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
at LACMA
Jessica Simmons
Launch Party Carla Issue 6
Exquisite L.A.
Featuring:
Analia Saban
Ry Rocklen
Sarah Cain
Intro by Claressinka Anderson
Portraits by Joe Pugliese
Reviews:
Made in L.A. 2016
Doug Aitken Electric Earth
Mertzbau

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
Non-Fiction
at The Underground Museum
Catherine Wagley
The Art of Birth Carmen Winant
Escape from Bunker Hill
John Knight
at REDCAT
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.
Featuring:
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
Reconsidering
Marva Marrow's
Inside the L.A. Artist
Anthony Pearson
Mystery Science Thater
Diana Thater
at LACMA
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
F.B.I.
at Arturo Bandini
Lindsay Preston Zappas
Women Talking About Barney Catherine Wagley
Lingua Ignota
Faith Wilding
at The Armory Center
for the Arts
and LOUDHAILER
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
MEAT PHYSICS/
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
SOGTFO
at François Ghebaly
Jonathan Griffin
#studio #visit
with #devin #kenny
@barnettcohen
Mateo Tannatt
Photographs
Jibade-Khalil Huffman
VESSEL // CINS and
VESSEL // PERF
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
Distribution
Downtown
ARTBOOK @ Hauser Wirth
    & Schimmel
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Los Angeles, CA 90013

Central Park
412 W. 6th St. #615
Los Angeles, CA 90014

CES Gallery
711 Mateo St.
Los Angeles, CA 90021

Cirrus Gallery
2011 S. Santa Fe Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90021

Château Shatto
406 W. Pico Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90015

Club Pro
1525 S. Main St.
Los Angeles, CA 90015

Fahrenheit
2245 E. Washington Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90021

Ghebaly Gallery
2245 E. Washington Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90021

The Geffen Contemporary
    & at MOCA
152 N. Central Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90012

Harmony Murphy
358 E. 2nd St.
Los Angeles, CA 90012

LACA
2245 E. Washington Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90021

MAMA
1242 Palmetto St.
Los Angeles, CA 90013

Mistake Room
1811 E. 20th St.
Los Angeles, CA 90058

MOCA Grand Avenue
250 S. Grand Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90012

Night Gallery
2276 E. 16th St.
Los Angeles, CA 90021

The Box
805 Traction Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90013

Wilding Cran Gallery
939 S. Santa Fe Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90021
Chinatown
A.G. Geiger
502 Chung King Ct.
Los Angeles, CA 90012

EMBASSY
422 Ord St., Suite G
Los Angeles, CA 90012

Human Resources
410 Cottage Home St.
Los Angeles CA, 90012

Ooga Booga
943 N. Broadway
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Mid-City
1301PE
6150 Wilshire Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90048

Chainlink Gallery
1051 S. Fairfax Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90019

Commonwealth and Council
3006 W. 7th St. #220
Los Angeles CA 90005

David Kordansky Gallery
5130 W. Edgewood Pl.
Los Angeles, CA 90019

HILDE
4727 W. Washington
Los Angeles, CA 90016

JOAN
4300 W. Jefferson Blvd. #1
Los Angeles, CA 90016

Kayne Griffin Corcoran
1201 S. La Brea Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90019

ltd Los Angeles
1119 S. La Brea Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90019

Marc Foxx
6150 Wilshire Blvd. #5
Los Angeles, CA 90048

Martos Gallery
3315 W. Washington Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90018

Ochi Projects
3301 W. Washington Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90018

The Landing
5118 W. Jefferson Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90016

Park View
836 S. Park View St. Unit 8
Los Angeles, CA 90057

Skibum MacArthur
712 S. Grand View St., #204
Los Angeles, CA 90057

SPRÜTH MAGERS
5900 Wilshire Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90036

The Underground Museum
3508 W. Washington Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90018

VACANCY
2524 1/2 James M. Wood Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90006

Visitor Welcome Center
3006 W. 7th St., Suite #200A
Los Angeles, CA 90005
Culver City
Arcana Books
8675 W. Washington Blvd.
Culver City, CA 90232

Blum and Poe
2727 S. La Cienega
Los Angeles, CA 90034

Cherry and Martin
2712 S. La Cienega Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90034

Honor Fraser
2622 S. La Cienega Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90034

Klowden Mann
6023 Washington Blvd.
Culver City, CA 90232

Luis De Jesus
2685 S. La Cienega Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90034

MiM Gallery
2636 La Cienega Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90034

Roberts and Tilton
5801 Washington Blvd.
Culver City, CA 90232

Samuel Freeman
2639 S. La Cienega Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90034

Susanne Vielmetter
6006 Washington Blvd.
Culver City, CA 90232
Silverlake/ Echo Park
Smart Objects
1828 W. Sunset Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90026

Otherwild
1768 N. Vermont Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90021
Hollywood
Diane Rosenstein
831 Highland Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90038

Family Books
436 N. Fairfax Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90036

GAVLAK
1034 N. Highland Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90038

Hannah Hoffman
1010 Highland Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90038

LAXART
7000 Santa Monica Blvd.
West Hollywood, CA 90038

M+B
612 N. Almont Dr.
Los Angeles, CA 90069

Mier
1107 Greenacre Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90046

Moskowitz Bayse
743 N. La Brea Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90038

Regen Projects
6750 Santa Monica Blvd.
LLos Angeles, CA 90038

Shulamit Nazarian
616 N. La Brea
Los Angeles, CA 90036

Various Small Fires
812 Highland Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90038
Westside
18th Street Arts
1639 18th St.
Santa Monica, CA 90404

Ben Maltz Gallery at Otis
    &College of Art and Design
9045 Lincoln Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90045

Christopher Grimes Gallery
916 Colorado Ave.
Santa Monica, CA 90401

DXIX Projects
519 Santa Clara Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90291

Five Car Garage
(Emma Gray HQ)

Team (Bungalow)
306 Windward Ave.
Venice, CA 90291
Eastside
ACME
2939 Denby Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90039

ESXLA
602 Moulton Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90031

SADE
204 S. Avenue 19
Los Angeles, CA 90031
Boyle Heights
BBQLA
2315 Jesse St.
Los Angeles, CA 90023

Chimento Contemporary
622 S. Anderson St., #105
Los Angeles, CA 90023

Ibid.
670 S. Anderson St.
Los Angeles, CA 90023

Ooga Twooga
356 Mission Rd.
Los Angeles, CA 90033

Parrasch Heijnen Gallery
1326 S. Boyle Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90023

Museum as Retail Space (MaRS)
649 S. Anderson St.
Los Angeles, CA 90023

Nicodim Gallery
571 S. Anderson St.
Los Angeles, CA 90033

Venus Over Los Angeles
601 S. Anderson St.
Los Angeles, CA 90023
Pasadena/ Glendale/ Valley
The Armory Center for the Arts
145 N. Raymond Ave.
Pasadena, CA 91103

Los Angeles Valley College
5800 Fulton Ave.
Valley Glen, CA 91401

Natural
15168 Raymer St.
Van Nuys, CA 91405

The Pit
918 Ruberta Ave.
Glendale, CA 91201

Bradford Kessler
at ASHES/ASHES

ANXIETY SOCIAL CLUB (installation view) (2015). Courtesy ASHES/ASHES, Los Angeles and the artist. Photo: Jeff McLane.

ANXIETY SOCIAL CLUB (installation view) (2015). Image courtesy of the artist and ASHES/ASHES, Los Angeles. Photo: Jeff McLane.

Fantasies of societal ruin are an aesthetic well that never runs dry. Apocalyptic predictions seem inevitable, particularly in the contemporary era—a dire future arcing out of the terror and frustration of the present. Ruminations on the end times saturate artworks with speculative science fiction and predictive environmental disasters. More generally, “Y2K” fears echo back: in the lead-up to the year 1000, similar choirs of doom sounded at the prevailing theological thought that “mundus senescit”, or “the world grows old.”[1]

Bradford Kessler’s Anxiety Social Club at ASHES/ASHES concerned itself with the contemporary terror and vertigo of all-pervading ideology rather than the year 1000s damnings of an angry God. The show’s press release quotes Žižek: “The ruling ideology today is basically something like a vague hedonism with a Buddhist touch.”[2] Kessler stepped on the gas pedal of this notion, portraying a wrecked world that, if not post-apocalyptic, was caught irretrievably in accelerating decay.

Kessler’s graffiti murals, sleek, white mannequins in bullet-and stab-proof body armor, and Photoshopped wall collages were framed as a “Žižekian horror” that “explore[d], if not admire[d], the violent beauty of man’s natural descent into savagery” (emphasis mine). Civilization, what’s left of it in the projected world of Anxiety Social Club, anyway, is framed as an unnatural ascent, resistant to the savagery inherent in both ideology and humanity itself.

Kessler tempered his own work throughout with pieces by a handful of other artists. These flourishes of an almost-Buddhist sort—the relative calm of Ajay Kurian’s Modernist houses-cum-fish bowls, a gently folded pile of fleshy material by Ivana Basic—marked the distorted landscape, offering a teaspoon of contrast amidst Kessler’s harsh aesthetic.

However convincing Kessler’s critique, ham-fisted allusions were the rule: from corrupted innocence in the gun-wielding child of Maybe It’s Only Us, to class in the bloody handprints stalking out of a pair of broken wine glasses in May we live in interesting times. Is the latter an indictment of high society or a Bane-like manifesto to violently dispense with the rich? Whether literal punishment or metaphorical decadence, the viewer was caught between fatiguing mixed messages.

ANXIETY SOCIAL CLUB (installation view) (2015). Image courtesy of the artist and ASHES/ASHES, Los Angeles. Photo: Jeff McLane.

ANXIETY SOCIAL CLUB (installation view) (2015). Image courtesy of the artist and ASHES/ASHES, Los Angeles. Photo: Jeff McLane.

The tangible mania of current events is directly referenced in Michael Assiff’s Vent (Santa Barbara Spill, #ShellNo) (2015), a vinyl print applied to a steel vent grate low on the wall. Its hodgepodge subjects range from the environmental disasters of GMO technology and the Santa Barbara oil spill, to the sociopolitical force of Caitlyn Jenner. Kessler, meanwhile, conjured a tempered foreboding out of a predictable juxtaposition between advertising’s inflationary false promises and a tribal militarism, steeped in Hollywood-style terror.

Despite all of the work having been made in 2015, an uncanny datedness marked the exhibition, echoing out of ‘80s horror touchstones: schlocky special effects (the false flesh of Basic’s piece[3], the Chucky head from Kessler’s In the Belly of the Gar) and the doomsday ideology of Mad Max. Shiny mannequins clad in body armor and bearing clawed weapons (Soft-Bodied Story and David [Trust Fiend Baby]) struck with potent, chilling and understated effect, in sharp contrast to the hysteria of Maybe It’s Only Us’s gun-toting preadolescent; the hybrid human-arachnid motif stamped onto their suits resembled a pseudo-religious totem for a new post-apocalyptic culture. The detritus strewn about their feet presented an image of civilization effectively frozen in decline.

Žižek argues elsewhere[4] that, whatever ideology’s internal contradictions, attempts at resolution only tear away at the distortions of reality that form our very ground of existence. Beyond ideology lies the horror and dissolution of The Real, or what Tricky might call the “Really Real.”[5] In Kessler’s bombed-out world, the instability of ideology has come to fruition, wreaking a havoc survived mainly by insects and caricatures.

The apocalypse is perhaps most potent when it looms on the horizon, less as a reality than a myth. So long as it never actually arrives, its power to evoke and terrify becomes exponentially greater. Kessler’s approach favored visual chaos over a nuanced understanding of entropy, a principle that draws its destabilizing power in part by sharply contrasting with order. This contrast forms a central characteristic of civilization itself—something ignored in Anxiety Social Club’s language of extremes, in which humanity itself, struggling through its own demise, is little more than an eerie silence.

ANXIETY SOCIAL CLUB (installation view) (2015). Image courtesy of the artist and ASHES/ASHES, Los Angeles. Photo: Jeff McLane.

ANXIETY SOCIAL CLUB (installation view) (2015). Image courtesy of the artist and ASHES/ASHES, Los Angeles. Photo: Jeff McLane.

[1] Lacey, Robert, The Year 1000 (Boston: Back Bay Books, 2000).

[2] Žižek, Slavoj, Demanding the Impossible (Cambridge, UK: Polity, 2013)

[3] In my scarred fevered skin you see the end. In your healthy flesh I see the same.

[4] Žižek, in The Sublime Object of Ideology, states: “In the more sophisticated versions of the critics of ideology… the main point is to see how the reality itself cannot reproduce itself without this so-called ideological mystification. The mask is not simply hiding the real state of things; the ideological distortion is written into its very essence.”

Žižek, Slavoj, The Sublime Object of Ideology (London; New York: Verso, 1989), pp. 28.

[5] Tricky, “Really Real.” Mixed Race [CD]. England: Domino, 2010.

2016-07-12 (1)

Originally published in Carla Issue 3.