Midnight Blue

27.03.15 – 30.04.15
Galerie Sébastien Bertrand is pleased to present paintings by Los Angeles-based artist Max Maslansky, his first solo exhibition outside the United States.
Maslansky paints on used bed sheets found in second-hand shops, and often on stretchers sized to actual mattresses. His process partly depends on the psychic and physical residue of the anonymous people who had slept on the sheets: stains, creases, and signs of wear eventually are buried under washes of acrylic, bypassing the age-old problem of the ‘blank canvas’.
The painted imagery that displaces this history is derived from pornographic images from the 1970s to early 1980s, which have a certain innocence before its eroticism’s latent violence was exposed by the increasing demand for novelty during the advent of home video and the web. These stills, formally modeled on “classic” American and European cinema, betray a playful form of sex borne out of the “Sexual Revolution” of the 1960s, which later ended with the rise of AIDS and conservative politics.

Maslansky’s pictorial language, while appropriating and reacting to the original image, also takes cues from early 20th figurative painting in the vein of Pierre Bonnard and the Nabis. Beatific colors of a bygone era creep back into the gauche capitalization of sex-as-entertainment. However, the labor of its application is an exercise in frustration: unable to the retain effect of a fully-loaded brush, Maslansky has said painting on bed sheets is akin to painting on tissue paper.
While catering to the pleasures of color and form, Maslansky’s paintings emerge out of an ethical ambiguity that hovers over pornography. The exploited and the exploiters are not clear. Its erotics are drained, leaving only the sheet’s sags, stains and the paint that covers them behind.
Max Maslansky was recently included in “Made in L.A.”, at the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, curated by Michael Ned Holte and Connie Butler. He recently had a solo exhibition at Five Car Garage, Los Angeles in 2014, and next month will open a solo exhibition at Honor Fraser, Los Angeles. Past group exhibitions include “Made in Space”, curated by Peter Harkawik and Laura Owens, at Night Gallery, Los Angeles, which traveled to Gavin Brown’s Enterprise, New York and Venus Over Manhattan, New York. Maslansky lives and works in Los Angeles.
La Galerie Sébastien Bertrand est heureuse de présenter le travail de l’artiste Max Maslansky, et sa première exposition personnelle hors des États-Unis.
Max Maslansky peint sur de vieux draps qu’il trouve dans des magasins d’occasion, et dont les châssis reprennent souvent le format de vrais matelas. Son travail dépend en partie des résidus psychiques et physiques laissés par les anonymes qui y ont dormi : taches, plissures ou zones plus usées, qui finissent recouvertes par des flots de peinture acrylique.
Ces histoires résiduelles sont alors remplacées par une imagerie inspirée des clichés pornographiques des années 70 et début 80, encore empreints d’une certaine innocence, avant que la violence latente de cet érotisme ne soit exposée à la demande croissante de nouveauté et à l’avènement d’internet et du home vidéo. Modelés par le cinéma « classique » américain et européen, ces clichés révèlent l’érotisme ludique porté par la « Révolution sexuelle » des années 60, dont plus tard le SIDA et le conservatisme auront raison.
Maslansky s’approprie l’image érotique originale, et y réagit. Son langage pictural s’inspire aussi de la peinture figurative du début du XXe siècle, dans la veine de Pierre Bonnard et des Nabis. Les couleurs vives d’un temps bienheureux et révolu s’insinuent dans la capitalisation maladroite du sexe-spectacle.
Cette pratique sur draps est pour l’artiste un exercice tout en frustration : ne pouvant retenir tout l’effet du pinceau gorgé de peinture. Selon Maslansky, peindre sur des draps serait comme tenter de peindre sur des mouchoirs en papier.
Si les peintures de Maslansky s’adonnent aux plaisirs de la couleur et des formes, elles nous parlent également de l’ambiguïté morale qui plane aujourd’hui sur la pornographie. Qui sont les exploités et qui sont les exploiteurs ? La charge d’érotisme se délite alors, laissant place au fléchissement des draps, aux taches, et à la peinture qui les recouvre.
Max Maslansky a récemment participé à l’exposition Made in L.A., au Hammer Museum, Los Angeles (curated by Michael Ned Holte and Connie Butler). Sa dernière exposition solo était à Five Car Garage, Los Angeles en 2014, et le mois suivant ouvre son prochain solo à Honor Fraser, Los Angeles. Il a aussi participé récemment à l’exposition collective “Made in Space” (curated by Peter Harkawik and Laura Owens), à Night Gallery, Los Angeles, qui a été ensuite déplacée à Gavin Brown’s Enterprise, New York, et Venus Over Manhattan, New York. Max Maslansky vit et travaille à Los Angeles.

Born in 1976, Los Angeles, USA
Lives and works in Los Angeles.


MFA California Institute of the Arts, Valencia, CA

BA Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, NY

Glasgow School of Art, Glasgow, UK


Solo Exhibitions

Crabs n' Mags, Five Car Garage, Los Angeles

Safe Place, Five Car Garage, Los Angeles

Kisses from Californie
, The Finley, Los Angeles (with Nancy Stella Soto)
Exchange Values, Dutton, New-York

Jouissance, Honor Fraser, Los Angeles
Midnight Blue, Galerie Sébastien Bertrand, Geneva, Switzerland

The Edge of Night, Five Car Garage, Los Angeles

Behind the Internet, EmmaGrayHQ, Los Angeles

Bachelor Party, Cherry and Martin, Los Angeles

Cherry and Martin, Los Angeles
It’s Wrong Until It’s Right, Lime gallery, California Institute of the Arts, Valencia


Group Exhibitions

No Shame at Sea, Galerie Lefevbre et Fils, Paris (two person show)
The Chalet, Marc Jancou, Rossiniere, Switzerland (two person show)
100 Notebook Drawings, 57 Henry, curated by Joanne Greenbaum
We've been Robbed, Calendar Gazebo, Albuquerque, NM
Oneiric Landscapes, Five Car Garage, Los Angeles

Combat Shock
, Soso Grotto, Los Angeles, curated by Chris Hood and Rives Grenade
Soft Corners, Richard Telles Fine Art, Los Angeles
The Airtight Garage, Big Pictures, Los Angeles, curated by Laurie Nye Clay, Galerie Lefebvre et Fils, Paris
Sweet Cheeks, Big Pictures, Los Angeles

Hotel Kalifornia, Galerie Lefebvre et Fils, Paris
Nudes, V1 Gallery, Copenhagen, Denmark
Objective Painting, Telluride Gallery of Fine Art, Telluride, Colorado, curated by James Hayward (cat.)

Summer Show, Galerie Sébastien Bertrand, Geneva, Switzerland
Immagine, Brand New Gallery, Milan, Italy
Synthesia, Five Car Garage, Los Angeles
Only for Lovers, Le Coeur, Paris
Art House at Soho House, Los Angeles, currated by Saron Zoldan 
Fredericks and Freiser, New York M&B, Los Angeles

Trust Fall
, curated by Jennifer Sullivan, Spring/Break Art Show, New York
Works on Paper, Galerie Sébastien Bertrand, Geneva, Switzerland

Made in L.A., Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, curated by Connie Butler and Michael Ned Holte (cat.)
Last Evenings on Earth, Ship in the Woods, Del Mar, CA
Love is in the Air, Gallery 2A, Los Angeles
The White Album, Richard Telles Fine Art, Los Angeles, curated by Gladys-Katherina Hernando (cat.)
Another Cats Show, 356 Mission, Los Angeles
Sniff the Space Flat on Your Face, Guggenheim Gallery at Chapman University, Orange, CA (cat.)
Stairs into My Eyes, The Finley, Los Angeles, curated by Dianna Molzan

Boiled Angel, The Woodmill GP, London, England, October 13 – December 8
Soft Off (but I love it when your mouth is a little shut), ltd, Los Angeles, curated with Robin Peckham
Abstract Perversion, Five Car Garage, Los Angeles
Squirts, Regina Rex, New York
Unsolved Mysteries, POST, Los Angeles
Sinking with the Ship, Sam Francis Gallery, curated by Mateo Tannatt, Crossroads School, Los Angeles
Made in Space, Night Gallery, Los Angeles, curated by Laura Owens and Peter Harkawik
Made in Space, Gavin Brown’s Enterprise, New York, and Venus Over Manhattan, New York

Lectures and Salad, (performance), Actual Size, Los Angeles
Two and Half Hands and a Painting, Pauline (with Kenneth Tam & Mateo Tannatt), Los Angeles
POST, Los Angeles
Nudes, Calvin Marcus Studio, Los Angeles
Absurdo Absolutum II, (screening), Microscope Gallery, New York
Cannibalistic Humanoid Underground Dwellers, KChung Radio, Los Angeles

The Cactus Show, Calvin Marcus Studio, Los Angeles
Object-Orientation, Cerritos College Art Gallery, Cerritos, CA, curated by James MacDevitt (cat.)

Project I, Alexys Schwartz Projects, Los Angeles, curated by Alexys Schwartz and John Monn
Merch Mart!, Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions, Los Angeles, curated by Emma Gray

I’m Gorgeous Inside, 533, Los Angeles
Mit Party, 533, Los Angeles, curated by Lucrecia Roa and Ulrich Wulff

It’s Gouache and Gouache Only, Jeff Bailey Gallery, NY, curated by Geoffrey Young

The Juice is Loose, 507 Rose Gallery, Los Angeles
Summer Gouache Show, Geoffrey Young Gallery, Great Barrington, MA

Summer Show, Geoffrey Young Gallery, Great Barrington, MA
Supersonic 2006, Barnsdall Art Park, Los Angeles
Collisions and Pileups, Pasadena Armory Center for the Arts, Los Angeles

Frontier, Roberts and Tilton, Los Angeles
Sweet Substitute, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, Virginia

Mystery Blaze at Holiday Cottage, Monya Rowe Gallery, New York

Curated Shows

Neal Bashor, Sara Clendening, and John Seal at Tif’s Desk, Thomas Solomon Gallery, Los Angeles (cat.)
             Abstract Perversion, Five Car Garage, Los Angeles (cat.)


Writings, Published Projects, Other Media

“Max Maslansky Photographs Monica Majoli”, Contemporary Art Review Los Angeles

“13 Pages from History”, online project, Light and Wire Gallery, www.lightandwiregallery.com
Cult of Splendor, University Art Gallery, UC Irvine, CA.
Catalogue contributions by curator Kellie Lanham and Max Maslansky with Victoria Fu

Nathan Hylden: Meanwhile, (Press Release) Johann Koenig Gallery, Berlin
“Tif’s Desk”, catalog essay, Tif’s desk at Thomas Solomon Gallery.

The Hayward Satori, Richard Telles Fine Art
«Riffin’» (ongoing), host of bi-monthly talk radio show, KCHUNG RADIO, Los Angeles

Summer ’08 –’10: flip book edition, (edition of 25), for Merch Mart!, LACE, Los Angeles, June, curated by Emma Gray

“The Dialectics of Wall Street—The Movie”, July Limited Edition Project, Material Press

“To Be Frank,” interview with Dana Schutz, Swingset Magazine, No.4
“Let’s Work Through This,” interview with Jonathan Pylypchuk, Swingset Magazine, 2003, No.4

Selected Bibliography

Passman, Melissa, Art in Focus, (interview), April
Boucher, Brian, “11 Booths I could hardly tear myself away from at Nada New York”, artnet.com, May 6
Sutton, Benjamin, “Nada New York Gets Nasty”, hyperallergic.com, May 6
Shaw, Michael, The Conversation Podcast, episode #135, theconversationartistpodcast.podomatic.com, April 15

Griffin, Jonathan, “Reviews in Brief: Max Maslansky”, Modern Painters, February, p.77
Cherry, Henry, “Escaping Monotony with Max Maslansky”, Reimagine (online), February   
Diehl, Travis, “Critics’ Picks: Max Maslansky”, artforum.com, May 5
Los Angeles Review of Books, lareviewofbooks.org, (image), June 21
Hotchkiss, Sarah, “Sexy Sculpture Fills CULT’s Summer Group Show”, kqed.com, July 27 CCF Fellowship for
Visual Artists 2015, catalog, p9
Archer, Larissa, “Review: Sexxitecture / Cult, San Francisco,” Frieze, October, pp260-261

Hutton, Jen, “Max Maslansky”, Made in L.A. 2014, catalog, Hammer Museum, Los Angeles
Miranda, Carolina A., “Datebook: Boxing painters, teen idols, and John Altoon’s short career”, The Los Angeles Times, June 5
Zimskind, Lyle, “Channing Hansen’s Quantum Paintings are Really Knit”, Los Angeles Magazine Blog.com, July 17
Finkel, Jori, “Painting on Radio Canvas”, The New York Times, February 7
Khadivi, Jesi, “Curated in L.A”, interview with Michael Ned Holte, Kaleidoscope, Summer, pp.110-115
Gill, Noor, “’Made in L.A 2014’ at Hammer Museum displays work by artists like Max Maslansky”, DailyBruin.com, August 4
Hernando, Gladys, “The White Album”, catalog, Richard Telles Fine Art, Los Angeles, p. 28
Plagens, Peter, “Exhibit a Creation of Show, Not Tell”, The Wall Street Journal, August 19
Berardini, Andrew, Art Review, September
 Dhiel, Travis, «The Face Collector», essay for Sniff The Space Flat on Your Face catalog, pp. 15-18
Griffin, Jonathan, «Highlights 2014», Frieze.com, December 19
New American Paintings, issue 115, Pacific Coast, December 2014 / January 2015, pp. 118-121

Perry, Eve, «Not Taking the 1990s Very Seriously», Hyperallergic.com, (web), March 27
Griffin, Jonathan, «Made in Space», art agenda.com, (web), March 28
Smith, Roberta, “Art in Review: Made in Space”, The New York Times, August 1
“Made in Space at Gavin Brown and Venus Over Manhattan”, Contemporary Art Daily, August 6
“Group Show at Tif’s Desk at Tom Solomon”, Contemporary Art Daily, July 28

MacDevitt, James, Object-Orientation, catalog, Cerritos College Art Gallery
Dambrot, Shana Nys, «Web Diver: Turning Strangers’ Online Photos into Paintings», LA Weekly, May

Beautiful Decay, (www.beautifuldecay.com), July 22

“Allegorical Statements”, Los Angeles Times, May 17, p. E3

Bellstrom, Kristen, “The Art of Buying”, Smart Money Magazine, May 2006, pp. 111-13
Impression (Ism): Contemporary Impressions, catalog, City of Brea Art Gallery, Brea, CA, March

The Armpit of the Mole, a drawing compilation, Fundació 30 km/s, Paris, France

Residencies And Grants

California Community Foundation Grant, Los Angeles (Emerging artist)

Vermont Studio Center