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Interior States of the Art Travis Diehl
Perennial Bloom:
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Chris Kraus
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Ben Sanders
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Adrián Villas Rojas
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Nevine Mahmoud
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Radical Women: Latin American Art, 1960- 1985
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David Hockney
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Eli Diner
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Tactility of Line
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Travis Diehl
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Letter to the Editor Lady Parts, Lady Arts
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Artists of Color
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Home
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Analia Saban at
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Young Chung
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Parallel City
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Generous
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More Wound Than Ruin:
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Jessica Simmons
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Wolfgang Tillmans
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Ma
at Chateau Shatto

The Rat Bastard Protective Association
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Kenneth Tam
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The Rise
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Agnes Martin
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Jessica Simmons
Launch Party Carla Issue 6
Exquisite L.A.
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Ry Rocklen
Sarah Cain
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Made in L.A. 2016
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Doug Aitken
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Mertzbau
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Jean-Pascal Flavian and Mika Tajima
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Mark A. Rodruigez
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The Weeping Line
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Letter form the Editor Lindsay Preston Zappas
Non-Fiction
at The Underground Museum
Catherine Wagley
The Art of Birth Carmen Winant
Escape from Bunker Hill
John Knight
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Travis Diehl
Ed Boreal Speaks Benjamin Lord
Art Advice (from Men) Sarah Weber
Routine Pleasures
at the MAK Center
Jonathan Griffin
Launch Party Carla Issue 5
Exquisite L.A.
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Claire Kennedy
Intro by Claressinka Anderson
Portraits by Joe Pugliese
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Carl Cheng
at Cherry and Martin

Joan Snyder
at Parrasch Heijnen Gallery

Elanor Antin
at Diane Rosenstein

Performing the Grid
at Ben Maltz Gallery
at Otis College of Art & Design

Laura Owens
at The Wattis Institute
(L.A. in S.F.)
Letter from the Editor Lindsay Preston Zappas
Moon, laub, and Love Catherine Wagley
Walk Artisanal Jonathan Griffin
Reconsidering
Marva Marrow's
Inside the L.A. Artist
Anthony Pearson
Mystery Science Thater:
Diana Thater
at LACMA
Aaron Horst
Informal Feminisms Federica Bueti and Jan Verwoert
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Lita Albuquerque
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Char Jansen
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Rain Room
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Evan Holloway
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Histories of a Vanishing Present: A Prologue
at The Mistake Room

Carter Mull
at fused space
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Awol Erizku
at FLAG Art Foundation
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Letter from the Editor Lindsay Preston Zappas
Le Louvre, Las Vegas Evan Moffitt
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Women Talking About Barney Catherine Wagley
Lingua Ignota:
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Char Jansen
How We Practice Carmen Winant
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Share Your Piece
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Fred Tomaselli
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Bradford Kessler
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Hot Tears Carmen Winant
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Americanicity's Paintings:
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at Favorite Goods
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Layers of Leimert Park Catherine Wagley
Junkspace Junk Food:
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Tongues Untied
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White Lee, Black Lee:
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Travis Diehl
Dora Budor Interview Char Jensen
Letter from the Editor Lindsay Preston Zappas
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Anthony Pearson
A Dialogue in Two
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Pat O'Niell
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A New Rhythm
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Unwatchable Scenes and
Other Unreliable Images...
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Henry Taylor
at Blum & Poe/ Untitled
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Aaron Garber-Maikovska
at Greene Exhibitions

Aaron Garber-Maikovska, Reflection Ben (installation view) (2015). Image courtesy of the artist and Greene Exhibitions.

When I was a kid, big-box department stores were exciting beyond words. There were so many places to hide–dark spaces under garment racks, slim gaps behind curtain displays, voids behind stacked boxes–that I would have happily played inside all day. I used to fantasize about getting locked in at night, hiding from security guards (it would have been easy) and then tearing around alone, bouncing on mattresses and skidding across polished floors, or making a den in the sporting goods section.

To be honest, as an adult, when I’m in those kinds of places I still have these thoughts. I’m fairly confident that Aaron Garber-Maikovska does too. His latest exhibition, Sidesteps and Outlets, continues his ongoing pursuit of freedom (of what might be termed radical play) within the confines of the determined and manipulative landscapes of late-Capitalist consumerism.

Garber-Maikovska’s mission is complicated because he is, fundamentally, a painter, and he makes works that are currently enjoying success in a market favoring large abstract paintings. He makes a lot of them. It will never be realistic for him to claim a critical position for his current works outside of consumerism.

Perhaps, then, it is best to first consider the video that is projected above a doorway in a corridor between the gallery’s main space and its office. It is a spot that many artists would steer clear of, but Garber-Maikovska is fond of awkward, overlooked spaces. The looped video, just under three minutes in length, is titled JC Penney Lamps (all works 2015) and shows the artist in the home furnishings department of a large store, behaving in a manner that would have raised the concern of any passing security guards or sales assistants. The term performance seems inaccurate for what Garber-Maikovska does in the video, because there is little that seems ostentatious or projective about his demeanor; he furrows his brow and looks only at the space immediately in front of him, although his motions do, at times, have the grace and deliberateness of dance. He appears to be measuring negative space with his body: gently launching his hands or arms from surfaces of walls, display stands and goods, tentatively tracing shapes in the air before coming to rest against other forms.

Garber-Maikovska’s unique style of movement, which he has developed through live gallery performances as well as in videos filmed in chain restaurants and mall parking lots, is a deeply internalized imaginative language. It is as if he is thinking in space. Once you have digested one of his extraordinary videos or performances, it is impossible to see his pictures as anything but extensions of this language.

His drawing style—fast, expressive lines often executed in marker pen—shares an aesthetic with graffiti, and this only reinforces the idea that Garber-Maikovska’s paintings have something to do with the kind of quiet resistance demonstrated in his public-private guerilla performances. Their calligraphic qualities liken them to secret text, rendered in script that is both diaristic and exclamatory. Maps and architectural plans also come to mind. The edges of his surfaces (modern povera materials like foamcore gator board and fluted polypropylene) become the constraints that he pushes against with his drawing.

Sidesteps and Outlets includes three tall paintings: black line drawings done in ink and acrylic on ten-foot sheets of gator board, all untitled. Although these works look hand-drawn. They are in fact inkjet prints from small sketches that are scanned, edited and enlarged; the artist then carefully fills in certain lines with a brush, just as Franz Kline finessed his apparently gestural paintings. Three further paintings, each containing a silhouetted figure the artist has named Ben (Open Ben, Reflection Ben and Islands Ben) are also inkjet prints, in this case combining line drawings with photographs shot in malls.

In this exhibition’s most significant departure for the artist, viewers can walk through two concertinaed tunnel structures made from fluted plastic sheeting.  Each is about the height and width of the tallest paintings, and on their outsides, more Bens are printed. These uncertain objects are neither quite architecture nor images, and their awkward placement in the gallery does nothing to clarify their purpose. Though they bear no resemblance to any part of a conventional building, they become a smart critique of crazy contemporary mall architecture: paper-thin structures, drop ceilings and false walls, full of empty air, more pictures than shelters, quick to build and quick to dismantle. There is little meaningful distinction in such places between inside and out; the interior is a public arena just as the exterior is completely controlled and supervised.

Garber-Maikovska’s work is not so much critical as propositional. That is to say that he does not seek to demolish the systems and structures that he references—he can’t, since he relies on them just as much as anyone—but instead he looks for spaces of imaginative possibility and freedom within them. His work could not be called ‘anti-Capitalist’. He wears Nike sneakers like the rest of us.

Sidesteps and Outlets runs from April 25–June 6, 2015 at Greene Exhibitions (1639 S. La Cienega Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90035).

Aaron Garber-Maikovska, Sidesteps and Outlets (installation view) (2015). Image courtesy of the artist and Greene Exhibitions.

Aaron Garber-Maikovska, Sidesteps and Outlets (installation view) (2015). Image courtesy of the artist and Greene Exhibitions.

Aaron Garber-Maikovska, Sidesteps and Outlets (installation view) (2015). Image courtesy of the artist and Greene Exhibitions.