Review: For the black artists of CAAM’s ‘L.A. Blacksmith,’ metal has meaning

September 28, 2019 - Christopher Knight

In a sense, that’s the subject of “L.A. Blacksmith,” the engaging new group exhibition at the California African American Museum in which Woods’ wall relief is included. Independent curator jill moniz — she spells her name in all lowercase letters — looks to a hitherto unexamined strain of metalwork as integral to black L.A. artists’ work, mostly since the 1960s.

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Amir Zaki photographs California skateboard parks as Brutalist architecture

September 21, 2019 - LIESL BRADNER

California’s 1976-77 drought left lawns brown, showers short and backyard pools drained dry. But it also gave rise to a new wave of skateboarding, a time when the Z-Boys from Venice and Santa Monica jumped fences and skated in those empty concrete pools, in the process creating a radical new style of vertical sport.

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California's concrete skateparks come alive in a new photography book

September 12, 2019 - Sean Joyner

Released this month, California Concrete: A Landscape of Skateparks, takes the birthplace of skateboard culture and celebrates the dynamic landscapes created by Cali's expressive skateparks. Amir Zaki, creator of the book, is an artist and photographer who grew up skateboarding and has spent years photographing the built and natural landscape of California. 



Ruth Pastine in group show Fierce Generosity 2.0 opening Sept. 14 at Burnet in Wayzata

September 11, 2019 - Jason Jenkins

Burnet Fine Art & Advisory’s newest exhibition “Fierce Generosity 2.0” will open Saturday, Sept. 14, in its gallery at 775 Lake St. E., Wayzata. There will be a free opening reception 6-8 p.m. with an artist talk at 6:30 p.m.

“Fierce Generosity 2.0” was curated and organized by the Carolyn Glasoe Bailey Foundation, a nonprofit based in Ojai, California. The exhibition showcases a selection of work by Rob Fischer, Cole M. James, Yassi Mazandi, Ruth Pastine, David Rathman and Aaron Spangler. 

The Skate Park as a Vessel to Contain Emptiness and the Imagination

September 10, 2019 - Tyler Stallings

“Empty Vessel” presents two new bodies of photographs by Amir Zaki featuring either vacant landscapes of skate parks or still-lives of shards from broken, ceramic containers. The shards are clearly from earthenware pots, but both subjects are “vessels” in that the skate parks are sunken into the clay of the earth. Hung in proximity to one another, sometimes juxtaposed, the images generate a complex conversation around the notion of “emptiness,” which includes removing presuppositions from one’s mind about what one is about to experience, is experiencing, or has experienced. By disentangling the mind of one’s own stories and worries, one can be open to other possibilities presented by perception itself. Thus Zaki’s “Empty Vessel,” as an exhibition, provides a platform for contemplating duality and the more ambiguous third space that exists between linked elements which cannot exist without each other: form and emptiness; function and aesthetics; holding and letting go; containing and emptying.


Lester Monzon: Fail Better | Exhibition Review

August 29, 2019 - Eve Wood

I’ve always been partial to exhibitions with oddly self-depreciating titles, and Lester Monzon’s Fail Better is definitely a doozie. A phrase from Samuel Beckett’s novella, Worstward Ho, the original quote reads “Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better,” which is not a piece of inspirational writing at all but an absurdist’s response to the absurdity of the living world, i.e. a call to embrace the void. The title also brings to mind the angst and struggle inherent in the artistic process, as any creative person understands — each piece is not necessarily successful, but it is the endless process of transformation, not toward any specific conclusion but more in keeping with the steady work of a brick layer, plodding along year after year, slowly building a comprehensive vision of the world, that continues to inspire. Thus the title, as with the works themselves, reflect the intense and sometimes painful process of creating anything.

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Navigating California’s concrete skateparks through the lens of Amir Zaki

August 21, 2019 - Luke Halls

Hawk and American-Australian designer Peter Zellner preface a new photographic tome by American artist Amir Zaki, California Concrete: A Landscape of Skateparks. The book documents 12 of the state’s most symbolic skating hotspots from San Diego to Sacramento, which came to be adopted by the modern Californian skating community from the 1970s onwards.


California's "elaborately designed" concrete skateparks captured by Amir Zaki

August 20, 2019 - Eleanor Gibson

Jagged tunnels edged with red trim, scooped walls and wave-like canopies are among the defining features of these vacant concrete skateparks in California, photographed by artist Amir Zaki. The images feature in the California Concrete, a Landscape of Skateparks publication, and document 12 unusual and elaborate skateparks in city's across the state. 


Ramp It Up! Amir Zaki Captures Quiet California Skateparks

August 20, 2019 - LeVar Thomas

Though I’m a spectator, the ramps at some skate parks look really exciting. I would imagine that goes double for skaters that brave those loops, ramps, rails and outcrops for a chance at glory. They likely imagine the possibilities that each ramp provides, which is a testament to the architects who make them.Photographer Amir Zaki must agree, and set out to document some elaborate architecture in the skateparks of California. Documenting the parks for California Concrete, Zaki beat skaters to the parks on early mornings to capture the sports monuments.


Patti Oleon's artwork featured in new book, Ribbon of Darkness: Inferencing from the Shadowy Arts and Sciences

August 15, 2019

Patti Oleon's artwork is featured in a new book by Barbara Maria Stafford, Ribbon of Darkness: Inferencing from the Shadowy Arts and Sciences.