Southern California art exhibits

Thing itself

Jessica Lange: unseen, is on view at the Museum of Photographic Arts until May 19, 1649 El Prado, San Diego, 619-238-7559; mopa.org Jessica Lange and Jeff Bridges have two things in common, photography and King ...

The Caravaggio effect

Consider two decapitations

Caravaggio and His Legacy, on view at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art until February 10. 5905 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles. 323-857-6000; lacma.org In his 20s, in Rome, in the first decade of the ...

Mildly Hallucinated

Disturbing strangeness at the Museum of Photographic Arts.

Eavesdropper

I’ve been listening to the jazz pianist Dave McKenna, who died in 2008. He was a lyrical swing artist with some of Bill Evans’s melancholy, though he wasn’t as inventive as Evans and didn’t have ...

The Racial Memory of John Valadez

When I saw Ridley Scott’s film Prometheus, I was reminded that our best filmmakers are now nearly sole proprietors of the visionary mood. Scott’s movie, with its spectral holographic conjurings of mythic ancestors spiraling through ...

Pictorial Juice

While leafing through my latest issue of Vanity Fair, I sometimes think that for fashion models and celebrities the body is something they wear, as most of us wear a cocktail dress or tux. Their ...

Remnants of the Sun and Moon

D.H. Lawrence believed that the earth and sky gods are still with us, active in what he called our “blood consciousness,” but have been repressed by Christian “education.” In his novel The Plumed Serpent, two ...

Marfa Moments

Heavy metal art.

Author W.S. Di Piero stood shoulder-to-shoulder with Randy Quaid when the actor was on the lam. This was in Marfa, TX, where Di Piero stuck around to check out the work of Donald Judd.

Buddhas in Caves

Jewels signify the power of wisdom to dispel bad thinking, suffering, and ignorance.

Sweet, unbroken rhythm at the San Diego Museum of Art.

More Photographs Than Bricks

I will never develop a taste for the way most pictorialist imagery decorporealizes the body, vaporizing flesh and bone.

Next time you see a Ken Burns documentary, think of Lou Stoumen. It was Stoumen who invented a track that allowed a camera to slowly pan up and down while zooming in and out of ...

Cuddly Carrion

“Those who are not with us will be eaten by vultures.”

Art exhibitions serve an especially useful purpose if they revise our assumptions and rewrite established narratives, correcting for new information, shifting valuations, fresh polemical agendas, and the mysteries of shared taste. Without a foundational intellectual ...

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