Critic's Choice Artist Devin Troy Strother's raucous, rollicking extravaganza in Santa Monica
By David Pagel
NOVEMBER 3, 2015
Devin Troy Strother wowed Los Angeles five years ago with a solo debut that linked pleasure and African American imagery.
That was groundbreaking because of the no-holds-barred nuttiness with which Strother approached fun, and also because pleasure had not played a big part in the discourse that had grown up, since the early 1990s, around art made by African Americans.
In 2012, Strother's second exhibition showed him to be a formidable storyteller, a master at broaching such loaded subjects as blood, money and sex ó or race, class and genderó without getting heavy-handed or glossing over the tough stuff. In 2013, he upped the scale and intensified the impact of his art, making laser-cut silhouettes that amplified the sidesplitting hijinks.
All three shows pale in comparison to "They Should've Never Given You ... Money," Strother's fourth solo show in Los Angeles and his best yet. (The title includes a variation on the N-word.) At Richard Heller Gallery, the 29-year-old artist cranks up the volume, filling two rooms with enough art for six or seven exhibitions.
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