Art review: 'Stille Post: 7 Curators 7 Artists' at Kinkead Contemporary
Summer group shows, casually drawn from inventory, often feel willy-nilly. “Stille Post” at Kinkead Contemporary embraces this randomness and takes it one step further, engaging in a curatorial game of “Telephone.” Known as “Stille Post” in German, the game involves one person whispering a message to another who then whispers it to the next and so on, usually resulting in an amusingly garbled version at the end of the chain.
In Kinkead’s interpretation, co-director Whitney Carter selected a single artist, Christopher Russell. Russell then selected a curator, Darin Klein, who selected another artist, Kate Barclay, who selected a curator, and so on, until seven artists had been chosen. The resulting show doesn’t make much sense, but that’s somewhat the point. The curatorial conceit encourages the viewer to search out connections, but is more interesting for the invisible lines of community it traces.
There are certainly some formal similarities among the pieces. Russell’s use of flat, floral patterns and rippling water is echoed in more chaotic form in Barclay’s drawing, “Imagined Waterfall #1” and in the organic forms of Laurie Steelink’s abstract painting, “The Wishing Well.” On the other side of the room, Peter Harkawik’s photograph of a surreal staged performance echoes the controlled jumble of an autobiographical installation by surfboard designer Craig Stecyk and a spatially strange still life by Scott Marvel Cassidy. The odd man out is Alex Sanchez, whose boxy red sculpture seems unrelated to anything else in the room.
Whether any of these connections are meaningful or simply the viewer grasping at straws, they throw the curatorial process into high relief, shifting the emphasis away from objects and toward less tangible affinities, either friendly or professional. Like the message in a game of “Telephone,” the exhibition itself is secondary to the fragile process of communication that it brings to light.
-- Sharon Mizota
Kinkead Contemporary, 6029 Washington Blvd., Culver City, (310) 838-7400, through Aug. 21. Closed Sundays and Mondays. www.kinkeadcontemporary.com
Images: Russell's "Untitled Drawing (Runaway)" (top). Courtesy of the artist, Luis De Jesus Los Angeles, and Kinkead Contemporary and Stecyk's "Lost and Found." Courtesy of the artist and Kinkead Contemporary.