Art Design | Josh Kline: Living in the Ruined World
At LAXART in Los Angeles, the artist imagines an unmoored but romantic life in the post-climate change future.
Published March 3, 2022 Updated March 8, 2022
LOS ANGELES — When Josh Kline debuted his “Climate Change” series at the 2019 Whitney Biennial, the slick sci-fi work looked a little smug. The New York-based artist, who at 42 has pieces in the collections of the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Guggenheim and the Museum of Modern Art, is known as a political fantasist with a dyspeptic view of life under capitalism. A recent series of dirty, resin-soaked American flags shaped into televisions, for example, is meant to critique Fox News.
Even so, Kline’s apocalyptic vision of warming seas for the biennial had outdone itself for corporate-chic confidence: a series of eight tinted photos of emblems of U.S. power — San Francisco skyscrapers, the front desk of Twitter’s headquarters, a statue of Ronald Reagan — partly submerged in water in plexiglass cases and lit with medicinal ambers and greens. Pumps recirculated the water over the prints, erasing them slowly, like the washer in a darkroom or a hotel water feature or, maybe, liberal tears. The message was propagandistically clear: climate change is real; the water is rising; turn back the tide while you still can.