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

Château Shatto
406 W. Pico Blvd.
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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.
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The Geffen Contemporary
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Harmony Murphy
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Los Angeles CA 90005

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HILDE
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ltd Los Angeles
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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
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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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Smart Objects
1828 W. Sunset Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90026

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

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436 N. Fairfax Ave.
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1010 Highland Ave.
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West Hollywood, CA 90038

M+B
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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
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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
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2939 Denby Ave.
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ESXLA
602 Moulton Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90031

SADE
204 S. Avenue 19
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BBQLA
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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

Generous Structures

5

Tarot Class (2016). Image courtesy of The Golden Dome. Photo: Natalia Molina.

We were sitting in a circle in a window filled living room on a hill in Mt. Washington, holding barely filled cups of mugwort tea. We’d distributed the tea sparingly. It had been made under the assumption that no more than 20 people would attend this workshop, called Tactical Magic. Now 32 of us were squeezed into the room, here six days before the 2017 presidential inauguration. “We’re going to take our power back,” said artist Eliza Swann at the workshop’s start, simply setting the agenda. We would “build up to working on the government,” she said, hopefully by year’s end, using marginalized, spiritual, intuitive skill sets as a means of resisting formalized, mainstream authority. This didn’t seem far-fetched. Isn’t the undetermined anathema to the formal?

Saewon Oh, an herbalist and artist co-running this workshop with Swann, had made the tea and now guided us through our experience of it: we smelled it, introduced ourselves to it, slowly drank it, willed ourselves to be carried away by its qualities and then wrote about where our minds went. Mine went to a spare, sun-lit room. It vaguely resembled a lot of things, including a room I stayed in 100 miles north of Paris last summer, on a different kind of search for collective power.

For those who see art as a tool for living and probing, a commodity only circumstantially, the established art world has become an exhausting place. Galleries, academies, and museums seem in cahoots, together fueling the “hyper-professionalization” that Daniel Palmer decried in ARTNews last year. Success means learning to participate in a system of scarcity, branding yourself to appeal to those with the power to pull you onto a gallery roster or award you in other ways (teaching positions, institutional acquisitions, etc.).
 The obfuscating conditions of elite capitalism seem to have soaked through everything. The fact that Steven Mnuchin, who keeps forgetting to disclose additional assets to the Senate on his way to becoming Trump’s Secretary of Treasury, belonged to MOCA’s board is indicative, not anomalous.

“In a moment of monotony and conformity, artists must reclaim their freedom,” wrote Palmer. (1) Except, what good does it do to “reclaim” from a system indifferent to your unmarketable expressions? Instead, it seems, we need to build platforms for protecting, empowering, and sustaining one another’s non-conformity—not just alt exhibition spaces; something more than that. Even if I don’t know how to build them, exactly, I do know such platforms must have intellectual, emotional, and economic dimensions, and communities behind them ready to do the work. A desire for such communities led me to a conference in that small town in northern France.

4

Tarot Class (2016). Image courtesy of The Golden Dome. Photo: Natalia Molina.

The conference called Elsewhere & Otherwise—held at Paf, a cavernous former convent that, as of last year, is collectively owned by 50 people (artists, philosophers, writers, dancers)—started under dim lighting, with conversation aided by champagne. The more comfortable among us offered ideas for how the week could go; the organizers took notes. A casual misunderstanding shaped the second evening. The artist Eroca Nichols said she would be doing Pussy Readings in the Peacock Room (she meant she’d be giving tarot readings for people’s astral pussies and intimate relational lives). But, artists Corazon del Sol and Milena Bonilla thought she meant it literally—and thought, well wouldn’t that be worth while? To read vaginas as if reading palms or tea leaves? And then, somehow we were doing it, me going first because someone had to and because I trusted del Sol and Bonilla to be gentle as they made their first, semi-public foray into vagina-reading.

We wouldn’t be the first to do this—feminists consciousness-raising groups, among others, experimented similarly in the 1970s—though for us
it felt new and impulsive. The readers had been drinking, which made them less inhibited and maybe better at riffing about empowerment, hegemony, and vulnerability, collapsing space between the theoretical and personally sensual in a generous way. It took about 30 minutes for pussy reading
 to somehow become an electric thing, more women volunteering to sit on the shabby chic sofa with legs spread, more participating as readers.

I remember mixing vodka and lavender syrup in the kitchen with a group of men wondering if pussy reading excluded them—it wasn’t meant to, and there was talk of the ethereal pussy and fluidity of the feminine, but no one with non-female genitals volunteered to be read.

Later, there would be a charged discussion about whether the performance had alienated members of the group, those without conventional anatomical pussies specifically, and this would be uncomfortable but worth navigating. It seemed fitting to start off in something of a tangle, with theory, body, language, and sincerity blurred. None of us were experts in this tangle, and uncertainty helps if you really want to form something else.

“It is time for a more radical approach in which the knowledge that is already there can take enough time and space to be rehearsed, shared, articulated, transformed or even discarded,” wrote co-organizers Valentine Desideri and Daniela Bersham in describing the conference. (2)

6

Performance class. Image courtesy of The Golden Dome. Photo: Angel Lauren.

The word radical can sound clear and directed, but what we were doing was more like informed groping. With no designated moderator, the week, full and amorphous, would end up changing as attendees realized what they wanted to contribute. 
Our knowledge pooling would feel 
like an attempt to have something of a shared foundation. It worked as well as it did because the convent was an affordable space, untethered to anything bigger and more established. But part of why we need a “more radical approach” is so spaces 
like this can spread and persist in many elsewheres.

“I want to create a structure
 for life that is in revolt through its generosity,” Eliza Swann said this past October, in an interview for Vice’s Creator’s Project,(3) reminding me of a passage she introduced me to, from Monique Wittig’s relentless novel about foraging feminists: “Every gesture, act, deed, is overthrow, reversal.” (4) How can we afford to
make that true?

When I first met Swann, during consciousness-raising sessions held in a Silver Lake garage in 2014, she was half a year into running her school, The Golden Dome, and struggling with how to fund it. The school, in its aims, in some ways parallels the launch of Black Mountain College and Feminist Art Program—learning together differently in order to support each other and make art differently. It also exists to be non-hierarchical and thus collaborative. “A spiritual organization with a hierarchical structure can convey only the consciousness of estrangement,” says activist Starhawk, quoted on the school’s website.

The Golden Dome, which functions more like an artist-run residency than an actual school, meets twice annually, each session exploring the relationship between art, metaphysics, and spirituality. Swann plans to make it free, if she can. But building an autonomous, alternative platform has practical costs. Ten-day sessions can cost between $450-650, for room and board (in the Mojave desert, or upstate New York). The Mail Order Mystery School costs $125 for a year, relatively reasonable but still an investment for many artists.

The economic conundrum, present everywhere, has its own textures in the realm of art and artists. The art world is an exaggerated microcosm of the wealth gap, the one percent playing an outsized role in keeping institutions and galleries running. Few artists support themselves on their work; many gig, or adjunct, stretched thin. The fantasy that elusive gallery representation 
can save you from economic precarity is more widespread than makes sense, since many artists with galleries 
rarely sell enough to subsist. In the United States at least, where state support for artists barely exists, this fantasy probably represents just one more version of the capitalist American Dream, ingrained so deeply even if we know better.

9

Grace Kredell as “She Who Must Be Obeyed”, Emperor Artist Intensive, Joshua Tree (2016). Image courtesy of The Golden Dome. Photo: Angel Lauren.

There has been a fixation recently, in communities in which
 I traffic, on Italian-born, New York-based scholar Silvia Federici’s book Caliban and the Witch, originally published in 2004 and based on research Federici began alongside her friend Leopoldina Fortunati in the 1980s. Sarah Williams, co-founder of the Women’s Center for Creative Work (another attempt at a sustainable something else), was reading it; an artist friend texted from a bar in Massachusetts that she’d started a Caliban book club; during Elsewhere & Otherwise, we discussed it; at the start of Tactical Magic, Swann paraphrased it; and more. This surge in interest does not make chronological sense—Federici’s book has not been reprinted, nor is it at all an easy read. But it isn’t accidental. I devoured it for the second time in the days after the November election, as if nothing could be more relevant.

Federici, in exquisitely well-researched detail, depicts the transition to capitalism in Europe,
 the Americas, and the colonies as coinciding with a slaughter of alternative sensibilities, particularly those deemed feminine. Women
 who led food revolts, held procreative knowledge, healed, or encouraged community co-dependence: all threatened reproductive and productive labor, and were particularly vulnerable when witch trials began 
in earnest. Federici aimed in writing Caliban “to revive among younger generations the memory of a long history of resistance that today is in danger of being erased.”(5) Younger generations are listening, wanting communitarian models more desperately as nationalist and autocratic leaders rise in misguided response to the estrangements neoliberalism causes.

A week after Donald Trump became president-elect, I received a chain of emails from the group of artists I had met at Paf. The emails had urgency to them. They discussed war against eroticism, intelligence, or any idea of self that defies capitalist drive, and using emotional resilience and spiritual power against hate. “Please let’s imagine and create all the tools we can in these next days,” wrote my friend, Corazon del Sol. (6)

It’s some sick joke that the new U.S. administration moved so quickly toward cutting NEA and NEH funding, potentially killing the little publicly available to support non-product-oriented thinking, making the arts even more dependent on the market. The reductive language of new regimes, here and in Europe, seems poised against historical memory and disinterested in nuance. Forming and preserving spaces for unmarketable experimentation, uncertainties, and close attention to past and present possibilities falls to those of us who believe that art and life bear on each other. This work is already happening, has been happening. But now, liberated from whatever comfort zones we thought we had left, we should be more primed to lean on and glean from each other—or impel ourselves to be primed.

10

Mollie McKinley leading a “Every Day Rituals” class (2014). Image courtesy of The Golden Dome. Photo: Eliza Swann

 

issue-7-cover-icon-web

Originally published in Carla issue 7

(1) Daniel Palmer, “Go Pro: The Hyper-professionalization of the Emerging Artist,” ARTNews, March 9, 2016, http://www.artnews.com/2016/03/09/go-pro-the- hyper-professionalization-ofthe-emerging-artist/.

(2) E-mail to the author and others, January 19, 2016.

(3) Tjana Laden, “A Modern Mystery School Unites Art and Soul in LA,” Vice Creator’s Project, October 28, 2016, http://thecreatorsproject.vice.com/en_au/blog/golden- dawn-mystery-school-los-angeles.

(4) Monique Wittig, Les Guerilleres (Boston: Beacon Press, 1985), 5.

(5) Silvia Federici, Caliban and the Witch: Women, the Body and Primitive Accumulation (New York: Autonomedia, 2004), 9.

(6) E-mail chain forwarded to the author, November 12, 2016.