian objects of craftswomen past. These sculptures, while alluding to craft, perform it rather poorly—and yet, they declare this fact proudly for all to see. “Power Tower” (2019) commands attention with its seven-and-a-half-foot height and flashy material composition of White Tombasil bronze. If it is “too garish to be pretty,” then it is because this piece is meant, as the title asserts, to hold power in its physicality, though its origins are quite humble. The ceramics presented here, or “Elephant Necklaces” as the artist refers to them, are the works from which the larger sculptures in the exhibition take their forms. The contrast between hardy cast bronze and fragile ceramic presented in “Excavation” points to a moment of transition between scale, materials, texture, mass, and coloration. Gender, class connotations, and an overarching cultural tendency to struggle with pluralism subtend these aesthetic qualities, pitting hard against soft, delicate against strong, showy against restrained, and excess against moderation. The observation of these contrasts serves to make the viewer aware that such qualities exist to a greater or lesser degree in all the objects present in the exhibition. They exist also in the viewers themselves, made visible in the reflective surfaces of the bronzes. Through the lens of the sheeny exteriors of “Excavation,” dichotomies unite to become spectrums. One through line in Benglis’s long career is a consistent inquiry into surface aesthetics. In “Excavation,” smooth, reflective surfaces force viewers to gaze at themselves and others, while the finish of an object, with color or materiality determining its perceived worth, is evocative of socioeconomic divides. This series sees Benglis returning to an exploration of surface, as begun in her early knots. From 1972 to 1974, these forms were covered in glitter and later—in a separate body of work, created from 1973 to 1976—sprayed with a metallic layer of aluminum, copper, or tin. The bronze casting process is a logical step in the material trajectory of Benglis’s oeuvre, but the origins of these pieces are more pleasurable than the average bronze. They are rooted in—and emphasize—the decorative as opposed to the austere. A core tenet of the Pattern and Decoration movement, with which Benglis has been occasionally associated, is that art should be undertaken for enjoyment; flourishes and finishes should be indulged in and flamboyance is paramount.  To unite joy and power under the umbrella of that which refuses to be categorized is to create something novel at a time when, despite the fact that Benglis has been gesturing toward these problems for a half-century, societies of the world are still in the process of rectifying the inequities that they have allowed to proliferate—gender inequality, lack of class mobility, and a rigid sense of gender binaries. As these divides persist, Benglis continues to hone her practice: mining her oeuvre for the most effective tropes and physicalizing them through new and expansive material processes. The result is neither pretty nor garish, beautiful nor vulgar—it is the sum of these qualities at their best. Lynda Benglis (b. 1941, Lake Charles, LA) lives and works in New York, NY; Santa Fe, NM; Kastellorizo, Greece; and Ahmedabad, India. Benglis’s work has been the subject of recent solo exhibitions at major museums around the world, including the Nasher Sculpture Center, Dallas, TX (2022); National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C. (2021); Museum of Cycladic Art, Athens, Greece (2019); Kistefos-Museet, Jevnaker, Norway (2018); Museo Internacional del Barroco, Puebla, Mexico (2016); Bergen Assembly, KODE Art Museums of Bergen, Norway (2016); Aspen Art Museum, Aspen, CO (2016); Hepworth Wakefield, West Yorkshire, UK (2015); and Storm King Art Center, Mountainville, NY (2015).  Benglis is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and two National Endowment for the Arts grants, among other commendations. Her work is held in numerous public collections including Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas, TX; Detroit Institute of Arts, Detroit, MI; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, NY; High Museum of Art, Atlanta, GA; Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C.; Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, CA; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, CA; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, TX; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY; Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY; National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C.; National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia; New Orleans Museum of Art, New Orleans, LA; Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, PA; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, CA; Tate Modern, London, UK; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN; and Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY.

Lauren Quin

Pulse Train Howl



May 14, 2022 - June 25, 2022
Blum & Poe is pleased to announce the representation of Los Angeles-based artist Lauren Quin on the occasion of her first solo exhibition with the gallery, “Pulse Train Howl.” This show will precede her first museum solo exhibition which will open later this year at the Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art, Overland Park, KS, along with a presentation at Pond Society, Shanghai, China. Co-published with Colpa Press, NMOCA will also be producing the first monograph on Quin’s practice, spanning several bodies of work to date. Quin is also represented by Friends Indeed Gallery, San Francisco, CA.  “Rendered in a variety of techniques, Lauren Quin’s throbbing reverberations of symbols steam ahead before reaching a state of fever-pitch where visual intensities correlate to guttural wailing. Suggesting a synesthesia between sight and sound, ocular shivers within vibrant layers recall sonic vibrations. Pathways multiply and quicken before culminating in a kaleidoscopic overwhelm of optical howling. Strained, noisy, and fried, formations of partial segments act as snaps of communication, frozen in their process of forging a coherent whole. Reflecting Quin’s zealously layered canvases, the exhibition’s title draws from patterns of electrical spikes in the nervous system as well as a wolfpack’s long-range communication, evoking the artist’s rhythmic—almost sonic—synchronized symbols and combinations of mark making. 

Disparate though related source images—culled from both everyday life and art history—are adopted and repeated throughout the layers, responding differently with each iteration. As Quin describes, these forms “are not built with a plan, rather a radius of symbols I collect and return to over the years.” These symbols include bat wings, bone structures, spider legs, fingers, the mouth of the mummy, a Lee Lozano drawing of an oil can, a painting of a patinated crown by Oskar Schlemmer, and an ancient sculpture of a rowboat. The source forms are connected by their shared structural repetition, offering rings or appendages that spiral and curl inward like mangled paws. Repeated in acts of self-reference, the forms fuse into tentacles, tubes, and tunnels while moving outward in rippling moiré patterns. 

A pattern of iridescent scales serves as a base layer or underpainting. Revealed later through a process of removal, the partial tubes of color are also repeated closer to the paintings’ surfaces. These spirited prismatic flakes curl like fractured ribbons as they flicker with reflective luminosity. Close up, the minced curves float like soft clicks. From further away, they crystallize into a beating surge of tumultuous energy. Moments of blurred, spinning entropy guide the momentum of marks like a drain’s vortex. On top of and within the patterned layers, buoyant biomorphic masses in vivid, fleshy colors hover on top of and within the patterned layers. Dancing within the thresholds of liminal space and warping depth perception via variation of scale, the snaking tubes and tunnels imply no clear delineation between exteriors and interiors. 

Once the composition is established, the layers filling all possible negative space, Quin commences the time-sensitive process of wiping, carving, and etching her imagery into the surface to reveal contrasting colors underneath, repeating the imagery to a rippling effect. The traces in the wet paint range from the thickness of a finger to the thinness of a nimble etch mark—resulting in radiating waves that start with a quiver and climax in a throb. The final element of Quin’s ocular alphabet is introduced in luminous dispersed lines of various weights repeating aforementioned symbols. Through a monoprinting process, the source images are regenerated in crackling flairs of light. While the speckled ink acts as light bouncing off the volumetric tubes, delicate and sparkling cross-hatching provides yet another avenue for depth-building. 

As certain layers can only be executed within windows of drying time, the paintings inherit an immediate and urgent physicality. After establishing a painting’s foundation in this time-sensitive process of cumulative and retractive mark-making, Quin develops each painting’s individual sensibility on its own terms. Conversing within the layers of scaled patterns, morphing limb-like forms, carved drawings, and sizzling lines, the techniques are repeated, tempered, and pulled forward, following each unique rhythm to completion. Regulating layers to the pace of each work, forms are brought to the forefront—mining ever greater depths and rendering pattern as both a stable form and slippery void. 

Quin’s large-scale painting in the garden gallery is presented in homage to Lynda Benglis’s neighboring exhibition, ‘Excavation.’ The presentation acknowledges a shared sensibility of looping, knotted, reflective, and textured forms that speak directly to the visceral body. The turbulent force wielding Quin’s patterns, limbs, and colors consumes the field of vision, inviting the viewer to embody the work’s somatic feedback.”

—Marie Heilich  Lauren Quin lives and works in Los Angeles, CA. She holds an MFA from the Yale School of Art, New Haven, CT and a BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL. Her work has been featured in numerous solo exhibitions, including “Pulse Train Howl” (2022), Blum & Poe, Los Angeles, CA, and group exhibitions, such as “Fire Figure Fantasy: Selections from ICA Miami’s Collection” (opening summer of 2022), Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami, FL; and “On Boxing” (2021), Blum & Poe, Los Angeles. Her work is held in numerous public collections including the Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco, San Francisco, CA; High Museum of Art, Atlanta, GA; ICA Miami, Miami, FL; Pérez Art Museum, Miami, FL; Phoenix Art Museum, Phoenix, AZ; and Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN.

 
Past Exhibitions

Alvaro Barrington

91–98 jfk–lax border



March 12, 2022 - April 30, 2022
Blum & Poe is pleased to present Brooklyn and London-based artist Alvaro Barrington's first solo exhibition in Los Angeles. "91–98 jfk–lax border This exhibition is my thank-you to some of my heroes. When the bro Chadwick Boseman died, so many of us felt a huge pain and deep loss. People cried because a fictional king had died. It made me think of how I can’t even imagine the pain a generation must have felt when a real king—Dr. King, Malcolm, and the Panthers—got taken from us. A community that really needed love and support saw Reaganomics and new Jim Crows, along with other new systems of hate, take hold. For many in that generation, the reasonable option to self-medicate through disco and cocaine turned into the crack epidemic, and needle sharing exasperated the new HIV virus. A generation who saw the pain in the eyes and the souls of their mothers, fathers, aunties, uncles, and neighbors began to reimagine how to address these issues when the larger structural solution was locking us up. In L.A., Dr. Dre and Snoop made the less dangerous chronic cool. They told us to put on jimmy hats, and—10 million records later—my generation started smoking up and wrapping up. Snoop, Dre, and the chronic saved a generation. In N.Y.C., they said Giuliani cleaned up the city, which is wild because every kid I know knew we needed to change this generational curse. We started smoking up, and they came and locked everyone up. Humans need a sense of self-worth and a sense of dignity. A generation returned from jail with wild scars: people saw their family members gunned down in front them; Latasha Harlins was murdered; and 90 percent of women are sexually assaulted before they get locked up. In some prisons, one half of the men have been sexually assaulted—trauma on trauma, put in a box. When these folks came out, Biggie, JAY-Z, and Lil’ Kim gave us the commandments to get fly and carry our heads high. Pac told us to keep our heads up. When he was taken, DMX carried the torch to make us bark, pray, and cry. Mary J made us say we need real love. Ghostface took his darkest moment and made us use the newspaper—made us want to ground our souls and reach for the skies. Magazines and the press people, with only profits in their mind, claimed to love the culture; they made millions of dollars telling the West and East Coast that we were at war on the ground. The only real narrative was that we saved each other. L.A., thank you." – Alvaro Barrington Alvaro (cadet) Barrington (b. 1983, Caracas, Venezuela) Biography Figuring it out is hard and I’m sorry Everything I experience is real Sometimes the safest place I feel is sleeping on the streets Latasha Harlins It’s your job Consider the source Wish we grew up on the same advice Arbitrary geopolitical cousins fight political identity Embodied knowledge Practicing Trust For the CULTURE/ If you were them, You would be them/ LISTEN/ Play your part don’t let the position play you Emotional moron but he isn’t evil Them “ALL THAT I GOT IS YOU” days Hip-hop is not the problem our reality is the problem We shall overcome… We gonna be alright Fight the power Residue of racism Where there is lions there are vultures Cultural confidence They get accustomed to the sweet tooth The enslaved Shack poor We are all just walking each other home Concept Albums Whatever the fuck is whatever da fuck Ok, Sorry/ It’s my flesh that holds on to facts, It’s my spirit that holds on to truth/ She riding dick on her tippy toes/ Trauma looping/ The culture sometimes bigger than the charts The liquor store closer than the mosques People come in with the platform for their own questions more than to sit and listen The art lies in concealing the art Public squalor and private opulence Painting in the service of ideas Socializing risk/privatizing profits It was all a dream More conscious of the way we raise our daughters

Tony Lewis

EONS OF NEON NESCIENT PEONS POPCORN INFLUENCE AND SUCH



March 12, 2022 - April 30, 2022
Blum & Poe is pleased to present "EONS OF NEON NESCIENT PEONS POPCORN INFLUENCE AND SUCH," Chicago-based artist Tony Lewis’s third solo exhibition with the gallery. This presentation shows Lewis further engaging with the medium of drawing in three distinct groupings. In the first grouping of work, Lewis uses the modern English alphabet as signifiers, employing his signature graphite to explore intuitive permutations within the written word. In the two other bodies of work presented here—both taking as their conceptual departure point the symbolic sign system of Gregg shorthand—Lewis further examines the liminal space between this repertoire of signifiers and the expressive nature of gestural abstraction. "Open" (2022), "Ppn ocor" (2022), and "Eon" (2022) are works created as variations on words lifted from journals, ruminations on ideas of race, that the artist kept while completing his MFA at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago; back when he was brewing what could be considered the foundation of his visual practice’s interest in linguistics. Each word, appropriated from the artist’s prior self, is presented here as an anagram that has neither a distinctive entry nor exit point, though there is always a through line deceptively indicating how one might traverse the letters that they encounter. Eon, for instance, might be read as “one” or “eno” if the viewer were to follow its line in either direction. In Lewis’s pieces containing signs from Gregg shorthand, the artist is reprising and expanding upon some of the ciphers that originated in his alphabet-based pieces. "Peon" (2022) and "Neon" (2022), for instance, toy with the set of phonetics shared by "Open," "Ppn ocor," and "Eon"—reconfiguring the sound of each word and presenting it with a different set of signifiers. The shorthand works allow Lewis to further explore the formal qualities of the text. These shorthand signs, which Lewis inserts into his gestural graphite compositions, interlace both the structures of typeface and the intuitive elements of abstract expressionism: the architectural pairs with the corporeal, form collides with emotion, and everyday modes of imparting meaning are infused with the artist’s ability to channel the unfathomable. The third body of work presented here sees Lewis further leaning into the rhythmic, bodily qualities of language. In "Her" (2021), "Nescient" (2021), and "Influence" (2021) the artist begins with a gesture that responds to the sound of the word that makes up each title. The composition then continues to evolve as an innate response to its linguistic subject matter. Color and form support the title, serving its conceptual end and propping it up. "EONS OF NEON NESCIENT PEONS POPCORN INFLUENCE AND SUCH" advances Lewis’s parsing of the modes of communication that are inherent in the visual expression of language. His appropriated words become fodder for an endlessly evolving drawing practice, extending into shorthand drawings and abstraction and pushing the forms of communication into an ever more physical realm. The artist channels his instincts to whittle the methods of communication down to their finest minutiae—reaching an instinctual connection to the meaning of his chosen word or words that supersedes semiotics and generates a conduit to comprehension. Tony Lewis (b. 1986, Los Angeles, CA) lives and works in Chicago. His work has been the subject of recent solo exhibitions including "Anthology 2014–2016," Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C. (2018); "Plunder," Rose Art Museum, Brandeis University, Waltham, MA (2017); "Alms, Comity and Plunder," Museo Marino Marini, Florence, Italy (2016); and "nomenclature movement free pressure power weight," Museum of Contemporary Art, Cleveland, OH (2015). Lewis participated in the 2014 iteration of the Whitney Biennial at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, NY and was the recipient of the 2017–2018 Ruth Ann and Nathan Perlmutter Artist-in-Residence Award at the Rose Art Museum at Brandeis University, Waltham, MA.

Marc Richards

Los Angeles Portraits



March 12, 2022 - April 30, 2022
Blum & Poe is pleased to present "Los Angeles Portraits," a selection of drawings by Marc Richards. Organized by Jonas Wood, the works shown here depict well-known figures in the Los Angeles art scene prior to the global turning point of 2020. Taken as a whole, this collection of work presents a time capsule—the opportunity to revisit a moment of blossoming social art history in Southern California, blissfully frozen on a precipice. A catalog of the work in "Los Angeles Portraits" will launch in tandem with the exhibition. "A Portrait of the Collector as a Young Artist: Marc Richards’ Los Angeles Portraits Up the stairs behind an elegant storefront on La Brea in Los Angeles Marc Richards prepares for his first solo exhibition. Gallery debuts might happen every weekend, but rarely does an artist emerge after almost fifty years of trading and collecting art, and even more rarely at one of the most prominent contemporary art galleries, Blum & Poe, organized by established artist Jonas Wood. 'I’m 72 years old and I’ve never had a show, I’ve never thought of having a show. Never even dreamed of having a show.' Begun on a whim, against the wall in black frames lean almost fifty portraits of the dealers, artists, collectors, and impresarios that make up the Los Angeles art world in 2020, both a collection of characters and a time capsule. With a good tan behind a thin beard and a dapper driving cap, Richards leans back behind his desk to tell his story of how after a lifetime of trading art, he’s making his artistic debut. 'In 1972, I took a few months off to travel before attending law school. In Morocco, I found myself in awe of what I was seeing. I’d get high and I’d spend hours and hours looking at carpets and at craftsmen’s hands hammering copper and my aesthetic sensibilities woke up. I never made it to law school.' This nascent feeling set him into the business end of art—from antiquities to contemporary art and back again—and until recently that’s where his aesthetic sensibility stayed. The works that surround him in the gallery tell his tale too. An ancient Chinese statue and a ceremonial African mask stand on pedestals not far from a large photograph plucked from Google Street View by Canadian artist Jon Rafman and a painting still in its packing by Los Angeles’s Aaron Garber-Maikovska, brushstrokes peeking from behind translucent plastic. 'A couple years ago I started dabbling, mostly drawing psychedelic-like figures with pastels. Then one day, I started to think I’d do a realistic image. After drawing a couple of celebrities, I realized why not do the art world. After all, this is the community I’m in. I posted one on Instagram and I got this cool response from everyone.' Richards describes his pictures as residing somewhere between 'a portrait and a caricature, but mainly I want to convey the sincerity and respect I feel for my colleagues.' The art world to many outsiders is an insider’s game. One of the old myths about art is that of the lonely genius, but contemporary art has always been made within communities of support and often commerce. Behind every picture and sculpture, video and performance, stand hundreds of people from cohorts to curators, collectors and dealers, trying to midwife art into existence. And here alongside 49 portraits of LA artists such as Njideka Akunyili Crosby and Mark Grotjahn are all the diverse characters that make up a time and place, from dealers like iconic LA gallerist Shaun Caley Regen and François Ghebaly, to collector (and recent art fair founder) Dean Valentine alongside museum directors Ann Philbin and Michael Govan. Within many of the pictures, Richards has drawn objects that he associates with each subject: some absurd, some direct. Behind art dealer and hotelier Benjamin Trigano is a 'No Vacancy' sign, next to a 'Waiting List' for collectors trying to secure (one assumes) work of the more sought-after artists in the gallery. Collector and dealer Stefan Simchowitz, in the large-brimmed hat he often wears, looked to Richards 'like an avocado farmer,' so he appears with a couple of those green fruits floating above him. Woods beams from one of the pots made by his wife, artist Shio Kusaka, and Kusaka appears a few portraits later with basketballs from Jonas’ paintings bouncing behind her. Above gallerist Tim Blum, Richards has added a red sun, symbolic for him of Blum’s enduring support for Japanese artists. On the impetus for this exhibition Richards explains, 'Jonas has a real passion for what I’m doing—he says somehow without knowing it, I documented the art world in a moment in time. And he found that fascinating.' A time capsule of a moment as seen by one of the unlikely figures who stumbled into art and stuck around for a lifetime, the portrait series is wrought with a charm naive in its approach as it is sophisticated in its knowledge of how all these people fit into the cultural history of a place. The time that Richards has worked in the art world tracked with the rise of Los Angeles from a relative backwater to one of the global centers of contemporary art. That boom has attracted, shaped, and aided almost every single person he’s drawn. 'Though I’d like to do more, the problem is unfortunately I couldn’t do everybody,' he said shifting through the last of his framed portraits. 'But it wasn’t formulaic at all, I just started with the people I knew.'" – Andrew Berardini Marc Richards lives and works in Los Angeles, California. Richards has been involved in contemporary art for more than thirty years as both a dealer and collector. He is the producer and moderator of “Art Matters,” a series of panel discussions interviewing members of the Los Angeles art community.

Eddie Martinez

Pigeon Sweat



January 15, 2022 - February 26, 2022
Blum & Poe is pleased to present "Pigeon Sweat," the gallery’s second solo exhibition with Brooklyn-based artist Eddie Martinez. This new suite of large-scale paintings captures Martinez’s mastery of revealing the representational through abstraction. He channels speed, impulse, and automatism in combination with tradition and art historical precedents, manifesting compositions that are simultaneously journalistic and autobiographical. With "Pigeon Sweat," Martinez records snippets of life as it happens—quotidian vignettes in which Raid cans aim at wasps, foliage crawls a loggia wall, and toys litter a toddler’s floor. Variously combining oil, enamel, and spray paint on canvas, Martinez also often layers unexpected materials from the studio in his collaged surfaces—perhaps a discarded baby wipe lending dimension to the wing of a butterfly painting. The exhibition’s eponymous artwork, "Pigeon Sweat" (2021), is a still life with vibrant blocks of color and expressive strokes. Against a strawberry-milkshake-pink background, cartoonish forms cluster together at the painting’s center with imagery that conjures loose associations and dreamlike meanderings. Sneakers, plant leaves, a clown’s profile? With color planes peeking out from layers of overpainting, these shapes serve as vehicles for surfing one’s own subconscious. The title itself is scrawled beneath as part of the composition, defining the painting architecturally. The painting "Loggia" (2021) belongs to Martinez’s ongoing Whiteout series—with densely packed landscapes and animated flora painted over in white, his rich signature hues washed over in white. The bulbous and biomorphic plant forms depict the loggia of the Los Angeles gallery’s garden and in this tonal range and state of partial-erasure appear pale, delicate, almost ghost-like. "All Space" (2021) exemplifies Martinez’s robustly active and spontaneous pseudo-representational painting style, replete with various signifiers from the artist’s personal iconographic lexicon. The checkered blockhead, a longstanding caricature from the Martinez-verse, makes an appearance within a landscape of thick brushstrokes and energetic, gestural mark-making. Rendered with bold forms, strong lines, highly textured surfaces, and a distinctive personal visual vernacular honed over many years, each body of work in this presentation conceals and reveals that which lives under the surface. Eddie Martinez (b. 1977, Groton Naval Base, CT) lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. Martinez’s unconventional practice has received growing institutional support with five museum solo shows in the last four years, including at the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit, MI and the Yuz Museum, Shanghai, China in 2019, a show of new sculptures and paintings at the Bronx Museum of the Arts, Bronx, NY in 2018, an exhibition that featured a rotating display of his recent works on paper at the Drawing Center, New York, NY in 2017, and an exhibition at the Davis Museum at Wellesley College, Wellesley, MA in 2017. His works are represented in international public collections including the Aurora Museum, Shanghai, China; Bronx Museum of the Arts, Bronx, NY; Davis Museum at Wellesley College, Wellesley, MA; Hiscox Collection, London, UK; La Colección Jumex, Mexico City, Mexico; Marciano Collection, Los Angeles, CA; Morgan Library & Museum, New York, NY; National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; RISD Museum, Providence, RI; Saatchi Collection, London, UK; and the Yuz Museum, Shanghai, China, among others.

Kishio Suga

Paper



January 15, 2022 - February 26, 2022
Blum & Poe is pleased to present an exhibition of Kishio Suga’s work on paper. His fifth solo presentation with the gallery, this show is the first comprehensive survey of his work in this medium, which has rarely been exhibited outside Japan. Suga’s investigation of paper has been an integral part of his practice since the beginning of his artistic career, occurring in parallel with the large-scale installations and wall-mounted assemblages for which he is best known. The earliest work in this exhibition, “Untitled” (1968), was made shortly after Suga graduated from Tama Art University, when he worked for one year as a part-time studio assistant to Sam Francis in Tokyo. Watching Francis create his Edge paintings by moving around large canvases laid on the floor, Suga was inspired to think about the relationship of center and periphery in his own emerging practice. Painted with bright acrylics sourced from Francis’ studio, “Untitled” (1968) consists of rectangular fields of vivid red and blue, permeated with English words in various states of obfuscation and erasure. These colliding fields of color and fragments of negated language reflect Suga’s incipient interest in the discrepancies between words and meaning, and the need to allow material to speak for itself. Only months after creating “Untitled” (1968), Suga turned away from painting and toward making site-specific installations out of natural and industrial materials such as paraffin, concrete, wood, branches, metal, rope, and wire. He and a small number of other artists who worked in similarly ephemeral modes became known as Mono-ha (“School of Things”). Deeply immersed in the theoretical writings of Jean Baudrillard, Gilles Deleuze, Kitarō Nishida, Keiji Nishitani, and Mahāyāna Buddhism since his university years, Suga developed his own idiosyncratic philosophy of matter and space, which he articulates in terms of a holistic “interdependence” (“izon”) of all “things” (“mono”) “being left” (“hōchi”) in the “situations” (“jōkyō”) that unite them. As with Suga’s installations and assemblages, his works on paper show the evolution of the artist’s thought over the last five decades. During the 1970s, Suga experimented with various forms of mark-making and manipulation on different types of paper. In “Situation of Boundary” (1971) Suga applied diagonal strokes of white chalk to conjoined sheets of black sandpaper, emphasizing a unifying field that traverses the borders of multiple units within a greater whole. Suga also created geometric compositions out of tape, marker, ink, and torn edges, such as “Lateral Realm—174” (1974) and “Corner at Phases” (1975). By contrast, in “Quantity of Territory in Position” (1976) he employed frenzied, diagonal ballpoint pen strokes to counter the gridded order of graph paper. The early 1980s saw Suga continue to explore minimal interventions such as scoring corrugated cardboard in “Towards Order” (1981) and folding white paper to demarcate zones of space that he filled with gestural waves of pencil marks, as in “Traversing Things—11” (1982). Later in the decade, he resumed the use of brilliant fields of paint interspersed with pencil lines as a means of deconstructing the white expanse of the paper support, such as “Few Variations, Many Transitions” (1985). Suga further expanded his repertoire of painted interventions and types of support during the 1990s, creating more sprawling configurations of acrylic and mixed media on used envelopes and densely patterned wrapping papers. Since the 2000s, Suga has highlighted the duality of presence and absence by leaving geometric voids of unpainted space amid finely streaked grids of paint, such as in “Things that Go Against the Flow” (2007). Similarly, in “Oscillating Scenery” (2011), Suga dragged a ball of crumpled paper saturated with dark blue ink over a sheet of paper’s white expanse and affixed the ball to the end of the meandering line that it had traced. The work presents three-dimensional evidence of movement across a two-dimensional field—an almost calligraphic revelation of the fusion of material, line, gesture, and space. This presentation at Blum & Poe in Los Angeles coincides with a major solo museum exhibition in Japan and the release of an anthology of Suga’s essays translated into English. The Iwate Museum of Art is celebrating its 20th anniversary with “Kishio Suga: The Existence of ‘Things’ and the Eternity of ‘Site,’” a survey focusing on the artist’s relationship with his home region of Iwate Prefecture. Meanwhile, Skira Editore, Blum & Poe, and Mendes Wood DM have published “Kishio Suga: Writings, vol. 1, 1969–1979.” Edited by Andrew Maerkle, Ashley Rawlings, and Sen Uesaki, this is the first of an ambitious three-volume anthology that makes Suga’s thinking accessible to English readers as a comprehensive body of work for the first time. In spring 2023, Suga’s work will be included in “Sam Francis and Japan: Emptiness Overflowing” at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the first exhibition to explore Francis’ work in relation to ma and other aspects of Japanese aesthetics. Kishio Suga was born in Morioka, Iwate Prefecture, in 1944 and lives and works in Ito, Shizuoka Prefecture. In recent years, he has had major retrospectives at Pirelli HangarBicocca, Milan, Italy (2016); Dia: Chelsea, New York, NY (2016); and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo, Japan (2015). Suga is frequently included in global survey exhibitions. Most recently, a re-creation of his groundbreaking outdoor installation “Law of Situation” (1971) was displayed in the Gaggiandre shipyard at the 57th Venice Biennale (2017). His work is featured in many institutional collections, including the Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas, TX; Glenstone Foundation, Potomac, MD; Guggenheim Abu Dhabi, Abu Dhabi, UAE; Long Museum, Shanghai, China; M+, Hong Kong, China; Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo, Japan; Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY; National Museum of Art, Osaka, Japan; National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo, Japan; Pinault Collection, Venice, Italy; Rachofsky Collection, Dallas, TX; Tate Modern, London, UK; Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum, Tokyo, Japan; and the Yokohama Museum of Art, Yokohama, Japan.

Theodora Allen

Syzygy



January 15, 2022 - February 26, 2022
Blum & Poe is pleased to present “Syzygy,” the gallery’s third solo exhibition with Los Angeles-based artist Theodora Allen. This presentation follows the artist’s first institutional solo exhibition, “Saturnine,” which was held at Kunsthal Aarhus, Denmark in 2021. A book launch for the correlating monograph, edited and authored by curator Stephanie Cristello, will be hosted at the gallery in February. “We know we are supposed to make a wish, or capture them, if we see them fall. Hope you may, hope you might. Fast fire imparted with volumes of unspoken scripts (wishes should be made silently) gone in a flash. If our eyes could see desire, its pattern would decorate the sky where it sliced through—like the jagged lattice embedded in ice when it hardens too quickly. The slower water heals from liquid into solid, the more crystalline it becomes.

In the paintings of Los Angeles-based artist Theodora Allen on view in ‘Syzygy,’ the motif of shooting stars alongside stars in various evolutions—either burning out, exploding, or falling—measure acts of metamorphoses that inhabit spaces of flux. Allen’s visual lexicon, comprised of emblematic, esoteric, and personal sources, engages with themes surrounding cycles and regeneration—the making and unmaking of nature. Her paintings come into being through a process of removal; paint lifted off a surface to reveal the white ground beneath, before gradually introducing layers polluted by the addition of color, value, and opacity—a paradox of creation through deficit. As ciphers for introspection, the symbols of desire composed within Allen’s recent paintings reference the extremities of an inward and outward gaze.

The exhibition title, which refers to a term shared across fields of astronomy and psychology, speaks to the alignment of three celestial bodies in conjunction, or the harmony of contradicting forces. In the collection of five works on view, ranging from a large-scale triptych to more intimate distillations, Allen presents reflections and deflections: symbols of infinity interlock with the outline of an hourglass, hearts are transposed and divided by a bow and arrow, a shield is formed from the trails of a comet. The elemental opposites of fire and water, earth and air permeate all. Across the series there are allusions to the first genus of Narcissus flower (’N. Poeticus’), inspired by the myth of the hunter who remained ensnared in his double. Various permutations within the works—as well as the approach to their installation—are mirrored: they look for, and into, their likeness.

In Ovid’s ‘Metamorphoses,’ Narcissus drowns. In other versions of the tale, he dies of starvation and thirst. In each, narcissi flowers grow in his place along the water’s edge—trumpet-like centers of paperwhite petals bending forward toward the pool. In ‘Syzygy (Narcissus),’ 2021, the tripartite centerpiece of the exhibition, two shooting stars encircle each other against a firmament of glinting indigo—the clockwise movement of the stars, here as diamond portals, is marked by a trail of flames. In the center panel, a star burns in place. The scale of the canvases gives the impression of a series of doorways, or the panes of a dividing screen; proportions that delineate spaces either meant to be entered or hidden from view. Across deserts and forests, each of the subjects within Allen’s stars is a hunter. Illuminated in a silver blue cast—the light of a sky at dusk or dawn, of fire at its hottest point—these seekers point toward an inward prey.

In the artist’s series of distillation paintings—compositions that correspond to themes within the exhibition in their most reduced and succinct form—emblems of time and devotion are woven out of intersecting lines to exact an emotional index of geometry. The collection of compositions reads as either a diagram or coat of arms—a shape that evolved from its use as personal protection in battle into a signet of one’s origins. Likewise, the Syzygy chapter revisits the artist’s foundations of the Shields (2018) series, which featured hallucinogenic plants once used as poisons or medicine, sacraments or drugs (often both) throughout history. The antidote was the toxin, a therapy of curing same with same.

In his ‘Sonnets to Orpheus,’ Rainer Maria Rilke writes, “Even the starry union is a fraud. Yet gladly let us trust the valid symbol / for a moment. It is all we need.” [1] In times of great uncertainty, certain symbols emerge as something to confide in—like the superstition of spotting a shooting star spreading before the dawn of the industrial era in America, or the heart as the organ of the mind in ancient Rome. In deciphering the signatures (within us) that compose these external signs, there lies the instinctive need for reflection: of the self, of the self in others. We look toward the future regardless of the condition of the present. We find patterns in the past to understand our current moment. We remain on the hunt for shooting stars, those vehicles of desire, emitting their last light, brilliantly falling toward earth’s surface before they expire.”

—Stephanie Cristello Theodora Allen (b. 1985, Los Angeles, CA) lives and works in Los Angeles. Her work has been the subject of recent solo exhibitions including “Saturnine,” Kunsthal Arhaus, Arhaus, Denmark (2021) and “Vigil,” Blum & Poe, Los Angeles, CA (2017). Her work has been featured in numerous group exhibitions including “5,471 miles,” Blum & Poe, Los Angeles, CA (2020) and “Golden State,” Museum of Contemporary Art, Tucson, AZ (2014). Theodora Allen was chosen for the 2021 Corsicana Artist and Writer Residency in Corsicana, TX and the 2011 Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture Residency in Skowhegan, ME.  She holds an MFA from the University of California, Los Angeles, CA and a BFA from the Art Center College of Design, Pasadena, CA. [1] Rilke, Rainer Maria, “Sonnet XI,” in “Duino Elegies and The Sonnets to Orpheus” (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2005), 161.

Sonia Gomes

When the Sun Rises in Blue



November 6, 2021 - December 18, 2021
Blum & Poe is pleased to present the first U.S. solo exhibition of São Paulo-based artist Sonia Gomes. This presentation serves as an introduction to her practice, spanning key bodies of work integral to the artist’s oeuvre, and a new site-specific installation produced over the course of a year and a half. Sonia Gomes combines found and gifted textiles with scavenged materials such as driftwood, fishnet, buttons, and birdcages, often bound by thread and wire, to create abstract multi-dimensional compositions that reclaim the Afro-Brazilian experience. Employing historically feminized materials and crafts, she creates powerful assemblages that capture and celebrate marginalized histories, rendering those of women, people of color, and countless anonymous individuals, visible. From a mother’s wedding dress and a grandmother’s towel to tablecloths and bed throws, the artist invites each item to tell its story—memories and traces of identity that she weaves into the grand narrative conjured in sculptural form. She says: "There's a relationship between time and reflection—all the materials that I work with are an exercise in exploring the soul of these objects. It is closely linked to the intimate history of other people." At the entry point of the exhibition, a sculpture rendered from a broken birdcage hangs in solitude. From Gomes’s "A vida não me assusta" or “Life Doesn’t Scare Me” series, the work conjures both the radical freedom of a bird and its existence within the constraints of a cage. Citing Maya Angelou as a reference for these compositions, Gomes applies an element of gravity to each work by inserting a single rock inside. "Sinfonia Branca" (2021) or “White Symphony,” is a large-scale site-specific hanging installation of pendulum-like swathed structures in pale fabrics and laces. Together these sculptures from the artist’s "Pendentes" or “Pendent” series generate a labyrinthine presence. The work is installed in dialogue with the shifting shadows and natural light that pass through the gallery during the course of a day. These forms verge between cosmic and biomorphic, with tendrils like umbilical cords. Gomes has been working with such fiber sculptures since the mid 2000s, initially as vehicles for performance work tied to Carnival and the Tropicália movement. In an adjacent gallery, sculptures from her "Raízes" or “Roots” series rest on the floor, with cocoon-like and bulbous fabric twined around tree roots. The wall works that hang nearby, called "Patuás," are soft forms that incorporate amulets such as coins, written messages, and sacred herbs. These sculptures channel her childhood years in the Brazilian city of Caetanópolis, where she witnessed her grandmother, a benzedeira, perform Afro-Brazilian spiritual rites and divinations. "Quando o sol nascer azul" (2021) or “When the Sun Rises in Blue,” is an arresting wall work in blue that recalls the sea and the movement of the waves. Crafted from a range of fabrics—some that have been in Gomes’s collection for almost twenty years—"Quando o sol nascer azul" is layered with fish casting nets and Renascença lace salvaged by her assistant in his hometown in northeastern Brazil. Sonia Gomes lives and works in São Paulo. Gomes's first institutional solo exhibition in Europe premiered in 2019, at the Museum Frieder Burda, Salon Berlin and Museum Frieder Burda, Baden-Baden, Germany. Her first major institutional solo exhibition in Brazil toured in 2018, at the Museu de Arte de São Paulo and at the Museu de Arte Contemporânea of Rio de Janeiro. Her work has been exhibited in significant institutional group exhibitions such as the Liverpool Biennial, Liverpool, UK (2021); Gwangju Biennale, Gwangju, South Korea (2021); "Revival," National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington, D.C. (2017); "New Shamans/Novos Xamãs: Brazilian Artists," Rubell Family Collection, Miami, FL, traveled to the National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington, D.C. (2016); "Revolution in the Making: Abstract Sculpture by Women 1947-2016," Hauser Wirth & Schimmel, Los Angeles, CA (2016); 56th Venice Biennale, Venice, Italy (2015); "Art & Textiles—Fabric as Material and Concept in Modern Art," Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg, Wolfsburg, Germany (2013); "A Nova Mão Afro-Brasileira," Museu Afro Brasil, São Paulo, Brazil (2013); and "Out of Fashion. Textile in International Contemporary Art," Kunsten Museum of Modern Art Aalborg, Aalborg, Denmark (2013). Her work is represented in public collections worldwide including the Museo de Arte Latinoamericano de Buenos Aires, Argentina; Museu Afro Brasil, São Paulo, Brazil; Museu de Arte de São Paulo, Brazil; Museu de Arte do Rio, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Muzeum Susch, Zernez, Switzerland; Rubell Family Collection, Miami, FL; San Antonio Museum of Art, San Antonio, TX; and Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, NY.

Umar Rashid

En Garde / On God



November 6, 2021 - December 18, 2021
Blum & Poe is pleased to present "En Garde / On God," Umar Rashid’s first solo exhibition with the gallery. In new paintings, drawings, and sculptural work, Rashid presents a new chapter in his fifteen-year-long project of documenting the fictitious history of the Frenglish Empire (1648-1880). Informed by the storylines that are encoded into the canonical narratives of empires and their colonies, and even more so by those that are marginalized and omitted from the historical record, Rashid conjures a world replete with complex iconographic languages that use classifying systems, maps, and cosmological diagrams. Channeling the visual lexicons of hip hop, ancient and modern pop culture, gang and prison life, and revolutionary movements throughout time, in these works Rashid seeks to underline the roles of race, gender, class, and power in the problematic history of recounting history. "In his one-paragraph story 'On Exactitude in Science,' Argentine author Jorge Luis Borges evokes an unnamed, unlocated empire so taken with precision in the art of mapmaking that its cartographers eventually produced 'a Map of the Empire whose size was that of the Empire, and which coincided point for point with it.' Later generations did not share this taste for exactitude and, failing to see the point of such a map, abandoned it: 'In the Deserts of the West, still today,' the story ends, 'there are Tattered Ruins of that Map, inhabited by Animals and Beggars; in all the Land there is no other Relic of the Disciplines of Geography.' Goodbye geography: a discipline gone so awry it managed, if only for an instant, to let the map take over the territory. Consider this ruined map: an onion-skin paper copy of a whole empire, crumbled, ripped and torn to garlands, reduced to strings of origami mausoleums to the real world. All so uncanny and grotesque until, perhaps, following the trail of Borges’s facetious clues, we come to ponder precisely what in an empire is tangible beyond words. Sure, the land that empires claim can be captured, dug into, turned over, occupied, and marched upon. But empires are also made of stuff less concrete than land—myths, lies, dreams propped up or trampled, stories sweetly whispered into some ears and loudly hammered into others. Empires are built on mountains of corpses, but the real issue is that corpses will speak if you let them. Empires may glory in, or turn away in shame from, blood spilled; either way they get, and write, over it, tying together true accounts with golden strings of make believe. This is also the way imperial maps are made. They are designed to cover endless expanses in a slick veneer of words, the better to hide the endlessly overlapping layers of lives and waves of deeds, each round covering the last, building monuments here and eroding them there, shaping the landscape beneath. Still, every corpse has a story, though imperial narratives may require such tales be discarded. They poke through, punch holes, always a challenge to the official story, always threatening to ruin the purported totalizing exactitude of imperial cartography. In 1834, the poet Lydia Sigourney Huntley prefaced her 'Indian Names' with the following question: 'How can the red men be forgotten, while so many of our states and territories, bays, lakes, and rivers, are indelibly stamped by names of their giving?' Huntley was playing coy: Native Americans did not give these names so much as Europeans exacted and repurposed them to hide their violent deeds. Behold this feat of cold alchemy: words summoning a nation into being, cooking up countries out of carnage, and vanishing people into thin air. Imperial maps do not lay literally over any land; they do it figuratively, and their 'tattered ruins' are everywhere, in names marking the land in permanent ink. What if you set out to reverse the process? *** Umar Rashid once went by Frohawk Two Feathers—a nom de plume he gave himself and has now given up. This shedding mirrors the enormous task on which he set out years ago: to uncover and represent what lies underneath the names on the tattered map we so often mistake for history. Rashid’s work reverses that of Borges’ cartographers: wherever he goes, he raises lost, unborn provinces and empires out of the relics of their dreams. Rashid’s work does not dabble in the pretend exactitude of Borges’s uncanny cartography; it excavates the states buried in the margins of unread history books. It summons the truth that lurks between their lines. Before it was the thirty-first state in the union, California was an independent republic for less than a month; it had been two provinces of the First Mexican Empire, once independence stripped it of its former name of New Spain. In Alta and Baja California, provinces the size of a continent, European power resided in a network of Jesuit missions that doubled as military forts, sites of temporal and secular oppression all in one: so many names of saints strung on maps like the beads of a rosary. Before the monks raised their crosses, conquistadores had drawn the path and, again, always given names. Faced for the first time with the gigantic region, they glued the territory to a dream map: Montalvo’s sixteenth-century bestseller, 'The Adventures of Esplandían,' depicts the island of California, populated only by strong Black women, tamers of bloodthirsty griffons, and ruled by Queen Calafia. The heathen Amazons hear of Europe’s religious wars and see a chance for the world to learn of their courage, but the California girls, their griffons, and their queen are subsumed into European storytelling. Calafia marries a knight and comes back to California. Game over, says the narrator: 'We decline to say more about what became of them because, if we wished to do so, it would be a never-ending story.' There must be a beginning and an end; borders in place and time—however arbitrary—that reinforce fables of uniqueness and hide how much of history is made of the same mistakes. The Frenglish Empire, whose history Rashid’s works chronicle in every corner of the known world, may have never actually existed; yet you will recognize the missions, the warring factions, snippets of colonies and empires reshaped as global tides of war and trade meet numberless individual trajectories. You will hear familiar accents in its tales of heroism and petty opportunism; in its portraits of heroes and villains—bloodthirsty, gold-hungry colonizers and the religious officials who absolve them; former imperial soldiers finding in alliances with indigenous rebels the true meaning of freedom; peasant women forced into lives of vengeance and violence; hapless rulers killed in their sleep and the nameless masses who cheer the deed. The artifacts, the battle-worn flags, the ancient maps: the remains of days that, though they never were, will make you wonder how much you actually know about those that have been. And why. 'En garde': walk in armed and ready. Though playful and humorous, Rashid’s work should not be taken lightly. It comes bearing a challenge: when you dare to look through the tears in the map, whose history do you see? Which of these nations would claim you?" — Gregory Pierrot, Associate Professor of English at the University of Connecticut at Stamford Umar Rashid (b. 1976, Chicago, IL) received his BA in cinema and photography from Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, IL. This past year, his work was featured at The Huntington and the Hammer Museum as part of the biennial "Made in LA 2020: a version." Recent institutional solo exhibitions include "What is the color when black is burned? (The Gold War Part 1)," University of Arizona Museum of Art, Tucson, AZ (2018); and "The Belhaven Republic (A Delta Blues)," University of Memphis Galleries A and B, Memphis, TN (2017). Rashid’s work is represented in the public collections of the Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn, NY; Hudson River Museum, Yonkers, NY; Jorge Pérez Collection, Miami, FL; Mount Holyoke Art Museum, South Hadley, MA; Nevada Museum of Art, Reno, NV; Ruth and Elmer Wellin Museum of Art at Hamilton College, Clinton, NY; Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Santa Barbara, CA; Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Hartford, CT; and the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa, Cape Town, South Africa, among others.

Penny Slinger

50/50



November 6, 2021 - December 18, 2021
Blum & Poe is pleased to present Los Angeles-based artist Penny Slinger’s third solo exhibition with the gallery. This presentation coincides with the fifty-year anniversary of Slinger’s iconic 1971 artists’ book and collage series "50% The Visible Woman" and celebrates the milestone with a new and expanded edition of the publication. With never before exhibited selections from this historical body of work, alongside new compositions, Slinger shares her long-standing investigation into the mapping and unveiling of the feminine subconscious. Originally created in 1969 as a hand-constructed snakeskin-bound book for her thesis project at the Chelsea College of Art, "50% The Visible Woman" was Slinger’s response to her discovery of surrealism and its pivotal impact on her practice. An homage to Max Ernst, the book includes photocollage and concrete poetry, artwork with which Slinger sought to rectify the fraught portrayals of women and the void of feminine authorship in a male-dominated surrealist milieu. She says: "Having discovered the magic of surrealism, I wanted to employ its tools and methods to create a language for the feminine psyche to express itself.” The book’s binding alternates between sheets of poetry and photocollage imagery; her poems are typed onto semi-transparent tissue paper, allowing the prose to interact directly with their visual counterparts beneath. Words take on curvilinear shapes in response to the images surfacing below them. One work on view from this series, never before exhibited—"The Dialectics" (1969)—is a totem of female body parts, floating, dismembered. Some parts appear as didactic diagrams, and others are plucked from an image of a woman in mime costume, shadows reaching in every direction. The corresponding poetry reads: "The dialectics of experience present a new hierarchy evoked in the shadows a presence using emblems like a clown A collage exploits itself A corner seeking identity in its absence of form" Slinger appropriates surrealism’s language and themes—woman's body as object, dream-state as entrance into the unconscious, and sexual and bodily desires—and applies them in analysis of surrealism itself and its culture. Slinger inserts herself into this art historical lineage, and takes ownership of a visual lexicon that had previously objectified her. On the occasion of this special anniversary exhibition, Slinger collaborates with musician Lydia Lunch on sonic accompaniment to her collages. Alongside these historical and formative works, Slinger presents a new photo collage series titled My Body in a Box. Created during the pandemic while sheltering in place, the artist explores the psychological entrapment and fears that accompany the experience. As Slinger has done since the 1960s, here she uses her own image and body as subject to process a range of feelings and reactions, photographed by her creative partner Dhiren Dasu. Accompanied by her poetry and prose that are evocative of states of mind and being, Slinger’s offering is one of pain and poignancy, as well as transcendence. The 2021 edition of Slinger’s artists’ book "50% The Visible Woman" presents the artist’s series of photomontage works and poetry unabridged for the first time, following the hand-constructed version from 1969, and the out-of-print abridged edition from 1971 released by indie press Narcis Publishing Limited. Lauded at the time for its originality and poetic narrative, "Rolling Stone Magazine" remarked in the November 1973 issue: “This book will become as important on your bookshelf as Sgt. Pepper is on your record rack.” The 2021 edition also features a new conversation transcribed between Slinger and fellow artist and friend Linder. Linder says: “When I first saw that copy of '50% The Visible Woman'—which a friend of a friend had actually stolen from a library—I was mesmerized. I’d never seen a book like that before. I used to spend hours looking at it, turning the pages over and over again, trying to work out its magic. I sensed that something really profound was happening, and I couldn’t quite work out how that magic worked.” Available for pre-order now. Penny Slinger has authored and illustrated numerous publications and has exhibited her work internationally. Recent institutional group exhibitions include "The Botanical Mind: Art, Mysticism and the Cosmic Tree," Camden Art Centre, London, UK (2020); "Tantra: Enlightenment to Revolution," British Museum, London, UK (2020); "Cut and Paste: 400 Years of Collage," Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh, Scotland (2019); "Visible Women," Norwich Castle Museum and Art Gallery, Norwich, UK (2018); "Virginia Woolf: An Exhibition Inspired by Her Writings," Tate St Ives, Cornwall, UK (2018); "The House of Fame," convened by Linder, Nottingham Contemporary, Nottingham, UK (2018); "The Beguiling Siren Is Thy Crest," Museum of Modern Art, Warsaw, Poland (2017); "Women House," Monnaie de Paris, France; traveled to National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington, D.C. (2017); "History Is Now: 7 Artists Take on Britain," Hayward Gallery, London, UK (2015); "Feminist Avant-Garde of the 1970s: Works from the Sammlung Verbund, Vienna," Hamburger Kunsthalle, Hamburg, Germany (2015); "Lips Painted Red," Trondheim Kunstmuseum, Trondheim, Norway (2013); "The Dark Monarch: Magic and Modernity in British Art," Tate St Ives, Cornwall, UK (2009); and "Angels of Anarchy: Women Artists and Surrealism," Manchester Art Gallery, Manchester, UK (2009); among many more.

Mark Grotjahn

Backcountry



September 10, 2021 - October 23, 2021
Mark Grotjahn: Backcountry

Kazunori Hamana

Kazunori Hamana in collaboration with Yukiko Kuroda



September 10, 2021 - October 23, 2021
Blum & Poe is pleased to present an exhibition of ceramic sculptures by Chiba, Japan-based artist Kazunori Hamana alongside works made in collaboration with fellow artist Yukiko Kuroda. This exhibition follows the announcement of Hamana’s representation this summer. The surfaces of Hamana’s sculptures are variously rough, finger-textured, cracked, and fissured. His large and delicate vessels are made from natural clay sourced from Shiga Prefecture in Japan, each finished with Hamana’s own mineral glazes. Inspired by traditional Japanese "tsubo," functional clay jars dating back to prehistoric times, he creates each sculpture by hand, making use of improvisation and experimentation and cultivating new, inventive techniques in shaping, glazing, coloring, and firing. After the vessels are fired, he places them outside of his studio for the natural elements to mark and transform, determining their final form. Irregular and imperfect in shape, and sometimes imbued with geometric shapes and abstract symbols, his pots resemble ancient terra-cotta objects that were hidden in the soil for ages. Hamana collaborates with Yukiko Kuroda on vessels that undergo the process of "kintsugi" (the art of repairing broken pottery). Both based in a rural village in Japan’s Chiba Prefecture, Hamana and Kuroda pursue the principles of "kintsugi"—refusing waste and celebrating the act of recycling—in both their art practices and in the daily routines of their personal lives and philosophies. Their collaboration began with one of Hamana’s vessel that was damaged by accident—alongside traditional Japanese mending methods, Kuroda used large metal staples to hold the fractures together following the ancient Chinese technique of riveting—the idiosyncratic beauty that resulted spawned a new series of works made in partnership. Kuroda’s interventions follow the traditional practice of treating the ceramic surfaces with the combination of colored "urushi" (Japanese lacquer) and gold, silver, and pewter, but also include adjoining flaking or cast-off layers of ceramics from other vessels which are created organically during the pottery process. Additionally, she integrates unconventional found materials, often sourced from her neighborhood. Kuroda’s home was previously a local farmer’s and still hosts a variety of abandoned farming materials, many of which find their way into her "kintsugi" practice, such as traces of bamboo baskets or antique paper. She also marks Hamana’s pots with remnants of rice grain harvested from his organic rice fields, leaving strong lines and adding new visual landscapes. Each pot is treated as an individual entity with specific needs. Accepting that repair might not be the solution in some cases, Hamana and Kuroda’s collaborations embrace each unique narrative, and the natural flow of the life cycle which is transient and impermanent. Kazunori Hamana (b. 1969, Osaka, Japan) lives and works in Chiba, Japan. His work has been exhibited in public art institutions including the Headlands Center for the Arts, Sausalito, CA (2021); Towada Art Center, Towada, Japan (2017); and Yokohama Museum of Art, Yokohama, Japan (2016). His work was showcased in a two-artist exhibition at Blum & Poe, Tokyo, Japan (2020) and a group exhibition at Blum & Poe, Los Angeles, CA, curated by Takashi Murakami, which later traveled to Blum & Poe, New York, NY (2015). Yukiko Kuroda (b. 1968, Shizuoka, Japan) lives and works in Chiba, Japan. She is an artist who embraces cracks, chips, and fissures in ceramic works, salvaging and generating new forms from pieces that are otherwise considered broken. She began collaborating with Kazunori Hamana in 2017. Her works have been included in group shows including most recently at Amelie, Maison d’art, Paris, France in 2021.

Yukinori Yanagi



July 17, 2021 - August 14, 2021
Blum & Poe is pleased to present the first major U.S. survey of work by Onomichi, Japan-based artist Yukinori Yanagi. This is Yanagi’s fourth presentation with the gallery, following his solo show at Blum & Poe Tokyo in 2019 and his participation in the group exhibitions “Parergon: Japanese Art of the 1980s and 1990s” (Los Angeles, 2019) and “Mountains Carrying Suns” (Tokyo, 2021). Having resided in the U.S. in the late 1980s and 1990s, obtaining his MFA in sculpture from Yale University School of Art in 1990, Yanagi was first recognized on the world stage at the 45th Venice Biennale in 1993 with “World Flag Ant Farm” (1990). As a monumental process-based installation, this work featured 180 national flags—recognized by the United Nations, including colonized countries—each made out of acrylic panels of painted sand and connected by plastic tubes through which ants burrowed and effectively broke down both physical and geo-political borders. First presented at LACE (Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions) in 1991, “World Flag Ant Farm 2020” will be featured in the current exhibition in an updated version, comprising approximately 200 national flags that reflect radical shifts in world politics over the last thirty years. As his former professor Vito Acconci once stated in 1990, Yanagi "attempts to join natural processes with cultural mechanisms... that then go on to have a life and duration all their own." Yanagi’s machine-perfect sculptures and installations probe the contested boundaries or limits of politically and ideologically constructed territories and national myths. In “Banzai Corner 2020” Yanagi uses the Ultraman figurine, a half-extraterrestrial and half-Japanese superhero who fights to save Japan from aliens. In this installation, Yanagi aligns the figures in perfectly alternating rows of red and silver forming a quarter of a circle, positioned toward two adjacent mirrors lining the right angle of a room. The reflections of the figures on both mirrors create the illusion of a 360-degree circle which forms the pre-war imperial flag, a red circle with radiating white lines. Both arms of each figurine are raised in a “banzai” gesture, recalling wartime kamikaze pilots, soldiers, and citizens hailing to the emperor. The irony behind this work is that the original creator of Ultraman is from Okinawa (the southernmost island of Japan), and according to Yanagi, likely critical of the use of national myth to retain ethnic homogeneity to promote Japanese nationalist identity. By using mirrors to indicate the constructed quality of national unity, Yanagi deconstructs the “illusion” of Ultraman’s contribution to national unity, revealing the incompleteness of Japanese identity. Yanagi’s work also investigates borders or the spaces at the edges of a boundary, where oppression is felt most by inhabitants and the manipulation of myth and control is exerted over citizenry and minorities. “Wandering Position - Alcatraz” comprises three large-scale drawings in the size of prison cells from Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary. Yanagi conducted fieldwork at the prison for two weeks in 1996 after learning about a second-generation Japanese-American, Tomoya Kawakita, who was charged for treason during World War II, sentenced for life at Alcatraz, but eventually pardoned by President Kennedy in 1963. The drawings are traces of red crayon made from following ants in each of these prison spaces. Another work created during this residency, “Broken Glass on Map” (1996), is a U.S. map culled from discarded glass shards from the site. “Article 9” (1994) is a floor installation of multiple beams dispersed with red Japanese neon text that break up the infamous Article 9 clause in the Japanese Constitution declaring the renunciation of war. The text exposes the fraught history of the clause, which was originally written in English and administered by the U.S. during the American Occupation, delimiting Japan’s military capacity. Later translated into Japanese and retranslated into English, this clause reveals the continued ambiguities in the meaning, intent, and agency of national law and international communication. Similarly, the language of patriotism is interrogated in “Loves me / Loves me not,” which features a chrysanthemum—the Japanese imperial seal—at the center with its brass petals, dispersed over a blood-red carpet, each accompanying the artwork’s title in multiple languages. Finally, following “Pacific” (1996) and “Akitsushima 50-I/II” (2019) previously exhibited in Los Angeles and Tokyo spaces of the gallery respectively, this presentation will feature a brand-new installation of “Nagato” (2020), a cast-iron replica scaled at 1:70 of a World War II dreadnought battleship. First commissioned by the Imperial Japanese Army in 1920, this was one of the last surviving battleships that became a detonation target and sank at Bikini Atoll in 1946. Initially taken from a plastic model kit and retaining the sand mold on the frames, this installation forces us to consider the artistry of violence through the cultural obsession with the technical craft of war machinery. The impact of Yanagi’s work is his dual stance in which as Acconci also stated, "he takes on the position of both victim and surveyor, and he urges his audience to assume a similar posture... of being both amused and at the same time possibly intimidated.” Yanagi appropriates and deconstructs myths, signs, and symbols to provoke the fraught visual and cultural languages of war, violence, national identity, and technological advancements that continue to haunt us today. Yukinori Yanagi (b. Fukuoka, Japan, 1959) lives and works in Onomichi, Japan. Yanagi’s work is represented in notable public collections worldwide, including the Allen Memorial Art Museum, Oberlin College, Oberlin, OH; Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University, Boston, MA; Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Humlebaek, Denmark; Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo, Japan; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, TX; Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY; Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Nusantara, Jakarta, Indonesia; Museum Moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig Wien, Vienna, Austria; National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, Australia; Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, PA; Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane, Australia; Tate Gallery, London, UK; and the Yokohama Museum of Art, Yokohama, Japan; among many more.

Pia Camil

Nidos y Nudos



July 17, 2021 - August 14, 2021
Blum & Poe is pleased to present “Nidos y Nudos / Nests & Knots,” Mexico City-based artist Pia Camil’s third solo presentation with the gallery.  Pia Camil’s work takes a critical approach to modernism's legacy, exploring themes such as US-Mexico relations, the politics of consumerism, and the invisibility of feminized labor, often articulated through imagery from the Mexican urban landscape. Recently with emphasis on the importance of collectivity through public participation, she explores these territories through performance, painting, installation, sculpture, and film. Camil’s latest exhibition, “Nidos y Nudos,” was created during a pandemic-prompted uprooting from Mexico City to the rural countryside. Precipitated by the stark contrast between one environment and the next, Camil spent the last year looking to nature for lessons in collective intelligence and the building of symbiotic architectures. What results are two new bodies of work, “Nidos (Nests)” and “Nudos (Knots).”

The ten works on view from the “Nidos” series are organic totem-like forms of concrete, mortar, and recycled newspaper in bright pigments. Camil’s sculptures explore the concept of the nest, focusing in particular on the termite nest as one of the architectural wonders of the living world—this body of work is a meditation on its labyrinthine design and its symbolism. The termite nest is built by the collective action of workers in a colony, a swarm intelligence that creates elaborate structural motifs that allow for efficient ventilation and temperature control, yielding mounds 300 times bigger than the insects themselves. Continuing with Camil’s signature leitmotif of transforming mass-market, used, and recycled materials, these structures are coated with a mixture of cement and newspaper. The irregular surfaces contain small “windows” to peek into, to glimpse a moment from everyday news with particular points of views and stories, creating a connection between object and viewer. These works are a post-pandemic rumination on the nest as protector, enclosure, and incubator for the seed of a species. Presented alongside, the sister series “Nudos” is comprised of works on paper with coiling, overlapping lines of ink and vibrant oil stick over hand-smudged locally sourced clay. Informed by calligraphy, storytelling, and multispecies feminist theorist Donna Haraway’s book “Staying with the Trouble: Making Kin in the Chthulucene” (2016), Camil’s drawings channel Haraway’s concept of “sympoiesis, or making-with,” rather than “autopoiesis, or self-making.” The drawing patterns suggest pathways or messages made by termites during their daily activities. These forms reference collective creation but also the act of getting tied up, like hands in a cat's cradle—another reference to Haraway’s string figures—symbolizing a speculative fabulation. In this vein of cultivating a kind of practice that would provide the means for building a more livable future, Camil’s “Nudos” are material-semiotic maps to other worlds.  Pia Camil’s (b. 1980, Mexico City) work is currently on view in her solo exhibition “Three Works” at MOCA Tucson, AZ (2021). Recent museum exhibitions include “Unflagging,” Ballroom Marfa, TX (2020); “Velo Revelo,” Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, MA (2020); “Here Comes the Sun,” performance at Guggenheim Museum, New York, NY (2019); “Fade into Black,” Queens Museum, Queens, NY (2019); “Bara, Bara, Bara,” Tramway, Glasgow, Scotland (2019); “Telón de Boca,” Museo Universitario del Chopo, Mexico City, Mexico (2018); “Split Wall,” Nottingham Contemporary, Nottingham, UK (2018); “Fade into Black,” SCAD Museum of Art, Savannah, GA (2018); “Bara, Bara, Bara,” Dallas Contemporary, Dallas, TX (2017); “A Pot for a Latch,” New Museum, New York, NY (2016), traveled to Jan Shrem and Maria Manetti Shrem Museum of Art, University of California, Davis, CA; “Skins,” Contemporary Arts Center, Cincinnati, OH (2015); and “Cuadrado Negro,” Basque Museum-Centre of Contemporary Art, Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain (2013).

Kenjirō Okazaki

TOPICA PICTUS / La Cienega



July 17, 2021 - August 14, 2021
Blum & Poe is pleased to present Tokyo-based artist Kenjirō Okazaki’s "TOPICA PICTUS / La Cienega," a suite of twenty abstract paintings, each paired with a short essay and reference image(s), which function as key components to provide multi-layered experiences to audiences. This is Okazaki’s fourth presentation with the gallery and follows the recent announcement of his representation. In an ongoing series that now comprises over 150 works since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the works on view were made in response to the unprecedented condition of isolated co-existence, the suspension of time and space, and the perceived loss of tactile or concrete experience, which has significantly impacted our social reality. For the artist, this condition has provided the “possibility of going everywhere because we cannot go anywhere,” an opportunity to go on a solitary journey. In the process of making these paintings, Okazaki finds that the multitude of issues that historically face painting is akin to the discovery of a place. Namely, each painting confronts a unique issue and allows for a unique "topos" (place) to emerge. The term "topica" in "TOPICA PICTUS" is derived from Aristotle’s "Ars Topica" (The Topics) on the art of the dialectic, and is associated with "topos," which indicates a place. In the course of his work, Okazaki recalled not only art historical objects such as African masks, decorative and colored manuscripts, Kamakura-era picture scrolls, Momoyama-era Japanese paintings, Renaissance, Impressionist, and Modernist art, but also medieval maps, images of Dumbo, Pearl Harbor, and Google Earth. We, the viewers=readers, will read the unexpected network of sensibility and thought that spreads among various literary and artistic works, transcending time, space, and cultural differences. Okazaki likens this process to the three-body problem in celestial mechanics: “when there are three or more stars with mass enough to influence each other's gravity, the motion of these stars becomes almost unpredictable. . . Multiple activities work and intertwine, and the whole thing moves.” The paintings do not function as formal correlations to the reference work but as creative cues that encode Okazaki’s distinct visual and literary narratives that continue to circumnavigate a topos. In his quadriptych—"Antaninaomby / Ataokoloinona (Water a Strange Thing) 水のヘンテコなもの; Kilimanjaro / Wakonyingo (Bring negative spirits) カラッポのたましいを運ぶ; Asase Ya / 河を産めば畑をうるおすさ; Nyame / 空はなんでもみているさ (2020)," his references span mathematical symmetry, African mythology, Bedu plank masks, Francesco di Giorgio Martini’s human proportion drawings, anthropomorphic seventeenth century maps, and David Smith sculptures. "Hina-phases of the moon, Tunaroa-the father of eels / 月日の満ち欠け" (2020) brings together a constellation of narratives. In his text, we learn how the “lake in the sea” shape of Tongareva (Penrhyn atoll of the Cook Islands) resembles the Google Earth view of the island in the center: a wholly oceanic earth outlined by a thin atmospheric layer. Okazaki recounts the legend of Hina, a Polynesian goddess associated with the moon and responsible for the creation of coconuts, which are said to have grown from the burial site of the decapitated head of her lover, Tuna, god of the eels, after a heavy rain. Okazaki links the split form of the inner white coconut flesh, "te roro o te Tuna" (Tuna’s brains), to the shape of Tongareva. There is an implicit reference to "Weeping Coconuts" (1951) by Frida Kahlo (notably in LACMA’s collection), where tears fall from the (Tuna’s) eyes of a coconut. The undulating dark, purple curve in the top left corner of Okazaki’s painting ties the narratives together—Tongareva’s shape, the moon, Kahlo—perhaps a forewarning of Earth’s water crisis in the post-Anthropocene era. In another work, the clear-cut split down the top and bottom of the wooden frame of "Open Sea, Stormy Weather / 潮水の波、真水の滝" (2020) articulates the vertical break between the horizontal purple and black strokes on the left and the foamy blue cascade on the right. While there are clear formal cues of the fierce perpendicular movement of crossing wind and rain in John Constable’s "Rainstorm over the Sea" (c. 1824–1828), or the visceral texture of the rolling waves in Claude Monet’s "At Sea, Stormy Weather" (1880), Okazaki also captures the sensation of immersion and rebirth, embodied in Kaihō Yushō’s "Dragon and Clouds" (1599), depicting a powerful dragon emerging out of a spiraling cloud. In this way, "TOPICA PICTUS" involves a multiplicity of places (a set of issues) generated from the artist’s creative thought processes. A compilation of essays accompanying each work in "TOPICA PICTUS" will be published by Iwanami Shoten this fall. Kenjirō Okazaki (b. 1955, Tokyo, Japan) lives and works in Tokyo. His work was featured in independent curator Mika Yoshitake’s 2019 two-part exhibition at Blum & Poe, Los Angeles, "Parergon: Japanese Art of the 1980s and 1990s." His work has been exhibited in institutional solo exhibitions including at the National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo, Japan (2020); Toyota Municipal Museum of Art, Toyota, Japan (2020 and 2019); Kaze-no-sawa Museum, Kurihara, Japan (2016); BankArt29, Yokohama, Japan (2014); Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo, Japan (2009); Sezon Museum of Modern Art, Karuizawa, Japan (2002); and Musée des Beaux-Arts d’Agen, Agen, France (1994). His work is represented in the permanent collections of Hiroshima City Museum of Contemporary Art, Hiroshima, Japan; Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo, Japan; Museum of Modern Art, Toyama, Japan; Rachofsky Collection, Dallas TX; among many other museums. Okazaki’s publications include "Abstract Art As Impact: Analysis of Modern Art" (Aki Shobō, 2018), which was awarded the 2019 Ministry of Education Award in Fine Arts, and "Renaissance: Condition of Experience" (Chikuma Shobō, 2001/Bungeishunjū Gakugei Library, 2014). A revered professor, he founded and directed the Yotsuya Art Studium in 2004. He is a recipient of the 2014 Smithsonian Artist Research Fellowship at Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden. He is currently a visiting professor at Musashino Art University and University of Tokyo.

Anna Betbeze, Andrea Marie Breiling, Anya Gallaccio, Maysha Mohamedi, Lauren Quin, and Brian Rochefort

On Boxing



May 15, 2021 - June 26, 2021
In the late '60s and into the mid '70s, if there was a boxing match on TV my father and I watched it. Didn’t matter who was going at it, from buzzy flyweights to lumbering heavyweights. We sat on the orange couch. He poured himself a giant glass of Gallo’s chablis on ice and I had a Mom’s Root Beer straight from the bottle. I felt like a badass. And he would teach me how to read what happened in the ring. He saw it all as art. My father had been a boxer in the Navy. His close friend and fellow boxer once told him that he had been knocked out but miraculously stayed on his feet. He only later realized he had fought through a round and then into another, unconscious and on automatic, doing what he was trained to do which now came naturally, going through the motions, until he came back into himself, back in the fight. He was there, he was not there. It was 1973 when I was 12 that Pops started taking me to the Olympic Auditorium on Friday nights to see the fights. This experience was far from watching at home on television. In the crowd it was always dark in there, it seemed like everyone was either smoking a cigarette or a cigar, the voices could be loud, quiet violence in the air. But the focus was on the one place that was lit. The ring. Bright white lights flooded the canvas. Here a ritual played out. I once witnessed a myth. Such a ceremony. The boxers came toward the ring like shapes moving in the distance toward that square of light. Then ascending up and in between the ropes and entering that place of action in robes that often touched the ground. In a moment those robes came off, the men nearly naked, exposed, intimate. Hammer hitting a bell to start match. Such a clear simple piercing line that I could hear it and see it. Pops made the abstract clear. He would explain that the chaos was controlled, that you often had to get hit to hit, that this was the only pure sport. Raw. If you look long enough patterns emerge. You can see how boxers use the defined canvas to cut off and control the edges or dominate the middle. Action can happen anywhere within that ground. You see how every boxer has a different way of dancing jabbing cutting striking. Everything in motion, legs moving and arms working from the tight quick jab to the wild roundhouse and everything in between. Their process played out before us. Often red blood would fly, the inside splashed out. Style defining authorship. Winning and losing in real time. I was lost in it and I loved it. Still do but in a different way, now, here. —Jeff Poe

Tomoo Gokita

FRESH



May 15, 2021 - June 26, 2021
Blum & Poe is pleased to present "FRESH," an exhibition of new paintings by Tokyo-based artist Tomoo Gokita. This is the artist’s second solo exhibition with the gallery, and the first dedicated to his renewed engagement with painting in color. Whether working in greyscale or in color, Gokita’s paintings have long been characterized by their psychologically charged subject matter: uncanny portraits, disquieting still lifes, and dream-like abstractions. The cast of cultural archetypes seen in his works of the past decade—from wrestlers and starlets to dancers and bureaucrats—were initially drawn from photographs the artist found in vintage magazines and newspapers. Once immersed in the process of applying paint to canvas, he would spontaneously distort these images. In his recent paintings, however, Gokita no longer refers to printed matter: the figures and forms emerge directly from his imagination. More ethereal and amorphous than before, Gokita’s supernatural figures are at once angelic and demonic, reminiscent of androids, aliens, and other undefinable chimeras. They recall the ominous creatures of sci-fi B-movies while evoking the vernaculars of Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dali, Giorgio De Chirico, Francis Bacon, and Philip Guston. This conflation of the subconscious and the conscious is mirrored in the creative process itself, in which Gokita often paints and repaints the subject, sometimes changing the orientation of the canvas mid-way through, creating both literal and psychological palimpsests of rejected, reconciled, and mutated forms. Although Gokita is widely known for working in greyscale, color has been a recurring feature of his practice since the beginning of his career. Some of his earliest paintings from the 2000s were landscapes and abstractions executed in the similar muted greens, yellows, and pinks seen in the current body of work. He likens this tone to faded photographs and magazine pages. At the end of the same decade, he produced a distinctive series of cloudy abstractions in blue. Gokita’s return to color in the 2020s has given the artist a newfound sense of liberation in his expressive range. Reflecting on this shift in his practice, the artist states, “Miles Davis writes about not fearing change in his autobiography too. So I decided to change.” Blum & Poe will publish a new book on Tomoo Gokita in conjunction with this exhibition. Designed by Brian Roettinger, this 272-page publication compiles dozens of Gokita’s paintings amid a vast array of other imagery, ranging from casually taken Polaroids and photoshoots, to his designs for zines, T-shirts, book covers, and album covers dating back to his former career as a graphic designer. This publication features an essay by Jamieson Webster, the first to examine Gokita’s images through the lens of Freudian psychoanalysis. Webster writes: “his work, with its emphasis (at times) on realistic figuration, is made uncanny by giving it an aura of today’s aggressive human relationships and the sheer fact of a culture of constant surveillance. Indeed what is uncanny is putting into his work the affective climate of the super-ego—showing that we live in a time that has pushed us to the limit of life and death. Our true aesthetic is the uncanny.” This exhibition also coincides with Tomoo Gokita’s first solo museum presentation outside Japan, on view at Dallas Contemporary, Dallas, TX, from June 12 to August 22. Tomoo Gokita (b. 1969, Tokyo, Japan) lives and works in Tokyo. His recent series of color paintings received their worldwide debut in "New Images of Man," curated by Alison Gingeras and held at Blum & Poe, Los Angeles (2020). Major recent museum solo exhibitions include "PEEKABOO" at Tokyo Opera City Art Gallery, Tokyo, Japan (2018), and a retrospective, "THE GREAT CIRCUS," at Kawamura Memorial DIC Museum of Art, Sakura, Japan (2014). His work has also been featured in notable surveys such as "Wonderful My Art," Kawaguchiko Museum of Art, Yamanashi, Japan (2013); "The Unseen Relationship: Form and Abstraction," Kawamura Memorial DIC Museum of Art, Sakura, Japan (2012); "Gateway: Japan," Torrance Art Museum, Torrance, CA (2011); "New York Minute," Macro Future Museum, Rome, Italy (2009); and "Collected Visions," Pera Museum, Istanbul, Turkey (2009). Gokita’s work is included in institutional collections such as the High Museum of Art, Atlanta, GA; the Marciano Art Foundation, Los Angeles, CA; and the X Museum, Beijing, China.

Eddie Martinez

Green Thumb



May 15, 2021 - June 26, 2021
Blum & Poe is pleased to present an exhibition of new paintings by Brooklyn-based artist Eddie Martinez. This is the artist’s first solo presentation with the gallery, following the announcement of his representation last fall. Alison M. Gingeras: Tell me about the flowers. I don't know a lot about your process when you’re working in a figurative mode. Eddie Martinez: My process is straightforward. These are just still life paintings. Except, they are not from life. They are these fantastical flowers. When I am painting these things, it is pretty basic. It is just an object. AG: Do you start from an archetype? There are certain floral forms that repeat from canvas to canvas. Is there an archetypal image of a still life in your head that you generate permutations from? EM: Yeah, there always is a big cartoon flower. Sort of like Christopher Wool who adopted that cartoony daisy a long time ago. That daisy is always there, sort of tilting to the left. Then generally, there is a mushroom. And there are some circular things like berries. AG: Is there a particular reason you paint them? EM: My initial thought is no. But then, if I think about where I grew up and the local vegetation of those places like Florida and California, I can’t help but see the connection and the long-distance memory of that and how it has impacted me. Both of my parents always kept potted plants, interesting ones, like weirdo succulents that looked like peas on a string and those little ones that look like a butt. I was obsessed with the Venus flytraps you could get on your way outta Publix. "Little Shop of Horrors" made a big impact on me. At one point I kinda thought about titling this show “Feed me, Seymour” but I guess I wimped out. AG: And are these still life pictures a vehicle for something else in your work, formally speaking? EM: Definitely. The composition is there, and it is basically the same. And then it allows me that space to play with color, shape, and line. AG: Is there an automatism going on with these paintings? When I look at your abstractions, I read them as part of an art historical lineage, coming from automatic drawing processes. How much of that is also happening in these more figurative works? EM: It is. But I think it is more about the automatism that comes with the color and the shapes because I do want them to retain some kind of floweriness. The lines are a little more controlled as far as wanting them to look like flowers versus an abstraction, where the line can be all over the place. I think the freedom comes with the color and shape in these. AG: I also like how some of them are whited out, becoming ghosts of themselves. EM: Exactly, there is a lot of freedom and automatic movement in those. But I think that they often start with a skeleton. AG: Do they start from drawing? EM: I draw a lot so they generally start from a drawing, or sometimes I will just visually chop them up after I have made some and make a new one. AG: Do you paint from that drawing process, or do you paint it directly onto the canvas? How built-up are these? EM: You mean texture-wise? AG: Or between the texture and the image. Do you work out some things on paper and then directly paint onto the canvas? EM: I don't work on the paper that much. I just do a line drawing, and how much of it goes on there depends. Sometimes I could lay down the base, be really light with it, and be happy with that. Or sometimes I paint over it a bunch. Then you get that automatic texture buildup. Sometimes I will add things, like some kind of detritus, studio trash and baby wipes. AG: Do you have them fixed to the canvas? EM: One way or the other with paint or glue. But sometimes I paint them into the canvas. AG: It is so hard to see on the images of the paintings. It doesn't translate. EM: I know. I am not going to try and make them sound like there is some mystical thing in them. They are just flowers, as simple as that. Then all the other things that happen are in my general studio practice. It is not like all of a sudden, because I am painting flowers, I am going to paint them hyperrealistically or something extreme. AG: Art historically speaking, are you looking at anything specific? Obviously, the history of the flower as a subject is very rich and super interesting. How much are you thinking about that history? EM: Certain things are just burned into my brain at this point. Matisse's handling of flowers is definitely one of the most important to me. AG: What is it about Matisse particularly? EM: Just everything; they are so wispy. It looks like they were never really thought of, but they are so considered at the same time. I think they are amazing. I also like Picasso's weirder works with heavy black lines and outer space. Also, Cézanne and Van Gogh's works are beautiful. I don't know if I really think about it anymore. I already thought about it so much that it is all just in there. Bernard Buffet made these brutal flower paintings I love. Isa Genzken’s roses, Grace Hartigan and Lichtenstein. Ernst Ludwig Kirchner painted super vibrant flowers as does Judith Linhares. AG: That visual memory informs the automatic-ness on an unconscious level? EM: Basically, it’s all part of a mental Photoshop thing at this point. AG: Maybe this is a little off-topic, but I was also thinking about this French painter from the 18th century: Anne Vallayer-Coster. Her flower paintings are amazing. The genre of still life was obviously tied up with gender politics because women artists were not allowed to be trained in the same way as their male counterparts. Academic training with access to a live nude model was a no-no. And even if there were a handful of top tier female genre painters, her floral landscapes stand out in that 18th century world. Her flowers are insane, and they have this abundance that I think your works have. Vallayer-Coster’s work seems to treat abundance and joy as her prime subject. And of course, the history of the still life or all of vegetal motifs over the course of art history have always carried charged or coded meanings. In Van Eyck's paintings, the seventy-odd flowers and plants in the "Ghent Altarpiece," for example, each had specific symbolic meanings! Sadly, I feel like over the course of the late 2Oth century, the viability of joy and abundance as a “valid” subject was destroyed or outmoded. Do you connect with the subject of joy through these paintings? EM: Definitely. That is what I was trying to get at before when I was saying they are just flowers. It is a really enjoyable thing for me to paint. I don't feel the need to inject any kind of justification or deeper meaning into these paintings. It is such a basic and generic subject matter that allows me to have a lot of fun with it. I do get a lot of joy out of it actually. You can be really feminine with them, and there is obviously a lot of history with the sexuality of flowers: Georgia O’Keeffe, Louise Bourgeois. I paint these mushrooms that look like dicks all the time, and they are also in there. You can be humorous with them and they are easy. I don't think I'd have to think about them at all. As I am making them, the question is whether I like the way they look or not. It is really that matter of fact, which I enjoy. That brings me joy. Eddie Martinez (b. 1977, Groton Naval Base, CT) lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. Martinez’s unconventional practice has received growing institutional support, with five museum solo shows in the last three years, including at the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit and the Yuz Museum in Shanghai in 2019, a show of new sculptures and paintings at the Bronx Museum in 2018, an exhibition that featured a rotating display of his recent works on paper at the Drawing Center in 2017, and an exhibition at the Davis Museum at Wellesley College, MA in 2017. His works are represented in international public collections including the Aurora Museum, Shanghai, China; Bronx Museum of the Arts, Bronx, NY; Davis Museum at Wellesley College, Wellesley, MA; Hiscox Collection, London, UK; La Colección Júmex, Mexico City, Mexico; Marciano Collection, Los Angeles, CA; Morgan Library, New York, NY; RISD Museum, Providence, RI; Saatchi Collection, London, UK; and the Yuz Museum, Shanghai, China, among others. Alison M. Gingeras is a curator and writer based in New York and Warsaw.

Alexander Tovborg

Sacrificial Love



March 23, 2021 - May 1, 2021
Blum & Poe is pleased to present "Sacrificial Love," an exhibition of new paintings and a bronze sculpture by Copenhagen-based artist Alexander Tovborg. This marks Tovborg’s third solo presentation with Blum & Poe. In his paintings, drawings, sculptures, and performances, Tovborg approaches spirituality and mythology as crucial components of the human experience. Aiming to reconstruct history, his work invites us to redefine humankind’s position in relation to the hierarchies and power structures inherent to these oral and written narratives. Characterized by speculative and fictional tale-telling, these works come to life as a visualization of a new alphabet through fragmented and poetic imagery. Focusing on subplots of Western religions and European folk traditions in which the artist is rooted, his works are a hybrid of fantasy and raw abstraction, staging dreamlike sceneries featuring biomorphic forms. Tovborg’s past bodies of work, such as "The Knight of Faith," finding its central theme in the myth of Noah’s Ark, "The Rape of Europha," a meditation on Europe’s current political crises, and "The Marriage of Heaven and Hell," an overarching parable of good versus evil, all come together to tell a delicately layered story, which has often been excluded from historical accounts. In his new series "Sacrificial Love," Tovborg continues his critical approach towards grand religious narratives, and reconstructs them through a personal and intimate story—the pregnancy of his partner, cellist Cæcilie Trier. Born on the feast day of Saint Cecilia, who symbolizes the central role of music in the liturgy, Trier is portrayed as this most famous virgin martyr of the early church in Tovborg’s recent works. The paintings and the bronze sculpture in the show are imbued with Christian symbolism: evil dragons, lilies for divine sacrifice, and the seduction of Eve by the serpent. Tovborg reclaims the mythological chain of power in these narratives by manipulating the characters, depicting the Virgin Mary with a daughter, or speculating about a new mythical creature that is half-human and half-scorpion, echoing Trier’s zodiac. With feathers and halos around her figure Cæcilie becomes part of nature and the cosmos, challenging the man-made linear history suggesting one that is cyclical and holistic. The artist’s choice of household materials, such as cleaning cloths or bedlinens, as his primary painting surface further aims to problematize the portrayal of women as domestic workers throughout history. Tovborg’s works draw a mystical circle in the exhibition space—one that is beyond time and space, initiating from the cycle of motherhood and eventually leading to an existential awareness that is both sensual and poetic. Alexander Tovborg (b. 1983, Copenhagen, Denmark) received his BA from Staatliche Akademie der Bildenden Künste, Karlsruhe, Germany and his MFA from the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, Copenhagen, Denmark. Tovborg’s work has been the subject of international solo exhibitions including "The Deity and its Creators," Rudolph Tegner Museum & Statue Park, Dronningmølle, Denmark (2019); "Knight of Faith," GL STRAND, Copenhagen, Denmark (2016); "The Rape of Europha," State of Concept, Athens, Greece (2016); "Bocca Baciata," Overgaden Institute for Contemporary Art, Copenhagen, Denmark (2014); "Teenage Jesus," Hospitalhof, Stuttgart, Germany (2012); and Tre, Museet for Religiøs Kunst, Lemvig, Denmark (2011). Selections of his oeuvre have been featured in institutional group exhibitions including at Camden Arts Centre, London, UK (2020); the 9th Göteborg International Biennial for Contemporary Art, Gothenburg, Sweden (2017); Museet for Religiøs Kunst, Lemvig, Denmark (2016); Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin, Ireland (2013); and the Museo Nacional de la Estampa, Mexico City, Mexico (2012). At Blum & Poe, Los Angeles, CA in 2015, Tovborg's work was included in "The Avant-Garde Won't Give Up: Cobra and Its Legacy," a rereading of the Cobra postwar movement, curated by Alison M. Gingeras. Tovborg's work is permanently installed in various public Danish institutions and was recently acquired by the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, CA.

Asuka Anastacia Ogawa



March 23, 2021 - May 1, 2021
Blum & Poe is pleased to present an exhibition of new paintings by Japanese-Brazilian artist Asuka Anastacia Ogawa. This is the artist’s second solo presentation with the gallery, following her debut at Blum & Poe Tokyo in 2020. Asuka Anastacia Ogawa’s large figurative paintings feature children engaged in reverie and play, in scenes that are both autobiographical and dream-spun. With large almond-shaped eyes, these subjects look out of the canvas with mysterious radiance and wisdom. Full of cryptic symbols from mirrors to garlic bulbs, Ogawa’s paintings are marked by references to the artist’s Japanese and Afro-Brazilian ancestral lineage. Born in Tokyo, Ogawa moved to Petrópolis, Brazil when she was three, attended high school in Sweden, and then studied at Central Saint Martins in London. Her peripatetic upbringing and identity are asserted in her paintings through imagery that is outside of time and place. Employing a minimal palette, she uses saturated yellows, pinks, and blues, to convey an elemental visual poetry. Her paintings are open to interpretation, as she notes, inviting viewers to create their own complementary stories. Ogawa’s works spark a journey through hereditary dreams that exist in the collective consciousness. In one picture, a child is portrayed kneeling on the ground with their hands concealed in a large, tangerine-hued bowl, as if caught in a domestic ritual. Two guardian-like figures dressed in white hold a pastel-pink banner over the child in a heraldic gesture of protection. Another painting features a figure brandishing a bird toy in one hand, and a basket full of reeds in another, cushioning two children from a shadowy character on horseback. In response to the prompt, “Where is home?” Ogawa replies, “I think about the people I love when I think of the word ‘home’—having time to explore, and a place to paint, is when I feel most at home.” The works in the exhibition are both a meditation on interconnectedness and belonging, and an offering of sanctuary from and within a world in flux. Asuka Anastacia Ogawa (b. 1988, Tokyo, Japan) received her BFA from Central Saint Martins, London, UK. After having her first solo show at Henry Taylor’s studio in Los Angeles in 2017, she had a solo show at Blum & Poe Tokyo in 2020, and was featured in the group exhibition “5,471 miles” at Blum & Poe Los Angeles in 2020. Her work is in the collection of X Museum, Beijing, China. She is currently based in New York and Los Angeles.

Anna Weyant

Loose Screw



March 23, 2021 - May 1, 2021
Blum & Poe is pleased to present “Loose Screw,” an exhibition of new paintings by New York-based artist Anna Weyant. This show marks Weyant’s first solo presentation with Blum & Poe. Anna Weyant’s figurative paintings and still lifes bring to mind childhood bedtime stories and nursery rhymes. Both familiar and ominous, Weyant's versions of these stories feature young female characters trapped in tragicomic narratives. Their stories take unexpected twists at each turn, illustrating complex personalities and attitudes, and an awareness of life's irony. With round and prominent faces, Weyant’s characters echo the mischievous dolls of the famed Madeline children’s book series, featuring girls in a Catholic boarding school in Paris. Often autobiographical, Weyant’s characters are amusing and endearing, though simultaneously moody and dark. Weyant’s palette prioritizes dark greens and yellows, neutral hues that highlight juxtapositions of humor and solemnity, rebellion and repression. Once an idea emerges, Weyant sketches it on paper in different combinations before settling on a scenario, which she then stage-designs with dolls. Her elaborate and meticulous process culminates in rendering the dramatically lit scenes onto canvas. She references an eclectic range of art historical influences, from seventeenth-century Dutch painters like Gerrit van Honthorst to contemporary artists Lisa Yuskavage and Will Cotton, and pop culture references such as New Yorker cartoons, Bugs Bunny, and the Grinch. Presenting paintings made in 2020 and 2021, “Loose Screw” is also a meditation on the current state of humanity during the pandemic, dealing with complicated emotions such as fear, desperation, isolation, ignorance, and aggression. Giving its title to the show, one of the central works “Loose Screw” (2020), inspired by Otto Dix’s painting “Woman With A Red Hat” (1921) and Ellen Berkenblit’s portraits, depicts a woman seated at a bar, looking lonely and unhinged. Fascinated with Dix’s depiction of a column emerging from a dark void in the painting’s background, Weyant incorporates it into her own composition, approaching the column as a humorous stand-in for another figure—a reflection on what dialogue looks like in the age of self-isolation. One still life features a slice of bread stuck with a butter knife, a basket of eggs, and dead fish, eyes open, presented on a silver platter; another, a bouquet of white roses, the flowers cut from the stems. Her characters—some presented upside down, others mouth open, appearing to fall down from a wooden staircase, with spilling breasts—accompany these still lifes to tell an eerie and unsettling story in fragmented vignettes. If followed carefully, these scenes come together to form a magical realist narrative. “Loose Screw” invites viewers to a therapy session, a look at episodes and memories from childhood—an exorcism of thoughts and experiences at emotional heights. Anna Weyant (b. 1995, Calgary, Canada) received her BFA from Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, RI. Weyant’s work was the subject of the solo exhibition “Welcome to the Dollhouse” at 56 Henry, New York, NY (2019). Her work has been featured in group exhibitions, including “Life Still,” C L E A R I N G, New York, NY (2020); “Sit Still,” Anna Zorina Gallery, New York, NY (2020); “Humanmakes,” Recharge Foundation, Singapore (2020); “Historicity,” Ochi Projects, Los Angeles, CA (2019); “Of Pursism,” Nina Johnson Gallery, Miami, FL (2018); and “Circles without Breaks,” Local Projects, Long Island City, NY (2017).

Paul Mogensen



January 23, 2021 - March 6, 2021
Blum & Poe is pleased to present a solo exhibition of works by New York-based artist Paul Mogensen, following the recent announcement of the gallery’s co-representation of the artist with Karma. Presenting paintings dating back to the beginning of the artist’s career in the 1960s and recent works from the last decade, the exhibition also marks the artist’s first show in his hometown of Los Angeles in over forty years. Based on essential numerical sequences and ratios, Mogensen creates esoteric compositions that invite the viewer to make sense of the planar space. First conceiving a system and utilizing a mathematical formula, he allows the progression to dictate the composition. Mogensen prefers not to date or title his paintings—while this can be read as a gesture foregrounding the timelessness of his work, it also underlines the necessity for a non-linear narrative in art history. Avoiding both metaphorical and conceptualist language, he rejects most canonical terminology—including “minimalism” and “abstraction.” Largely shaped by his education focusing on mathematics and art at the University of Southern California, Mogensen’s practice reflects his wide interests ranging from fourteenth century Sienese painting to Russian constructivists such as Alexander Rodchenko and Vladimir Tatlin. Building upon the beauty of simplicity, Mogensen’s works are gracefully concise and yet yield complex and intense visual experiences—similar to an elegant mathematical formula. His earliest paintings from the ‘60s epitomize his interest in reduction. Stacked vertically, these modular, multi-panel works are made of rectangles that gradually increase in size, and utilize negative space through exacting processes. These monochrome compositions vibrate with saturated pigments—paint he applies straight out of the tube, rejecting any mixture. The pursuit of reduction is a large and compelling part of his practice, seen in his use of pure chemical pigmentation and numerical sequencing alike. Various visual relationships—between color and form, canvas and the wall—give way to a visual illusion blending the painterly with the architectural. As longtime friend artist Lynda Benglis points out: “Paul’s painting challenged both the wall and the floor space, literally breaking up the surface of the wall. This mocking of the wall was a totally new idea.” Highlighting the kinship between the works and the architectural space, one of the multi-panel works guided by the golden ratio is exhibited in the downstairs gallery constructed using the same perfect mathematical formula—with each room reducing in size in accordance with the golden section. Continuing this application of mathematical and architectural processes onto a single canvas in his most recent works, Mogensen utilizes the N + 1 progression pattern to grow and propagate the square shape. Traveling around the edge, the squares migrate towards the center, creating a spiral form. The oscillation between colors and forms implies a fugal complexity, as the human brain tends to seek out and complete a pattern that might not initially be there. The use of sharp contrast in colors—deep cadmium red on black, ultramarine blue on hot pink—adds additional dimension to the single-layered surface. Isolating color, line, form, and light, Mogensen creates a pathway for the eyes to move along the edge of the canvas. Different from figurative artworks in which human faces automatically activate neural systems, geometric abstractions require active thought. This show is an invitation for deep and silent observation in an age of digital stimuli excess, providing a sanctuary for busy minds. Paul Mogensen (b. Los Angeles, 1941) lives and works in New York. He attended the University of Southern California. In 2019 the artist received the American Academy of Arts and Letters Award in Art, and his work has been the subject of solo exhibitions at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, TX and Karma, New York, NY, and was featured in a group exhibition at the Vienna Secession, Vienna, Austria. Mogensen’s work is represented in the collections of major museums in the U.S. and abroad, including: Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, CA; Harvard Art Museums/ Fogg Museum, Cambridge, MA; High Museum of Art, Atlanta, GA; Kunstmuseum Winterthur, Switzerland; Menil Collection, Houston, TX; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, TX; Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY; New York Public Library, New York, NY; Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Hartford, CT; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN; and Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, CT.

Robert Colescott

Two Drawing Sweets: "Robert's Complete History of World Art" (1979) and "The Girls of the Golden West" (1980)



January 23, 2021 - March 6, 2021
Blum & Poe is pleased to present a solo exhibition of never before exhibited works on paper by the late artist Robert Colescott. Presenting two series respectively dating back to 1979 and 1980, the exhibition showcases the artist’s well-established satirical and critical approach to cultural clichés, racial stereotypes, and tropes of beauty and the gaze. By the mid-1970s, Colescott had created the works with which he achieved a national reputation. These paintings used the tools of parody and appropriation to remake art historical masterpieces, while satirizing and deconstructing pervasive racist attitudes. In 1979, Colescott created a series of drawings that satirized art history itself. Art history as an academic discipline came into being during the nineteenth century, and the earliest professional art historians viewed their primary task as similar to that of their colleagues in the academy, the natural scientists. Classification was the order of the day. Aesthetics gave way to taxonomy, to a certain extent. Art history became a history of movements, and artists became something less than individuals. The tendency of scholars and art historians to categorize artists only intensified during the twentieth century, which meant that any beginning student of art history would be taught that it is a procession of movements leading logically from one to the next, in an inevitable flow of progress. For an uncompromising individualist like Colescott, the reduction of art to broad categories or “isms” presented him with an irresistible target for satire. The first of the twenty works of this Art History series on view at Blum & Poe Los Angeles, "ROBERT'S complete HiSTORY of WORLD ART" (1979), announces that these drawings present his personal, idiosyncratic version of the subject at hand. These works are gently mocking rather than savagely critical, and injected with a vaudeville flavor. The first four drawings represent early art historical periods, and each is portrayed by a statuesque woman wearing sexy lingerie and smoking a cigarette. These drawings are loaded with references—one symbolizing Egyptian art which had a decisive influence on the artist due to his time in Cairo in the mid-1960s; another represents Rome, borrowing the figure’s pose from a famous ancient sculpture representing the death of a Trojan priest, Laocoön. Another, a parody of a medieval illuminated manuscript, turns the Christian ethos of asceticism and denial on its head by depicting naked figures engaging in various sexual activities. The second series on view, The Girls of the Golden West, was created a year after the Art History drawings in 1980. Colescott had returned to the Bay Area in 1970 after having lived elsewhere for almost two decades, and it was during this time that the artist began a voyage into his past. Colescott takes on the social conditioning of the American ‘30s and ‘40s, exploring his own exposure to popular culture especially through advertisements. Colescott riffs on the sexually suggestive cowgirl persona employed in the commercial imagery of his youth—seductive, nostalgic illusions that insinuated one could still partake of the adventures of the frontier. Employing the narrative devices often found in his paintings such as the dream sequence, the cut-away, and the montage, Colescott depicts each state of the West with a version of this cowgirl motif, parsing the reality of the American dream. Most of the drawings in this series come across as a theatrical experience, as their protagonists act out various scenarios typical of old Westerns. One cowgirl personifying the state of Colorado wears a breathing device as she is about to descend into a mine. Another woman representing the Dakota territory is an ominous vision clad entirely in leather, while the figure representing the state of Wyoming is a mirage of sky and clouds in female form. At the end of a typical Western film, the hero rides off into the sunset, but perhaps in this case, she simply dissolves into the sky. With gratitude to Matthew Weseley, independent art historian and co-curator of the traveling retrospective exhibition "Art and Race Matters: The Career of Robert Colescott," who generously contributed original research and scholarship on these two bodies of work, vital to this exhibition and its correlating press release. Robert Colescott (b. 1925, Oakland, CA; d. 2009, Tucson, AZ) was honored as the first African American artist to represent the United States with a solo exhibition at the Venice Biennale in 1997. His work is currently the subject of a traveling retrospective curated by Lowery Stokes Sims and Matthew Weseley that began at the Contemporary Arts Center, Cincinnati, OH in 2019; traveling to Portland Art Museum, Portland, OR; Sarasota Art Museum, Sarasota, FL; and Chicago Cultural Center, Chicago, IL;accompanied by a comprehensive monograph published by Rizzoli Electa. Colescott’s work is represented in public collections internationally, in such notable institutions as the Akron Art Museum, Akron, OH; American Research Center in Egypt, Alexandria, VA; Baltimore Museum of Art, Baltimore, MD; Brooklyn Museum of Art, Brooklyn, NY; California African American Museum, Los Angeles, CA; Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas, TX; Denver Art Museum, Denver, CO; Detroit Institute of Arts, Detroit, MI; de Young Museum, San Francisco, CA; Henry Art Gallery, Seattle, WA; High Museum of Art, Atlanta GA; Hirshhorn Museum & Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C.; Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, CA; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, CA; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA; Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY; National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C.; New Museum, New York, NY; Oakland Museum of California, Oakland, CA; Pinault Collection, Paris, France; Rubell Family Collection, Miami, FL; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, CA; Seattle Art Museum, Seattle, WA; Tucson Museum of Art, Tucson, AZ; Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Hartford, CT; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY; among many more.

New Images of Man



February 1, 2020 - March 14, 2020
Blum & Poe is pleased to present New Images of Man curated by Alison M. Gingeras. This exhibition revisits and expands upon the Museum of Modern Art’s eponymous 1959 group exhibition curated by Peter Selz that brought together artists whose work grappled with the human condition as well as emerging modes of humanist representation in painting and sculpture in the wake of the traumatic fallout of the Second World War. Some sixty years have passed since New Images of Man presented key figures of the European neo avant-garde such as Alberto Giacometti, Jean Dubuffet, César, Francis Bacon, and Karel Appel alongside the ascendant figures of the American art scene such as Willem de Kooning, H.C. Westermann, and Leon Golub. Set against the backdrop of existentialist philosophy and the socio-political anxieties of the postwar period, the esteemed humanist philosopher Paul Tillich wrote of these artists in the original MoMA catalogue, “Each period has its peculiar image of man. It appears in its poems and novels, music, philosophy, plays and dances; and it appears in its painting and sculpture. Whenever a new period is conceived in the womb of the preceding period, a new image of man pushes towards the surface and finally breaks through to find its artists and philosophers.” Part homage, part radical revision, this two-floor presentation reconstitutes emblematic figures from the original MoMA line up of artists while simultaneously expanding outwards to include those of the same generation and period who were overlooked in the midcentury. This reprisal features forty-three artists hailing not only from the US and Western Europe, but also Cuba, Egypt, Haiti, India, Iran, Japan, Poland, Senegal, and Sudan. The overwhelming maleness of the original New Images of Man has been amended by foregrounding previously excluded women artists from the same generation. Had gender politics of the 1950s been less misogynist, Selz might have considered artists such as Alina Szapocznikow, Niki de Saint Phalle, Yuki Katsura, Carol Rama, and Lee Lozano. With the benefit of inclusive hindsight, Gingeras strives to present a fuller range of this humanist struggle, thus more acutely enacting the original curator’s vision to gather a range of “effigies of the disquiet man.” As the capstone to this historical proposition, the exhibition argues for the contemporary resonance of this midcentury disquiet by judiciously including a selection of contemporary artists. These living artists are also “imagists that take the human situation, indeed the human predicament” as their primary subject, while also reflecting the legacy of the aesthetic concerns from the original period. Spanning painting and sculpture, this contemporary component includes works by Paweł Althamer, Cecily Brown, Luis Flores, Michel Nedjar, Greer Lankton, Miriam Cahn, Sarah Lucas, Dana Schutz, El Hadji Sy, Ahmed Morsi, Henry Taylor, amongst others. Installed alongside these paintings and sculptures, historic and contemporary, are interventions that evoke the larger-than-life figures from the original show—de Kooning, Dubuffet, Bacon, Giacometti, Westermann. Playful tributes to these masters appear throughout the exhibition, including two wall murals by Los Angeles artist Dave Muller. Embedded at the center of this revisionist enterprise is another historical MoMA exhibition also founded upon postwar humanism—this time through the lens of photography. The 1955 exhibition Family of Man curated by Edward Steichen—the legendary director of the Photography Department at MoMA—was conceived four years before Peter Selz’s New Images of Man, and was devised as a celebration of the camera as a powerful, immersive tool for the promulgation of images as well as the affirmation of the universal human experience. While it debuted in New York in 1955, Family of Man went on a veritable world tour. According to Steichen’s 1963 memoir A Life in Photography, between 1955 and 1962 about nine million viewers all around the world had the opportunity “to see themselves reflected” in the 503 photographs of people, making it the most popular photography exhibition ever. As the legacy of Steichen’s curatorial endeavors lives on in contemporary visual culture, this section of the exhibition sets out to challenge the Western-centric bias of the original show. This reassessment of Steichen’s conceit focuses upon two women artists from the twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. The Polish, self-taught photographer Zofia Rydet was active in the mid-1950s yet she was separated from Steichen not only by the Iron Curtain. This redux presentation of Rydet’s photographic oeuvre suggests a more complex vision of postwar era humanist photography. In fact, after seeing Steichen’s Family of Man show in Warsaw, Rydet embarked upon her series of documentary images of children in the literal rubble of the Second World War in the early 1960s entitled Mały człowiek (Little Man). This presentation features a selection of Rydet’s photographs from her documentary series called the “Sociological Record” in which she captured thousands of ordinary households in Poland from 1978 until her death in 1997. Rydet’s reworking of the Steichen paradigm finds a jarring echo in the contemporary oeuvre of Deana Lawson—an artist whose intimate, yet iconic imagery immortalizes African-American family life. Lawson grew up in Rochester, New York, the birthplace of Kodak—her involvement with photography is deeply bound up with her family’s history and their entwinement with the photographic industry. Unlike Rydet, Lawson’s images are often staged while they strive to capture the magic and textures of everyday struggles, emotions, and plain existence. Her gaze intrepidly focuses upon members of the African diaspora while also crafting stunning formal compositions that hark back to classical painting. As Lawson has said of her work, “I have an image in mind that I have to make. It burns so deeply that I have to make it.” Shown side by side in a scenography that references Steichen’s original Family of Man presentation at MoMA, Rydet’s communist-era documentation of Polish families in their humble interiors resonates uncannily with Lawson’s present-day portraiture. Despite being decades apart, culturally disparate, and approaching their medium with radically differing methods, both Rydet and Lawson create images that offer a sharp rebuttal to Steichen’s sentimental and melodramatic original opus. Both photographers share a quality that Lawson has articulated when speaking of her own work, creating images that are “thick with space, layered with otherness and belonging at the same time.” Together Rydet and Lawson provide a revisionist twist to this new Family of Man. This section of the show was curated in collaboration with Antonina Gugała with a new installation by Deana Lawson made especially for the show. While much has changed in social and political terms since the 1950s, we are arguably again in a period of immense existential questioning and profound collective anxiety—artists now, as then, are on the frontlines of confronting what it means to be human, therefore making New Images of Man a subject still urgent for contemplation and provocation. This past summer, Selz died at the age of one hundred. In his New York Times obituary, his daughter Gabrielle remarked, “He would say that everything—a somber painting by Rothko or a Rodin sculpture—was about the human condition. My dad responded to emotion.” Arguably, emotion is the gravitational force that draws us to images of other people—from prehistoric cave paintings to press photographs of detained refugees and children on the Mexican-American border, humans find empathetic connection, solace, or simple recognition in the act of contemplating depictions of other humans. In the spirit of Selz’s original aim, this restaging of New Images of Man and reimagining of Family of Man resolves to recontextualize artists’ agency in addressing the fundamental questions of the human condition and to discourage apathy about our fellow humans’ plight. While an art exhibition can only operate on a symbolic and discursive level, the impetus behind the new New Images of Man is to continue our collective rumination on the human condition with renewed emotional and intellectual urgency. By expanding the geopolitical and generational scope of artists, an expansive vision of humanity starts to emerge—broadening “man” to a more intersectional vision of human existence.

Henry Taylor

NIECE COUSIN KIN LOOK HOW LONG IT'S BEEN



September 24, 2019 - December 21, 2019

Mohamed Bourouissa

Une poignée de Dollars



September 14, 2019 - October 26, 2019

Anya Gallaccio

Stroke



September 14, 2019 - October 26, 2019

Alma Allen



July 20, 2019 - August 17, 2019

March Avery



June 27, 2019 - August 9, 2019

Florian Maier–Aichen

The Limits of Control



June 1, 2019 - July 6, 2019

Tony Lewis

Charlatan And Ultimately A Boring Man



June 1, 2019 - July 6, 2019

Brazilian Modernism



April 30, 2019 - June 21, 2019

Part II – Parergon: Japanese Art of the 1980s and 1990s



April 6, 2019 - May 19, 2019

Robert Colescott



February 27, 2019 - April 13, 2019

Parergon: Japanese Art of the 1980s and 1990s



February 14, 2019 - March 23, 2019

Friedrich Kunath

One Man's Ceiling is Another Man's Floor



November 7, 2018 - December 22, 2018

Chung Sang-Hwa & Shin Sung Hy



November 2, 2018 - December 22, 2018

Darren Bader



November 2, 2018 - December 22, 2018

Four Rooms



September 12, 2018 - October 27, 2018

Tomoo Gokita



September 8, 2018 - October 27, 2018

Karel Appel

Out of Nature



September 8, 2018 - October 27, 2018

Andrew Kerr



July 12, 2018 - August 17, 2018

Wendell Dayton



June 30, 2018 - August 18, 2018

Enrico David



May 12, 2018 - June 23, 2018

Mimi Lauter

Sensus Oxynation



May 12, 2018 - June 23, 2018

Dave Muller

Sex & Death & Rock & Roll



April 28, 2018 - June 30, 2018

Kishio Suga



March 1, 2018 - April 14, 2018

Julian Hoeber



January 18, 2018 - February 24, 2018