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Virgin America at Château Shatto is the third exhibition in two years mounted or organized by Body by Body, the collaborative moniker under which Melissa Sachs and Cameron Soren make and present work. The first was an ambitious debut, featuring high levels of production, various lithographic cameos by Odilon Redon, and an ego-driven, id-bending vigor. This time, they have toned things down a bit, at least by their own standards, producing what is essentially a drawing show—a left turn from the multimedia installations and wry humor of previous efforts.
A simple and straightforward repository sits in the center of the room, filled with recycled items—a car bumper, some purple plinths, a pink carpet—from the gallery’s preceding group show, which Sachs and Soren curated. A watercolor drawing of conjoined theatrical figures beneath a crescent moon is displayed on a mood-lit wall amongst the refuse. Throughout the main space, all of the unframed, pragmatically executed drawings have the same title (Title On Demand, all 2016) and are numbered in the order in which they were completed.
In today’s fraught cultural landscape, many young artists ostensibly believe they have two options: aspire to become an international corporation, or present what could be confused as discarded transit trash. Sachs and Soren illuminate this maxed-out notion with dandyish depictions surrounding a self-reflexive hoarder heap. The overall effect falls somewhere between a personal parade of introspection and a coy nose-thumbing to overblown exhibition design. Whether or not there is any virgin innocence inherent in these drawings or the intimate remains of their wine reception seems beside the point. With Richard Branson’s announcement last week that his company, Virgin Group, lost a third of its value within days after the “Brexit” vote, this exhibition is ironically transformed into a strangely surreal show for strangely surreal times.
Body by Body: Virgin America runs from May 28–July 23, 2016 at Château Shatto (406 W Pico Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90015)