« Previous | Culture Monster Home | Next »

Art review: Craig Kauffman at Frank Lloyd Gallery

April 16, 2010 |  8:00 pm

400.FKN203_B The recent uptick of interest in 1960s L.A. art — encompassing exhibitions, books and documentaries — has been gratifying to see, and there's every reason to think it will continue. The city's conventional profile as “a place with no history” is in the process of being definitively erased and replaced. There's no turning back from that.

At Frank Lloyd Gallery, a show of recent, painted wall-reliefs by Craig Kauffman continues to explore a trajectory begun by the artist more than 40 years ago. The show does include a rather tepid pair of scroll-like paintings on sheets of clear plastic, which intersect techniques of commercial advertising and erotic fetishes (in the form of stylized women's shoes) with traditional Japanese or Chinese forms. Also, three vacuum-formed plastic “bubbles,” each swelling suggestively from an octagonal base, recall the great lozenge-shaped works of the late-1960s that represent Kauffman at his best.

But it's the group of four, strangely glamorous “wall flowers” that captivate. Hung high on the wall, centered at about six feet, just over head, they're like toxic blossoms that quietly demand curious perusal from your upturned eye.

400.FKN204_B Each untitled relief was made by draping a sheet of heated clear-acrylic over a wooden form, allowing it to droop and then cool. Kauffman spray painted the six-sided form from behind with acrylic lacquer, while the flat interior shape (also a regular hexagon) is thickly coated with a mixture of acrylic paint and glitter.

 When hung on the wall, the bowl-like relief performs as a subtle light-catcher, while complex shadow-patterns cascade down the wall. Variously transparent, translucent and reflective, the acrylics refract and shatter ambient illumination. Kauffman's colors vary from pale pink, silver and yellow to bright purple and turquoise; but throughout, the emphasis is on synthetic artifice.

Think overgrown morning glories as brought to you by Monsanto. Or, flesh brushed with satin and spangles. Or perhaps a sunset enlivened by smog. The strangely poignant collision of sumptuousness and vulgarity, elegance and tawdriness gives these works a surprising heft.

– Christopher Knight

Frank Lloyd Gallery, Bergamot Station, 2525 Michigan Ave., Santa Monica, (310) 264-3866, through May 1. Closed Sundays and Mondays. www.franklloyd.com

Images: Untitled, 2009. Courtesy of the artist and Frank Lloyd Gallery. Photo credit: Vicki Phung.

Comments () | Archives (6)

LA has a history, one of entertanment. Of which this continues, simply no art. And 6' is not high for many of us, thats eye level for me. If you lay these horizontally and put a hole in the bottom, they might make a nice wash basin. Look like those over at Lowe's. Is this one of those absurdist Duchamp things? It was retarded then, he got a good chuckle messing with the art establishment, and made a decent living so he could go back to his chess board.

It's a joke people. On you. Damn, some people are dense. Can we get over it now?

Really, art collegia delenda est
I aint jokin.

By the way, the morning glories entwined with magenta bougainvillea outside my bathroom window are a million times better than these plastic salad bowls. Then Trader Joe's has art much better for much cheaper.

Really CK, you need to get out more. It is a big world, your missing it.

According to the National Center for Health Statistics, the average height for an adult male in the United States is 5 feet 9 inches. Kauffman's reliefs, centered at about six feet, are in fact installed high on the wall, just over head.

DF, did art school really leave you so upset and angry at the establishment?
it is really nice work, nice then and nice now.
the "uptick" in interest in work from the 60s, however, is a dated way of writing about art, compelling fresh young contemporary art, so much of which is out there that may attract more ad space for the backwards Times.

Avoided it like the plague it is. Mother was an artist, knew far too many, father an all american footaball player, Atheltes are smarter, like my boy Landry at Stanford, Pac 10 scholarathlete of the year who grw uo with my son and i coached. And my eldest, played ball at Annapolis and about to enter med school. How many artists could do that? Far too weak. Of mind, body and soul. Exactly what art is supposed to be about. Cezanne, Gauguin dn Van gogh were no sisi

Again. Why is DF being allowed to use the Times Culture Monster comments section for his own unrelated rants and self-promotion? Clearly he has not seen the Kauffman show and knows nothing of Kauffman's work.
Donald, how is saying these artworks (that you haven't seen) look like they came from Lowe's/TJs inspiring the conversation about art that you pretend to desire? No matter how much you hate and protest Duchamp he is not going away. No matter how many gallery shows you hate and protest, your Culture Monster rants are not going to make them going away. Telling CK that he needs to get out more is not inspiring conversation and actually we all can see that CK is getting out and seeing shows. It seems like you might need to be the one to get off the computer and out into the world. You clearly don't want to accept the art of others except the chosen few of your conservative art world. And if you are so unwilling to think about art and examine what you don't understand why are you here?
Additionally, we don't care about your son, we don't care about your wife's magazine-they have nothing to do with the posts you think you are responding to.
Lastly, these ivories that you want torn down so badly will be helping save the Watts. One would hope that we can have a world that permits all arts rather than one that removes one (the ivories) in service of another. You think you have anti-colonialist views, but actually you are just repeating them in reverse.
Please clean up Culture Monster. Rants such as these are disrespectful to Times writers, the artists, and the readers.


Recommended on Facebook

In Case You Missed It...


Explore the arts: See our interactive venue graphics


Tweets and retweets from L.A. Times staff writers.