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
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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:
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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:
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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/
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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
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Yale University Library (New Haven, CT)

Jimmie Durham:
At the Center of the World

Jimmie Durham, Malinche (1988- 1992). Guava, pine branches, oak, snakeskin, polyester bra soaked in acrylic resin and painted gold, watercolor, cactus leaf, canvas, cotton cloth, metal, rope, feathers, plastic jewelry, and glass eye, 70 x 23.6 x 35 inches. Image courtesy of Stedelijk Museum voor Actuele Kunst (SMAK), Ghent, Belgium. ©S.M.A.K. / Dirk Pauwels.

Knowledge:

  1. The facts, feelings, or experiences known by a person or group of people
  2. The state of knowing
  3. Awareness, consciousness, or familiarity gained by experience or learning
  4. Erudition or informed learning
  5. Specific information about a subject(1)

What do we talk about when we discuss knowledge? These definitions indicate that knowledge is not a unified field, but rather a representation of powerfully divergent worldviews. Knowledge as “specific information about a subject” or “erudition or informed learning” is very different from “the facts, feelings, or experiences known by a person or group of people.” Often treated as a neutral social good, knowledge in our conceptualization of it is in fact a battleground with real ramifications for how we interact with others in our shared environment.

Knowledge as represented in Western culture is notoriously based in metaphors of mastery, rationality, and scientific progress. From Socratic dialogue, which displaced preexisting, more ritualistic ways of understanding the world, to Descartes’ formulation “I think, therefore I am,” contemporary Western forms of knowledge are based in disembodied logic and ratio-centric capacities. Importantly, Western culture naturalizes these modes of knowing by suppressing and erasing other forms of knowledge that are based in more relational modes of understanding and which have the capacity to encompass contradiction, fluidity, and non-linearity.

Jimmie Durham’s retrospective At the Center of the World at the Hammer Museum complicated this idea of knowledge as mastery, demonstrating instead the flaws in Western rationality. The exhibition bore witness to the horrific effects of scientific progress as enacted on this continent, narrated through Durham’s experience and wry sensibility. Formally, the works were alliances between materially, conceptually, and physically disparate objects, creating poetic friction from dissonance. The first cluster of sculptures one saw when entering the exhibition were figures made of street objects, skulls, fur, feathers, shells, gems, wood, leather, and other materials, and included Wahya (1984) and New York Gitli (1984). Simultaneously precious and decrepit, manipulated and haphazard, animal and mechanical, broken and powerful, these demonstrate that physical presence doesn’t have to be unambiguous to be generative.

Durham replaces consonance and logic with incongruity and non-linearity, frequently redirecting scientific narratives and classifications with double entendres, narrative interruptions, and contradictory statements. For example, works such as Sequence of Events (1993) juxtapose onto at panels tattered newspaper pages with pieces of other printed matter and strings of fragmented handwritten statements. It reads, “First, Benito Juarez, A Zapotec Indian, Killed Napoleon’s Emperor of Mexico, Maximilian. Later, I went to Paris.”

Jimmie Durham: At the Center of the World (2017) (installation view). Image courtesy of the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles. Photo: Brian Forrest.

The exhibition also gave form to histories that have been marginalized, suppressed, colonized, or eradicated by violence. Names and voices of historical and literary figures, philosophical concepts, the artist, and the artworks themselves are literally inscribed onto the works. Caliban Codex (1992) is a suite of 12 drawings, each taking the form of a diary entry written by Caliban, the native slave to Prospero in Shakespeare’s The Tempest. In creating a dialogue between Caliban and his imagined diary, Durham makes the viewer a mute witness to Caliban’s heartbreaking attempts to understand Prospero’s disgust toward him and his eventual internalization of Prospero’s hatefulness in the voice he uses with himself.

Durham’s inscribed texts sometimes speak directly to the viewer and/ or are presented as internal dialogues. In The Guardian (free tickets) (1992), a placard on the sculpture declares, “I am a representation of Janus, the two-faced god,” and later, “Sorry folks! This is the artist Jimmie Durham interrupting here. As soon as Janus mentioned opposites, I could see he was going in the wrong direction…May I suggest that we imagine systems in opposition to any concept of opposites?” This approach calls into question the possibility of a master narrative, replacing singularity with multiplicity and multi-directionality. It asks the viewer to constantly reorient herself in relation to who is speaking and what is being presented or embodied.

Durham took a break from making art from 1973–1980 to work as an activist with AIM (American Indian Movement), but he ultimately came back to art making. Perhaps this is because art, as a non-linear, felt, corporeal mode of apprehending the world, posits a different form of knowing against the logic and rationality that is privileged by Western culture. Art encourages knowledge that is embodied, based on looking and listening instead of ratiocinating. A deep engagement with a work of art requires being fully present in one’s body and senses, and allowing thoughts generated by the artwork to come from this place of deep perception.

In many ways, this kind of engagement is akin to ritual. A primary form of the transmission of knowledge in many cultures, ritual requires being present for a multi-sensory experience that occurs at a specific time and place. Rituals are dynamic events that reinforce connection between the participants, the objects used in the ritual, the environment where it takes place, and the bodies of knowledge that the ritual affirms. Both art viewing and art making have aspects of the ritualistic that are not always acknowledged in art discourse.

Durham’s works are rituals in that they are concerned with the energetic transactions that take place during the making. He brings the viewer into his process not only with the physical resonance of his materials, but by also inscribing the voices that inform his many identities: a polyglot, a Native American, an activist, a peripatetic traveller, a poet and voracious reader, and an acute observer of history. Durham’s assemblages make space for this kind of multiplicity, and the different forms of knowledge that are engendered when we inhabit our contradictions.

(1) Definitions from the British Dictionary

Jimmie Durham, Head (2006). Wood, papier-mâché, hair, seashell, turquoise, metal tray, 10 × 16 × 16 inches. Image courtesy of kurimanzutto, Mexico City. Collection: Fondazione Morra Greco, Naples, Italy.

Jimmie Durham, Anti-Brancusi (2005). Cardboard, wood, serpentine stone, rope, ink on paper, 48 × 17 × 31.1 inches. Image courtesy of Michel Rein, Paris.

Jimmie Durham: At the Center of the World (2017) (installation view). Image courtesy of the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles. Photo: Brian Forrest.

Originally published in Carla Issue 8