Kanye Westworld Travis Diehl
@richardhawkins01 Thomas Duncan
Support Structures: Alice Könitz and LAMOA Catherine Wagley
Interview with Penny Slinger Eliza Swann
Exquisite L.A.
Featuring:
taisha paggett
Ashley Hunt
Young Chung
Intro by Claressinka Anderson
Portraits by Joe Pugliese
Letter to the Editor
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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
Generous
Structures
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.
Featuring:
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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
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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
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ARTBOOK @ Hauser Wirth
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2441 Hunter St.
Los Angeles, CA 90021

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Los Angeles, CA 90014

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711 Mateo St.
Los Angeles, CA 90021

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

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406 W. Pico Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90015

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1525 S. Main St.
Los Angeles, CA 90015

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2245 E. Washington Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90021

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2245 E. Washington Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90021

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152 N. Central Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90012

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

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2245 E. Washington Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90021

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1242 Palmetto St.
Los Angeles, CA 90013

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

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250 S. Grand Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90012

Monte Vista Projects
1206 Maple Avenue, #523
Los Angeles, CA 90015

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
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3006 W. 7th St., #220
Los Angeles CA 90005

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447 E. 32nd St.
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Los Angeles, CA 90057

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712 S. Grand View St., #204
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410 Cottage Home St.
Los Angeles CA, 90012

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943 N. Broadway
Los Angeles, CA 90012
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1301PE
6150 Wilshire Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90048

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2424 W Washington Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90018

California African American Museum
600 State Dr.
Los Angeles, CA 90037

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

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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

Ms. Barbers
5370 W. Adams Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90016

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

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6150 Wilshire Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90048

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5118 W. Jefferson Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90016

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5900 Wilshire Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90036

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3508 W. Washington Blvd.
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2660 S. La Cienega Blvd.
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8675 W. Washington Blvd.
Culver City, CA 90232

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2727 S. La Cienega
Los Angeles, CA 90034

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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
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1828 W. Sunset Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90026

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1768 N. Vermont Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90021
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831 Highland Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90038

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436 N. Fairfax Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90036

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1034 N. Highland Ave.
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1010 Highland Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90038

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7000 Santa Monica Blvd.
West Hollywood, CA 90038

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612 N. Almont Dr.
Los Angeles, CA 90069

Mier
1107 Greenacre Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90046

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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
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1639 18th St.
Santa Monica, CA 90404

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9045 Lincoln Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90045

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916 Colorado Ave.
Santa Monica, CA 90401

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

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(Emma Gray HQ)

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306 Windward Ave.
Venice, CA 90291
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2939 Denby Ave.
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602 Moulton Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90031

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204 S. Avenue 19
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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
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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

Carl Cheng
at Cherry and Martin

Carl Cheng, Supply & Demand (1972). Venus flytrap, insects, plastic case, humidifier, wiring, grass, wood pedestal, grow lamps, 47 x 24 x 18.6 inches. Image courtesy of Cherry and Martin, Los Angeles. Photo: Jeff McClane.

Carl Cheng, Supply & Demand (1972). Venus flytrap, insects, plastic case, humidifier, wiring, grass, wood pedestal, grow lamps, 47 x 24 x 18.6 inches. Image courtesy of Cherry and Martin, Los Angeles. Photo: Jeff McClane.

It doesn’t take much to grasp the recent enthusiasm for that cross-section of art, architecture, and design from the late ‘60s and early ‘70s, now codified as hippie modernism. The converging interests in ecology, media, and technology at the heart of the hippie modern corpus provide a compelling antecedent to our own techno-optimism and 21st-century bad trip of impending environmental collapse. Equally, the hippies employed a heightened vernacular aesthetic—prismatic and geodesic—which they often wrought in the materials and processes of consumer commodities, just as the fetish of the digital in much of today’s art frequently entails a fascinated mimesis of current styles of consumption.

Carl Cheng’s ingenious little machines and enclosed ecosystems, on view at Cherry and Martin’s survey of this pretty much-unknown Los Angeles artist’s early work (Nature is Everything – Everything is Nature) would have done just fine in the Walker’s exhibition Hippie Modernism: The Struggle for Utopia. There’s molded plastic, colored Plexi and blacklight—hints of Pop, mod, and psychedelia. There’s organic matter—water, grass, insects, rocks—housed in Space Age dioramas, glossy little gizmos that evidence Cheng’s time in the industrial design program at UCLA in the mid-‘60s.

There he also studied photography under Robert Heinecken, and the earliest works in the show combine the two disciplines: the artist clipped images printed on photographic transparencies and then vacuum-sealed the cutouts, creating swollen, smooshy forms, arrayed in clear Plexiglass cases. Sculpture for Stereo Viewers (1968)— included in MoMA’s 1970 exhibition The Photographic Object—features an identical pair of cutout pictures of a man holding aloft a vast bouquet of balloons. The figure has been photographed from behind, and one has the urge to peak around and glimpse his face. But the work, exhibited against the wall, has an orientation closer to that of a picture and plays on the seen and unseen, the proximate and distant, two- and three-dimensionality. With images filtered through successive layers of transparent plastic, Cheng’s photographic sculptures read as neither exactly photographic nor sculptural, suggesting instead the subsumption of content and form within a kind of McLuhanite televisual media ecology.

Nature is Everything - Everything is Nature' (installation view) (2016). Image courtesy of Cherry and Martin, Los Angeles. Photo: Jeff McClane.

Nature is Everything – Everything is Nature (installation view) (2016). Image courtesy of Cherry and Martin, Los Angeles. Photo: Jeff McClane.

The photo works serve as a prologue to the sculptures that constitute the bulk of the exhibition. In plastics—again, of several varieties—they mimic the look and feel of the era’s highly designed consumer electronics, while enclosing material, and life forms, extracted from the natural world—as if in quotation. Supply and Demand (1972) contains two chambers encased in translucent green Plexi, one a breeding ground for insects, the other a patch of Venus flytraps. A tube connects the two Plexi canopies, the larger of which arches high in the back and slopes down toward the viewer, recalling a turntable dustcover. It’s all set into a dark, dense plastic base from which protrude three thick green switches that look like they came from the control panel of a cartoon rocket ship.

Though we might see these electric-kinetic microcosms as successors in a legacy of mechanical sculpture, they share neither the exuberance of the modernist “machine aesthetic” (for example, Moholy-Nagy’s Light Prop for an Electric Stage, 1930), nor the mordancy of Jean Tinguely’s Metamechanics. Rather, Cheng’s sculptures evince a cool and ambivalent take on the consumer commodities whose forms they assume and distend. Made under his corporate pseudonym, John Doe Co., they come across almost as camp, a mannered performance of commodification and consumption in the age of polypropylene and integrated circuitry. At the same time, he says of his machines that they “model nature, its processes and effects for a future environment that may be completely made by humans.”[1]

But that future doesn’t look so bad. The four Erosion Machines (1969), for example, seem to take pleasure in the malleability of nature. These plastic yellow boxes are divided vertically into two compartments, each exposed to the viewer through windows. The left contains a refrigerator-like display of handmade rocks of compacted sediment, covered in Day-Glo paint. They sit on metal racks, bathed from above in black light, while in the adjacent compartment, water continuously cycles through as a rock slowly disintegrates. Or take Emergency Nature Supply Kit (E.N. Supply, No. 271-01) (1971), in which a small base holds a two-inch square patch of grass, fed by a tube, while a cute little speaker, of roughly the same dimensions, issues bird sounds. The highlight of the piece is the intricate and clever packaging and the velvet-lined, pyramidal carrying case: The fate of nature may be in doubt, but the future of the commodity form looks bright. More than ecological warning, Cheng’s sculptures seem to demonstrate Fredric Jameson’s claim that late capitalism marks the “moment of a radical eclipse of nature itself”[2]: the Sublime contained in Plastic.

Carl Cheng: Nature Is Everything – Everything Is Nature runs from May 21–July 30, 2016 at Cherry and Martin (2712 S La Cienega Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90034).

Carl Cheng, Sculpture for Stereo Viewers (1968). Film, molded plastic, wood, Plexiglas, 16.5 x 18 x 8 inches. Image courtesy of Cherry and Martin, Los Angeles. Photo: Jeff McClane.

Carl Cheng, Sculpture for Stereo Viewers (1968). Film, molded plastic, wood, Plexiglas, 16.5 x 18 x 8 inches. Image courtesy of Cherry and Martin, Los Angeles. Photo: Jeff McClane.

Nature is Everything - Everything is Nature' (installation view) (2016). Image courtesy of Cherry and Martin, Los Angeles. Photo: Jeff McClane.

Nature is Everything – Everything is Nature (installation view) (2016). Image courtesy of Cherry and Martin, Los Angeles. Photo: Jeff McClane.

[1] Cherry and Martin Press Release.

[2] Fredric Jameson, Postmodernism, or, The Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism (Durham: Duke University Press, 1991), 34.

 

2016-07-12

Originally published in Carla issue 5