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Current Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions
Doug Simay’s Best Picks
Neil Farber at Richard Heller (Bergamot through March 17).
Winnipeg artist Farber constructs his dense, image-laden paintings on layer upon layer of clear acrylic
glazes.  The image above is just a small section of a painting.  The curiosity in viewing his work comes
from trying to figure out “why” and “how”.  Ultimately I don’t think these questions need be answered.  
Roberto Gil de Montes at Lora Schlesinger (Bergamot through April 7).
Gil de Montes dedicates this show to his former, long-time dealer Jan Baum.  Jan Baum died at 89 years of
age in 2017.  In the early 80’s Jan Baum opened her eponymous gallery on La Brea (which closed in
2008). Conversations over the decades with Jan were important to me and core to my appreciation of LA’s
art offerings.  Roberto Gil de Montes came to my attention as one of Jan’s formidable artists.
Lora Schlesinger is Jan Baum’s sister from-another-mother.  It is appropriate that she and Gil de Montes
should be teamed.
As compared with his work from the Baum years, Gil de Montes contemporary painting elevates his
Hispanic roots in more colorful, “light-hearted” reflections on his heritage.  His contemporary painting is
filled with fantastical tales and the joyous mixing of cultures.
Roberto Gil de Montes
Jeffrey Conley at Peter Fetterman (Bergamot through April 21).
Viewing “straight” landscape photography is about visual pleasure, not discovering new aesthetic territory.  
Jeffrey Conley’s platinum images are beautifully printed and give the armchair traveler a view of
spectacular natural wonders.
Anne Marie Karlsen at Santa Monica College (Santa Monica through March 24).
Anne Marie Karlsen mixes mediums, materials, and structural concepts in her multi-media works.  I bought
one of her multimedia paintings from Joni Gordon (Newspace) (another of LA’s formidable taste-making
dealers of the late 20th century) in 1986.  Karlsen is currently a Professor at Santa Monica College.  She
is well known and respected for her public art commissions (27 since 1992).  I go by the Pavilion’s Market
in West Hollywood just to see her large ceramic tile installation.  This exhibition documents many of her
public commissions.
Richard Misrach at Marc Selwyn (Beverly Hills through March 31).
Misrach has produced many series – all of which have been seminal and critically important.  His latest
body of work mixes travels through the deserts of the Southwest with the politics of the border.  Called
“Border Cantos” he has collaborated with composer Guillermo Gallindo to produce a
body of work that
unifies his current investigations of the border.  Gallindo produces musical “instruments” out of found
border objects while Misrach photographs the geography.  I saw the 2016 exhibition that documents this
collaboration at the Amon Carter Museum in Fort Worth.  The image above documents the Tijuana Border
Wall and was just acquired by the LA County Museum of Art.
   Lorser Feitelson  1935
Lorser Feitelson at Louis Stern (West Hollywood through April 14).
This exhibition titled “Figure to Form” demonstrates Feitelson’s evolution from Post-Surrealist paintings of
the thirties to his mature, hard-edge paintings of the sixties.  Lorser Feitelson (1898-1978) and his peers,
Karl Benjamin, Frederick Hammersley, and John McLaughlin, were featured in a landmark 1959 exhibition
called “Four Abstract Classicists” (San Francisco Museum of Art and LACMA).  These artists were the
vanguard of midcentury California Modernism.
Lorser Feitelson 1952
Sol LeWitt at Honor Fraser (Culver City through April 7).
We have all seen plenty of Sol LeWitt’s modular sculptures.  This exhibition features sculptures and
drawings made between 1966 and 2000.  My interest in LeWitt (1928-2007) has been re-invigorated by
seeing his small sculptures as the 2000 work seen above.  For me, the small scale works better than the
room filling pieces.
April Street at Susanne Vielmetter (Culver City closing).
The process by which April Street paints and then twists and forms her cloth relief paintings is the
“performance” part of her art.  The result is a contemporary reinterpretation of Dutch 17th century
painting.  The work is sculptural and very unique.
Patrick Wilson at Susanne Vielmetter (Culver City closing).
Patrick Wilson’s hard-edge paintings fastidiously layer acrylic paint.  The end result appears like
overlapping scrims of transparent color.  The juxtapositions of seeming
ly weird, disparate colors is deftly
managed.  His “reality” seems illusionistic.
Jasper Johns at The Broad (Bunker Hill through May 13).
This is the museum exhibition that has LA abuzz.  Featuring works that span 60 years – it purports to be
comprehensive.  The ~120 works are organized thematically demonstrating Johns’ preoccupations.
As the exhibition is installed and reading supporting materials, it would appear than Johns was insular and
very private (his relationships with Rauschenberg and John Cage reflected his hermetic privacy).
I saw a very informative and scholarly exhibition at the Munch Museum in Oslo in 2016 that put forward a
far more reasoned view of Johns.  That exhibition looked at the influence that Edvard Munch (1863-1944)
had on Johns (born 1930) that crystalized when Johns saw the Munch retrospective in 1950 at MOMA
(when Johns was 20).  The Munch curators constructed a well-considered claim that Johns was distinctly
influenced by Munch and that the two men shared similar issues. The image below shows Munch’s painting
from 1940-43 called – “Self-Portrait between the Clock and the Bed”.  Below that is the 1981 Johns’
painting called – “Between the Clock and the Bed”. It was produced at a time just before Johns moved from
abstraction to figuration (the late 80s/early 90s). The exhibition’s premise is that Johns was very influenced
by Munch – taking on similar issues of isolation and “Nordic” melancholy.  At the hands of the curators for
the Broad show – Johns appears insular and emotionally flat.  His works appear soulless.  While he is an
American original – thankfully America has much more to be proud of.
My favorite John's paintings were the "painted flagstones", seven of which were painted in 2004-2012.
The painting below was done in 2006.
Mark Bradford at Hauser & Wirth (DTLA through May 20).
Bradford is LA’s current art star.  This large exhibition of superb paintings proves the point.  Terrific
painting exhibition.
Alexandre Farto at Over the Influence (DTLA through April 1).
The 6,000 square-foot gallery Over the Influence Los Angeles newly opened just down the block from
Hauser & Wirth.  It is the second gallery of its parent, Over the Influence Hong Kong.  
Alexandre Farto (aka Vhils) is Portuguese.  His solo show covers lots of territory.  Using non-conventional
tools, techniques and materials he is obviously a talented craftsman.  I know I am dazzled by his carving
skills – but I wonder if I am seeing any artistic insights expressed by his high craft.
Simone Forti at The Box (DTLA through March 24).
Simone Forti (born 1935) was an influential dancer/performance artist.  In the 60s the holographer, Lloyd
Cross, created holograms able to produce moving three-dimensional images.  Forti’s husband and a
friend of Cross caused the two to work together – producing holograms of Forti’s dancing.  Since being
exhibited at the Sonnabend Gallery in 1978, these works have been in storage.  Now seven of the
“dancing” holograms (from 1975-78) have been re-presented here.  Wow!  What an experience.  A cross
between a Star Trek holodeck and a distant memory, experiencing this installation is possible only when
the viewer activates the holograms by moving side-to-side; backwards and forwards.  Dancing with the
dancer.  Incredible.
Charlemagne Palestine at 356 S. Mission (DTLA through April 15).
Using 18,000 recycled stuffed animals, used pianos, used many-other-things; accompanied by his videos
and soundtracks – this is a riotous assault on the senses.  It took one month for the artist and many
helpers to create this all enveloping environment.
Francesa Gabbiani at Baert (DTLA through March 24).
Gabbiani continues her fastidious constructions and collaging of cutouts.  After seeing her work in NYC a
couple decades ago – I now find myself wondering why I have committed core memory to this artist.  In this
exhibition Gabbiani is well paired with Iliodora Margellos who collages using embroidery.  This exhibition is
worth the viewer’s time.
Peter Halley at Michael Kohn (Hollywood through March 29).
This 1998 painting by Peter Halley is two things: the best Peter Halley painting I have ever seen and the
only real work in this exhibition worth seeing.  I am guessing that Michael Kohn is giving his staff the
opportunity to curate.  The last (and superb exhibition) was curated by Joshua Friedman.  This show
brings together work from the secondary market with a different curator.  
Vija Celmins at Matthew Marks (West Hollywood through March 31).
Matthew Marks is Vija Celmins dealer.  This exhibition has over twenty paintings, sculptures, and works on
paper made between 2014 and 2018.  The dominant theme is the night sky with stars.  Starting with
photographs, she works to use classical art techniques to bring life to the image.  The image above is a
mezzotint.  Los Angeles has not had an exhibition of new Celmins’ work in over forty years.
Guy de Cointet and Raul Guerrero at Chateau Shatto (DTLA through March 10).
Guy de Cointet was born and developed his artistic interests in France.  Accepting a studio job in NYC
from Larry Bell, he followed Bell out to Venice, CA.  Guy de Cointet (1934-1983) taught at Otis (dominantly
performance art).  His works on paper were largely about systems of encoding text.  De Cointet’s work has
never been of interest to me.  I came to this exhibition to see the Raul Guerrero’s 2014 painting of “Guy de
Cointet c. 1978” (above).
Chateau Shatto has transplanted to this gallery space on the tenth floor of the 1206 Maple Avenue
building.  What a view of the downtown this gallery has.!  Having visited this building several times over the
last couple years (to go to Post) it is remarkable to observe how the whole building is evolving into
aesthetic studios and workshops.  Quite exciting.
Katherina Olschbaur at Post (DTLA through March 10).
Katherina Olschbaur is a transplanted Austrian.  Her work melds figuration with abstraction.  As seems
generally true of European artists, Olschbaur’s painting demonstrates the technical competence of
Austrian training.  She chose to live and work in LA because of SoCal’s unfettered conceptual freedoms.  
A small exhibition in a small space, the work delivers large, confident, energetic painting.
Post is a non-profit exhibition space on the fifth floor of the 12 story Bendix Building at 1206 Maple Ave.  It
is a project of HK Zamani.  The history of the building (located in the Fashion District) is a fascinating story
of a powerhouse developer in the 1920s, Florence Casler.  
HK Zamani at Gallery 478 (San Pedro through March 31).
Habib Kheradyar Zamani has been a quiet, but powerful, force in the Los Angeles art scene for over 30
years.  His work has been shown by LA’s most significant impresarios.  Seeking out the opportunity to view
new work by him is always an adventure – an adventure in viewing the work and an adventure to delving
into the LA scene.  
HK Zamani has four works in a group show of seven artists showing at Gallery 478 in San Pedro.  This
exhibition was developed by Ron Linden (a professor at LA Harbor College) and long-time arts activist.  
Linden has put his considerable expertise and energy commitment into the San Pedro arts community.  It
is a shame that San Pedro is metaphysically almost as far away from Los Angeles as San Diego.  Visiting
the San Pedro art scene offers considerable rewards and artistic legitimacy.
Seen in San Diego:
Ann Mudge at Quint Projects (Rose Canyon through March 24).
Ann Mudge has filled the exhibition space with her organic wire sculptures.  Several of her works look to
have been dipped into a sort of plasticine-resin.  These cause the work to echo Eva Hesse.  With the
recurrent and expanding attention to Ruth Asawa, Anne Mudge’s work is well positioned in contemporary
sculpture.
Ann Mudge
Tom Hatton
     Steve Gibson
Steve Gibson and Tom Hatton at Southwestern College Art Gallery (National City closed).
Tom Hatton and Steve Gibson first showed together 46 years ago.  Now decades later they are paired
again.  That exhibition was held in this venue, Southwestern College.  It was their first meeting and the
beginning of a friendship that lasts to this day.  
Tom Hatton has superb control of clay.  He makes sculptures that for all intents seem alive.  His sense of
humor is front and center.
Steve Gibson has been a tireless and well-educated painter and printmaker since before the first iteration
of this pairing 46 years ago.  Tirelessly weaving abstraction with figuration, Gibson’s work is a constant
visual journey.  Both of these artists make San Diego’s arts community substantive.
Their pairing in exhibition 46 years ago was produced by Bob Matheny.  Matheny was teaching and
running the gallery at Southwestern back before any of San Diego’s contemporary art venues were worth
considering.  It is remarkable how vital and important Matheny has been for San Diego’s art scene.  Bob
Matheny was a founder of the contemporary art scene in San Diego – and this all happened at
Southwestern College.
Get out, look at art; have fun.
Doug Simay        March 2018
doug@simayspace.com