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The Assistants: Exhibition at David Kordansky Gallery explores the transitive potential of art
Andrea Büttner, Tent (2 colours), 2012. Woodcut on paper, 55.91 x 91.34 inches(142 x 232 cm), unique. Inv# ABU 12.002. Courtesy of David Kordansky, Los Angeles, CA and Hollybush Gardens, London, England.
LOS ANGELES, CA.- The Assistants explores the transitive potential of art, including how artworks can take on attendant guises and play assisting roles, serving as custodians of memory while also producing resistant gestures and deviant substitutions. The exhibition features new works developed specifically for this context, including several by artists who are being seen in Los Angeles for the first time, as well as a number of post-war works of historical importance that help give contour to its field of inquiry.

The latter include Adrian Piper's video The Mythic Being, 1975, and Mierle Laderman Ukeles' maintenance art event, Washing/Tracks/Maintenance: Inside, July 22, 1973, in which the role-playing of gender and labor is destabilized and typology is upended, disrupting social narrative through acts of excess and attunement that unsettle empathic identification. Everyday acts become performative moments of crisis, fear, and seduction.

Throughout the show, memory becomes corporeal, a symptom in the continuity of events. Just as the bracing guardian-like figures and spectral painting of Cathy Wilkes' work further elaborates artistic practice as a form of heightened attentiveness and strange company, Andrea Büttner's prints bear out a reverent yet roughhewn approach to catharsis through an iconographic investigation of devotion, entreaty, and loss.

Alongside such seemingly self-effacing gestures, works by Uri Aran, Matthew Brannon, Dieter Roth, and Laure Prouvost open up the transitive to a secondary register of residual composition and wayward narrative. Delving further into material transference and linguistic re-tracing, an atmosphere of genre forms, caricature, and estranged typography is encountered wherein impoverished tableaux are populated with objects and words standing in for each other, outmaneuvering references and familiarity.

Existing between behavior and function, titles and characters morph into comic hybrids that become surrogate. Equally anxious and ecstatic, works repeatedly slip into a gap of metaphysical doubt, reaching out to trip the viewer further along the path of substitution, as in Slavs and Tatars' Mystical Protest, 2011, whereby a welcoming gesture induces erasure and canny replacement.

Modes of arrival act as way stations for sentiment here, occupying a mode of transition and modification. A stand-in aesthetic of revision animates the restive, shape-shifting minimalism of Nairy Baghramian's sculptural scenography even as Rosalind Nashashibi's film Carlo's Vision, 2011, guides the viewer into an uneasy allegory of revelation and economic critique, equal parts corruption and impatient epiphany. Repeatedly exploring how the message gives way to the role of the messenger, The Assistants looks to art as a mode of direct translation and narrated difference.

Resigned to respond and generate rather than fix meaning, The Assistants are inalienable and moving within and among us, writes Walter Benjamin, "None has a firm place in the world, or firm, inalienable outlines… There is not one that is not either rising or falling, none that is not trading qualities with its enemy or neighbor, none that has not completed its time and yet is unripe, none that is not deeply exhausted and yet is only at the beginning of a long existence."¹

For it is in the act of setting out, the act of seeking, in taking on the direct translation, the digging from here to an unknown elsewhere, that transmission reveals its significance. The message is secondary to the role of messenger, the task of art remains always unfinished.

—Fionn Meade



Last Week News

January 19, 2013

Thirty large-scale works by the Chilean-born artist Matta on view at Museum Frieder Burda

Brooklyn Museum acquires important collection of works from Black Arts Movement

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston announces major gift of contemporary craft from Daphne Farago Collection

Getty Research Institute announces the acquisition of a rare set of Chinese battle prints

David Galligan to join Walker Art Center in Minneapolis as new Deputy Director

Detroit Institute of Arts collection of early American silver on display after 10 years in storage

Edgar Allan Poe visitor comes nevermore, yet mystery lingers in Baltimore cemetery

Frieze New York 2013: Participating galleries announced for second fair taking place in May

Sotheby's to offer important Americana from the Collection of Dr. Larry McCallister

"Koenraad Dedobbeleer: Workmanship of Certainty" opens at Centre d'art contemporain d'Ivry - le Crédac

La Térmica opens its doors with the presentation in Spain of the exhibition Lady Warhol by Christopher Makos

10 installations by contemporary artists whose drawings explore three-dimensional space

A Fragile Existence: The inaugural UK solo exhibition by German artist Silvia Hatzl opens at Rosenfeld Porcini

Gayleen Aiken: Cousins, Quarries and a Nickelodeon at Luise Ross Gallery

Myanmar Spitfire hunter still optimistic

"Disappearing into One: Testing Ground for Art and Education" at the Zabludowicz Collection

Iconic images of Obama's 2008 presidential campaign on view at the Walker Art Gallery

Andrea Mary Marshall approaches the enigma of the Mona Lisa in new exhibition at Allegra LaViola Gallery

Inauguration Day marks rare intersection with King

The new year brings new art exhibits to the Customs House Museum

January 18, 2013

Kunsthaus Zürich presents newly restored version of Ferdinand Hodler's "The Truth"

A rare English aristocratic collection of French Impressionist & Modern Art to be offered at Sotheby's

Newseum and Hirshhorn celebrate freedom with three-night projection of the art and words of Ai Weiwei

Ancient church frescoes created by renowned icon painter Onufri stolen in Albania

NJ collector outbids heavy hitters, pays $1.2M for Metropolis poster group in courtroom auction

Holly Hotchner to step down as Director of the Museum of Arts and Design

Smithsonian reopens historic Arts and Industries Building with new innovation pavilion

Timothy Taylor Gallery in London opens its third exhibition with British artist Fiona Rae

Exhibition of new paintings by A.R. Penck on view at Michael Werner Gallery

Art Nouveau and Modern fine art, Decorative art and African art in dialogue at Allan Stone Gallery

Jennifer and David Stockman endow position of Chief Curator, Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation

Exhibition of a suite of drawings by Don Bachardy opens at Cheim & Read in New York

Julie Nester Gallery opens exhibition of work by Tim Hetherington, who was tragically killed in Libya

Bernarducci Meisel Gallery opens exhibition featuring a wide array of artists

Christopher Mir's first solo exhibition with Benrimon Contemporary opens in New York

History vs. history as China plans to rebuild past

Charles Lutz's investigation into the value structures of American identity on view at C24 Gallery

Exhibition celebrates recent major sculpture acquisition at Vanderbilt University

Curt Schilling's bloody sock going up for auction

Venezuela art exhibit focuses on Hugo Chavez

January 17, 2013

Archaeologists find 1000-year-old skeletons twenty kilometers away from Chichen Itza

Brice Marden's Red, Yellow, Blue paintings shown together for the first time at Gagosian

One hundred years of Israel's archaeological archive has been scanned and is now online

Photograph of 19th-century African American sculptor Edmonia Lewis discovered by Walters Art Museum

Bonhams sale in Paris celebrates the styles that helped to shape Modernism, Art Deco and Art Nouveau

Man accused in Pablo Picasso vandalism at Menil Collection to remain jailed due to flight risk

Four United States institutions partner on South Korea's first major American art survey

An adventure in conceptual art celebrates the 25th anniversary of the Generali Foundation

Sir Stanley Spencer painting bought from the Royal Academy in 1950 for sale at Bonhams

Death Disco, an exhibition of new works by Dave Muller opens at The Approach in London

Edgar Degas artwork, luxe jewelry headline Quinn & Farmer's January 19 auction

American artist Aleah Chapin's first solo show opens at Flowers Gallery in New York

First solo exhibition at Stephan Stoyanov Gallery by Zagreb-based artist Renata Poljak opens

Turkish painter Burhan Dogancay dead at 83

Haggerty Museum of Art spring 2013 exhibitions now open

First museum retrospective for Lois Dodd on view this winter at the Portland Museum of Art

Latvian artist Vladimir Dukholnikov exhibits at Erarta Galleries London

Interactive, performative installation combining art, music, and dance by Tony Feher opens at DiverseWorks

The Scotiabank Contact Photography Festival presents a solo exhibition by Guillaume Simoneau

January 16, 2013

Reina Sofia Museum in Madrid opens major retrospective of the work by Robert Adams

Sotheby's London to offer private Swedish collection of Modern & Contemporary art

Christie's presents the strongest array of the Art of the Surreal ever offered at auction

Israel to open exhibit on biblical King Herod, the monarch who ruled Jerusalem

Swann Galleries' newly reinstated Old Master Drawings Auction to be held January 29

The Estorick celebrates anniversary with landmark exhibition "Giorgio Morandi: Lines of Poetry"

Valerie Rousseau appointed Curator of 20th Century and Contemporary Art at American Folk Art Museum

Petersen Automotive Museum names Peter Mullin Chairman of the Board of Directors

Premier line-up of galleries from across the world will launch Art Basel's first edition in Hong Kong

Atlas Gallery showcases photographs of North Korea in new group show "High Resolution"

Clipper ship masterpiece by James Edward Buttersworth sails into Bonhams New York

47th Art Cologne, running from 19 to 22 April, announces top-flight line-up of international galleries

James Ottaway, veteran newspaperman, elected Chair of Storm King Art Center

A lifetime in pictures by Robin Hanbury-Tenison on view at the National Theatre

VOLTA NY announces exhibitors for 2013

Art Institute appoints Judith Russi Kirshner as Deputy Director for Education

United States student could "doodle" way to college money

Groundbreaking artists, educational perspective and global diversity: ArtPalmBeach 2013

Gary Gates named Joslyn Art Museum Board Chairman

Solo show by Cynthia Ona Innis on view at Walter Maciel Gallery

January 15, 2013

In new study, Mexican researchers extract intact DNA from Palenque's Red Queen

The Morgan presents new exhibition series showcasing highlights from its collections

20th century emblem of love to highlight Sotheby's Impressionist & Modern Art Evening Sale

Antiques Roadshow appraiser Colleene Fesko's million-dollar Diego Rivera discovery

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Dr. Janne Sirén will become next Director of Albright-Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo

Shard, Olympic cauldron, and a non-stick ketchup bottle: Design Museum 2013 Designs of the Year

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Master Paintings Week and Master Drawings London come together to create London Art Week

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Ed Atkins and Naheed Raza present "Tomorrow Never Knows" at Jerwood Visual Arts

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January 14, 2013

Berlin's Museum for Film and Television spotlights Martin Scorsese in exclusive show

From the Pre-Columbian world to Hollywood, treasures take the spotlight in Antiquities Saleroom's auction

A unique $2 Hall of Classics with inverted centre error stamp on cover achieves HK$4.8 million

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Famed Tunisia mausoleum in Sidi Bou Said ravaged by fire thought to be from arson attack

First United States solo exhibition in ten years by Bernard Piffaretti opens at Cherry and Martin

First "Bone" of the Milky Way identified by Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics

Wendell Castle presents an installation of stack-laminated pieces at Friedman Benda

Carpets and Couplets: An exhibition of new work by Dirk Stewen opens at Tanya Bonakdar Gallery

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Interventions by Laurent Grasso, Johan Grimonprez and Terence Koh on view at Sean Kelly Gallery

Exhibition of new work by the Canadian artist Hugh Scott-Douglas opens at Blum & Poe

Exhibition of new paintings by Julian Lethbridge opens at Paula Cooper Gallery

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Fabio Viale's first solo exhibition in New York opens at Sperone Westwater

Sissi Farassat's first solo exhibition in New York on view at Edwynn Houk Gallery

Green Art Gallery presents "King Give Us Soldiers", a solo show of works by Hungarian painter Zsolt Bodoni

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