Christopher Knight on Muck Rack

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Los Angeles
Art Critic — LA Times
As seen in:  LA Times, Chicago Tribune

Los Angeles Times art critic

Hammer's 'Gridwork' plots Charles Gaines' captivating process — Charles Gaines' drawings from the 1970s and 1980s are not for the faint of heart. Encountering all those big sheets of graph paper filled in with row upon row of tiny little numbers and Latin alphabet letters has the immediate appeal of undergoing an IRS audit or perhaps reading through digital program code.

Baghdad's National Museum of Iraq re-opens in rebuke to Islamic State — The National Museum of Iraq, shuttered 12 years ago in the wake of the country's invasion by U.S.-led troops, has re-opened in Baghdad. According to the BBC , the opening date was moved up to Saturday in direct response to a statue-smashing propaganda video released last week by the so-called Islamic State .

The Mosul Museum video from Islamic State could be a staged drama — The Islamic State wants the global community to know that there's a new sheriff in town. So it wrecked a museum full of precious sculptures and on Thursday posted video of the vandalism on the Internet. At least, that's what their video wants you to think.

Review: J.M.W. Turner exhibit at J. Paul Getty Museum tosses convention — There's a moment in "Mr. Turner," the captivating Mike Leigh movie about the last years in the life of audacious British painter J.M.W. Turner, when the artist is having a heated discussion at the same time that he's busily painting a picture. Concentration ricochets back and forth between canvas and conversation, like a furious ping-pong game.

Two machines with conceptual liveliness built in at Redling Fine Art — An eccentric pair of diabolical machines - one by Olga Koumoundouros, the other by Eric Wesley - seem to propose technological absurdity as an inevitable outcome of modern life. At Redling Fine Art, both sculptures vaguely allude to the human figure.

Thomas Demand undercuts what we think photographs show us — For a dozen years, German artist Thomas Demand has been constructing elaborate sculptures of still lifes, landscapes and building interiors from colored paper and then photographing them. The sculptures are based on color photographs, so his process closes a disorienting loop. At Matthew Marks Gallery, 11 recent C-prints are mounted on large Plexiglas sheets.

Restoring the tragicomic tone to Bas Jan Ader — Bas Jan Ader (1942-1975), the Dutch-born Conceptual artist who lived in Los Angeles, produced a modest body of work that has been largely overtaken by the mythic aura surrounding his death. A small show at Meliksetian Briggs does a very good job of sweeping aside the story-book cobwebs, refocusing the view.

'Apparitions' at the Hammer explores low-tech art in a high-tech world — As a technique for creating art, frottage is so closely identified with Surrealism, in general, and Max Ernst, in particular, that the link itself might be an example of the technique. "Frottage" is French for "rubbing," and it rubbed off on the boisterous Surrealist movement that in the troubled decades between the two World Wars was dedicated to unleashing the creative potential of the unconscious mind.

Brian Weil's work focuses on a 'World' few ever see — Brian Weil is best remembered for having been instrumental in founding New York City's first needle-exchange program for intravenous drug users in the late 1980s, when the AIDS epidemic was exploding. He was also an artist of some note, and his archive is now at the Center for Creative Photography at the University of Arizona.

Ed Ruscha and 'Fifty Shades of Grey' — The set decoration does some talking in the trailer to “Fifty Shades of Grey,” the Universal movie based on the best-selling novel by E.L. James about an erotic taste for bondage and discipline, ironically being launched on schmaltzy Valentine’s Day. The decor prefigures what is to come in the narrative.
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Mar 06, 2015

@sauterne @conflictantiq @cwjones89 Correct. The video is propaganda, not a documentary of the event, which is how it was being reported.

Mar 06, 2015

@sauterne @conflictantiq @cwjones89 Column says "The iconoclastic sympathies of the self-declared caliphate should not be doubted."

Mar 06, 2015

@sauterne @conflictantiq @cwjones89 No, column says "Important antiquities have certainly been damaged or destroyed...libraries ransacked."

Mar 05, 2015

RT @beccatronic: This is the most "America" headline I've ever read. Every word/clause is a whole new level.

Mar 05, 2015

@sauterne @cwjones89 @conflictantiq Video was produced as propaganda, which doesn't mean destruction didn't happen.

Mar 05, 2015

RT @jayrosen_nyu: The recent "Snowden is ready to come home!" boomlet was fake news, @ggreenwald argues. Nothing has changed.…

Mar 04, 2015

Latest on #MosulMuseum from Gates of Ninevah blog is quite grim, especially on Hatra sculpture losses: "catastrophic"

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