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

Home
at LACMA
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.
Featuring:
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
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
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at MOCA
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ICA LA
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Night Gallery
The Box
Wilding Cran Gallery
Boyle Heights/ Chinatown
A.G. Geiger
BBQLA
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Charlie James
Human Resources
Ibid Gallery
Ooga Booga
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Museum as Retail Space (MaRS)
Nicodim Gallery
Venus Over Los Angeles
Eastside
AWHRHWAR
67 Steps
ESXLA
Otherwild
SADE
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Skibum MacArthur
Westside
18th Street Arts
Ben Maltz Gallery at Otis 
College of Art and Design
Christopher Grimes Gallery
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Pasadena/ Glendale/ Valley
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ltd Los Angeles
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Elsewhere in CA
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Non CA
Artbook @ MoMA PS1 (Long Island City, NY)
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Metropolitan Museum of Art, Thomas J. Watson Library (New York, NY)
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Pepperdine University (Malibu, CA)
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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)

Doug Aitken at
The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA

Doug Aitken, Black Mirror (still), 2011, video installation with three channels of video (color, sound), three monitors, freestanding room, mirrors. Installation dimensions variable. 13:20 minutes/loop.

Doug Aitken, Black Mirror (still) (2011). Video installation with three channels of video (color, sound), three monitors, freestanding room, mirrors. Installation dimensions variable. 13:20 minutes/loop.

There’s a dreamy international drift to Doug Aitken’s retrospective at MOCA, Electric Earth. In a scene from Black Mirror (2011), Chloe Sevigny, in an ambiguously international hotel room, reads off a list of disparate cities over the telephone—we’re left wondering who is on the other end. The film projects within the interior of a mirrored architectural structure; Sevigny and vague scenes of industry and landscape multiply and, ostensibly, animate the installation’s architectural pretensions. Yet, the end result is something monolithic, even turgid: the polished, reflective surface, the beautifully-rendered ennui, the unspoken and unremarked upon underpinnings of class, access and privilege. In Black Mirror, far-flung locale are material, and then immaterial; nature is affect.

Aitken’s work is sumptuous: beautiful, if cerebral, and comfortable to become lost within. Its comforting qualities are also the rub: appealing dreamscapes that teeter along the twin precipice of esotericism and meaninglessness. Landscape, as a fluid material in the hands of Aitken’s films, is stripped of geographic identity; electricity is harnessed, materials are mined, surfaces polished, ad nauseum. Beauty becomes comfort becomes tedium in this arena of aestheticized privilege.

MOCA’s staging invites an easy meander on the part of the viewer, and usefully contrasts Aitken’s sculptural and two-dimensional works against his many films. Perhaps fittingly then, Aitken’s filmic space is not the
space of action, but, instead, of perpetual transience, trafficking in a time-based monotony reminiscent of 
a strain of ’60s and ’70s European cinema practiced by Antonioni or Ackerman.

In many cases, the entrance of a sole human subject into the frame saps the power of Aitken’s picturesque. The centerpiece and exhibition namesake, electric earth (1999), with its crackling movement and intonation of urban tunnels and neon light, is an exception, in that the lone protagonist has both agency and anonymity (celebrities, like Sevigny, fill many of the acting roles elsewhere). Though electric earth’s central metaphor—dance as transformation—feels strained and overstated at points, it is here that Aitken synthesizes an animistic vision of nature and culture collided, and grown into one another.

Doug Aitken, SONG 1 (still), 2012, outdoor video installation on 360-­‐‑ degree facade of Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC, seven-­‐‑channel composite video (color, sound), 11 projections forming one screen, 34:44 minutes/loop, 50 × 725 ft. circumference (15.2 × 220.9 m circumference), commissioned, with generous production support, by the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution

Doug Aitken, SONG 1 (still) (2012). Outdoor video installation on 360-­degree facade of Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC, seven-­channel composite video (color, sound), 11 projections forming one screen, 50 × 725 ft. circumference. 34:44 min loop. Commissioned, with generous production support, by the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution. 

Contrast this with Song 1 (2012), in which a slow parade of recognizable figures languidly mouth the words to “I Only Have Eyes for You” along a mammoth cylindrical screen (the piece originally screened on the exterior of the Hirshhorn Museum). The specter of celebrity here comes off as distracting at best, grossly ostentatious at worst, and unrevealing all around. To frame those in power with beauty and composition (and flattery) is to underscore one’s own proximity to this power, and the access—to air travel, high-end hotels, modernist domestic architecture— that comes in tandem with it. Though the experience is far from unenjoyable, it is disquietingly commercial in a museum setting.

The flow of raw materials as a substratum of the flow of material goods is— despite its deeply troubling relation to capitalism—an awe-inspiring thing, and has captivated Western culture since the advent of trade and shipping routes. Michel Serres, in his book Statues, makes poignant material out of the flow of the earth into the structures that surround us every- day. (1) Aitken’s slow-pans across the Namib Desert
in diamond sea (1997) revel in picturesque locations showing only the signs of a human touch either long-gone (ruins) or opportunistic (industry). What one is to make of the landscape itself is entirely speculative, both in the open-ended, and oily real-estate senses.

Aitken is, thankfully, no stranger to humor, nor is he un-adept at wringing awe and curiosity out of
a kind of skewed every-day—the low-frequency, high-volume roar of late-’70s concert goers in Hysteria (1998-2000) in that regard occupies a zone of equivalency with the hum of industrial machinery (diamond sea) or the din of tectonic plates shifting far below the earth (Sonic Pavilion, 2009). So it seems the wall text accompanying Sunset (black) (2012) (“this sun never sets or fades”) would ring false, or least ironic, to Aitken himself. Electricity, or access to it, is not, after all, a perpetual state, but one dependent on the cooperative structures of society. Aitken spends quite a bit of time in this exhibition reminding us of the quickened geologic pace of the post-industrial era, in which various geologic eras are regularly intermixed—permanence routinely mined, then undermined. Aitken amply gives the lie to an anachronistic Newtonian notion of stability that occupies our culture like a ghost—or, in other words, Aitken’s work will last as long as the lights are turned on, and as long as there are lights to turn on.

(1) “Flow does the Garonne, flow do the sands with the water and the gravel through buckets, hoppers, cement mixers…finally hardening around metal frameworks in the respective forms of pillars, walls or ceilings, deep piles or vertiginous towers. The water of the river freezes into sand; the mortar sets in order to build the house.” Michel Serres, Statues. Trans: Randolph Burks. London: Bloomsbury Academic, 2015.

Doug Aitken, MORE (shattered pour), 2013, high-­‐‑density foam, wood, mirror, 63 × 48 1⁄

Doug Aitken, MORE (shattered pour) (2013). High-density foam, wood, mirror, 63 × 48 1⁄2 X 7 1/2 inches.

diamond-sea-1

Doug Aitken, diamond sea (still) (1997). Video installation with three channels of video (color, sound), three projections, monitor, chromogenic transparency mounted on acrylic in aluminum lightbox with LEDs, installation dimensions variable. 11:50 minutes/loop.

Installation view of Doug Aitken, Black Mirror, 2011, at Schirn Kunsthalle, Frankfurt, July 9–September 27, 2015, photo by Norbert Miguletz

Installation view of Doug Aitken, Black Mirror (2011), at Schirn Kunsthalle, Frankfurt, July 9–September 27, 2015. Photo:Norbert Miguletz.

 

Originally published in Carla issue 6