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:
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
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
917 E. 3rd St.
Los Angeles, CA 90013

Baert Gallery
2441 Hunter St.
Los Angeles, CA 90021

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

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
Chinatown
A.G. Geiger
502 Chung King Ct.
Los Angeles, CA 90012

Charlie James
969 Chung King Rd.
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

Big Pictures Los Angeles
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

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

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

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
Anat Ebgi
2660 S. La Cienega Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90034

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
67 Steps
2163 Princeton Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90026

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

Dan Levenson Interview

1 SKZ Painting Storage Cabinet and 2A0 Size Black Monochrome (2011), painted plywood cabinet, oil on linen paintings, 72 x 48 x 36 inches. Image courtesy of the artist. Photo: Dan Levenson.

1
SKZ Painting Storage Cabinet and 2A0 Size Black Monochrome (2011), painted plywood cabinet, oil on linen paintings, 72 x 48 x 36 inches. Image courtesy of the artist. Photo: Dan Levenson.

I recently sat down with Dan Levenson in his Glassell Park studio as he prepared for his upcoming solo show at Susanne Vielmetter Projects. Levenson has fabricated, in the most inventive sense, a fictional art school, The State Art Academy, Zurich or SKZ–it’s Swiss-German acronym. The academy provides much of the context for his extensive body of work. His paintings are named after students in attendance at the art academy. He also creates the wooden lockers to house student work and shipping crates for when the students are ready to enter the global art market. There are many layers to Dan’s work, and there were just as many in our conversation as we touched on topics ranging from academia and institutional critique to the metric system and Martin Kippenberger.

Barnett Cohen: Much of your work, your paintings and sculptures, stem directly and specifically from your imagined art school, The State Art Academy of Zürich, complete with students, a curriculum, and a prefered brand of cigarettes. How and when did you arrive at the idea for the school?

Dan Levenson: It started when I was an undergraduate at Oberlin College joking with some friends about how art students are fetishized. That there’s something pornographic about art students and art stars—kind of grimy geniuses. Students have 12 to 24 months after graduating from MFA programs to capitalize on their status as shiny new commodities. Artists are constantly being produced as new, interesting, sexy…

BC: Emerging.

DL: Emerging. I feel like young artists often don’t have a chance to develop, and so the artists, the artwork, and the thinking are undeveloped.

BC: Why set the State Art Academy in Switzerland?

DL: I needed a fictional setting for the school. I needed a time and a place. Switzerland just works in so many ways. It’s sort of bland and generic and modern and you can talk about culture and language and ethnicity and nationality and even race without offending anybody. Those are things that I wanted to talk about because those are absolutely things that construct artists.

BC: Do the materiality of the paintings and sculptural work reference a particular time period?

DL: The paintings look old and damaged because of the narrative aspect that underlies the work: a group of Swiss artists emerged from the SKZ, an art school that emphasized formal rather than subjective concerns. This is, I think, the basic idea of modernism: a search for universals that could be emancipatory; those ideas seems antique now. That is why, in part, the paintings look antique. In my narrative, the SKZ closed or was abandoned in 1999. The paintings, along with some furniture and other artifacts, were recovered from its ruins.

2 “Letzte” Brand Cigarette Pack (2008), silkscreen on paper with cigarettes, 3 1/2 x 2 ⅛ x ¾. Image courtesy of the artist. Photo: Barnett Cohen

2
“Letzte” Brand Cigarette Pack (2008), silkscreen on paper with cigarettes, 3 1/2 x 2 ⅛ x ¾. Image courtesy of the artist. Photo: Barnett Cohen

BC: To what extent do you think of your paintings as props?

DL: The question about (theatrical) props is a very good one. My question in return is to what extent are all paintings theatrical props? If all paintings are theatrical—and the act of “being-an-artist” is just an act or performance—then what becomes of sincerity? Maybe a more honest approach is to admit, right off the bat, that all paintings are in some sense merely theatrical props. We can then get this nagging doubt about authenticity, which has haunted the 20th century, out of the way; not so as to become cynical but so that we can allow absolute sincerity, or commitment, back in.

BC: Do you see your creation of the school as a form of institutional critique?

DL: I love the legacy of institutional critique. It was coined by Andrea Fraser and she inverted the phrase “Critique of Institutions” from Benjamin Buchloh and embodied the legacy that he identified. I think it was an act of genius on her part, and I like that legacy although I am critical of it. Early influences for me were also Hans Haacke and Mel Bochner, and their idea of framing, or being framed. Discrete autonomous art objects are confined to their physical selves and I wanted to create something that could point outside of itself. That first of all points to the institution. The painting on the wall points to the white cube and that points to all kinds of other circuits. That is what I am trying to do.

BC: How far down the fictional rabbit hole have you traveled? What is your role as the artist, the creator, and the fabricator of this narrative?

DL: I like to compare my role to that of the author of a novel. I am not part of the novel and the characters in the novel are absolutely not to be taken as “alter egos.” It’s very important to me that the emphasis in the project remain firmly on the institutions: the art school, the art supply company, an associated art gallery, a cigarette company, etc, and not on any individuals. Names appear only once: as titles of paintings and in lectures that I give, but nothing else can be known about the individual biographies of the students. I am not interested in glorifying the achievements of individuals but only in understanding what circumstances produce individuals and allow—or prevent—individuals from emerging.

3 Tsürisee Logistik Shipping Crate 001 (2015), plywood, paint, hardware, 62.5 x 30.5 x 44 inches. Image coutresy of the artist. Photo: Dan Levenson

3
Tsürisee Logistik Shipping Crate 001 (2015), plywood, paint, hardware, 62.5 x 30.5 x 44 inches. Image coutresy of the artist. Photo: Dan Levenson

BC: With your upcoming exhibition, I am thinking of your shipping crates. You’ve made locker cabinets for the students of SKZ and I wonder if the crates represent an exit from the academy and into world of commerce?

DL: The crates definitely represent globalization. Shipping is the way that crap comes from China to the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. It transforms our lives for better and for worse. That’s what happens in the art world. Perhaps the era of biennales is over, maybe the era of brick and mortar art galleries is over as well. The global art fair circuit is growing more and more intensive. All of this has to do with globalization and its effects on the art world. My fantasy of being an artist is just sitting in my studio and doing my work. When you’re exposed to this giant grinding machine, if you’re going to face it directly, you have to arm yourself somehow and that’s what the shipping crates are for me.

BC: What else are you thinking about or what else is at stake for you on the eve of your debut?

DL: I have had the good fortune of being totally unsuccessful for eighteen years since finishing my MFA. I have therefore had a lot of time to work in the studio; I have had time to develop. At the same time, I feel completely blindsided by the upcoming show. It’s just scary to suddenly be exposed to the market, to be exposed to the public, to be answering questions in an interview. Once things are out there, you can’t retract them, you can’t rethink them. And I am someone who overthinks everything.

BC: Given the extent of your practice—the fabrication of the school, and your sculptural and video work—do you still regard yourself as a painter?

DL: Definitely. I have always loved painting. I think it’s one of the deepest ways of addressing representation and materiality. That’s how I started out. However, I didn’t like the idea that as a painter, you’re confined to this rectangle and that’s all you can address. I needed ways to address the larger framework in which paintings happen. When I was in grad school at the Royal College of Art in London, I literally made work about frames and became interested in Haacke and institutional critique.

BC: And through your long body of work, your paintings in particular are highly coherent.  

Dan: Even though I fight against and am critical of it, I understand the need to be coherent and that you have to expose your incoherence over time. Just as there are no individual biographies in my work, my practice as an artist has to be about my work and not about me—not about my personality. I’m boring. Martin Kippenberger could afford to be eclecticist because a cult of personality gave his practice an air of coherence. I am not Martin Kippenberger. I’m not doing coke in motels.

4 Sabine Widmeier (2015), oil on linen, 11.75 x 16.5 inches (A3 size). Image courtesy of the artist. Photo: Dan Levenson 5 A1 Size Painting Storage Box (2014), plywood, hardware, 38 x 18.5 x 28.625 inches. Image courtesy of the artist. Photo: Dan Levenson

4
Sabine Widmeier (2015), oil on linen, 11.75 x 16.5 inches (A3 size). Image courtesy of the artist. Photo: Dan Levenson
5
A1 Size Painting Storage Box (2014), plywood, hardware, 38 x 18.5 x 28.625 inches. Image courtesy of the artist. Photo: Dan Levenson