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

More
Wound
than Ruin

Center: Leonhard Hurzlmeier, right: Nick van Woert. Human Condition (2016) (installation view). Image courtesy of John Wolf. Photo: Gintare Bandinskaite.

The former Los Angeles Metropolitan Medical Center building is a dusty pink, vaguely brutalist box that quietly, and stagnantly, sits amidst 
the cluttered, imperfectly gridded sprawl of South Central Los Angeles, haphazardly demarcated by the 10 freeway’s horizontal cleaving of the city. Adjacent to the historic West Adams district and within earshot of the freeway’s monophonic din, the hospital primarily tended to residents from its surrounding low-income communities until it swiftly shuttered in 2013 amidst allegations of criminal misconduct. Its neglected patients and workers were hurriedly swept out, seemingly absolved of responsibility for the building’s now-petrified contents.

As a hollowed-out shell situated in a neighborhood increasingly brushed by waves of gentrification, the hospital and its innards were expeditiously acquired by CIM Group, a real-estate investment firm that develops luxury projects in so-called “qualified communities.” (1) John Wolf, a Los Angeles-based art advisor who counts CIM Group as one of his corporate clients, (2) dreamed up plans for the site in advance of its eventual conversion into residential condominiums, and in October and November mounted a large-scale exhibition 
that occupied all but one floor of the derelict hospital. The exhibition spanned the administrative offices, cafeteria, pharmacy, and ICU, as well as the surgical, maternity, and psychiatric wards. Work by 84 artists—including Jenny Holzer, Gregory Crewdson, Matthew Day Jackson, Katherine Bernhardt, Marlene Dumas, and Daniel Joseph Martinez—was dispersed throughout the facility in often bizarre configurations, while the vestigial medical detritus remained largely intact. Whether a speculative vanity project designed to generate hype for luxury condominiums, or an honest attempt at fostering critical discourse by granting artists access to a contentious site, the exhibition’s premise and execution brings to light crucial questions regarding the urgency of fully excavating a site’s context, as well as the complicated politics of romanticizing spectacles of urban abandonment.

The shuttered hospital currently stands as an immoveable, vernacular allegory of institutional failure, avarice, and exploitation, of both the residents it purported to serve, primarily Latinos and people of color, as well as its staff. For years, a federal investigation revealed, former doctors and administrators operated a barbaric scheme that involved illegally performing unnecessary tests and procedures on homeless patients, “recruited” from Skid Row, in a bid to defraud Medicaid and amass insurance payouts. (3) In a similarly sinister collusion, a separate lawsuit also alleged that elderly and mentally impaired patients were virtually imprisoned in the psychiatric ward. (4) Upon litigation, the hospital abruptly folded into its current state—its 212 beds were swiftly emptied of patients and hundreds of people were suddenly unemployed. (5)

Tanya Batura, Human Condition (2016) (installation view). Image courtesy of John Wolf. Photo: Gintare Bandinskaite.

While The Human Condition, both the exhibition’s title and its passively generic conceptual umbrella, aimed to “re-contextualize the hospital’s functional history” and “transcend the building’s original intention” by “invit[ing] artists to explore the corporal [sic] and psychological experience of being human,” (6) it also nonetheless attempted to strategically activate the hospital’s original narrative as a formal element of the exhibition. The language in the press release encouraged both artists and viewers to “explore the dilapidated remains” of a hospital that, according to organizers, “proudly opened in 1971 as the first Black-owned hospital in Los Angeles.” This reads as a couched attempt to frame the building, and by proxy the exhibition itself, as a cultural (and very specifically racial) landmark in West Adams, where, the press release stresses, “years of neglect are now giving way to reinvestment” (7)—a boilerplate sales pitch for developer-fueled gentrification.

Despite Wolf’s encouragement to view this particular hospital as a uniform stage for the multitude of human experiences that a hospital in general can emblematize, his simultaneous focus on the site’s historical narrative and the significance of its West Adams environs are key criteria for evaluating the exhibition’s context. While the Los Angeles Metropolitan Medical Center may indeed have been among the first black-owned hospitals in the city (definitively confirming this has proven difficult), both the Rose-Netta Hospital (8) and the Julian W Ross Medical Center (9) were founded earlier, in 1941 and 1957, respectively. At the time, segregation and racism triumphed in insidiously infiltrating the medical system, and as a result black physicians often fought to establish integrated hospitals in an attempt to patch the distinct dearth of healthcare options afforded to citizens of color.

As has been extensively documented historically, the housing climate proved similarly hostile.
 In 1943, several years after the Rose-Netta Hospital was established nearby in South Los Angeles, 30 
newly settled black homeowners in West Adams were met with bigoted resistance from their predominantly white neighbors, who attempted 
to invoke a restrictive covenant, an exceedingly common practice used 
to “maintain the racial integrity” of white neighborhoods. (10) This particular covenant sought to establish an all-white neighborhood through the year 2053—over one-hundred years into the future. The case was eventually dismissed by the Los Angeles Superior Court, and in 1948 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that restrictive covenants violated the 14th Amendment. (11) After 
a period of white flight, West Adams became a seat of black prosperity until befalling economic despair, largely spurred by the 10 freeway’s dissection of the neighborhood in the 1960s; now, it exemplifies a familiar narrative as a predominantly low-income, minority community on the cusp of gentrification due to astronomical housing prices elsewhere in the city.

Left: Gregory Crewdson, right: Matthew Day Jackson, Human Condition (2016) (installation view). Image courtesy of John Wolf. Photo: Gintare Bandinskaite.

The neglected Los Angeles Metropolitan Medical Center silently floats atop the tumultuous brew of these complex, deeply rooted racial and geographical histories. Nearly four years after the hospital’s demise, the building embodies the aura of a chalky, sickly flush, something that The Human Condition seemed either exploitative of, unaware of, or oddly muted to.

For the exhibition, the surgical, maternity, and psychiatric wards that previously harbored vulnerable and underserved patients stood littered with a random array of humanoid sculptures and clunky equipment: surgical lights, oxygen valves, x-ray illuminators, unidentifiable machines. Walls painted in various shades of institutional pastel supported large-scale paintings that sat perilously close to swollen ceiling panels, some of which had sagged and burst 
from the creeping pressure of errant bulging wires. Dust, iodine stains, and fugitive pills coated sooty linoleum floors amid misplaced installations; cartoonish pain assessment charts, pharmacy slips, and even medical records (a blatant HIPAA violation?) dispersed across unkempt countertops. Several whiteboards still listed the names of patients next to their corresponding bed numbers, and in one room a nurse’s scrawl mundanely memorialized the hospital’s last day in operation: April 8, 2013. “How do you feel today?,” the sign read in mismatched lettering, “Happy and Grateful.”

Throughout this diorama, works of art were physically enmeshed in, yet conceptually isolated from, their surroundings, and with few exceptions, failed to transcend pedestrian interpretations of the site and probe the litany of potential critical inquiries that the hospital and its environs invite. A limited number of works benefitted from this context: Kendall Carter’s installation that featured
a Jim Crow-era sign delineating segregated restrooms functioned as the only work to directly address the presciently raw fallout of systemic racism and institutional failure. On a poetic note, Tony Matelli’s immaculate bronze renderings of weeds and plants—verdant yet rusted fossils sprouting from structural fractures—read as indexical, ruminative monuments to the calcified site. In other cases, the site’s context detracted from otherwise intriguing work: the maternity ward read as an unnecessarily dogmatic setting for Polly Borland’s psychologically arresting images of adult men swathed in infant clothing and engaging in cosplay; Katherine Bernhardt’s agreeably prismatic painting of fruit betrayed a similar sentiment in the context of the hospital’s former cafeteria. Elsewhere, predominantly figurative works squatted amidst the matrix of vacated medical wards,
 and in a didactic reenactment of the exhibition’s thematic conceit, seemed to function solely as surrogates for the former presence of actual people.

Tony Matelli, Human Condition (2016) (installation view). Image courtesy of John Wolf. Photo: Gintare Bandinskaite.

In failing to account for the “specific” in site-specific, the majority of these works instead read as potential props for the exhibition’s de facto subject: the hospital’s uncanny, forsaken setting. An immersive mise-en-scène, this setting was curatorially staged as a singular entropic artwork, ultimately rendering the surrounding work irrelevant. This evident privileging of the site’s physical decrepitude called the veracity of The Human Condition’s narrative into question: the suspiciously clean box of latex gloves, the dusty, jaundiced medical folders, and the perfectly askew furniture and equipment all suddenly functioned as trompe-l’oeil embellishments designed to buttress the mirage of hurried desertion.

Unarguably falling within the purview of so-called “ruin porn,” 
this attempted reincarnation recasts the hospital as an aestheticized—and utterly anesthetized—totem of contemporary urban blight. While the romantic invocation of ruins in poetic and artistic contexts dates back centuries, spanning Renaissance formulations of ruins as fragmented connections to our Classical past, to twentieth century conjurations of ruins as dust-ridden premonitions of our apocalyptic future, the languished Los Angeles Metropolitan Medical Center functions in an entirely different context. The lyrical framing of the hospital as a ruin serves as a pretense for its reality as a site in developmental transition. Despite being treated with a fetishistic romanticism generally reserved for our atrophying remnants of the past, the hospital ultimately represents a vestige of the present—one that simultaneously presages imminent future displacement. This in itself carries with it problematic ethical undertones.

Rather than critically engaging with the site itself, and the innate political and conceptual complexities that this would entail, The Human Condition solely emphasized, and ultimately exploited as spectacle, the hospital’s general state of physical deterioration—rendering the site as 
a content-less formal abstraction primed for occupation by figurative works of art. As a spectacle of present-day urban peril rather than abandonment—from its narrative of criminal negligence to its potential role as a harbinger of dislocation for minority communities—the hospital is ultimately a spectacle of recent suffering; more wound than ruin. Wolf’s curatorial premise not only muted the intersecting narratives 
that underwrite the site’s history, but also passively invoked the notion of black ownership as an identity-based, site-specific selling point for an exhibition that predominantly featured white artists. In doing so, he manages to cajole visitors and collectors (either the culturally curious or the cultural elite) to a site expectant of gentrification by that same demographic.

Polly Borland, Human Condition (2016) (installation view). Image courtesy of John Wolf. Photo: Gintare Bandinskaite.

Christopher Reynolds, Human Condition (2016) (installation view). Image courtesy of John Wolf. Photo: Gintare Bandinskaite.

Polly Borland, Human Condition (2016) (installation view). Image courtesy of John Wolf. Photo: Gintare Bandinskaite.

Marc Horowitz, Human Condition (2016) (installation view). Image courtesy of John Wolf. Photo: Gintare Bandinskaite.

Bettina Hubby, Human Condition (2016) (installation view). Image courtesy of John Wolf. Photo: Gintare Bandinskaite.

Chantal Joffe, Human Condition (2016) (installation view). Image courtesy of John Wolf. Photo: Gintare Bandinskaite.

Originally published in Carla issue 7

(1) CIM Group, Investments: http://www.cimgroup.com/ investments.

(2) Bianca Barragan, “Abandoned West Adams hospital will be transformed into an art gallery,” Curbed LA, Sept. 30, 2016, http://la.curbed. com/2016/9/30/13126816/public-art-abandoned- hospital-west-adams.

(3) “3 hospitals accused of using homeless for fraud,” Los Angeles Times, August 7, 2008, http://articles.latimes. com/2008/aug/07/local/me-skidrow7.

(4) Bernard J. Wolfson, “Suit says Pacific Health Corp. hospital conspired to fill beds,” The Orange County Register, March 6, 2014, http://www.ocregister.com/ articles/hospital-604063-health-case.html.

(5) Chad Terhune, “Closure of three Southland hospitals may be part of a trend,” Los Angeles Times, April 3, 2013, http://articles.latimes.com/2013/apr/03/business/ la-fi-pacific-hospitals-closing-20130404.

(6) The Human Condition, 2016. http://www.humanconditionexhibition.com.

(7) Ibid.

(8) Mitchell F. Rice and Woodrow Jones, Jr., “Descriptions of Selected Black Hospitals,” Public Policy and the Black Hospital: From Slavery to Segregation to Integration. (Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press, 1994), 52.

(9) Mayo R. DeLilly, “The Julian W. Ross Medical Center,” Journal of the National Medical Association 55,
 no. 4 (1963): 261–267.

(10) Rick Moss, “Not Quite Paradise: The Development of the African American Community in Los Angeles through 1950,” California History 75, no. 3 
(Fall 1996): 234-235.

(11) Ibid.