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Laura Owens at Matthew Marks
On view: October 26, 2019–January 25, 2020
At Matthew Marks in West Hollywood, there’s no art on the walls. Instead, wooden tables throughout the gallery display artist-made books. One table mysteriously hums with electricity, and when a gallerist knocks on the surface, a set of drawers promptly pops open, each one holding a perfectly fit hand-made book. Another table is outfitted with a magnetized surface, causing several books on its surface to appear as if they are floating about. Each book, too, is an intricate delight. One opens to reveal a video of a snail, others unfold like an accordion to display one screen-printed poster. Some contain intricate drawings, while others are simple printed flip books. As a whole, the exhibition feels delightfully whimsical, yet the themes of the books — ranging from bugs, to advertising, to atmospheric optics, to depression — never quite coalesce into an overarching meaning. Still, the mystical tables and hidden surprises in each book are treats to uncover.