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

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

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

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

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

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
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
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

Interiors and Interiority:
Njideka Akunyili Crosby

Njideka Akunyili-Crosby, 5 Umezebi Street, New Haven, Enugu (2012). Acrylic, charcoal, pastel, color pencil, and transfer on paper, 84 × 105 inches. Collection of Craig Robins. Image courtesy of Tilton Gallery, New York. Photo: Max Yawney.

Njideka Akunyili-Crosby, 5 Umezebi Street, New Haven, Enugu (2012). Acrylic, charcoal, pastel, color pencil, and transfer on paper, 84 × 105 inches. Collection of Craig Robins. Image courtesy of Tilton Gallery, New York. Photo: Max Yawney.

When Njideka Akunyili Crosby’s American husband first accompanied the artist on a family visit to her native Nigeria, he wondered why on earth they had a sink in their dining room. Sometimes, it’s only when someone else points out the oddity of your cultural customs that you question where they’ve come from in the first place. Akunyili Crosby laughs heartily as she recounts the story of her husband’s encounter with the dining room sink. For her family, she tells me, the sink was a symbol of pride and prosperity; a luxurious commodity in a country where you eat with your hands, and where many homes don’t have access to clean running water. A cross-cultural experience gives plenty of opportunities to question the peculiar construction that is individual “culture”: we cobble together personal and national histories, practical needs, and folklore to assemble a sense of self identity.

Njideka Akunyili Crosby grew up in Enugu, Nigeria, and later moved to the US. More recently she resettled again, in Los Angeles, where she currently has her studio. She grew up in a family that was lower-middle class, though they would later become quite wealthy. As she has migrated, between cultures and between economical classes, Akunyili Crosby has been a keen documenter of the objects, interiors and domestic scenes in the places she has lived. Her close-up study of her surroundings then pans outwards in her large-scale, multimedia wall works (many of them as large as 11 feet). By using fragments of her family archives, her own photographs, and hand crafted elements such as Xerox and paint, her collages have a unique texture, that disrupts the idea that globalization brings cultural homogeneity.

The dining room sink makes an appearance in Tea Time in New Haven, Enugu (2013), a 7 x 9.25 foot dining room scene, consisting of painting, collage, pencil, charcoal and transfers on paper. As the work began to travel, Enugu (which refers to the town in which Akunyili Crosby grew up) was mistakenly dropped from its title; consequently, the work circulated throughout the US as if it were an interior scene in New Haven, CT—where the artist had in fact studied. She, of course, was delighted with the misreading, since the work had proved its message by itself. We approximate, and, in doing so, we inadvertently appropriate cultures; we find the things that resonate with our own experiences, and use them to express our agency.

Njideka Akunyili Crosby, Tea Time in New Haven Enugu (2013). Acrylic, collage, colored pencils, charcoal, and transfers on paper. 84 x 111 inches. Collection of Olga Schloss. Image courtesy of the artist. Photo: Jason Wyche.

Njideka Akunyili Crosby, Tea Time in New Haven, Enugu (2013). Acrylic, collage, colored pencils, charcoal, and transfers on paper. 84 x 111 inches. Collection of Olga Schloss. Image courtesy of the artist. Photo: Jason Wyche.

The ritual of taking tea in Nigeria is a vestige of British colonial times, but one that Nigerians have since made their own. Nigerian “tea time” is another way of refering to breakfast, and the table is set and left out all day. “I’m very interested in the habits and cultures we have in the country that are left over from when we were a colony, and in the ways they’ve been preserved and at the same time turned into something else: We’ve inherited a culture that has been pushed on to us, that we had to adopt, not by choice. Yet we’ve been able to find a way to co-opt that and make it our own, to change the inherited tradition to make it authentic to ourselves,” Akunyili Crosby enthuses.

Akunyili Crosby’s work relies on the recognizable, but its originality hinges on a scrutinization of the familiar domestic world. Though Crosby culls from her own constantly growing catalogue of quotidian vessels (that with passing time become archives of social histories), she continually introduces fictional elements into the composition. Brand-name products placed on the table in Tea Time in New Haven, Enugu are to be read like a puzzle: a set of clues as to the time, the place, and the lives of the inhabitants who once animated it. “I want to put the viewer inside the scene, to activate the visual queues and open up a liminal space,” Akunyili Crosby explains.

On the table in Tea Time In New Haven, Enugu is a wrapped loaf of bread. Each side of the loaf is treated in a different medium: one collaged, one painted, and one side transferred. The loaf is wrapped in packaging that reads “Will of God;” This specific packaging is something a Nigerian viewer would recognize. Akunyili Crosby starts to laugh infectiously again as she describes the brand. “In Nigeria we have this kind of humor to religion, to this Pentecostal Nigerian Christianity, that is a mixture of traditional and inherited religious practices. God comes into a lot of the names of products. We’ve taken this humor in the religion really far!”

Then there’s Millo—a refreshment marketed as a sports drink in many countries in Africa. Each country had a unique packaging for Millo, with a different sport depicted on the label: in Nigeria, it’s soccer. In Enugu, alongside a St. Louis Sugar box—the most widely used sugar brand during the ‘80s and ‘90s in Nigeria—there’s a box of Weetabix (a popular, low-cost British version of Australian breakfast cereal Weet-Bix), and a jar of Cadbury’s Bournvita (a powdered hot chocolate drink, first manufactured in England in the 1920s). I grew up in the UK, and both were common everyday products there, but in their Nigerian context, these items denote cultural status and wealth, signifying travel abroad and access to more expensive imported products. “I depict Nigeria as it existed when I left in late ‘90s, which is not the same as Nigerian culture now. A lot of my work is looking at Nigeria then and now, and how things have changed and stayed the same. It is very specific to Nigeria as I understand it and see it: It doesn’t speak to all parts of Africa, or Nigeria. It is my life, my autobiography, my family—but these cultural, economic and geographic experiences talk about something that is bigger than just me: They are a confluence of disparate things.”

Njideka Akunyili Crosby, I Still Face You, (2015). Acrylic, charcoal, colored pencils, collage, and Xerox transfers on paper, 84 x 105 inches. Image courtesy of the artist and Victoria Miro, London. Photo: Jason Wyche.

Njideka Akunyili Crosby, I Still Face You (2015). Acrylic, charcoal, colored pencils, collage, and Xerox transfers on paper, 84 x 105 inches. Image courtesy of the artist and Victoria Miro, London. Photo: Jason Wyche.

The artist’s intense visual mining of interior space is a kind of investigation into how material details define time, place, and people. Akunyili Crosby’s work reveals the way we instinctively identify the nationalities of tourists, walking in the street—especially if they’re from our own country. It’s a game I’ve often played too (the shoes are usually a real giveaway). Consciously or not we’re constantly placing ourselves in relation to the things around us. In The Twain Shall Meet, a work Akunyili Crosby completed last year, the focus is again a table. The piece was painted from a series of photographs the artist took at her Grandmother’s house in Nigeria, after she had passed away. Everything was left as it had been before her death: a thermos, a kerosene lamp, pictures in frames, cups, and bowls. The composition is an altar of everyday life in a Nigerian village. Again, the table is laden with some objects that are familiar to the Western eye, but most that are not. Pan out from the table, and the background suddenly looks discordant. You won’t realize it at first, but the room the table is set in looks too European somehow—the interior architecture is too straight and solemn to come from the same place as the contents of that table. You can’t say why, you can just feel it, (as instinctively as I know how to spot a fellow Brit abroad). When I ask the artist about it, she reveals that the backdrop of the table scene is a replica of a Danish painting (by Vilhelm Hammershøi).

The more time you spend with the works, the more they reveal. The carefully connected strands of fiction, fact, truth, memory and experience that the artist weaves so masterfully together in her work slowly unravel. (The references to the masters of European painting come from Akunyili Crosby’s studies in America, while the table represents her personal ancestry, for example.) With these same gestural quotes Akunyili Crosby also asserts her unique dialogue with the history of painting, which of course has been previously dominated by male painters.

How do we conserve a sense of self, after so many migrations, and with the weight of so many histories, learnt, borrowed and lived? The layers of our lives are literally and fastidiously applied in Akunyili Crosby’s works. Despite all of the external matter they draw in, ultimately they give a very vivid sense of how unique identity construction is. Back on the Skype video on my computer screen, the artist leaps up suddenly and exclaims with excitement as she finds a quote she’s been trying to dig up by Brenda Cooper, from the book, A New Generation of African Writers: “…the massive weight of little things, the small solid possessions… are what embed one in one’s time and place.”[1] Akunyili Crosby sources these little things to create her massive paintings. Though, they embed her like so many of us in our time, in many times and many places, all at once.

Njideka Akunyili Crosby, And We Begin To Let Go (2013). Acrylic, charcoal, pastel, marble dust, collage, and transfers on paper. 84 ×105 inches. Image courtesy of the artist. Photo: Jason Wyche.

Njideka Akunyili Crosby, And We Begin To Let Go (2013). Acrylic, charcoal, pastel, marble dust, collage, and transfers on paper. 84 ×105 inches. Image courtesy of the artist. Photo: Jason Wyche.

[1] Cooper, Brenda. A New Generation of African Writers: Migration, Material Culture & Language. Woodbridge, Suffolk: James Currey, 2008. Print.

2016-07-12 (3)Originally published in Carla Issue 4.