John Miller
Do it Again!
October 25 - December 20, 2014

Opening Reception:
Saturday, October 25th 6-8pm


Anna Meliksetian and Michael Briggs are pleased to present Do It Again!, a selection of 1980s-era work by New York-based artist John Miller, now shown for the first time.

The exhibition title is a play on 1960’s radical Jerry Rubin’s Yippie manifesto “Do It!” calling for social revolution. Closely related to Miller’s 1986 exhibition at Metro Pictures, Do It Again! consists of five works, two abstract paintings and a wall sculpture, which the artist refers to as “pseudo-abstractions”, along with two “pseudo-socialist realist” figurative paintings. The latter reference a Black Power rally and a fictional rock band, The Carrie Nations, from Russ Meyers’ film Beyond the Valley of the Dolls. This band took its name from the radical 19th century abolitionist Carrie Nation.

Miller cites Sherrie Levine’s 1984 exhibition entitled 1917 as an influence on this body of work. In that show, Levine appropriated from paintings by Egon Schiele and Kazimir Malevich. Notably, these ostensibly opposed works were all produced in the same year. This idea led Miller to juxtapose works in seemingly incongruous (yet perhaps only superficially) styles. This opposition of the figurative and abstract, inversions of each other, creates a dialectical relationship; the discourse between the ostensibly transcendent abstracts and the ostensibly transparent realist images. This dialectic qualifies normative authorship, challenging the notion of a “signature style.” Nonetheless, these abstract paintings mark the onset of what Peter Schejldahl dubbed “John Miller Brown,” a visual trope Miller likens to an unwanted trademark. With its excremental connotations, Miller’s use of brown impasto was initially greeted with chagrin – or even revulsion. Yet, through gradual acceptance, by the 1990’s, it had begun to function like an ordinary trademark.

John Miller (b.1954, Cleveland OH) has exhibited extensively since his first solo show at White Columns, New York in 1982. Major solo exhibitions include a 2011 exhibition at the Museum Ludwig, Cologne in conjunction with his being awarded the Wolfgang Hahn Prize; A Refusal to Accept Limits, a mid-career retrospective at the Kunsthalle Zurich curated by Beatrix Ruf, (catalogue), Consolation Prize at the Morris and Helen Belkin Gallery, University of British Columbia, Vancouver (with Mike Kelley) (cat.), Parallel Economies , Le Magasin, Centre National d’Art Contemporain de Grenoble (cat.), Kunst-Werke, Berlin (with Richard Hoeck) and MoMA PS1, Long Island City, NY. 

Miller’s more recent group exhibitions include Take it or Leave it at the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, Gold at the Bass Museum, Miami Beach, Expo 1, New York: Dark Optimism, MoMA PS 1, NYC 1993: Experimental Jet Set Trash and No Star at the New Museum, New York, Painting Forever, Kunst-Werke Berlin, Carte Blanche, Palais de Tokyo, Paris, and American Exuberance, Rubell Family Collection, Miami (cat.).

Miller is a prolific writer and critic, published in Artforum, BOMB magazine, and Texte zur Kunst as well in monographs on Mike Kelley, Christopher Williams, Dan Graham, Martha Rosler and Adrian Piper. In 2013, JRP Ringier, Zurich and the Consortium in Dijon published a collection of essays, titled The Ruin of Exchange. In 2015, Afterall Books will publish Mike Kelley: Educational Complex, a full-length study of that work. Next year, Miller also has upcoming solo exhibitions at Metro Pictures and Mary Boone Gallery in New York.

Miller lives and works in New York and Berlin and his extensive exhibition and artwork archive can be found online at

Download PDF


Meliksetian | Briggs is pleased to announce the exclusive worldwide representation of the Estate of Bas Jan Ader

Todd Gray
Exquisite Terribleness
September 11 - October 18, 2014

Opening Reception:
Thursday, September 11th 6-9pm


Anna Meliksetian and Michael Briggs are pleased to present “Exquisite Terribleness”, an exhibition of new works by Los Angeles based artist Todd Gray.

Gray’s works are comprised of photographs gathered from his own archive and recontextualized via their juxtaposition with one another and the use of antique frames as a structuring device. The current body of work stems from Gray’s artistic investigation, begun in 1989 with Alan Sekula at Cal Arts for his MFA thesis exhibition, which focused on Gray’s extensive archive of Michael Jackson photographs he took during his time as Jackson’s personal photographer in the 1980’s. Recent conversations with artist Carrie Mae Weems and film-maker John Akomfrah on the subjects of history, the archive, and the legacy of the late cultural theorist Stuart Hall, led to a reinvestigation of the subject.

In this latest body of work, the fourth examination of this archive, Gray has re-imagined and literally re-framed the photos of Jackson together with his documentary work from Ghana, where he maintains a studio, using weathered, antique frames that once hung on the walls of homes in South Los Angeles. Gray resists the viewer’s desire to see a cohesive and complete likeness of Jackson, showing instead detailed fragments of his body, and juxtaposing them against images of African people and Ghanaian architecture. The framed photos, collaged on the wall, overlap and stack on top of one another, scattered high and low, creating a visual cacophony of low relief, photo-sculpture. This resulting work is autobiographical, and uses the language and signifiers of popular culture and spectacle to draw in the viewer, blurring the boundaries of pop culture and fine art, aesthetics and rational structure and refusing to collapse into a simple binary opposition.

Todd Gray (b. 1954) received both his BFA and MFA from the California Institute of the Arts (CalArts). He works in multiple formats including photo-based works as well as sculpture and performance. Recent solo and group exhibitions include the Luckman Gallery, Cal State University, Los Angeles, Studio Museum, Harlem, NY, USC Fisher Museum of Art, Los Angeles, California African American Museum, Los Angeles, Tucson Museum of Art, Detroit Museum of Art, Renaissance Society, University of Chicago among others. Performance works have been presented at institutions such as the Roy & Edna Disney Cal/Arts Theater, REDCAT, Los Angeles, Armory Center for the Arts, Pasadena, and the Japanese American National Museum, Los Angeles. A partial list of Gray’s work in public collections includes the National Gallery of Canada, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, the University of Connecticut and the Studio Museum, Harlem.