Women on the Plinth Catherine Wagley
Us & Them, Now & Then:
Reconstituting Group Material
Travis Diehl
The Offerings of EJ Hill
Ikechukwu Casmir Onyewuenyi
Interview with Jenni Sorkin Carmen Winant
Letter to the Editor Lady Parts, Lady Arts
Launch Party August 19th at Blum and Poe
Object Project
Featuring: Rebecca Morris,
Linda Stark, Alex Olson
Lindsay Preston Zappas
Photos by Jeff McClane
Reviews Mark Bradford
at the Venice Biennale
by Thomas Duncan

Broken Language
at Shulamiit Nazarian
by Angella d'Avignon

Artists of Color
at the Underground Museum
by Matt Stromberg

Anthony Lepore & Michael Henry Hayden
at Del Vaz Projects
by Aaron Horst

by Simone Krug

Analia Saban at
Sprueth Magers
by Hana Cohn
Kanye Westworld Travis Diehl
@richardhawkins01 Thomas Duncan
Support Structures: Alice Könitz and LAMOA Catherine Wagley
Interview with Penny Slinger Eliza Swann
Exquisite L.A.
taisha paggett
Ashley Hunt
Young Chung
Intro by Claressinka Anderson
Portraits by Joe Pugliese
Letter to the Editor
Launch Party
Reviews Alessandro Pessoli
by Jonathan Griffin

Jennie Jieun Lee
by Stuart Krimko

Trisha Baga
by Lindsay Preston Zappas

Jimmie Durham
by Molly Larkey

Parallel City
by Hana Cohn

Jason Rhodes
by Matt Stromberg
Catherine Wagley
Put on a Happy Face:
On Dynasty Handbag
Travis Diehl
The Limits of Animality:
Simone Forti at ISCP
(L.A. in N.Y.)
Ikechukwu Casmir Onyewuenyi
More Wound Than Ruin:
Evaluating the
"Human Condition"
Jessica Simmons
Launch Party
Exquisite L.A.
Brenna Youngblood
Todd Gray
Rafa Esparza
Intro by Claressinka Anderson
Portraits by Joe Pugliese
Reviews Creature by Thomas Duncan
Sam Pulitzer & Peter Wachtler by Stuart Krimko
Karl Haendel by Aaron Horst
Wolfgang Tillmans by Eli Diner
Ma by Claire de Dobay Rifelj
The Rat Bastard Protective Association by Pablo Lopez
Kenneth Tam
's Basement
Travis Diehl
The Female
Cool School
Catherine Wagley
The Rise
of the L.A.
Art Witch
Amanda Yates Garcia
Interview with
Mernet Larsen
Julie Weitz
Agnes Martin
Jessica Simmons
Launch Party Carla Issue 6
Exquisite L.A.
Analia Saban
Ry Rocklen
Sarah Cain
Intro by Claressinka Anderson
Portraits by Joe Pugliese
Made in L.A. 2016
Doug Aitken Electric Earth

Jean-Pascal Flavian and Mika Tajima
Mark A. Rodruigez
The Weeping Line
Molly Larkey, Aaron Horst,
Keith J. Varadi, Katie Bode,
Stuart Krimko, Matt Stromberg
at The Underground Museum
Catherine Wagley
The Art of Birth Carmen Winant
Escape from Bunker Hill
John Knight
Travis Diehl
Ed Boreal Speaks Benjamin Lord
Art Advice (from Men) Sarah Weber
Routine Pleasures
at the MAK Center
Jonathan Griffin
Launch Party Carla Issue 5
Exquisite L.A.
Fay Ray
John Baldessari
Claire Kennedy
Intro by Claressinka Anderson
Portraits by Joe Pugliese
Reviews Hana Cohn, Eli Diner,
Claire De Dobay Rifelj,
Katie Bode, Molly Larkey,
Keith J. Varadi
Moon, laub, and Love Catherine Wagley
Walk Artisanal Jonathan Griffin
Marva Marrow's
Inside the L.A. Artist
Anthony Pearson
Mystery Science Thater
Diana Thater
Aaron Horst
Informal Feminisms Federica Bueti and Jan Verwoert
Marva Marrow Photographs
Lita Albuquerque
Launch Party Carla Issue 4
Interiors and Interiority:
Njideka Akunyili Crosby
Char Jansen
Reviews Claire de Dobay Rifelj,
Matt Stromberg, Hana Cohn,
Lindsay Preston Zappas,
Simone Krug, Keith Vaughn,
Ikechukwu Casmir Onyewuenyi
Le Louvre, Las Vegas Evan Moffitt
iPhones, Flesh,
and the Word
at Arturo Bandini
Lindsay Preston Zappas
Women Talking About Barney Catherine Wagley
Lingua Ignota
Faith Wilding
at The Armory Center
for the Arts
Benjamin Lord
A Conversation
with Amalia Ulman
Char Jansen
How We Practice Carmen Winant
Launch Party Carla Issue 3
Share Your Piece of the Puzzle Federica Bueti
Amanda Ross-Ho Photographs
Erik Frydenborg
Reviews Eli Diner, Jonathan Griffin,
Don Edler, Aaron Horst
Hot Tears Carmen Winant
Slow View:
Molly Larkey
Anna Breininger and Kate Whitlock
Americanicity's Paintings
Orion Martin
at Favorite Goods
Tracy Jeanne Rosenthal
Layers of Leimert Park Catherine Wagley
Junkspace Junk Food
Parker Ito
at Kaldi, Smart Objects,
White Cube, and
Château Shatto
Evan Moffitt
Melrose Hustle Keith Vaughn
Reviews Benjamin Lord, Aaron Horst, Stephen Kent
Top-Down Bottom-Up Jenny Gagalka
Snap Reviews Aaron Horst, Char Jansen, Randy Rice, Lindsay Preston Zappas
Max Maslansky Photographs
Monica Majoli
at the Tom of Finland Foundation
White Lee, Black Lee
William Pope.L’s Reenactor
Travis Diehl
Dora Budor Interview Char Jensen
Metaphysical L.A.
Travis Diehl
Art for Art’s Sake:
L.A. in the 1990s
Anthony Pearson
A Dialogue in Two
Synchronous Atmospheres
Erik Morse
with Alexandra Grant
at François Ghebaly
Jonathan Griffin
#studio #visit
with #devin #kenny
Mateo Tannatt
Jibade-Khalil Huffman
Ben Medansky
I've been a lot of places,
seen so many faces
Nora Slade
Launch Party Carla Issue 1
Slow View:
Discussion on One Work
Anna Breininger
with Julian Rogers
Reviews Tracy Jeanne Rosenthal, Catherine Wagley, Keith Vaughn, Aaron Horst, Kate Wolf, Mateo Tannatt, Evan Moffitt, Cal Siegel
We’re in This Together Lauren Cherry & Max Springer
ARTBOOK @ Hauser & Wirth
Baert Gallery
Cirrus Gallery
Château Shatto
Club Pro
Dalton Warehouse
Elevator Mondays
The Geffen Contemporary 
Ghebaly Gallery
Mistake Room
MOCA Grand Avenue
Monte Vista Projects
Night Gallery
The Box
Wilding Cran Gallery
Boyle Heights/ Chinatown
A.G. Geiger
Chimento Contemporary
Charlie James
Human Resources
Ibid Gallery
Ooga Booga
Ooga Twooga
Parrasch Heijnen Gallery
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Nicodim Gallery
Venus Over Los Angeles
67 Steps
Smart Objects
Skibum MacArthur
18th Street Arts
Ben Maltz Gallery at Otis 
College of Art and Design
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DXIX Projects
Five Car Garage
Team (Bungalow)
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The Pit
Los Angeles Valley College
The Art Gallery @ GCC
1301 PE
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ltd Los Angeles
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Whitney Museum of American Art, Frances Mulhall Achilles Library (New York, NY)
Yale University Library (New Haven, CT)

Barely Living with Art: The Labor of Domestic Art Spaces in Los Angeles

Alice Lang, Mutha of a mutha of a mutha of a mutha (2017) (installation view). Image courtesy of the artist and Abode Gallery.

As a fetish of the global art and culture media in recent years, Los Angeles is typically narrated as a space of vast possibility. It’s a wide-open field, they say, updating timeworn tropes of westward expansion. Look at the galleries, the outposts from New York and Europe, all these new museums and private collections cropping up. Not withstanding the old lifestyle enticements of surf and sun, or the somewhat less-old attractions of postmodern cliché—Lynchian strangeness, the Hollywood Babylon romance, the endless play of surface and appearance, the story of the openness of L.A. becomes the story of a civilizing mission, the possibility of cultivating the Golden State’s benighted folk and collector base.

But there is a secondary characterization of L.A. openness running through the glut of articles in T Magazine, artnet, ARTNews, Artspace, and the rest, an image of a young, offbeat, endogenous art scene, resourceful and playing by its own rules. The focal point of the latter—in the enthusiastic accounts of out of-town observers and local boosters alike—would appear to be the abundance of alternative exhibition spaces and their, often quirky, ingenuity: vitrines in the lobby of Welton Becket’s Equitable Life Building on Wilshire Boulevard, a tree hollow in Glendale, or up a flagpole in San Pedro (even if only intended to be
viewed on Instagram). 1 Above all, it is the domestic space that is the signal venue for exhibiting art among this scrappy Wild West scene. 2

I’ll leave the task of cataloguing every gallery in an apartment, shed, backhouse, henhouse, doghouse, and outhouse in Los Angeles in 2017 to a hardworking and as yet unborn researcher on a Pacific Standard Time show circa 2050. 3 Nor am I particularly interested in sketching a typology of these spaces. While there are, of course, important differences between, say, Reserve Ames (in a carriage house in West Adams) and Five Car Garage (in a garage attached to a very expensive house in Santa Monica), or between Full Haus (an apartment gallery in Silverlake on the model of the artist-run project space) and Park View (an apartment gallery in Macarthur Park that operates like a conventional commercial gallery, only the gallerist lives there), for our purposes what matters is that all of these are located in or beside or behind residences—that they are all, in some sense, at home.

The proliferation of these kinds of spaces must be seen in part as a product of that influx of white cube galleries and the heightened attention on Los Angeles, an encampment at the margins of the gold rush. At the same time, it appears as an excess of art, as if we have simply outrun the structural capacity of the system of exhibition venues—though it might more accurately be described as an excess of artists: the surplus population of the creative class. These two features, in fact, are related.

The arrival of large- and medium- sized galleries to L.A. and the attendant media frenzy and bout of institution building coincided with the acceleration of the so-called economic recovery. Dating from late 2009, this economic uptick assuaged the collector class, resulting in a bounce in the art market. Of course the recovery period has been marked by an exacerbation of already existing economic tendencies—high unemployment and underemployment in lousy service jobs, low growth and low productivity, and widening inequality. The gains have all gone to the rich—it’s their recovery and they buy art. This of course benefits only the lucky few artists, and very few indeed have been plucked from our plucky local scene by the newly arrived galleries, which instead tend to show work for which a solid market already exists. Most artists here make due working often low-wage jobs around art—artist assistants, gallery assistants, preparators, adjunct professors—or outside of the art world altogether. While the situation isn’t new, the contradictions have been heightened by the effects of the 2007 crisis and its aftermath, which we’ve seen manifest in art in a variety of ways.

One of these, in Los Angeles, has been the explosion of domestic galleries, many of them run by artists, or otherwise by people with some skin in the game—aspiring gallerists, writers, hangers-on. 4 Against the gushing of those roundups of L.A.’s local scene, these spaces tell us perhaps less about community and ingenuity than they do about labor. They are a manifestation of precarity, a spatialization of current conditions of work. The domestic art space, in certain respects, bears a formal resemblance to instances of what they call “the sharing economy,” turning existing subsistence expenditures (rent, mortgage, utilities) into opportunity costs—money into capital. As with Airbnb, the home becomes a site of entrepreneurial activity, whether profit is to be gained from sales or through the more nebulous prospects of developing your personal brand. It’s the Uberization of exhibition making: an entrepreneurialism of scarcity. A far cry from the avant-garde dream of the eradication of the division between art and life, these spaces speak instead to the sinister erasure of the line between labor and leisure, between worklife and homelife, a defining feature of our current regime of self-managing, flexible, and contingent employment.

To be sure, profits as such might be rare at some of these alternative spaces, but the accumulation of cultural capital always has the promise of compensation built in. The example of Alice Könitz, who scored the $100,000 Mohn Award at Made in L.A. 2014 for her exhibition space in a gazebo, the Los Angeles Museum of Art (LAMOA), represents one possibility for a payday. LAMOA, you might object, is a less than-ideal example of a domestic gallery because the gazebo was set up at Könitz’s studio rather than her house. Yet the studio gallery represents a logical extension of the domestic. I live at my studio, you often hear it said, and sometimes it’s not a figure of speech. If the domestic gallery represents the suffusion of work into all corners and all hours of life, then the studio gallery closes the circle. 5 I not only work where I live, I work where I work.

The poet and scholar Jasper Bernes has examined the development of art in the 1960s and ’70s vis-à-vis transformations in labor processes—dematerialization in relation to deindustrialization—arguing that the work of art must be understood in dialogue with work itself. 6 This holds true for the present, of course, and we glimpse the current conditions of labor explicitly addressed in, for example, Josh Kline’s 3D printed sculptures made from biometric scans of service workers and unemployed people, or Asha Schechter’s Coffee Scene (2015), a video which juxtaposes footage from a barista competition with a Slovakian 3D modeler designing a digital cappuccino. 7 But the work of art in the 21st century is defined, above all, by its multiplicity, its protean quality (and of course its status as a luxury good and investment opportunity). An artwork is merely that which is presented in an art context. And these contexts and modes of presentation tell us at least as much as the work of art itself. By no means dominant, the repurposed guestroom or garage is nevertheless a conspicuous aspect of how we now show and look at art, one that speaks not of openness but of closure—a where and how of exhibiting that equally exhibits the effects and responses to the twin barbarities of endless work and worklessness.

Kyla Hansen, Rib Mountain (2016) (installation view). Image courtesy of the artist and Five Car Garage. Photo: Don Lewis.

Daniel Klaas Beckwith, Bird Seed Drawing (2017). Image courtesy of the artist and GAIT LA.

Klaus Weber, Equilibre Trunk (2016). Image courtesy of the artist and Equitable Vitrines. Photo: Jeff Mclane.

Asha Schechter, Coffee Scene (2015) (video still). Digital video, 13’57” minutes. Image: Milos Jakubec works in KeyShot 5 to add reflections and textures to the 3D model.

Originally published in Carla Issue 10.

  1. For a recent example of such a survey, see “Car, shed…elevator? The Los Angeles art spaces proving smaller is better,” The Guardian, June 30, 2017.
  2. For an article promising highlights of the domestic exhibition venues of Los Angeles, see “Living with art: a look at Los Angeles’ domestic gallery spaces,” Apollo, July 15, 2015, https://www.apollo-magazine.com/living-with-art-a-look at-los-angeles-domestic-gallery-spaces/.
  3.  Although not exclusively focused on domestic galleries, Carol Cheh has documented many of L.A.’s alternative spaces over the past few years. See, for example, “25 Alternative L.A. Art Spaces to Check Out Now,” L.A. Weekly, May 3, 2012; “10 L.A. Art Spaces That Change Our Idea of What an Art Space Is,” L.A. Weekly, Nov. 20, 2012; “9 New Alternative Art Spaces in L.A. to Check Out Now,” L.A. Weekly, Mar. 6, 2014; “Run, Los Angeles Artist Spaces,” in In the Canyon, Revise the Canon, ed. Géraldine Gourbe (Lescheraines, France: Shelter Press, 2015), 69-78.
  4.  This might be a good time to point out that I, too, run such a space, called Hakuna Matata, located in my back yard.
  5.  On the effects of endless and ubiquitous work and consumption, see Jonathan Crary, 24/7: Late Capitalism and the Ends of Sleep (London: Verso, 2013)
  6.  Jasper Bernes, The Work of Art in the Age of Deindustrialization (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2017).
  7.  For a reading of Coffee Scene against a complex of lifestyle and labor processes, see Jacob Stewart- Halevy, “We Have Never Been Post-Industrial,” e-flux 84 (September 2017), http://www.e-flux.com/journal/ 84/152033/we-have-never-been-post-industrial/.