Reviews by Christopher Knight (C.K.), David Pagel (D.P.) and Leah Ollman (L.O.). Compiled by Grace Krilanovich.
Bruce Conner in the 1970s The first exhibition of Conner’s work since his death last year zeros in on the 1970s. It’s a peculiar choice for a show and one the artist, an irascible malcontent, would probably love. It makes you think of his work from that decade differently -- not as the low point of a long career filled with highlights, but the purest expression of Conner’s profound suspicion of anything that smacks of success, stinks of inauthenticity or reeks of entitlement. At the same time, failure for its own sake is never romanticized by Conner. This gives his powerfully conflicted works their bite and bravery (D.P.). Michael Kohn Gallery, 8071 Beverly Blvd., L.A. Tue.-Fri., 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; Sat., 11 a.m.-6 p.m.; ends Dec. 19. (323) 658-8088.
Tom Wudl: Specimens from the Flowerbank World Some artists work with their ears to the ground, listening to the buzz to try to make their works relevant. Others pay no attention to external interruptions, concentrating instead on the voices in their heads. That’s what Tom Wudl does. His paintings, drawings and prints describe a world so dense with detail that it’s a treat to visit, a delight to contemplate and a joy to know. Every image is exquisite, so fantastically rendered and precisely crafted that many seem to have been made with the aid of a microscope. But none is precious or breathless. That’s the magic of Wudl’s art. He manages to make intense concentration and laser-sharp focus look relaxed -- not quite casual but serene and welcoming (D.P.). LA Louver, 45 N. Venice Blvd., Venice. Tue.-Sat., 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; ends Dec. 31. (310) 822-4955.
Jeff Koons: New Paintings Andy Warhol was fascinated by boredom for two perfectly good reasons: It allowed him to see things he otherwise would have missed and it meant that things were going pretty well -- that life’s daily dramas were not too upsetting. Jeff Koons’ new paintings flesh out both aspects of Warhol’s love affair with boredom. They reveal his dedication to the production of handmade reproductions: super-realistic depictions of works that look as if they are mass-produced. They are the best copies money can buy. The crass aspirations of the nouveau riche are Koons’ great subject. His art is the visual equivalent of a 19th-century novel of manners. If that’s boring, it’s exactly the type of boredom that fascinated Andy (D.P.). Gagosian Gallery, 456 N. Camden Drive, Beverly Hills. Tue.-Sat., 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m.; ends Jan. 9. (310) 271-9400.
Lorser Feitelson: The Late Paintings In graphic design, the colloquial term for lines that come together and just barely (or don’t quite) touch is “to kiss.” Lorser Feitelson’s sensuous abstract curves likewise possess an inescapably titillating charge. Some paintings (although none in this show) harness distinctive color juxtapositions such as red and green or orange and blue to create an optical spark. Two small works from 1976 even fuse shapes that are phallic and vulval. But the sparks set off in Feitelson’s abstractions are also reminiscent of more generalized ideas of creation, like the one implied between the nearly touching fingers of God and Adam in Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel (C.K.). Louis Stern Fine Arts, 9002 Melrose Ave., L.A. Tue.-Fri., 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; Sat., 11 a.m.-5 p.m.; ends Dec. 12. (310) 276-0147.
Alexander Gorlizki: Soft Succulent Sublime Gorlizki’s paintings on paper dazzle the eye and tickle the mind. They are intricate beyond comprehension, their filament-thin lines congregating in dense, patterned fields. The works, most roughly the size of a sheet of notebook paper, spring from the traditions of Indian miniatures and manuscript illumination, with some pop art and op art flourishes, as well as a bit of surrealism for subversive effect (L.O.). Daniel Weinberg Gallery, 6148 Wilshire Blvd., L.A. Tue.-Sat., 10:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m.; ends Dec. 19. (323) 954-8425.