Kenneth Tam
's Basement
Travis Diehl
The Female
Cool School
Catherine Wagley
The Rise
of the L.A.
Art Witch
Amanda Yates Garcia
Interview with
Mernet Larsen
Julie Weitz
Agnes Martin
at LACMA
Jessica Simmons
Launch Party Carla Issue 6
Exquisite L.A.
Featuring:
Analia Saban
Ry Rocklen
Sarah Cain
Intro by Claressinka Anderson
Portraits by Joe Pugliese
Reviews:
Made in L.A. 2016
Doug Aitken Electric Earth
Mertzbau

Jean-Pascal Flavian and Mika Tajima
Mark A. Rodruigez
The Weeping Line
Molly Larkey, Aaron Horst,
Keith J. Varadi, Katie Bode,
Stuart Krimko, Matt Stromberg
Non-Fiction
at The Underground Museum
Catherine Wagley
The Art of Birth Carmen Winant
Escape from Bunker Hill
John Knight
at REDCAT
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.
Featuring:
Fay Ray
John Baldessari
Claire Kennedy
Intro by Claressinka Anderson
Portraits by Joe Pugliese
Reviews Hana Cohn, Eli Diner,
Claire De Dobay Rifelj,
Katie Bode, Molly Larkey,
Keith J. Varadi
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
Marva Marrow Photographs
Lita Albuquerque
Launch Party Carla Issue 4
Interiors and Interiority:
Njideka Akunyili Crosby
Char Jansen
Reviews Claire de Dobay Rifelj,
Matt Stromberg, Hana Cohn,
Lindsay Preston Zappas,
Simone Krug, Keith Vaughn,
Ikechukwu Casmir Onyewuenyi
Le Louvre, Las Vegas Evan Moffitt
iPhones, Flesh,
and the Word
F.B.I.
at Arturo Bandini
Lindsay Preston Zappas
Women Talking About Barney Catherine Wagley
Lingua Ignota
Faith Wilding
at The Armory Center
for the Arts
and LOUDHAILER
Benjamin Lord
A Conversation
with Amalia Ulman
Char Jansen
How We Practice Carmen Winant
Launch Party Carla Issue 3
Share Your Piece of the Puzzle Federica Bueti
Amanda Ross-Ho Photographs
Erik Frydenborg
Reviews Eli Diner, Jonathan Griffin,
Don Edler, Aaron Horst
Hot Tears Carmen Winant
Slow View:
Molly Larkey
Anna Breininger and Kate Whitlock
Americanicity's Paintings
Orion Martin
at Favorite Goods
Tracy Jeanne Rosenthal
Layers of Leimert Park Catherine Wagley
Junkspace Junk Food
Parker Ito
at Kaldi, Smart Objects,
White Cube, and
Château Shatto
Evan Moffitt
Melrose Hustle Keith Vaughn
Reviews Benjamin Lord, Aaron Horst, Stephen Kent
Top-Down Bottom-Up Jenny Gagalka
Snap Reviews Aaron Horst, Char Jansen, Randy Rice, Lindsay Preston Zappas
Max Maslansky Photographs
Monica Majoli
at the Tom of Finland Foundation
White Lee, Black Lee
William Pope.L’s Reenactor
Travis Diehl
Dora Budor Interview Char Jensen
MEAT PHYSICS/
Metaphysical L.A.
Travis Diehl
Art for Art’s Sake:
L.A. in the 1990s
Anthony Pearson
A Dialogue in Two
Synchronous Atmospheres
Erik Morse
with Alexandra Grant
SOGTFO
at François Ghebaly
Jonathan Griffin
#studio #visit
with #devin #kenny
@barnettcohen
Mateo Tannatt
Photographs
Jibade-Khalil Huffman
VESSEL // CINS and
VESSEL // PERF
Ben Medansky
I've been a lot of places,
seen so many faces
Nora Slade
Launch Party Carla Issue 1
Slow View:
Discussion on One Work
Anna Breininger
with Julian Rogers
Reviews Tracy Jeanne Rosenthal, Catherine Wagley, Keith Vaughn, Aaron Horst, Kate Wolf, Mateo Tannatt, Evan Moffitt, Cal Siegel
We’re in This Together Lauren Cherry & Max Springer
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Ibid.
670 S. Anderson St.
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5800 Fulton Ave.
Valley Glen, CA 91401

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15168 Raymer St.
Van Nuys, CA 91405

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918 Ruberta Ave.
Glendale, CA 91201

Mary Reid Kelley
at Hammer Museum

Mary Reid Kelley with Patrick Kelley, film still from Swinburne's Pasiphae (2014). HD video, black and white, sound, 8:58 minutes. Courtesy of the artists; Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects; Fredericks & Freiser Gallery, New York; and Pilar Corrias, London.

Mary Reid Kelley with Patrick Kelley, film still from Swinburne’s Pasiphae (2014). HD video, black and white, sound, 8:58 minutes. Courtesy of the artists, Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects, Fredericks & Freiser Gallery, New York, and Pilar Corrias, London.

A triad of new short videos by Mary Reid Kelley, produced in collaboration with Patrick Kelley, play freely with the ancient Greek myth of the Minotaur. In Kelley’s version, athletes from the “Athens Baptist Church” play indoor volleyball to determine the annual sacrifice to the Minotaur. Pasiphae, the wife of King Minos, is cursed by Venus (not Poseidon, as in the Greek original) to fall madly in sexual love with Minos’ snow-white bull. After seducing the bull, the Minotaur that is born to Pasiphae is female, not male. And it is Priapus the fertility god, not Theseus, who enters the Labyrinth to slay the Minotaur.

Reid Kelley is an anti-realist. The videos unfold on highly wrought sets that are elaborate displays of artiness. Their designs are a pastiche of art-historical references ranging from German Expressionist cinema to the fabricated set photography of Lucas Samaras. Garish animal print fabrics, striped tube socks and athletic arm-bands, silly wigs, repeated brushstroke patterns, and hand-drawn schematic backgrounds festoon nearly every frame. Goofy, emphatically handmade props like a painted paperboard edition of Interspecies Astrology Magazine—“I mythed you” reads the personals column—make light reading for the horny, lovesick Pasiphae.

With the help of digital compositing, Reid Kelley herself plays all of the characters in the drama, using the same speaking voice for each. Priapus is a half-man, half-fish goblin with a boy-band hairdo. In place of the permanent, massive erection that distinguishes Priapus in classical depictions, Reid Kelley plays a Priapus whose briefs are stuffed with ripe bananas. On most of the female characters, every curve of breast and buttock is outlined loudly in what looks like black paint, over a pale-toned bodysuit. Pasiphae wears a checkered swimsuit that is fringed with messy black yarn at the crotch. These characters have ping-pong balls for eyes, with dots in the center for pupils, and painted dark circles around them. The simple, lightly comic props and costumes are dramatically indifferent, and that’s presumably the point. The characters are dimensionless caricatures, vehicles for Reid Kelley’s writing. (Free copies of the scripts of all three videos are made available in a wall-mounted bin in the gallery.)

One text is an adaptation. The middle of the three videos, Swinburne’s Pasiphae, employs a recently discovered fragment by the Victorian-era poet Algernon Charles Swinburne. Written in the style of classical verse, the poem is structured as an exchange between Pasiphae and Daedalus, the brilliant Minoan craftsman who builds a cow decoy for Pasiphae to crawl inside in order to sexually receive the bull. It’s a florid, red-hot paean to bestiality, unpublishable within the poet’s lifetime.

Reid Kelley’s chief literary technique throughout all three videos is the god-awful pun. Pasiphae brags to Venus that “I still insert my clause in every handsome Bill I meet.” Priapus boasts of how he “tied Jason into Argo-knots.” Ariadne, deep in a depression at the end of the cycle, needs a “raisin to live.” “Love’s a vulture, and must carrion,” Priapus offers. Anagrams, too, are in the house. When Daedalus speaks of the “warm violences” that will be visited on Pasiphae by the bull, the video shows a 2-D motion graphics sequence of the letters in the phrase, compressed by a cartoon hammer and brush, reformed into the phrases “Ram nice vowels” “Visceral women” “rev slow cinema”, and finally, “new liver comas”. A handful of critics have saluted Reid Kelley as an authentically virtuosic zany punster.

Puns can be used both to insinuate and to harass, as when Hamlet blocks his would-be interlocutors with phony misunderstandings. But in a supercharged poem about a woman desperate to get fucked by a bull, why the innuendo? Reid Kelley’s deliberately tedious, wince-worthy wordplay doesn’t draw out the meanings of the texts it references so much as strangely rebowdlerize them, this time through the giddy sensibility of a precocious, peppy young theater major. In a contemporary culture where poetry has lost all mainstream force, the pauseless, uninflected, high-toned theater-talk that swells the video’s soundtracks is more barrier than bridge. Reid Kelley’s logocentrism doesn’t heighten the subversive sexual content of Swinburne’s text so much as smother it in unsexy zero-budget theatrical frippery. As in the video work of Mike Kelley (no blood relation, but an obvious influence) the meaning lies in the mood: a medicinal cocktail of lowbrow entertainment, expropriations of the Western canon, and a calculatedly nagging friction between the two.

Mary Reid Kelley was on view from May 23–September 27, 2015 at Hammer Museum

Originally Published in Carla Issue 2