Other Voices: Craig Krull

Craig Krull

Krull worked with Almaraz as the director of Jan Turner Gallery and Turner/Krull Gallery from 1988 to 1993. Since 1994 he has represented the estate of Carlos Almaraz at Craig Krull Gallery.

As an art dealer, I have been afforded the rare experience of journeying into the mythical cosmos of two visionary shamans and quintessentially Los Angeles artists, Edmund Teske, originally from Chicago, and Carlos Almaraz, born in Mexico City. These artists did not habitually shut off the lights in the studio at the end of the day; they were always opening the windows and doors of perception. Teske’s poetic darkroom alchemy employed chance techniques that allowed for the Hindu-inspired interplay of natural forces. Almaraz combined childhood memories, visions of a near-death experience, reveries of anthropomorphic animals, and dreams of space travel into fantastical spectacles layered with playful and potent iconography.

Like Chagall, to whom he is sometimes obliquely compared, Almaraz was captivated by theater, and his fanciful ensembles often occupy stages or float about in symphonic swirls. He employed masks and magicians, buffos and lovers, to conjure enchantment. Like Teske, Almaraz assembled and transformed one reality into another. This he often achieved by morphing sequential images in grids so that a jester’s triangular hat became a pyramid, then a volcano, and then the sail on a boat that would drift away. Coping with his fatal illness, he drew rockets streaking to the stars. Edmund Teske and Carlos Almaraz orchestrated metaphysical journeys, divinations, and surreal séances, and I am forever grateful for the trip.

 

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