ROUND-UP January 14-February 3, 2020

Hello dear readers! Here are some fresh new writings: a photography review of a show back in L.A., a review of Halsey's newest album (I've previously written about her first two records), and a post about banana art at the Bell Gallery blog!
"Klein’s photographs are sumptuously saturated images of the artist in various guises, acting out different roles in unknown, barely hinted-at stories in bathrooms, motel rooms, kitchens. None of the female subjects in these photographs seem happy, at the very least, while some of the images take the stylized, beautiful misery even further by hinting at (or depicting) their tragic deaths. Everything here is gorgeous ennui, cigarette smoke, and jewel-toned emptiness."
"Halsey’s third studio album, Manic, is quintessentially an album about being in your twenties, about the muddle of being at what feels like the height of one’s youth and desirability while simultaneously being as uncertain and sensitive as you’ll likely ever be. In your twenties, you’re legally an adult, yes, but you still seemingly lack the power, privileges, and security of full adulthood in many ways. Taken as an artistic statement, Manic perfectly conveys the inherent tensions and pitfalls of seeking out and forming connections when you’re a young adult, of both wanting and fearing something real, desperately, with all your heart. Halsey’s lyrics mine the contradictory impulses of wanting either to close yourself off from others and protect the most vulnerable parts of yourself, or, alternately, to open yourself up to love and risk betrayal and heartbreak."
"The David Winton Bell Gallery has its own work of art in which a banana is a key component: Dieter Roth’s Banana, a mixed-media work dating from 1966. Unlike Cattelan’s fresh yellow sample, Banana’s central element likely lost its fruit decades ago. Now a husk of brown cellulose peel, it lies smeared within a glass frame marked off with masking tape. While the work is technically a sculpture due to its three-dimensional nature, it doesn’t seem off the mark to also classify it as time-based. But then again, works of art in more traditional materials—wood, oil, marble—face the danger of decay as well, albeit not in as dramatic a fashion as a banana rotting. So aside from its use of a seemingly ordinary banana that is now partially lost to time, Roth’s work also incorporates this plain masking tape—often used in packing and preparation but less often in a work of art itself. Banana seems to welcome our confusion, our inevitable, dumbfounded response: 'why is this art?'"