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Carla Issue 1
I’m not going to use this space to wax on about how this publication is a love letter to the city or to art, or critical writing. Instead, this is an offering to the magnetic, varied, weird, and pulsing artistic production that is happening in Los Angeles right now. This is not new, yet our art world is currently in a dynamic flux, while still retaining a plasticity and an openness that is appealing. A certain roominess. The space that the city embodies offers a sense of freedom—both physical and conceptual—giving L.A. the unique opportunity to ambitiously take risks, including the risk of failure.
Yet, with all its space, the Los Angeles art world is fractured. Criteria for which social group you belong to seems to be informed by which side of the 405, the 101, or the 5 that you reside on. This publication aims to connect our disparate circles; various venues and artists—both young and established—will receive the same level of discourse. Just as Carla will strive to address the multi-faceted condition of our city, our output too will be ambidextrous: Through our website we will cover timely exhibitions and ideas in an accessible and quick format, while the printed quarterly will serve as an archive, the physical page implying a slower pace.
Our contributors are some who you may recognize, and some who you may not. They are writers, artists, curators, and thinkers. Some of them make a living sending their words to publications rooted in other cities; Carla offers an opportunity to localize these talented voices in Los Angeles. L.A.’s maniacally active art scene has plenty more to discuss than what fits into one or two 600 word reviews in the back of a New York or London based art magazine.
Carla is a centralized space for writing that is bold, honest, and approachable, while at the same time rigorous and challenging. “Casual criticality,” I recall pitching to a raised eyebrow in an early planning meeting. Community and criticality should exist in tandem, balancing and challenging one another. Art criticism has always incited and fueled artistic production, not caused it to stagnate. Cliché as it may be, L.A.—with its proximity to Hollywood and the Pacific—risks being reputed as shallow, glitzy, or surface. Discourse in and about our city is vital to not only producing engaging conversations at home, but also insisting on Los Angeles as a major art presence to those abroad. We welcome your generous support, and are proud to introduce Carla to Los Angeles.