Best of 2013 – Andrew Berardini

Best of 2013

Published December 24, 2013 on Artforum

A year of strange rooms, storied interiors. Mostly around Los Angeles.

Tucked behind LACE in Hollywood, Piero Golia stood above the Pierre Huyghe aquarium, feeding the the silver shelled spider crab a shivering live meal amidst angled white oak in his inaugurating Chalet.

Scowled over by meta-portraits of lechers with pendulous snouts and rattled rent boys, the tiny rooms of Richard Hawkins model Smut Palace (2013) at Richard Telles Gallery advertised all the pleasures of a head shop, an adult arcade, oils, lubes, and massage parlor.

Last winter upstairs at Human Resources in the old theater’s projection booth, the layered shards of busted plaster in Erika Vogt’s installation traced dusty footsteps downstairs to Fiona Conner’s battered water fountain in one of the best curated shows (organized by Chiara Giovando) yet wrought in these past years most significant alternative space in the city.

All those warehouses east of the river: Night Gallery’s day gallery debut in all its thousands of feet, its newest neighbor opening properly this January in a complex spearheaded by Francois Ghebaly including exhibition spaces run by by Brian Kennon and Martha Kirszenbaum, along with publication and archive projects by Dorothée Perret, Eric Kim and Hailey Loman. And of course up the street, Laura Owen’s epochal paintings inaugurating 356 Mission, the artist’s community space hosting everything from The Wasted Breath of Jean Eustache screened by Hedi El Kholti for his Animal Shelter journal to Sturtevant’s first Los Angeles exhibition in ages, majestically capped by the launch of writing hero Bruce Hainley’s book, which with with meticulous care reveals the intimacy and force of that vertiginous artist.

Huddled over a microphone in the stickered recording booth, Luke Fischbeck flicked knobs at  artist/pirate/short-wave radio station KCHUNG founded by him, Solomon Bothwell, and an army of deejays that fill the hours of airspace.

In some weird downtown warren of offices at a long table splayed with glass vials, I nosed a vial of diluted civet that smelled like the raunchiest wildcat groupfuck ever with Zoe Crosher and  Saskia Wilson-Brown, the regal perfume adept of the Institute for Art and Olfaction, as they cooked up a scent for a continent of open road.

Handling the strange machines and endless shreds of slippery fabric, I wandered afterhours through a bikini factory housing the studios of Michael Henry Hayden and Anthony Lepore, the latter who’s spent a lifetime in his family business snapshotting quickfingered seamstress’s stitching all that sultry material.

But far away from home, a long year on the road bested itself in a dark beery theater in Banff when a shuffling crowd of red-faced residents sung-a-long with Kevin Drew of Broken Social Scene, “Everybody’s fucking, everybody’s fucking everyone.”

—Andrew Berardini