Don’t Miss: ‘Sexy Xmas VII’ at The Lodge in L.A.

Sexy is in the eye of beholder, and there’s plenty of food for thought at the seventh edition of the Los Angeles art gallery's end-of-year holiday exhibition.

A variety of different types of paintings hanging on a white gallery wall
An installation view of “Sexy Xmas VII”. Daniel Sahlberg / courtesy of The Lodge

As end-of-year group shows go, few have as compelling a title as “Sexy Xmas,” which has been mounted (ahem) annually at Los Angeles art gallery The Lodge for seven years. It’s a Christmas tradition we can get behind—thought-provoking but none-too-serious. A little bit irreverent. In other words, a great escape for those usually merry revelers who find themselves barreling toward Bob Cratchit territory.

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While “Sexy Xmas” is both less sexual and less Christmassy (excluding Sylvie Fleury’s video work Santa Baby) than one might anticipate, it delivers the promised celebration of desire and the holiday spirit, even if it’s not always clear which holiday we’re meant to be celebrating. There’s passion, there’s creativity and there’s a diverse array of artworks—particularly in terms of size. Photographer Edward Cushenberry’s paper Polaroids are sized like the real thing. So are Matthew Rosenquist’s statues of people.

A statue of a woman in a sweater and skirt stands next to two paintings hanging on a light orange gallery wall
Matthew Rosenquist’s “Polka Dot Skirt” (L.) and two works by Zack Rosebrugh. Daniel Sahlberg / courtesy of The Lodge

Sexy, of course, is in the eye of beholder, and there’s plenty of food for thought here in the selection of works by artists including Andrew Orloski, Brian Calvin, Brittany Fanning, Carter Potter, Celia Gullet, Edward Cushenberry, Elliott Green, Jen Hitchings, Louise Langgaard, Matthew Rosenquist, Sis Cowie, Sylvie Fleury, Tess Michalik and Zack Rosebrugh.

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There’s the obvious—but no less delightful for it—sexiness of Cowie’s nudes or Fanning’s Wild Afternoon Nap. One could argue that Rosenquist’s salvaged wood women on phones are sexy in a girl-next-door way. Could Andrew Orloski’s Bounty Hunter be alluding to what we’re thinking it’s alluding to? Given the theme, it seems highly likely.

Three paintings featuring naked women hang on a light orange gallery wall
Sis Cowie’s nudes. Daniel Sahlberg / courtesy of The Lodge

That said, what’s most interesting about the show is that for as often as it’s called “cheeky,” it’s actually very smart. The seventh iteration of “Sexy Xmas” explores desire in its myriad forms, of which there are multitudes. Elliott Green’s dramatic, otherworldly landscapes invite very different interpretations from those suggested by Celia Gullet’s atmospheric geometric shapes or Louise Langgaard’s digital-feeling abstract oils.

Is desire by its very nature fixed in the eye of the beholder? Perhaps that’s the question gallerist Alice Lodge is trying to answer. The show doesn’t exactly feel cohesive, but in the dreary midwinter gallery lull, does it matter? Earlier this month, the Los Angeles art gallery had its opening reception for “Sexy Xmas VII” but there are very few photos because as rumor has it, there was so much merrimaking, attendees’ phones stayed in their pockets.

And that’s exactly the kind of fun we should all be having right about now: unpretentious, casual and without a drop of self-consciousness. Or to put it another way, sexy.

Two paintings, one of an alligator with a sleeping woman and one of an abstract purple landscape, hang on a gallery wall
Brittany Fanning’s ‘Wild Afternoon Nap’ (L.) with Jen Hitchings’ ‘R.H., Arizona (Leo)’. Daniel Sahlberg / courtesy of The Lodge

Sexy Xmas VII” is on view at The Lodge gallery in Los Angeles through January 6.

Don’t Miss: ‘Sexy Xmas VII’ at The Lodge in L.A.