David Snyder’s “2THNDNL”
              Travis Diehl
              Happy? Ronaldreagan. Hungry? Ronaldreagan. Afraid? Ronaldreagan. Invoke him often enough and The Gipper’s name passes from rote signification into a malleable abstraction. All too easy—as David Snyder demonstrates in “2THNDNL” with the video Ronald Reagan, Fathers & Sons (all works 2016). Dozens of jaws, clipped from TV’s talking heads, from Paul Ryan to Barack Obama—sometimes comped below the forehead of another to form a rhythmic exquisite corpse—speak, ad nauseam: “Ronald Reagan.” The syllables slur toward pure intonation. On a wall opposite this video is a second: Swansong, a supercut of snarling dogs. The cacophony, and the numbness that follows, figures our present national discourse. Never mind the gulf between that pragmatic movie cowboy and today’s nativist publicity hounds. Love him or hate him, this is a Reagan even apolitical animals can understand. Debased rhetoric? Snyder’s got shovelfuls. In a small screening room at the gallery’s center plays The Guano, a lucidly manic pitch to “retrofit” our nation’s thousands of derelict Blockbuster Video outlets as bat colonies—and thus, per Snyder’s voiceover, “fundamentally rebrand and rebuild a Blockbuster empire and comfortably dominate the bat shit industry.” Great news for business. And for the left? It’s true, as Snyder points out, that runoff from …
              Wu Tsang
              Robin Newman
              After being featured in both the 2012 Whitney Biennial and the New Museum’s Triennial, the young artist and filmmaker Wu Tsang is set to enter the art world at large in a big way. His film Wildness (2012), which was featured in the Biennial, documented a recurring party Tsang and his friends held at Silver Platter, a legendary bar in the MacArthur Park area of Los Angeles that had been a center of Latin and LGBT communities since the early 1960s. Wildness operates as a documentary while also artfully inserting fantastical elements into its concerns with the party’s place in the bar and the broader issues of transgendered life. Though performative and fictional, Tsang’s two new pieces on view at Michael Benevento in Los Angeles aptly address the sociopolitical as well as interpersonal relations within a community. These relations are frequently explored through performance and the performative nature of narrative film, and this witty melding of fact and fiction itself functions within the artist’s intention and desire to explore how the “narrative” functions in relation to “real life.” Mishima in Mexico (2012), a film produced collaboratively by Tsang and his scriptwriter Alex Segade, draws inspiration from Yukio Mishima’s 1950 novel Thirst
              "Steel Life”
              Kevin McGarry
              With Wolfgang Breuer, Matthew Buckingham & Joachim Koester, Whitney Claflin, Martin Creed, Melvin Edwards, Ida Ekblad, Sam Falls, Kenji Fujita, Wade Guyton, Allison Katz, Rita Mcbride, Charlotte Posenenske, Sam Pulitzer, Heather Rowe, Gedi Sibony, Michael E Smith, and Anicka Yi Like its punning title, “Steel Life,” the multigenerational group show curated by artist Zak Kitnick at Michael Benevento in Hollywood, displays the transformation of something common into something edged with spirit. All of the twenty (or so) works included are made of metal that has been altered by physical, chemical, or poetic processes. The architect Rita McBride’s polygonal sculpture is rough and rusty, riddled with an orderly pattern of expanding ovals; Martin Creed’s row of twelve nails are hammered into the wall according to size; Gedi Sibony’s composition of pipes and sprinkler spouts proposes an unoccupied architectural space; the brushy teal oil painting by Allison Katz (a key, watch, and high heel) takes a small square of steel as its canvas; a modular, minimalist, steel square tube by Charlotte Posenenske is stacked from floor to ceiling, with a triangular divot at about eye level; and an experiment by Anicka Yi leaves powdered milk, antidepressants, palm tree essence, and sundry other ingredients …

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