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
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at Rainbow in Spanish
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Adrián Villas Rojas
at The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA
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Nevine Mahmoud
at M+B
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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
at The Metropolitan Museum of Art (L.A. in N.Y.)
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Edgar Arceneaux
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Letter from the Editor Lindsay Preston Zappas
Barely Living with Art:
The Labor of Domestic
Spaces in Los Angeles
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
On Eclipses:
When Language
and Photography Fail
Jessica Simmons
Interview with
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Julie Wietz
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at Smart Objects

Paul Mpagi Sepuya
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Ravi Jackson
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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
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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
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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
at LACMA

Analia Saban at
Sprueth Magers
Letter from the Editor Lindsay Preston Zappas
Kanye Westworld Travis Diehl
@richardhawkins01 Thomas Duncan
Support Structures:
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Catherine Wagley
Interview with
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Eliza Swann
Exquisite L.A.
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taisha paggett
Ashley Hunt
Young Chung
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Letter to the Editor
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at Marc Foxx

Jennie Jieun Lee
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Trisha Baga
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Jimmie Durham
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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:
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Todd Gray
Rafa Esparza
Intro by Claressinka Anderson
Portraits by Joe Pugliese
Reviews Creature
at The Broad

Sam Pulitzer & Peter Wachtler
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Karl Haendel
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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
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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:
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Ry Rocklen
Sarah Cain
Intro by Claressinka Anderson
Portraits by Joe Pugliese
Reviews
Made in L.A. 2016
at The Hammer Museum

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
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
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Carl Cheng
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Joan Snyder
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Elanor Antin
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Performing the Grid
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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
Marva Marrow Photographs
Lita Albuquerque
Launch Party Carla Issue 4
Interiors and Interiority:
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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
(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
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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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White Cube, and
Château Shatto
Evan Moffitt
Melrose Hustle Keith Vaughn
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Tongues Untied
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No Joke
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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/
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Travis Diehl
Art for Art’s Sake:
L.A. in the 1990s
Anthony Pearson
A Dialogue in Two
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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
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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)

Meleko Mokgosi at
the Fowler Museum

Meleko Mokgosi, Bread, Butter, and Power (2018) (installation view). Image courtesy the artist, Honor Fraser, and Fowler Museum at UCLA. Photo: Monica Nouwens.

“‘Here,’ she said, ‘in this here place, we flesh; flesh that weeps, laughs; flesh that dances on bare feet in grass. Love it. Love it hard. Yonder they do not love your flesh.’”1

So begins a crucial scene in Toni Morrison’s potent novel Beloved, in which the matriarchal character Baby Suggs delivers a powerful sermon on the necessity of affirmations of self-love. Her words, at once subversive and deeply beautiful, quietly oppose the flagrantly intimate violence that colonial oppression bestows upon the body. These words are several of many referential framing devices present within Meleko Mokgosi’s Bread, Butter, & Power at the Fowler, an expansive exhibition of 21 of the artist’s large-scale paintings that form the most recent chapter in his ongoing series Democratic Intuition. The paintings, which depict subjects from the artist’s native Botswana and directly reference the narrative monumentality of European history painting, deftly interrogate the relationship between art history, postcolonial discourse, feminism, and black subjectivity.

Mokgosi opens the exhibition with more paratext: along with the framed, annotated photocopy of a page from Morrison’s book, there are similarly inscribed photocopies of Nkiru Nzegwu’s 1990 poem “Sisterhood,” and June Jordan’s 1978 “Poem for South African Women,” as well as two posters, with one declaring—next to reiterative images of a raised fist—“They Will Never Kill Us All.” A single shelf presents an array of the artist’s thoroughly trodden research books, spanning tomes of postcolonial theory, African history, and seminal novels chronicling the plights and triumphs of black narrators, including Morrison’s Beloved.

While collectively presented as ephemera—academic and literary marginalia in relation to the meticulously rendered paintings—these references read as footnotes designed to semantically reinforce the works’ deepest layers of theoretical and historical heft. That said, their strategic placement at the beginning of the exhibition infers a narrow pedagogic interpretation of the paintings themselves, hindering the work’s fluid potential to mine these themes without textual support. Nevertheless, despite didactic undertones, Mokgosi’s juxtaposition of image and text catalyzes a curious dialogue between the frame and the page.

The paintings (all 2018) comprise one discrete work, and are seamlessly adjoined on the walls as if to form several long, disjointed film strips. Although each depicts a unique composition, several individual paintings crest beyond the natural frame of the canvas and subtly invade the adjacent image plane. Images vacillate from a distinguished portrait of school-aged girls, a leafy market stand, a young woman in contemplative repose, to men and women in both humble and resplendent interiors, alternately dignified and forlorn. Laden with visual symbols and iconic figures—a portrait of Harriet Tubman, for example, is buttressed by a picture of Angela Davis, a raised fist, and a bust of Mary Seacole—a single image can point to multiple theoretical frameworks, from intersectional feminism to African-American history.

While this cinematic display tactic verges on visual inundation, it echoes Mokgosi’s handwritten notations in that it elevates the importance of the painting’s margins, which morph into compositional focal points. Here, unfinished brushstrokes—forming a patch of azure sky, or a crumpled bed sheet—disperse to reveal raw, unprimed canvas. In these liminal moments, the artist intentionally divulges his forfeiture of traditional white primer, pointedly negating the supposed neutrality of the white canvas. This action, alongside his dexterous use of hues such as raw umber and burnt sienna, imbues a rich luminescence into his depiction of black and brown skin—a gesture that immediately recalls Baby Suggs’ tender, corporeal celebration. Through emphasizing this tonal specificity, Mokgosi issues a critical corrective to the art historical canon by remonstrating whiteness as the representational default.

Functioning as a compositional pause or ellipses, three large canvases of text—one in English, and two in the Southern African language of Setswana—are dispersed throughout the exhibition’s cinematic installation. Hand-painted in a translucent wash of graphite and bleach, these semantic interludes directly thread back to the conceptual and linguistic snares metaphorically cast by the books and prints across the room. In one, permanently stained into the canvas with whitening bleach, Mokgosi transcribes—yet does not translate—a traditional oral proverb that, according to the artist, recounts a phantasmagoric fable. Another, in English and formatted as a formal academic footnote, asserts that democracy is inherently gendered—a written synthesis of Mokgosi’s research (and a thesis conceptualized within his paintings). These almost dueling languages serve a dual purpose: he immunizes one language from symbolic erasure, while employing the other, English—itself a linguistic vestige of colonialism in Southern Africa—to complicate the idealized vision of a political system touted by neo-colonial forces.

Mokgosi ultimately frames the act of painting as an instructive, restitutive, and restorative one—an act akin to language in its ability to craft, frame, and laud that which yearns for historical (and contemporaneous) representation. As such, the exhibition suggests that the texts footnote the paintings, while the paintings themselves—intimate tableaus that unearth poetic moments of individual agency against the backdrop of postcolonial discourse—append the texts. While Mokgosi’s inclusion of an academic index directly encourages cultivation of an intellectually literate viewership, his scholarly generosity verges on overshadowing the transformational language of his paintings themselves. If Baby Suggs’ lyrical sermon points to a radical reclaiming of personal agency—physically, spiritually, psychologically—amidst the violent throes of oppression, then Mokgosi’s painterly impulse echoes this through his attentive, indeed loving, approach to his subjects. This begs a final question: should painting—or should these (exquisitely crafted) paintings—necessitate such textual prerequisites?

Meleko Mokgosi, Bread, Butter, and Power (2018) (installation view). Image courtesy the artist, Honor Fraser, and Fowler Museum at UCLA. Photo: Monica Nouwens.

Meleko Mokgosi, Bread, Butter, and Power (2018). Image courtesy the artist, Honor Fraser, and Fowler Museum at UCLA. Photo: Monica Nouwens.

Meleko Mokgosi, Bread, Butter, and Power (2018) (installation view). Image courtesy the artist, Honor Fraser, and Fowler Museum at UCLA. Photo: Monica Nouwens.

  1.  Toni Morrison, Beloved (New York: Vintage Books, Random House, 1987), 103.