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
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Object Project Lindsay Preston Zappas, Jeff McLane
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Adrián Villas Rojas
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Nevine Mahmoud
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Radical Women: Latin American Art, 1960- 1985
at the Hammer Museum
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Hannah Greely and William T. Wiley
at Parker Gallery
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David Hockney
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Edgar Arceneaux
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Barely Living with Art:
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Eli Diner
She Wanted Adventure:
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Catherine Wagley
The Languages of
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Lindsay Preston Zappas
L.A. Povera Travis Diehl
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Paul Mpagi Sepuya
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Tactility of Line
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Trigger: Gender as a Tool as a Weapon
at the New Museum
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the Autry Museum
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Women on the Plinth Catherine Wagley
Us & Them, Now & Then:
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Travis Diehl
The Offerings of EJ Hill
Ikechukwu Casmir Onyewuenyi
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Letter to the Editor Lady Parts, Lady Arts
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Broken Language
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Artists of Color
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Anthony Lepore & Michael Henry Hayden
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Home
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Analia Saban at
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Kanye Westworld Travis Diehl
@richardhawkins01 Thomas Duncan
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Young Chung
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Parallel City
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Jason Rhodes
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Letter from the Editor Lindsay Preston Zappas
Generous
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Catherine Wagley
Put on a Happy Face:
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Travis Diehl
The Limits of Animality:
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Ikechukwu Casmir Onyewuenyi
More Wound Than Ruin:
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Jessica Simmons
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Sam Pulitzer & Peter Wachtler
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Karl Haendel
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Wolfgang Tillmans
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Ma
at Chateau Shatto

The Rat Bastard Protective Association
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Letter from the Editor Lindsay Preston Zappas
Kenneth Tam
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Travis Diehl
The Female
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The Rise
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Agnes Martin
at LACMA
Jessica Simmons
Launch Party Carla Issue 6
Exquisite L.A.
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Sarah Cain
Intro by Claressinka Anderson
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Made in L.A. 2016
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Doug Aitken
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Mertzbau
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Jean-Pascal Flavian and Mika Tajima
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Mark A. Rodruigez
at Park View

The Weeping Line
Organized by Alter Space
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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
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Ed Boreal Speaks Benjamin Lord
Art Advice (from Men) Sarah Weber
Routine Pleasures
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Jonathan Griffin
Launch Party Carla Issue 5
Exquisite L.A.
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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:
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at LACMA
Aaron Horst
Informal Feminisms Federica Bueti and Jan Verwoert
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Lita Albuquerque
Launch Party Carla Issue 4
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Char Jansen
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Material Art Fair, Mexico City

Rain Room
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Evan Holloway
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Histories of a Vanishing Present: A Prologue
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Carter Mull
at fused space
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Awol Erizku
at FLAG Art Foundation
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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
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Benjamin Lord
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Char Jansen
How We Practice Carmen Winant
Launch Party Carla Issue 3
Share Your Piece
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Federica Bueti
Amanda Ross-Ho Photographs
Erik Frydenborg
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at Michael Thibault

Fred Tomaselli
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Trisha Donnelly
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Bradford Kessler
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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:
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Tongues Untied
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No Joke
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Body Parts I-V at ASHES ASHES
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Max Maslansky Photographs
Monica Majoli
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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/
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Travis Diehl
Art for Art’s Sake:
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Anthony Pearson
A Dialogue in Two
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Erik Morse
with Alexandra Grant
SOGTFO
at François Ghebaly
Jonathan Griffin
#studio #visit
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Jibade-Khalil Huffman
Launch Party Carla Issue 1
Slow View:
Discussion on One Work
Anna Breininger
with Julian Rogers
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at LACMA

Mernet Larsen
at Various Small Fires

John Currin
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Pat O'Niell
at Cherry and Martin

A New Rhythm
at Park View

Unwatchable Scenes and
Other Unreliable Images...
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Charles Gaines
at The Hammer Museum

Henry Taylor
at Blum & Poe/ Untitled
(L.A. in N.Y.)
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Mark A. Rodriguez
at Park View

Mark A. Rodriguez, Earth Day af (2016) (installation view). Image courtesy of the artist and Park View, Los Angeles. Photo: Jeff McLane.

Mark A. Rodriguez, Earth Day af (2016) (installation view). Image courtesy of the artist and Park View, Los Angeles. Photo: Jeff McLane.

Owning things comes with complications. A certain amount of stuff is required to sustain life, but there’s a point when too much is too much; even necessary things spurn attachment as they break down, go out of style, or decompose. Mark A. Rodriguez’s recent exhibition at Park View embodied the passions and problems of obsolescence, provoking barbed questions about what it means to hold onto things, including art.

Two works containing a few-thousand cassette tapes each addressed these themes most clearly. 1st Gen (2010-2016) and 2nd Gen (2010-ongoing) are sculptures whose primary building blocks are exhaustive collections of Grateful Dead concert recordings. 1st Gen also includes a cleanly designed mahogany shelving unit that holds the tapes, neatly ordering the spine of each tape’s cardstock insert, and shed- ding light on the archival preferences, penmanship, and stylistic tics of the individual collector who catalogued it.

Occupying a middle ground between homespun minimalism, home décor, and luxurious audiophile altarpiece, the piece occupied an entire wall of Park View’s modest apartment setting. The most visually dominant works, meanwhile, were a series of cartoonish, larger-than-life wooden cutouts of flowers painted with menacingly gleeful facial expressions (2015 and 2016) inspired by street-level advertising Rodriguez encountered outside a local garden store. The flowers loomed everywhere, yet 1st Gen was the exhibition’s center of gravity.

On the surface, the piece is a study in the variety of fandom that reveals the fastidious side of a fan base best known for its Dionysian tendencies. As a Deadhead (full disclosure), however, I found myself drawn beyond this sociological facade into thornier territory with concerns about property—intellectual and otherwise.

Parkview-2016-07-12_013_lores_web-6

Mark A. Rodriguez, Earth Day af (2016) (detail). Image courtesy of the artist and Park View, Los Angeles. Photo: Jeff McLane.

The Grateful Dead allowed its fans to record concerts with the proviso that the tapes were not to be commercially distributed. By incorporating them in artworks that bear his name rather than the Dead’s—Rodriguez affixed a carved plaque with his signature and the image
of a rose to the lower right side of 1st Gen’s shelving unit—and by exhibiting it in a gallery where it might be sold, he was calling upon art’s ability to act as a super-efficient conductor of authorship. As in any act of post-Duchampian appropriation, the tapes become, at least temporarily, his own intellectual property. And like the slippery copyright issues that are re-shaping the music business today, their use by Rodriguez provokes questions about how and when artists can ethically absorb each other’s work.

The extremity of Rodriguez’s commitment
 to the project, however, suggested that he is interested in something that goes beyond putting his stamp on the Dead’s legacy. What he has appropriated, finally, are the tapes as containers of music rather than the music itself. Given the warmth of its physical presence, 1st Gen becomes a paean to the importance of real things that can be touched. But considering the time he spent traveling and meeting with tape collectors, as well as the care taken in the construction
 of the shelving, the work’s impact is as a performative and durational—or even devotional—gesture rather than a purely sculptural statement.

This paradox was only emphasized by the subtle presence of 2nd Gen, a work in progress for which Rodriguez is attempting to obtain a recording of every documented show the Dead played during their 30-year career. It includes the many duplicates he amassed while sourcing tapes for 1st Gen—those for which he had no duplicates he spent years dubbing himself—and was installed in several dozen cardboard boxes stacked underneath a table lodged against the gallery’s rear wall. Rodriguez demoted the gallery from fine art space to storage facility. As a result, I felt like I was being asked to exchange the experience of aesthetic pleasure for a sadder meditation on the way possessions pile up as mute witnesses to the passage of time.

Until I consulted the checklist, it hadn’t occurred to me that the table sheltering 2nd Gen, about as featureless an object as one could imagine, was 
an artwork too. On top of Table (2015-2016)—and the related but more diminutive Night Stand (2016), located elsewhere in the gallery— Rodriguez placed several examples of his functional Common Lamp (2015) sculptures, in which brass and copper elements echo the colors and textures of the pennies filling the aluminum pans serving as bases. As inflation takes its course, pennies are increasingly on the verge of uselessness, so that the lamps provide storage for objects whose utility is on the wane.

Seen together these works bring to mind Dieter Roth and his tables and desks, which started out as sites for art making and ended up as art objects. Depending on one’s perspective, this either dilutes value—because anything the artist touches has the potential to become art—or allows it to become a free-flowing force with the potential to imbue common things with something akin to religious energy. In either case, what ends up being shown as art in spaces designated for the purpose are relic- or corpse-like objects that point outward from themselves, toward life and the inevitable processes of decay that delimit it. The quietly radical conclusion here is that art, like life, can never really be contained. What fills our galleries and museums are mere by-products of otherwise ephemeral processes.

Mark A. Rodriguez, Earth Day af, (2016) (installation view). Image courtesy of the artist and Park View, Los Angeles. Photo: Jeff McLane.

Mark A. Rodriguez, Earth Day af (2016) (installation view). Image courtesy of the artist and Park View, Los Angeles. Photo: Jeff McLane.

Parkview-2016-07-25_008_web3

Mark A. Rodriguez, Earth Day af (2016) (installation view). Image courtesy of the artist and Park View, Los Angeles. Photo: Jeff McLane.

Earthdayaf_2016_web-5

Mark A. Rodriguez, Earth Day af (2016) (installation view). Image courtesy of the artist and Park View, Los Angeles. Photo: Jeff McLane.

 

Originally published in Carla issue 6