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Don’t believe me? Go have a look for yourself.

For starters, you can’t find a better curated show right now than The Eye Club at Fraenkel. Hung by subject in clusters (eyes, couples, windowfronts, glaring women, etc.), the photos are individually arresting. But as groups they elevate perfectly imperfect snapshots and surreal NASA photos to the work of masters like Lee Friedlander and Diane Arbus. Let’s face it, a great photograph is a great photograph.

Edward Burtynsky’s oversized photos at Robert Koch give us way more detail than we can take in at once. Here he freezes complex scenes of people working in the Three Gorges area along China’s great Yangtze River, helping us notice things we couldn’t otherwise. The images of the dam—the largest concrete structure in the world—are truly awesome, but it’s the general sense of scrambling in Feng Jie #6 that made my shoulders ache in anticipation of the ever-rising water.

Not moved yet? Head next door to Haines and into James Turrell’s sublime created space. The artist recommends 10-12 minutes on the solitary bench to get adjusted to the light. I recommend skipping your sandwich and spending your whole lunch break in there. Sadly, the holograms in the main gallery seem like airport trinkets in comparison.

A few more, quickly: 871 Fine Arts has moved its great art book store to the 2nd floor; Markus Linnenbrink’s dripping technicolor paintings at Patricia Sweetow feel like jazzed LA paintings with meaning; Timothy Cummings once again puts his all (including his face) into a large body of work at Catherine Clark; Ulrike Palmbach’s sewn cow is contentedly grazing in the back room at Steven Wirtz; and across the street at Paule Anglim, John Zurier proves you can still be moved by mostly monochromatic oil paintings. If I had an extra $5K lying around, I’d come back with my checkbook.

All that too serious for you? I won’t even describe the furry fun in store at Marina Vendrell’s show at Lizabeth Oliveria. Suffice to say that if you don’t smile in the presence of remote controlled fur balls, you need a vacation. Maybe art can’t save you after all.

- Tucker Nichols [Saturday, October 18th, 2003]

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