Letter from the Editor Lindsay Preston Zappas
Museum as Selfie Station Matt Stromberg
Accessible as Humanly as Possible Catherine Wagley
On Laura Owens on Laura Owens Travis Diehl
Interview with Puppies Puppies Jonathan Griffin
Object Project Lindsay Preston Zappas, Jeff McLane
Launch Party
Reviews Dulce Dientes
at Rainbow in Spanish
- Aaron Horst

Adrián Villas Rojas
at The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA
- Lindsay Preston Zappas

Nevine Mahmoud
at M+B
- Angella D'Avignon

Radical Women: Latin American Art, 1960- 1985
at the Hammer Museum
- Thomas Duncan

Hannah Greely and William T. Wiley
at Parker Gallery
- Keith J. Varadi

David Hockney
at The Metropolitan Museum of Art (L.A. in N.Y.)
- Ashton Cooper

Edgar Arceneaux
at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (L.A. in S.F.)
- Hana Cohn
Letter from the Editor Lindsay Preston Zappas
Barely Living with Art:
The Labor of Domestic
Spaces in Los Angeles
Eli Diner
She Wanted Adventure:
Dwan, Butler, Mizuno, Copley
Catherine Wagley
The Languages of
All-Women Exhibitions
Lindsay Preston Zappas
L.A. Povera Travis Diehl
On Eclipses:
When Language
and Photography Fail
Jessica Simmons
Interview with
Hamza Walker
Julie Wietz
Reviews Cheyenne Julien
at Smart Objects

Paul Mpagi Sepuya
at team bungalow

Ravi Jackson
at Richard Telles

Tactility of Line
at Elevator Mondays

Trigger: Gender as a Tool as a Weapon
at the New Museum
(L.A. in N.Y.)
Launch Party November 18, 2017
at the Landing
Object Project
Featuring: Rosha Yaghmai,
Dianna Molzan, and Patrick Jackson
Lindsay Preston Zappas
Photos by Jeff McLane
Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA
Reviews
Regen Projects
Ibid Gallery
One National Gay & Lesbian Archives and MOCA PDC
The Mistake Room
Luis De Jesus Gallery
the University Art Gallery at CSULB
the Autry Museum
Letter from the Editor Lindsay Preston Zappas
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

Broken Language
at Shulamit Nazarian

Artists of Color
at the Underground Museum

Anthony Lepore & Michael Henry Hayden
at Del Vaz Projects

Home
at LACMA

Analia Saban at
Sprueth Magers
Letter from the Editor Lindsay Preston Zappas
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 May 13, 2017
at Commonwealth and Council
Reviews Alessandro Pessoli
at Marc Foxx

Jennie Jieun Lee
at The Pit

Trisha Baga
at 356 Mission

Jimmie Durham
at The Hammer

Parallel City
at Ms. Barbers

Jason Rhodes
at Hauser & Wirth
Letter from the Editor Lindsay Preston Zappas
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 February 18, 2017
at Shulamit Nazarian
Exquisite L.A.
Featuring:
Brenna Youngblood
Todd Gray
Rafa Esparza
Intro by Claressinka Anderson
Portraits by Joe Pugliese
Reviews Creature
at The Broad

Sam Pulitzer & Peter Wachtler
at House of Gaga // Reena Spaulings Fine Art

Karl Haendel
at Susanne Vielmetter

Wolfgang Tillmans
at Regen Projects

Ma
at Chateau Shatto

The Rat Bastard Protective Association
at the Landing
Letter from the Editor Lindsay Preston Zappas
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
at The Hammer Museum

Doug Aitken
at The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA

Mertzbau
at Tif Sigfrids

Jean-Pascal Flavian and Mika Tajima
at Kayne Griffin Corcoran

Mark A. Rodruigez
at Park View

The Weeping Line
Organized by Alter Space
at Four Six One Nine
(S.F. in L.A.)
Letter form the Editor Lindsay Preston Zappas
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 Revolution in the Making
at Hauser Wirth & Schimmel

Carl Cheng
at Cherry and Martin

Joan Snyder
at Parrasch Heijnen Gallery

Elanor Antin
at Diane Rosenstein

Performing the Grid
at Ben Maltz Gallery
at Otis College of Art & Design

Laura Owens
at The Wattis Institute
(L.A. in S.F.)
Letter from the Editor Lindsay Preston Zappas
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 L.A. Art Fairs

Material Art Fair, Mexico City

Rain Room
at LACMA

Evan Holloway
at David Kordansky Gallery

Histories of a Vanishing Present: A Prologue
at The Mistake Room

Carter Mull
at fused space
(L.A. in S.F.)

Awol Erizku
at FLAG Art Foundation
(L.A. in N.Y.)
Letter from the Editor Lindsay Preston Zappas
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 Honeydew
at Michael Thibault

Fred Tomaselli
at California State University, Fullerton

Trisha Donnelly
at Matthew Marks Gallery

Bradford Kessler
at ASHES/ASHES
Letter from the Editor Lindsay Preston Zappas
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 Mary Ried Kelley
at The Hammer Museum

Tongues Untied
at MOCA Pacific Design Center

No Joke
at Tanya Leighton
(L.A. in Berlin)
Snap Reviews Martin Basher at Anat Ebgi
Body Parts I-V at ASHES ASHES
Eve Fowler at Mier Gallery
Matt Siegle at Park View
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
Letter from the Editor Lindsay Preston Zappas
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
Launch Party Carla Issue 1
Slow View:
Discussion on One Work
Anna Breininger
with Julian Rogers
Reviews Pierre Huyghe
at LACMA

Mernet Larsen
at Various Small Fires

John Currin
at Gagosian, Beverly Hills

Pat O'Niell
at Cherry and Martin

A New Rhythm
at Park View

Unwatchable Scenes and
Other Unreliable Images...
at Public Fiction

Charles Gaines
at The Hammer Museum

Henry Taylor
at Blum & Poe/ Untitled
(L.A. in N.Y.)
Distribution
Downtown
ARTBOOK @ Hauser & Wirth
Baert Gallery
Cirrus Gallery
Château Shatto
Club Pro
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at MOCA
Ghebaly Gallery
ICA LA
JOAN
LACA
Mistake Room
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Charlie James
Human Resources
Ibid Gallery
Ooga Booga
Ooga Twooga
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Museum as Retail Space (MaRS)
Nicodim Gallery
Ramiken Crucible

Eastside
AWHRHWAR
67 Steps
ESXLA
Garden
Otherwild
SADE
Smart Objects
Skibum MacArthur
Westside
18th Street Arts
Ben Maltz Gallery at Otis 
College of Art and Design
Christopher Grimes Gallery
DXIX Projects
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Team (Bungalow)
Pasadena/ Glendale/ Valley
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The Pit
Los Angeles Valley College
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1301 PE
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H I L D E
Karma International
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ltd Los Angeles
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Shoot the Lobster
Ochi Projects
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USC Fisher Museum of Art
Visitor Welcome Center
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LA><ART
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Moskowitz Bayse
Noysky Projects
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Shulamit Nazarian
Various Small Fires
South Bay
DMV
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The Torrance Art Museum
Elsewhere in CA
Alter Space (San Francisco)
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Et al. (San Francisco)
Ever Gold Projects (San Francisco)
fused space (San Francisco)
Gym Standard (San Diego)
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Jessica Silverman (San Francisco)
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Non CA
Artbook @ MoMA PS1 (Long Island City, NY)
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Space 42 (Jacksonville, FL)
Spoonbill & Sugartown (Brooklyn, NY)
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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)

Interview with Hamza Walker

Demetrius Oliver, Till (2004). Digital chromogenic print, 27 1/4 x 36 1/4 inches. Image courtesy Private Collection.

Hamza Walker is the Executive Director of LAXART, and he co-organized the Hammer Biennial Made in L.A. 2016: a, the, through, only. For 20 years, Walker was the associate curator at the Renaissance Society at the University of Chicago. Here, Walker discusses his comprehensive approach to curating, how he navigates the density of artists working in L.A., and his feedback on the recent controversy over Dana Schutz’s painting of Emmett Till in relation to his 2008 exhibition Black Is, Black Ain’t at the Renaissance Society.

Julie Weitz: Your shows often resurrect histories or highlight artists whose work has been overlooked. How do you think about the past as a contemporary curator?

Hamza Walker: Contemporary art is a very heterogeneous affair. As a result, I don’t have an agenda. The upshot of an exhibition might be an engagement with history or it might involve working with an “overlooked” artist, but that is never the intent.

As for the past, periodization as it applies to the contemporary, for better or worse is a construction and a necessary one. I’d like to think the divide is not so much the living versus the dead as much as it has to do with what is relevant at any given moment. Picabia is dead! Long Live Picabia! Death is a mere technicality when it comes to Picabia.

Or if we were to think of periodization along the lines of a particular medium, say, photography for example, even though there’s the  internet and new media, you have to ask, is that a difference in kind or a difference in degree. To say that we’re still at the origin of photography is to recognize that a nucleus can have a 150-year diameter. The advent of digital technology is just a continuation of the same narrative that’s already been put into place.

JW: So considering traditional mediums in relation to new technologies, are you suggesting that the playing field is level?

HW: Right, you have to keep it level. I don’t privilege a given medium. You want to see as much of what’s on the cultural landscape as possible and not to just focus on the so called new. What’s the job? Looking at art, surveying cultural production of all kinds. There are different paradigms and separate strands but bundled together they create the field as a whole. A botanist doesn’t simply look at the plants they like. Contemporary art is made up of various narratives, lineages, and trajectories.

JW: Was that something you understood from the beginning or did you have to reshape your notion of how to view art, given the fact that there’s a lot of judgment in academia?

HW: Part of learning is the unlearning of taste.

JW: Do you think there’s an element of, say, careerism that actually limits that broadening of perspective?

HW: The title of curator as a profession is interesting to me. I’m too young to use phrases like, “I’m the last of a generation,” but the advent of curatorial studies programs is relatively new. That wasn’t available to me. Part of the professionalization of curating is that it’s now a discipline that you can learn in school. As opposed to before, when it was something you backed your way into particularly with contemporary art.

JW: Now that you’re in L.A., how do you manage the density of artists working here?

HW: In addition to organizing exhibitions, curators survey cultural production. And in L.A. there’s a lot to survey. It can be intimidating. But to use a quintessential SoCal metaphor, I think of cultural production as a wave, one that you don’t survey as much as you surf. And in L.A. the surf’s always up, so dive in. You have to enjoy wiping out. Then you get up and do it again. You’re either compelled by your own curiosity or not. It’s like going into a record store where you’ve never heard of any of the bands. You can continue buying the same type of records, or you can go in and see what’s there. Curating is largely self-directed.

JW: LAXART recently hosted a conversation between you and Darby English about the Emmett Till case and your 2008 exhibition Black is, Black Ain’t at the Renaissance Society [for which Darby wrote the catalog essay, “Emmett Till Ever After”]. The talk took place within your exhibition Reconstitution, which was a recasting of the 1987 exhibition Constitution originally organized on the 200th anniversary of the U.S. Constitution. Given the recent controversy around Dana Schutz’s painting in the Whitney Biennial, your discussion offered up a very different perspective on the subject of Till.

HW: Totally, that was the whole point. Someone asked me, “What does this talk have to do with the exhibition at LAXART?” My answer was EVERYTHING. The Till case was the catalyst for the Civil Rights Movement proper. The Till case was about equality before the law, which is a fundamental tenet of the Constitution, a tenet of which patriots are all too eager to cite. Martin Luther King Jr. was pointedly aware of this when he said, “America doesn’t have to change, it just has to be what it says it is.”

In terms of the Whitney controversy, it’s great that people want to have this discussion, but no one is talking about any of the other work that was produced about the case. Black Is, Black Ain’t was ten years ago, and it featured two photographs that were radically different takes on Emmett Till. One was by Demetrius Oliver and the other was by Jason Lazarus. So we wanted to have a conversation about Till without recourse to the controversy. To have it be more constructive, more casual, and informal. To redirect the discourse.

JW: You spoke about what the case meant to each of you personally and how your perspective changed over time. That was revealing.

HW: Exactly. Jason Lazarus is a white artist who made a work about Till to which Darby and I are completely beholden. For us, there’s a kind of subjective engagement and entanglement with that piece. There’s no right or wrong, or question of who’s entitled or who owns this subject. The Till case is a sociopolitical event in the past, and we have to ask ourselves where we are generationally with respect to the case. What kind of shadow does the case cast in our lifetimes? I wanted to talk about it on wholly different terms, counter to the kind of militancy the Schutz painting invoked. It’s art. Let’s consider it an occasion to be reflexive about our lives and positions.

JW: For me, until the Coco Fusco article was published, I was at a loss for how the argument was being constructed.

HW: Yes. Did you see the way The View handled it?

JW: I was excited that they took it on.

HW: Yeah, Whoopi Goldberg just being Whoopi Goldberg. You know, one of her early skits was this really beautiful piece on Anne Frank. She’s sensitive to understanding that fascism and racial purity aren’t simply a U.S. thing. Anybody calling for the destruction of an artwork, it’s like, no, you just don’t want to go there. Whoopi would know, she’s got that  ethical orientation. Here’s popular media using the case as consciousness raising. For those of us who remember the cultural wars, where people were like, “Burn this! Burn that!” You may not like a work, but do you really want to burn it?

JW: Right. I was surprised that many younger artists were in support of destroying the painting.

HW: It’s misguided. There’s no context, there’s no perspective. If you have a context or perspective, then Dana Schutz is not the enemy no matter what happens. It’s a painting. I felt bad when she said she wouldn’t sell it. I was like, Dana, sell that shit and drop the money on the NAACP. Oddly enough, not selling it further fetishizes it. I couldn’t understand why the protesters were giving that work so much power when Kerry James Marshall was up at The Met. Jack Whitten recently moved from Alexander Gray gallery to Hauser & Wirth; here’s a senior black artist getting paid. Let’s celebrate that. No need to pay Dana Schutz any mind. I say that as a fan of her work.

The issues raised by the painting and the Till case, in general, are important. Questions about the relation- ship between pain and beauty are at the core of theorizing the construction of African-American identity. Same with ownership. This idea of self-possession, the attempt to own oneself wholly and fully, what does that mean? I find these questions far more engaging than the politics of division.

William Pope.L, Skin Set Drawings (2003). Ink and graphite on paper, 20 parts, 8 1/2 x 11 inches each. Image courtesy of the artist.

Glenn Ligon, Warm Broad Glow (2005). Neon installation, 36 x 192 inches. Image courtesy of the artist and Sender Collection, Levin Art Group.

Jason Lazarus, Standing at the Grave of Emmitt Till, The Day of Exhumation, June 1 (2005). Archival inkjet print, 37 x 50 inches. Image courtesy of the artist and Andrew Rafacz Gallery, Chicago.

 

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Originally published in Carla issue 10.