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
Museum as Retail Space (MaRS)
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
Christopher Grimes Gallery
DXIX Projects
Five Car Garage
Team (Bungalow)
Pasadena/ Glendale/ Valley
The Armory Center for the Arts
The Pit
Los Angeles Valley College
The Art Gallery @ GCC
1301 PE
Big Pictures Los Angeles
California African American Museum
Chainlink Gallery
Commonwealth & Council
David Kordansky Gallery
Kayne Griffin Corcoran
ltd Los Angeles
Marc Foxx
Shoot the Lobster
Ochi Projects
Park View
The Landing
The Underground Museum
USC Fisher Museum of Art
Visitor Welcome Center
Culver City
Anat Ebgi
Arcana Books
Blum & Poe
Cherry and Martin
Honor Fraser
Klowden Mann
Luis De Jesus
Roberts and Tilton
Susanne Vielmetter
Diane Rosenstein
Family Books
Hannah Hoffman
Nino Mier Gallery
Moskowitz Bayse
Noysky Projects
Regen Projects
Shulamit Nazarian
Various Small Fires
South Bay
Grab Bag Studios
The Torrance Art Museum
Elsewhere in CA
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City Limits (Oakland)
Et al. (San Francisco)
Ever Gold Projects (San Francisco)
fused space (San Francisco)
Gym Standard (San Diego)
Helmuth Projects (San Diego)
Interface Gallery (Oakland)
Jessica Silverman (San Francisco)
Left Field (San Luis Obispo)
San Diego Art Institute (San Diego)
Verve Center for the Arts (Sacramento)
Wattis Institute for Contemporary Art (San Francisco)
Non CA
Artbook @ MoMA PS1 (Long Island City, NY)
Editions Kavi Gupta (Chicago, IL)
Good Weather (North Little Rock, AK)
Nationale (Portland, OR)
Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture (Skowhegan, ME)
Small Editions (Brooklyn, NY)
Space 42 (Jacksonville, FL)
Spoonbill & Sugartown (Brooklyn, NY)
Ulises (Philadelphia, PA)
Libraries/ Collections
Bard College, Center for Curatorial Studies Library (Annandale-on-Hudson, NY)
CalArts (Valencia, CA)
Cranbrook Academy of Art (Bloomfield Hills, MI)
El 123 (México City, MX)
John M. Flaxman Library at SAIC (Chicago, IL)
Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Research Library (Los Angeles, CA)
Los Angeles Contemporary Archive (Los Angeles, CA)
Marpha Foundation (Marpha, Nepal)
Maryland Institute College of Art, The Decker Library (Baltimore, MD)
Metropolitan Museum of Art, Thomas J. Watson Library (New York, NY)
Midway Contemporary Art (Minneapolis, MN)
Pepperdine University (Malibu, CA)
Point Loma Nazarene University (San Diego, CA)
School of the Art Institute of Chicago, John M. Flaxman Library (Chicago, IL)
Scholes Library, NYS College of Ceramics at Alfred University (Alfred, NY)
Skowhegan Archives (New York, NY)
Sotheby’s Institute of Art (New York, NY)
Telfair Museum (Savannah, GA)
USC Fisher Museum of Art (Los Angeles, CA)
Walker Art Center (Minneapolis, MN)
Whitney Museum of American Art, Frances Mulhall Achilles Library (New York, NY)
Yale University Library (New Haven, CT)

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.

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

“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

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

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