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
Photos by Jeff McClane
Reviews Mark Bradford
at the Venice Biennale
by Thomas Duncan

Broken Language
at Shulamiit Nazarian
by Angella d'Avignon

Artists of Color
at the Underground Museum
by Matt Stromberg

Anthony Lepore & Michael Henry Hayden
at Del Vaz Projects
by Aaron Horst

Home
at LACMA
by Simone Krug

Analia Saban at
Sprueth Magers
by Hana Cohn
Kanye Westworld Travis Diehl
@richardhawkins01 Thomas Duncan
Support Structures: Alice Könitz and LAMOA Catherine Wagley
Interview with Penny Slinger Eliza Swann
Exquisite L.A.
Featuring:
taisha paggett
Ashley Hunt
Young Chung
Intro by Claressinka Anderson
Portraits by Joe Pugliese
Letter to the Editor
Launch Party
Reviews Alessandro Pessoli
by Jonathan Griffin

Jennie Jieun Lee
by Stuart Krimko

Trisha Baga
by Lindsay Preston Zappas

Jimmie Durham
by Molly Larkey

Parallel City
by Hana Cohn

Jason Rhodes
by Matt Stromberg
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
Exquisite L.A.
Featuring:
Brenna Youngblood
Todd Gray
Rafa Esparza
Intro by Claressinka Anderson
Portraits by Joe Pugliese
Reviews Creature by Thomas Duncan
Sam Pulitzer & Peter Wachtler by Stuart Krimko
Karl Haendel by Aaron Horst
Wolfgang Tillmans by Eli Diner
Ma by Claire de Dobay Rifelj
The Rat Bastard Protective Association by Pablo Lopez
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
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Westside
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Scholes Library, NYS College of Ceramics at Alfred University (Alfred, NY)
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Telfair Museum (Savannah, GA)
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)

No Joke
at Tanya Leighton
(L.A. in Berlin)

No Joke (installation view) (2015). Image courtesy of Tanya Leighton, Berlin.

No Joke (installation view) (2015). Image courtesy of Tanya Leighton, Berlin.

What is the difference between the drunk bus and a joke?

… Berliners can’t take a joke”

—Stephen Kent (can we let this be anonymous?)

No Joke, a recent exhibition curated by Sanya Kantarovsky at Tanya Leighton, included works spanning the last 75 years. Seminal works by the kings of artistic comedy are central to both the original gallery with its iconic gray stairs, as well as the newly-minted addition directly across the avenue.

Michael Smith’s How to Curate Your Own Group Exhibition (Do It) (1996), is a deadpan step-by-step instructional video; a now all too familiar Saturday Night Live-like sketch which trains the viewer on the “transferral of curatorial responsibilities into the hands of the artists,” as well as on being “an artist who simply wants to get into more group shows”[1]. A collection of rantings and ravings could be found in Ad Reinhardt’s Selected Comics (1946-61), which witfully call into crisis art world tropes. The works were positioned squarely in the entrance of the second gallery space, reading as a central subtext of the exhibition. Herluf Bidstrup’s energetic cartoons and Saul Steinberg’s photographs cleverly utilize visual puns as an accessible platform for illustrating the systemic ethos of the artists’ contemporary moment.

Herluf Bidstrup, Masterpiece (1967). Silkscreen on wall, 47 1/4 x 33 1/2 inches. Image courtesy of the artist and Tanya Leighton, Berlin.

Herluf Bidstrup, Masterpiece (1967). Silkscreen on wall, 47 1/4 x 33 1/2 inches. Image courtesy of the artist and Tanya Leighton, Berlin.

Soaking with complex, juicy, and satirical irony, these works required some healthy time to digest; with the artists witfully splashing and jabbing in order to keep their heads afloat in an ocean of sink or swim reality. While these seminal works in the exhibition display a persuasive poignancy through narrative gumption (that could turn an apple into thinking it’s a pear), they also give way to their surrounding generational offspring. The work by contemporaries that shared the stage with these canonized compatriots seemed to stem from an incestuous birth of Uncle Satire and Auntie Irony: a coupling that results in constrained formal paintings that are too inbred to make fun of anything but themselves.

Math Bass’s Newz (2015) paintings punctuated both gallery spaces. Her mindless but mesmerizing graphic compositions slowly reveal nuanced semiotics that straddle pure form and raw symbolism. Laeh Glenns Eyeballs (2015) and : ( (2015) are extremely reduced but highly stylized paintings that unabashedly represent facial expressions; a declaration of painting as a mirror and a forced empathetic player in the portrayal of the human condition. While these newer works demonstrated a highly constructed humor, their jokes often seemed to be missing, unless the joke was (though hopefully not) on painting itself. Perhaps this is where Kantarovsky’s “tragicomic self-reflexivity”[2] enters stage left. After all, “It takes a degree of solipsism to be an artist.”[3]

The exhibition demonstrated a marked split: the younger works lacked the specific jestful aggression of their forbearers and instead offered a dryly sophomoric regression highlighting their own awkward, ambiguous existence—two dimensional freaks turned thespians. Set against the dogmatic works of Reinhardt, Herluf, Kelley, and Grosz, there seemed to be something missing within the work of the younger artists presented—be it risk, conviction or necessity—and they hung on the edge of one-liner formalism. After all, “humor is not resigned, it is rebellious.”[4]

Allison Katz, Janus (2011). Acrylic on linen, 17 x 13 3/4 inches. Image courtesy of the artist and Tanya Leighton, Berlin.

Allison Katz, Janus (2011). Acrylic on linen, 17 x 13 3/4 inches. Image courtesy of the artist and Tanya Leighton, Berlin.

Luckily, a few of our youngsters spanned the gap between seasoned complexity and tender-footed vacancy. Sean Landers’ Dark Trees (Hello!) (2014)—a trompe l’oeil canvas scribbled with melodramatic, desperate, and sometimes nonsensical tree carvings—contrasts between humor’s power to postpone the thought of our inescapable death and our attempts to leave a lasting impression (both physically and culturally). Allison Katz’ Janus (2011), paints two tragedy/ comedy masks frozen in a mirrored state of neurosis, melding the two traditionally disparate emotions into a stasis of skeptical optimism.

No Joke oscillates between subversive discourse and nonsensical nihilism, and Berlin is no stranger to either. From Berlin’s cultivation of German philosophy and literature to its Weimar-Era Dadaism, the existential attitude for the Berliner is a natural one, and is almost required for all outsiders requesting a visa. But this attitude is not known for its nonchalant self-reflexivity. The actors in No Joke performed with a refreshing (and much needed) air of capriciousness, yet the overall emphasis on cool-kid formalism and blase humor ran the risk of missing the punchline when it comes to German ethos. So which is more solipsistic, the one who tells a joke in the wrong context or the one who refuses to get it?

“No joke but art joke. So at best one may be in on the joke.”[5]

-Vanessa Place

[1] Michael Smith, How to Curate Your Own Group Exhibition (Do It) (1996).

[2] No Joke press release.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Sigmund Freud, On Humor (1927). Page 162.

[5] Vanessa Place, Art is a Joke (28.2.2013). UC Irvine (lecture).

Laeh Glenn, Eyeballs (2015). Oil on panel, wood frame, 16 1/2 x 12 3/4 inches. Image courtesy of the artist and Tanya Leighton, Berlin.

Laeh Glenn, Eyeballs (2015). Oil on panel, wood frame, 16 1/2 x 12 3/4 inches. Image courtesy of the artist and Tanya Leighton, Berlin.

No Joke runs from May 2–June 27, 2015 at Tanya Leighton.

Originally Published in Carla Issue 2