Category: Assemblage

Calendar. 08.24.13. Better late than never edition.

Untitled by Bast at Jonathan LeVine Wooster Collective show
LAST DAY: Untitled, by Bast. Part of the exhibit Ten Years of Wooster Collective: 2003-2013, at Jonathan LeVine Gallery. Through today, in Chelsea. (Image courtesy of the artist and Jonathan LeVine.)

  • NYC: American Modern: Hopper to O’Keeffe, at the Museum of Modern Art. Through January 26.
  • NYC: Soundings: A Contemporary Score, at the Museum of Modern Art. Through November 3.
  • NYC: Matthew Miller, Unveiling, at Pocket Utopia. Through August 29, on the Lower East Side. (The gallery is by appointment only for the month of August.)
  • Atlanta, Ga.: Fictional Geographies, at Robert Walden. Through September 7.
  • S.F.: Jennie Ottinger, Members Only, at Johansson Projects. Through September 19.
  • S.F.: Adam Feibelman, Do With Me What You Will, and William Emmert, A Lot of People Do This, at Guerrero Gallery. Through September 7.
  • L.A.: 356 Sculptures, at 356 Mission. Opens today at 6pm.
  • LAST DAY: L.A.: BDX-LAX: Faraway So Close, at Subliminal Projects. Through today, in Echo Park.
  • Mexico City: David Choe, Snowman Monkey BBQ, at the Museo Universitario del Chopo. Through October 27.
  • Copenhagen: Independents, a group show, at V1 Gallery. Through September 7.
  • Plus: It’s the last week for I, YOU, WE at the Whitney Museum. Christian Viveros-Fauné provides numerous reasons for why you shouldn’t miss this show.
  • Plus, plus: Christopher Knight on why Detroit’s art shouldn’t so hastily be sold off. (I’m embarrassingly behind on this story. But if you haven’t followed it and you’re gonna read only one piece about it, make sure this is it.)

Calendar. 10.17.12.


Black Girl’s Window, 1969, by Betye Saar. Part of Now Dig This! Art and Black Los Angeles 1960-1980, at MoMA PS1. I saw this show as part of Pacific Standard Time in L.A. — consider it a must-see. Opens Sunday, in Long Island City. (Courtesy of the artist and Courtesy of Michael Rosenfeld Gallery.)

  • NYC: New Pictures of Common Objects, at MoMA PS1. Opens Sunday, in Long Island City.
  • NYC: Exhibit B, a group show with Chris Mottalini, El Celso, Damion Silver, Kate Nielsen and many others, at Calico. Opens Thursday, in Greenpoint.
  • NYC: Danny Lyon, Deep Sea Diver, at Churner and Churner. Opens Thursday, in Chelsea.
  • NYC: Jennifer and Kevin McCoy, Twenty One Twelve, at Postmasters. Opens Saturday at 6pm, in Chelsea.
  • NYC: Matthew Langley, Atlas, at Blank Space Art. Through November 10, in Chelsea.
  • NYC: Charles Ritchie: Drawings and Journals, at BravinLee Programs. Opens Friday at 6pm, in Chelsea.
  • NYC: Christine Burrill, Uprising Los Angeles, at 151ArtsBrownstone. Through December 2nd, in Harlem.
  • NYC: Family Portrait, a group show with Dan Graham, Louise Bourgeois, Claes Oldenburg and many others, at Carriage Trade. Opens on Friday at 6pm, in Tribeca.
  • NYC: The Architecture & Design Film Festival, at Tribeca Cinemas. Starts Thursday, in Tribeca.
  • Chicago: Steve McQueen, at the Art Institute of Chicago. Opens Sunday.
  • Chicago: This Martin Creed rock band performance/ballet to be held at the Museum of Contemporary in Chicago in November looks like it should make for good conversation. Tickets are on sale now.
  • L.A.: Clare Rojas, Pith, at Prism LA. Opens Friday at 6pm, in West Hollywood.
  • L.A.: Robert Mapplethorpe, XYZ, at LACMA. Opens Sunday.
  • London: Hollywood Costume, at the V&A. Opens Saturday.

Photo Diary: Ramellzee at White Columns, in NYC.

I’m totally late on this (the show closed last week), but I nonetheless feel obligated to post something on the Ramellzee assemblages I saw at White Columns during all the gallery openings in September. The dude had a sense of material that was just off the hook: turning ordinary plastic coat hooks, tooth brushes, citrus juicers and bleach bottle caps into fantastical arrangements that look like intergalactic weaponry. All of this is just a way of saying that if you have an opportunity to check out his work at some point, do not miss. These are the sorts of pieces that become more and more fascinating the longer you stare at them. Photos don’t do these justice in the least. But you can supersize the images above by clicking on them.

In the meantime, get a quick overview of Rammellzee’s life from this obit in L.A. Times. He passed away last year.

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Calendar. 08.31.10.


Pour des dents d’un blanc éclatant et saines, 2005, by Jeroen Diepenmaat. Part of the exhibit The Record: Contemporary Art and Vinyl, at the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University, opens Thursday. (Image courtesy of the Nasher.)

Calendar. 04.08.10.


In the Case of All Cities, by Matthew Picton. Part of the exhibit of the same name at Sumarria Lunn in London, opens Friday. (Image courtesy of Sumarria Lunn.)

Congrats to Other from New York City (who left a comment under the name Herrrump) for winning the Aaron Johnson Giveaway Extravaganza! And thanks to NOWhere Ltd. for being willing to part with a print.

The Digest. 02.05.10.


Ghost II, 2009 by Michael Johansson. (Image courtesy of Michael Johansson, via But Does It Float. Thanks, Yvonne.)

In L.A.: Resurrecting Robert Mallary, Master of Assemblage.


Working on Robert Mallary’s Corner Piece. (Photos by San Suzie and Box Gallery.)

Last December, the director of L.A.’s Box Gallery contacted me about the conservation of some 1950s and 60s pieces by Robert Mallary (1917-1997). The pieces consisted largely of old tuxedos dipped in resin and sculptures made of polyester, sand and dirt. For an Art Nurse like myself, nothing is more exciting than a chance to work on detritus-as-art, and these works — made by a pioneer in the field of assemblage and use of resin — would provide me with a rich opportunity to experiment with the conservation of new materials, not to mention chew over the limits between junk and art.

Crafted out of wood, dirt, sand, rusted steel, cardboard, tar paper and fabric that has been crushed, bent, twisted, and dipped in a resin of questionable formulation, these sculptures had once been seen in landmark avant-garde exhibitions such as MoMA’s Sixteen Americans (1959) and Art of Assemblage (1961). More recently, they had  languished in a near-junk heap in the building that had once served as Mallary’s studio in Conway, Massachusetts. They might have never been seen or heard from again if artist Paul McCarthy, long an admirer of Mallary’s work, hadn’t included some of them in the show Low Life, Slow Life at the San Francisco Wattis Institute in 2008.

“As soon as we saw this work we knew something bigger had to be done,” says Box Gallery director Mara McCarthy (who also happens to be Paul’s daughter). So the gallery’s team made three separate trips to Massachusetts and carefully sorted through the heaps in Mallary’s studio. After receiving the Art Nurse treatment, eighteen of these sculptures will go on exhibit this Saturday. Working on them wasn’t easy. Mallary’s pieces aren’t just fragile; they’re each made up of  what seems to be a million different materials – one corner might be all fabric and resin, another dirt and old newspaper. And because every material adheres differently and every adhesive used in conservation has the potential to stain the very thing you’re gluing, every single repair required a separate decision.  By the end of the week when the work was done (which incidentally was also the week that L.A. was pummeled by rain, which meant that everything took twice as long to dry) my brain felt as torqued as one of Mallary’s tuxedo pieces.

But it was clearly worth it.  In today’s art world, we’ve gotten so used to pieces made of weird materials that junk art seems as common as canvas painting.  But Mallary’s sculptures have a raw power that defies description.  This is shockingly good work – that has not been seen in nearly four decades. So if you’re going to be anywhere near L.A. over the next couple of months, get yourself over to The Box to see them. Mara McCarthy, in fact, believes that the proper resting place for these pieces would be a museum. After spending 60 hours staring and handling these works, I’d have to heartily agree.

A special thanks to the folks at the gallery for allowing us to document this process. See many more photos after the jump. Robert Mallary opens at the Box Gallery in Chinatown this Sat, Feb. 6 at 6pm and is on display until April 3, 2010.

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