Tag Archives: art

This Week’s Triptych Artist: Samara Golden

Samara Golden (b. Michigan, 1973) received her MFA from Columbia University in 2009, and her BFA from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design in 2005. She has exhibited extensively in Los Angeles, at Night Gallery, LAXART, Various Small Fires, ACME, and MOCA, and in 2014 was included in “Made in L.A.,” the Hammer Museum Biennial. Samara’s solo exhibition “The Flat Side of The Knife” will be on view at MoMA PS1 through September 2015. She has also recently shown at CANADA, Rachel Uffner Gallery, Marlborough Chelsea, Derek Eller Gallery, and On Stellar Rays in New York, as well as at The Suburban in Chicago, and Loyal Gallery in Stockholm. She lives and works in Los Angeles.

Images courtesy of the artist and Night Gallery

ACTIONS REFLECT, 2014 Installation view

MASS MURDER, 2014, Installation View


MASS MURDER, 2014 Installation View

ACTIONS REFLECT, 2014, Installation view

This Week’s Triptych Artist: Charles Irvin

Charles Irvin received his BFA from the University of Texas at Austin and his MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. He has shown at the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles, White Columns in New York and the Museum of Modern Art in Luxembourg. Upcoming shows include a solo show at Truth and Consequences in Geneva and a group show at the Armory Center for the Arts in Pasadena. See more at charlesirvin.com.

red totem, 2014, acrylic on canvas, 62x42 in.

red totem, 2014, acrylic on canvas, 62×42 in.

Green Genie, 2014, Medium Oil on canvas, Dimensions 36 x 30 inches

Green Genie, 2014, Medium Oil on canvas, Dimensions 36 x 30 inches

Mini Green totem, 2014, acrylic on paper, 15x11in.

Mini Green totem, 2014, acrylic on paper, 15x11in.

All photos by Lee Thompson.

John Knuth, “Base Alchemy”

By Matt Stromberg

As a child, John Knuth was fond of exploring the wilderness around his Minnesota home, and this wide-eyed fascination with the natural world informs his artistic practice. His recent show at Five Car Garage in Santa Monica, “Base Alchemy,” featured meditative, minimal works that meld gleeful, scientific experimentation with a reductive, formalist aesthetic. The exhibition featured two bodies of work – fly paintings consisting of fields of dots made by thousands of flies who are fed, and then regurgitate, a mixture of paint and sugar, and mirror-like Mylar paintings which Knuth burned with signal flares, causing violent ruptures in their surfaces. Both Mylar (used in emergency blankets) and the flares are survival tools, used when the natural world puts up a threatening challenge to human mastery over it.

In conjunction with the exhibition, Knuth introduced a number of albino morph California Kingsnakes into the gallery for a one-day performance. These animals are bred specifically to accentuate their recessive genes, giving them colors that would never be found in nature. Filmmaker Andy Featherston created a video pairing the gorgeous, writhing snakes with Knuth’s alchemical creations, thereby revealing the beauty and violence inherent in the manipulation of nature.

Art and Globalization

By Tong Lam

In recent years, the number of applicants to Chinese art schools has increased dramatically. Earlier this year, for example, nearly 10,000 candidates submitted applications to the Shandong University of Arts and Design, a mid-tier institution. The number of applicants to top art schools is no doubt even higher. Generally, in order to gain admission, an art school applicant has to pass several levels of exams. In the end, only a tiny portion of applicants will be admitted, and about 70% of them will be eliminated in the first round alone

This increase in the number of aspiring art students in China seems quite curious, given that the overall number of Chinese university applicants has been dropping in recent years. This trend is even more unusual if one compares China with more developed economies, whose students generally flock to the so-called “practical disciplines” of business, law, and medicine rather than the arts and humanities.


Art students practicing outdoor sketching in Yixian, Anhui Province. In China, outdoor sketching has been an important part of training for painters since the beginning of the twentieth century.

Art students practicing outdoor sketching in Yixian, Anhui Province. In China, outdoor sketching has been an important part of training for painters since the beginning of the twentieth century.

One explanation is perhaps the astronomical surge in Chinese art prices in recent decades. Soaring art prices, and the financial benefits enjoyed by well-known Chinese artists, have undoubtedly resulted in the elevation of artists’ status. Since the 1990s, Chinese art—especially contemporary art—has been firmly integrated into the global art market. Culture and economy, in other words, have become more and more intertwined, if not synonymous. As a result, leading Chinese contemporary artists have suddenly found their works among some of the hottest commodities in the art market. An obvious example of this is artist Ai Weiwei, who has become well known in the West by branding himself as a standalone renegade hero fighting against an authoritarian regime, an image the Western media loves to embrace and celebrate.

The success of Chinese artists in the global capitalist art market is a reminder that globalization is not only about the spread of McDonald’s and Starbucks chains. Rather, the process often involves local actors trying to claim ownership of the changing global culture. At the same time, no matter how critical and creative their artwork appears to be, artists themselves, with their reliance on sales and fame for success, are often complicit in the very same structures that they try to overcome. Moreover, in spite of the stream of aspiring art students seeking entrance to Chinese art schools, the logic of neoliberalism places great emphasis on distinction and hierarchy. As such, only a tiny portion of art students who successfully enter the university will ultimately succeed in the global marketplace.