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

Layers of Leimert Park

The A+P campus from Leimert Boulevard in Leimert Park, Los Angeles. 16 June 2015. Photo: Natalie Hon.

The A+P campus from Leimert Boulevard in Leimert Park, Los Angeles. Photo: Natalie Hon.

It was a Sunday in June 2014, and a parade in Leimert Park Village was almost starting. There was an array of colorful handmade costumes, prolonged prayer rituals, and men balancing a ghost ship made of fabric over their heads. The celebration, part of an annual Day of Ancestors celebration, was held to commemorate the bodies and spirits of Africans who died in transit during the Atlantic slave trade. The whole affair had an optimistic yet raw and unresolved energy—it was a collaborative performance by members of a community still grappling with how to define the darkest parts of their shared history. When the parade finally did start, its participants stayed together for only the length of a block, passing by a series of buildings that were still mostly nondescript but that, less than a year later, would house a new nonprofit called Art + Practice, or A+P.

A+P opened in February 2015, with a show by L.A.-based Charles Gaines, an artist who concurrently exhibited his elegant, gridded conceptual work from the 1970s at the Hammer Museum. It sounds trite to say that Gaines is finally having his moment. It’s more like the moment is opening up to Gaines, and the way he’s skirted stereotypes over his four-decade career. (Curator Hamza Walker tells a story about a time in 1978 when Gaines was disinvited from a party after the host found out he was black; his systematic art hadn’t looked black.) The text-based series he made for the A+P show was called Librettos. It paired a tragic 1904 opera by Manuel de Falla called La Vida Breve (Life is Short) with 1967 speech by Civil Rights force Stokely Carmichael (originally delivered at a Seattle high school).

In the opera, an aristocrat spurns his nomadic lower-class lover, and in the speech, Carmichael talks about Black Power, self-respect and how important—and difficult—it is to own your freedom. Gaines had Carmichael’s speech printed on sheets of paper yellowed to match the original opera manuscript. The sheets hung inside specially fabricated clear Plexiglas boxes, each three inches deep and three feet wide. The opera score was printed, in red and black script, onto the surface of the boxes. Gaines lined the bars and measures of the score up as well as possible with the transcription of Carmichael’s speech, so the two looked at first glance like they belonged together, which is something Gaines is good at: bringing together components that don’t conventionally go together, and treating them with a seriousness that makes their togetherness seem sensible and even necessary.

Librettos: Stokely Carmichael / Manuel de Falla" (installation view) (2015). Photo: Andreas Branch.

Librettos: Stokely Carmichael / Manuel de Falla” (installation view) (2015). Photo: Andreas Branch.

All the works in Librettos were minimal, consistent, methodical objects, even though the content—a tragedy of classism obscuring a call for empowerment—was complicated and cacophonous. So the exhibition functioned as a carefully produced frame for grappling with complexities that are unwieldy in life and very present in the neighborhood where the work debuted.

Hammer Museum curators Anne Ellegood and Jamillah James organized Librettos as the museum’s first off-site exhibition under a grant to bring programming to South L.A., a grant the museum will use specifically to help with A+P’s exhibitions. But with no admission fees, welcome desk, or stairs to climb, the show had none of the exclusivity of a museum space (though there was at times a suited security guard stationed outside). One of the great benefits of a local art space that’s free from the established weightiness of a major institution is the increased likelihood of conversations about how artworks and art spaces relate to their actual environments. And even before this show opened, it seemed clear the exhibition’s location would, or should, be key to conversations around the artwork being shown.

Leimert Park Village, a triangle-shaped collection of storefronts that all angle toward a park with a fantastically dramatic fountain, occupies an area of Los Angeles formerly known as South Central (City Council voted to change the name “South Central” to “South L.A.” in 2003), but its residents openly defy South Central stigmas.

The arts have been a tool for defiance since the 1960s. “If we were going to be activists, we were going to be activists in the arena of the arts and culture,” says artist John Outterbridge in Jeanette Lindsay’s 2006 documentary, Leimert Park, talking about the feeling in the village in 1967, just after the Watts riots, when white flight was in full force and Leimert Park was becoming an African-American neighborhood. That year the Brockman Gallery (run by two brothers tired of the way the segregated city kept forcing artists of color to its fringes) opened in Leimert. In the nineties, legendary pianist Horace Tapscott would sometimes play at jazz venue The World Stage through the night; underground hip-hop jam sessions called Project Blowed met on the corner of Leimert and 43rd Place. Then the economic slump of the aughts tamped the neighborhood’s energy, so recent announcements of a Metro stop in Leimert Park Village and A+P’s grand opening seemed hopeful.

Artist Mark Bradford, best known as a painter and a 2009 recipient of the MacArthur “Genius Grant,” co-founded A+P, which hosts exhibitions, an artist residency, and a mentorship program for foster youth. One of his two co-founders is philanthropist Eileen Norton—she bought Bradford’s early paintings and used to get haircuts from him when he still worked part-time in his mom’s Leimert beauty salon, which later became Bradford’s studio and is now one of A+P’s exhibition spaces. He met his other co-founder, former Mid-City neighborhood council president, Allan DiCastro (A+P’s founding director), in 1997, the year he got his MFA at CalArts.

Charles Gaines, Librettos: Manuel de Falla / Stokely Carmichael, Set 1 (2015). Printed ink-stained paper and lightjet print on acrylic. Diptych, 36 × 27 × 3 inches each; 36 × 56 × 3 in. overall. Image courtesy of the artist; Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects; and Paula Cooper Gallery, New York. Photo: Josh White.

Charles Gaines, Librettos: Manuel de Falla / Stokely Carmichael, Set 1 (2015). Printed ink-stained paper and lightjet print on acrylic, 36 × 27 × 3 inches each. Image courtesy of the artist, Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects, and Paula Cooper Gallery, New York. Photo: Josh White.

The official narrative behind A+P is that it is Bradford’s way of giving back to the community; the nonprofit’s stated mission is to stress “the cultural importance of art within a larger social context.” Its programming, and the artists A+P has already supported, are making admirable gestures in this direction. But this narrative becomes blurry when considering A+P’s role in its own specific “social context” of the Leimert Park Village, a place where the “cultural importance of art” has rarely been in question though the resources to sustain it have sometimes been scarce.

Part of the blurriness has to do with anxieties about class and gentrification, some of which are amplified by recent exchanges in real estate in the neighborhood. A+P’s founders purchased a large Art Deco building on the corner of 43rd Place and Degnan in 2012, which will eventually be the nonprofit’s main exhibition space, and also, according to public records, purchased a parcel of buildings along Degnan. Tenants in these buildings—including the World Stage and the jeweler, Sika, who have both been there for over 25 years—did not receive renewed leases and have been paying month-to-month (other tenants, like Zambezi Bazaar have moved out). Since Bradford, Norton, and diCastro opted not to comment directly on this situation, to either tenants or the press, a cloud of opacity surrounded their intentions. “Whose interests are really at stake?” asked musician J.J. Kabasa, who frequently performs at the World Stage, after asking of Gaines’ work, “Is it political?”

The work is political, even though it conveys how difficult it can be sometimes to communicate a clear political message. The context of Gaines’ work (within A+P and Leimert Park) made it more politically charged, though, art always exists in loaded contexts. Contexts we discuss with some trepidation because there are so many interests at stake: those of donors, museum administrators, curators, and artists, the interests of audiences and community members often last on the list.

“It is a question of he who has power and he who has control. That’s all it’s about,” says Carmichael at one point during the 1967 speech that Gaines transcribed. On its own, this statement sounds straightforward enough. In Gaines work, this message is obscured by so many other details, like the overlain opera score. The measured, consistent formatting of the words tempt viewers to read them for their rhythm over their meaning. And reading them for rhythm would, ironically, resonate with what Carmichael says at one point: that rhythm is something black Americans have a lot more of than power.

Getting to that part of the speech in the gallery setting, moving through panel by panel to read what each said, required slow progression, learning to see through the layers. Gaines’ systematic approach has always done this: made meaning-making a matter of attention rather than interpretation. In the case of Librettos, spending time with the work felt useful in an uncannily immediate way, like a warm-up for a walk around the block, where signs of Leimert Park’s cultural history contrast with signs of the neighborhood’s impending change.

Public opening of "Charles Gaines: Librettos: Stokely Carmichael / Manuel de Falla" at Art + Practice, Los Angeles. February 28, 2015. Photo by Andreas Branch.

Public opening of Charles Gaines: Librettos: Stokely Carmichael / Manuel de Falla at Art + Practice, Los Angeles. Photo: Andreas Branch.

Originally Published in Carla Issue 2