The Faithful , 2019, oil and wax on canvas, 150 x 116 inches

The Faithful, 2019, oil and wax on canvas, 150 x 116 inches

Enrique Martínez Celaya
The Tears of Things
Opening Reception September 13, 2019 6 -8pm

Kohn Gallery is pleased to announce The Tears of Things, an exhibition of new work by Los Angeles-based artist Enrique Martínez Celaya opening September 13, 2019. It is the first exhibition of Martínez Celaya’s work at the gallery, and simultaneously marks his first exhibition in Los Angeles in four years and his first in the U.S. in two years, following recent projects in London, Havana, Stockholm, and Berlin. The Tears of Things features new major large-scale work, encompassing all three exhibition spaces at Kohn Gallery. In addition, on October 16, the artist will be in conversation with Philippe de Montebello, Director Emeritus of The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and Chairman of the Hispanic Society of America’s Board of Trustees.

This new body of work consists of a series of paintings and one sculpture that revolve around three dualities: our alienation from and interconnectedness with all that there is, the absurdity and redeeming possibility of embarking, and the tension between promise and risk. The imagery brings together skaters, ice-covered lakes, black apple trees, golden landscapes, bullfighting, moonlit butterflies, and whale bones. The work featured in The Tears of Things continues Martínez Celaya’s concern with displacement and exile in its psychological sense, while deepening his ongoing exploration of the limitations and possibilities of art’s capacity to reveal or create meaning.

Martínez Celaya is widely celebrated for a practice that arises from sustained engagement with literature, poetry, philosophy, and science, as well as his own writing practice. An artist, author and former physicist, he works in a variety of mediums and materials that include oil, wax, tar, mirrors, dirt, steel, silk and bronze, which he weaves together with physical, emotional and conceptual qualities into a multi-layered exploration of the human condition evoking both immediacy and timelessness. His practice is laden with a depth of textures and philosophical touchstones, often incorporating elements of mysticism and fairy tales, yet he creates works that resist narrative interpretations. His paintings, sculptures, photographs and environments address universal questions about life and the individual experience, loss, memory, failure and one’s place in an emotionally radiant yet chaotic world.

In January, three major works by Martínez Celaya were installed at The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens in Pasadena, marking the first time in the institution’s history that work by an artist was installed both inside the Huntington Art Gallery and outside in the botanical gardens. The Huntington also named Martínez Celaya the first recipient of a Visual Arts Fellowship. Martínez Celaya was recently invited to create a public, monumental sculpture in Cuba’s historic Malecón as part of the 13th Havana Biennial, which led to a new documentary highlighting the project and the artist’s return to Cuba after 47 years.

A selection of his upcoming projects include, a commission to create the first solo exhibition for the Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, after its renovation; a joint exhibition with Käthe Kollwitz at Galerie Judin in Berlin; and individual exhibitions at the Fisher Museum of Art, University of Southern California, the Art, Design & Architecture Museum, University of California, Santa Barbara, and the Williams College Museum of Art.

About the Artist

Enrique Martínez Celaya has created projects and exhibitions for the State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia, The Phillips Collection, Washington D.C., and the Museum der bildenden Künste Leipzig, among many others, as well as for institutions customarily outside of the art world, including the Berliner Philharmonie, the Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine in New York, and the Dorotheenstadt Cemetery in Berlin. Work by the artist is held in over 50 public collections internationally, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Moderna Museet in Stockholm, The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Museum der bildenden Künste Leipzig, and the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Hartford. He is the author of several books including, Collected Writings and Interviews 2010-2017, Collected Writings and Interviews 1990-2010, and The Nebraska Lectures, all published by the University of Nebraska Press (Lincoln), as well as October, published by Cinubia Press (Amsterdam), among several others. He is the first person to hold the position of Provost Professor of Humanities and Arts at the University of Southern California. His previous academic appointments include, the Roth Family Distinguished Visiting Scholar at Dartmouth College, Associate Professorship at Pomona College and the Claremont Graduate University, and he was the second Presidential Professor in the history of the University of Nebraska. He is also a Montgomery Fellow at Dartmouth College, and a Fellow of the Los Angeles Institute for the Humanities. Martínez Celaya was born in Cuba and raised in Spain and Puerto Rico. He initiated his formal training as an apprentice to a painter at the age of 12, received a Bachelor of Science in Applied Physics and a minor in Electrical Engineering from Cornell University, a Master of Science with a specialization in Quantum Electronics from the University of California, Berkeley where he was a Regents Fellow, and he is the inventor of several patented laser devices.  He attended the Skowhegan School of Painting & Sculpture and earned an MFA with the department's highest distinction from the University of California, Santa Barbara, where he was also a junior fellow at the Interdisciplinary Humanities Center.



Octavio Abúndez
Facts, contradictions, puzzles, an explanation and a few lies
Opening Reception, Saturday, November 9, 2019

Kohn Gallery is pleased to announce an exhibition of new work in the solo exhibition Facts, contradictions, puzzles, an explanation and a few lies by Guadalajara-based conceptual artist Octavio Abúndez opening November 9, 2019. It will be the first solo exhibition of Abúndez’s work at the gallery and in Los Angeles, following his inclusion in the group show Chingaderas Sofisticadas as part of the gallery’s participation in The Getty’s PST: LA/LA initiative.

The exhibition further examines Octavio Abúndez’s usual subject matter: language, text and popular culture. In four new series of work, he investigates utopias, dystopias, and idealized or dysfunctional societies, understood through the lens of Hollywood films, mass culture and literature.

Abúndez’s installation of 256 small paintings forms a collage, loosely based on Gerhard Richter’s four 256 color charts, which approaches a text-based inspection of utopia’s conceptual history. Incorporated into the works are a collection of facts, thoughts, opinions, and some lies. Abundez’s research about utopias is woven together with texts and ideas drawn from communities in the United States and California, spiritual or religious beliefs, ideas about the afterlife, literature, law, politics, and cinema. The speculative nature of the work’s textual dimensions also appeal to mythological beings and a specific, unrealized utopic community in the artist’s mind that he refers to as “Thistopia”. 
In the second series of the show, “We Could be So Much Better,” the artist employs pre-existing dialogues from films to further his critiques of futurity. Abúndez uses these quotes and dystopic film lines to create imaginary conversations that mirror our Western society’s current trajectory. The works are not dogmatic, however, as they are textured with humor, hopefulness, cynicism and melancholy all at once.

In the third series of works on view–the longest-spanning within his oeuvre–the artist uses grooved boards with plastic exchangeable letters, typically used as menus in restaurants or film marquees. Abúndez reorients the nature of the messages with heartfelt, sincere texts that generate aphorisms about utopia.

In the second gallery space, Abúndez will display “Chronic Complicatedness”, a series of sculptures that reference Albert Camus’ famous novel The Myth of Sisyphus. Interrogating fundamental questions about human nature, modernity and progress, each work demonstrates a struggle of opposing forces that must be resolved or forever stalled in brutal conflict.

About the Artist

Octavio Abúndez (b. 1981) lives and works in Guadalajara, Mexico.  Abúndez has been widely exhibited in Mexico, The United States and has presented projects and residencies in Europe. His exhibitions include solo and group shows at CURRO Gallery, Mexico; Museo de Arte de Zapopan, Mexico; MARSO Gallery; Mexico; Museo Raúl Anguiano, Mexico; Giorgio Cini Fondazione, Italy; Kohn Gallery, Los Angeles, CA; Utah Museum of Contemporary Art, Salt Lake City, UT; ArtCenter/South Florida, Miami FL; Present Co, Brooklyn, NY; Páramo Gallery, Mexico; MURA, Los Angeles, CA; Grange Gardens in Bermondsey, Galerie 8, London, UK; Morono Kiang Gallery, Los Angeles, CA. Abúndez has exhibited at the following art fairs: ARCO; Untitled Art; Artissima; Zona MACO; Art Los Angeles Contemporary; Nada Art Fair; Art Basel Miami Beach; The Armory Show, New York.  In February 2018, Abundez participated in a residency in Madrid with Mala Fama Estudios.



María Berrío, A Cloud’s Roots
June 1 - August 30, 2019

Heidi Hahn, Burn Out in Shredded Heaven
April 6 - May 23, 2019

Jarvis Boyland, On Hold: (Gallery 2)
April 6 - May 23, 2019

Gonzalo Lebrija, Veladuras Nocturnas
January 19 - March 23, 2019


Rosa Loy, So Near And Yet So Far
November 9, 2018 - January 9, 2019

Tony Berlant, Fast Forward
September 22 - November 3, 2018

Jess, Secret Compartments
July 21 - September 7, 2018

Jonathan Lyndon Chase, Sheets
June 1 -  July 14, 2018

Mark Innerst, New Paintings
April 6 - May 24, 2018

Gesture | Form | Pop | Process
February 27 - March 29, 2018


November 11 , 2017 - January 27, 2018

Chingaderas Sofisticadas
September 16 - November 4, 2017

Dennis Hopper, The Lost Album
July 8 - September 1, 2017

Dean Byington, Theory of Machines
May 19 - June 30, 2017

Joe Goode, Old Ideas with New Solutions
March 23 - May 13, 2017

February 9 - March 15, 2017



Bruce Conner, A MOVIE
November 11, 2016  - February 8, 2017

John Altoon, Works From The Estate
September 16 - October 29, 2016

Ori Gersht, Floating World
July 9 - September 10, 2016

Wallace Berman, American Aleph
May 6 - June 25, 2016

Ryan McGinness, #metadata
March 19 - April 15, 2016

Dean Levin, XTC (Gallery 2 & 3)
January 16 - February 27, 2016

Lita Albuquerque, Embodiment
January 9 - February 27, 2016


Simmons & Burke: Dutch Masters
November 6 - December 19, 2015

Object/Space: Robert Ryman + Giorgio Morandi
September 19 - October 31, 2015

Annette Bonnier, India's Elephants (Gallery 2)
September 19 - October 31, 2015

The West Coast Avant-Garde, 1950 - Present
July 17 - September 4, 2015

Jess's Didactic Nickelodeon
& Lawrence Jordan's Collage and Film
 (Gallery 3)
June 6 - July 10, 2015

William Monk, The Cloud is Growing in the Trees
May 29 - July 10, 2015

Camille Rose Garcia, Mirror, Black Mirror (Gallery 3)
April 25 - May 20, 2015

Tom LaDuke, Candles and Lasers
April 11 - May 20, 2015

February 21 - April 2, 2015

Troika, Cartography of Control
January 10 - February 12, 2015


Lita Albuquerque, Light Carries Information
November 15 - December 20, 2014

Bruce Conner, CROSSROADS & Works on Paper
November 8 - December 20, 2014

Eddie Martinez, Nomader
September 12 – October 25, 2014

Joe Goode, Flat Screen Nature
July 12 - August 29, 2014

Mark Ryden, The Gay 90s West
May 3 - June 28, 2014


Ian Barry, The White, The Black, The Kestrel
July 27 - August 31, 2013

Simmons & Burke, Still Lifes & Common Names
May 10 - July 13, 2013

Opposing the Binary, Curated by Kim Light
March 15 - April 20, 2013

Into the Mystic
November 17, 2012 - January 26, 2013


RETNA, New Paintings and Works on Paper
September 15 - October 27, 2012

Inter  ruption, Curated by Kim Light
July 14 – August 25, 2012

Minimalism, Not Stricly Formal
May 18 – June 30, 2012

Dennis Hollingsworth, Terrestrial
March 23 - May 4, 2012

Camille Rose Garcia Snow White
March 15 - April 14,, 2012

Rosa Loy, Convocation
January 13 - February 25, 2012

November 11, 2011 - January 4, 2012


Bryan Ferry, Olympia
October 20 - November 4, 2011

Joe Goode, Nighttime Series 1977 -1978
September 17 – October 29, 2011

Joan Nelson, New Paintings
July 15- August 27, 2011

Ryan McGinness, Recent Paintings
May 19 - July 1, 2011

Charles Brittin, West & South
April 16 - May 14, 2011

Camille Rose Garcia, Snow White & the Black Lagoon
March 12 - April 9, 2011

Will Cotton, New Paintings
January 14 - February 26, 2011


25th Anniversary Show
November 20, 2010 - January 6, 2011

Simmons & Burke, If Not Winter
September 23 - October 30, 2010

James Nares, New Paintings
July 9 - August 21, 2010

Nathan Redwood, Altered Atmospheres
March 25 - May 8, 2010

David Korty, New Paintings
January 14 - February 27, 2010



Bruce Conner, In the 70s
November 7 - December 19, 2009

Cristof Yvoré, New Paintings
September 12 - October 24, 2009

Dark Night of the Soul: David Lynch and Danger Mouse
May 30 - July 11, 2009

Maureen Gallace, New Paintings
March 21 - May 23, 2009

She: Wallace Berman and Richard Prince
January 15 - March 7, 2009


Darren Waterston, Aurora
November 7 - December 20, 2008

David Korty, Paintings
September 18 - November 1, 2008

Andy Warhol, Photographs
July 10 - August 22, 2008

Jean Conner, Collages
June 13 - July 19, 2008

Dennis Hollingsworth
April 18 - May 31, 2008

Daniel Chavira, Enmascarados
March 15 - April 12, 2008

Christine Nguyen
January 26 - March 1, 2008


Wallace Berman, Photographs and Other Works
November 30, 2007- January 19, 2008

Bruce Conner, Punks and Dead Ashes, Eve-Ray- Forever
October 20 - November 24, 2007

Darren Waterston, Parlor
September - October, 2007

James Nares, New Paintings
July - August, 2007

Carl Andre and John McLaughlin
May 5 - June 30, 2007

Mark Ryden, The Tree Show
March 10 - April 28, 2007

Wally Hedrick, Estate Sale
January - February, 2007


Matthew Brown, Preserve
October - December, 2006

Andy Warhol, Large Scale Black and White Ad Paintings
September - October, 2006

John Hawke, Supervisors
July - August, 2006

Bruce Cohen, New Paintings
June - July, 2006

Reed Danziger, New Paintings
April - June, 2006

Rough Trade
March 18 - April 22, 2006

January - March, 2006


Will Cotton, Paintings and works on paper
November - December, 2005

England, France, Germany
September - October, 2005

Guy Limone
July - August, 2005

Mark Innerst, Paintings and works on paper
June 2005

Emily Feather and Saul Fletcher
April - May, 2005

Darren Waterston, New Paintings
February - March, 2005

Martin Assig
January 2005


Cy Twombly and Jean Michel Basquiat
October - December

Katy Grannan
September - October

Penelope Gottlieb
July - August

Michael Minelli

Walton Ford

Bruce Conner
March - April

Maureen Gallace