Painter of Schmucks
|Tala Madani, Smiley Clean, 2015. The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles. Purchase with funds provided by Anousheh and Ali Razi|
For the first time since the pandemic began, MOCA's two buildings are fully open with regular hours. MOCA Geffen now has four exhibitions, of which the largest is "Tala Madani: Biscuits." The Tehran-born artist, featured in the Hammer's "Made in L.A. 2014," gets a 15-year retrospective.
Madani is a painter of schmucks. Her quintessential subjects are sad-sack male losers, and/or actual penises or phallic symbols. It's a man's man's man's world, and everybody's up to no good. Madani's sexual/scatological concerns have parallels to Paul McCarthy or Mike Kelley, but she is fundamentally a painter, one whose subtlety transcends the naïf-cartoony idiom.
|Tala Madani, A Banana is Speaking, 2017. Private collection|
|Tala Madani, Sea Dick, 2016. Private collection|
|Tala Madani, Abstract Pussy, 2013. Promised gift of George Freeman to Hammer Museum, Los Angeles|
|Tala Madani, Key Words (Christmas Lights), 2022, and Key Words (Candy Shop), 2013. Courtesy of the artist|
|Shit Mom installation view. The video is Shit Mom Animation, 2021|
Two rooms represent poles of contemporary motherhood: Shit Mom (2021) and a group of new paintings with the collective identifier Cloud Mommies (2022).
As organized chronologically by Rebecca Lowery and Ali Subotnick, with Paula Kroll, Madani's work is assured from the outset. Like all good mid-career shows, it leaves you wondering what's next. "Tala Madani: Biscuits" runs through Feb. 19, 2023.
|Tala Madani, Cloud Mommy (Sleep), 2022. Courtesy of the artist|