Megan Whitmarsh: "Arts & Leisure Section" @ Los Angeles Municipal Gallery

·

There is something so feminine about Megan Whitmarsh’s work - her requirement that all things turn soft - the plant pot, the newspaper, the mirror - objects with their own weight and materials turned equal into quilted puffs, to match the pillows that sit in a circular way, under a small living room like bench. From the ceiling hung multiple of these cushy planters, the leaves of the plants also turned into tiny pillows, held by the crochet ropes that might be found in a hippie commune, your grandmother’s house, or an Echo Park bungalow, with a soft murmuring cat inside.

I sat there in the floor while my friend read the “paper,” also made into a soft thing, its columns devoted to suggestions on slowing down written by others: “turn your phone into a seashell and listen to the ocean,” for example. Or “Hear God.“ So I was surprised when I heard the very digital video game like soundtracks behind the female meditative voice - offered over headphones, as a part of the experience. This upended my first thought about femininity - reminding me - with its intimidating building block like structure, a linear robot melody; the melody of a pixelated robot, of the foremost message of first wave feminism that is still true today: everything is constructed.

The piece was a part of a larger show called “Loitering is Delightful,” including a Lani Trock’s delightful ceiling full of bougevvilla branches, floating, chandelier-like, above the audience. While laying on our backs on mats on the floor, we could act as if we were a baby looking up at a mobile from inside a crib, staring, with wonderment, of how things drift and move, sometimes drastically, with only the slightest bit of wind. The whole exhibit offered a childlike yet sophisticated view of the world; asking us to remember an innocence that leads to observation and reflection. And also, perhaps, some simple pleasures.

Image: Megan Whitmarsh, “Arts & Leisure Section,” 2019. Embroidery thread, cotton, canvas, polyester, wood, foam objects, headphones, sound. Image courtesy of the Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery. Photograph by Jeff McLane

Share

Articles

Megan Whitmarsh: "Arts & Leisure Section" @ Los Angeles Municipal Gallery
1 min read
There is something so feminine about Megan Whitmarsh’s work - her requirement that all things turn soft - the plant pot, the newspaper, the mirror - objects with their own weight and materials turned equal into quilted puffs, to match the pillows that sit in a circular way, under
Lorna Simpson: Momentum @ Frieze Los Angeles, Paramount Backlot P10
1 min read
Of all the work I saw at the Frieze Fair LA, the video billboard by Lorna Simpson was by far my favorite. The piece features en pointe ballet dancers of color, sporting afros and golden uniforms, looking slightly bored and more than qualified, on what might be audition or practice
Alexander Girard: A Designer’s Universe @ Palm Springs Art Museum
4 min read
As I walked around the Alexander Girard exhibit, my daughter, Olive, was on a search for images she recognized from a children's book of his work that she had at home, given to us by a friend who had not consciously remembered we had a screen print of his hanging
Rebecca Bruno: Deux @ the Sowden House
3 min read
The Sowden House, designed by  Lloyd Wright, impressed me right away: its imposing concrete exterior,  huge inner courtyard -- designed originally to be a theatre and then turned, somewhat controversially, into a pool and entertainment space – and long corridors, passing by sometimes extravagantly designed rooms, were unlike any other place
Ren Hang: What We Do Is Secret @ MAMA Gallery
3 min read
In August 2016 I started a review of Ren Hang’s photographs but I couldn’t finish it. I got as far as a few descriptive paragraphs and some amount of analysis but there was something bothering me about the work that I couldn’t put my finger on. The
Sarah Lucas: Au Naturel @ The Hammer Museum
3 min read
I used to think gender was everything; the lense through which all else must be viewed. Got a problem? Put on your gender inspectors and poof, the solution, once hidden behind culture’s murky gender norms, would be revealed. But since Hilary Clinton’s loss (could we hate anything more
Allen Ruppersberg: "Lectures and Film Screenings (1994)" @ The Hammer Museum
2 min read
I had about 20 minutes to get through the entire career of Allen Ruppersberg, but that’s all I needed to fall in love. His capacity to transport you in time and space is so effortless, and his point of view so full of joy and humor, that he redeems
Karen O & Danger Mouse: An Encounter with Lux Prima @ Marciano Art Foundation
10 min read
Karen O is the only singer I know whose lyrics are secondary; just there to mark the feeling. But you can recognize her voice in an instant; if you hear a Karen O moan, you know it. It’s croaky and wise beyond its years. There’s nothing better than