Poetic Energies and
Radical Celebrations:
Senga Nengudi and Maren Hassinger
Simone Krug
Interior States of the Art Travis Diehl
Perennial Bloom:
Florals in Feminism
and Across L.A.
Angella d'Avignon
The Mess We're In Catherine Wagley
Interview with
Christina Quarles
Ashton Cooper
Object Project
Featuring Suné Woods, Michelle Dizon,
and Yong Soon Min
Lindsay Preston Zappas
Photos: Jeff McLane
Launch Party May 19, 2018
at Karma International
Reviews Meleko Mokgosi
at The Fowler Museum at UCLA
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Chris Kraus
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Ben Sanders
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iris yirei hsu
at the Women's Center
for Creative Work
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Harald Szeemann
at the Getty Research Institute
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Ali Prosch
at Bed and Breakfast
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Reena Spaulings
at Matthew Marks
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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
Reviews Dulce Dientes
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
at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (L.A. in S.F.)
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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:
Dwan, Butler, Mizuno, Copley
Catherine Wagley
The Languages of
All-Women Exhibitions
Lindsay Preston Zappas
L.A. Povera Travis Diehl
On Eclipses:
When Language
and Photography Fail
Jessica Simmons
Interview with
Hamza Walker
Julie Wietz
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at Smart Objects

Paul Mpagi Sepuya
at team bungalow

Ravi Jackson
at Richard Telles

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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Ibid Gallery
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:
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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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Reviews Mark Bradford
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Broken Language
at Shulamit Nazarian

Artists of Color
at the Underground Museum

Anthony Lepore & Michael Henry Hayden
at Del Vaz Projects

Home
at LACMA

Analia Saban at
Sprueth Magers
Letter from the Editor Lindsay Preston Zappas
Kanye Westworld Travis Diehl
@richardhawkins01 Thomas Duncan
Support Structures:
Alice Könitz and LAMOA
Catherine Wagley
Interview with
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Eliza Swann
Exquisite L.A.
Featuring:
taisha paggett
Ashley Hunt
Young Chung
Intro by Claressinka Anderson
Portraits by Joe Pugliese
Letter to the Editor
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at Commonwealth and Council
Reviews Alessandro Pessoli
at Marc Foxx

Jennie Jieun Lee
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Trisha Baga
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Jimmie Durham
at The Hammer

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
at House of Gaga // Reena Spaulings Fine Art

Karl Haendel
at Susanne Vielmetter

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
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:
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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
at The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA

Mertzbau
at Tif Sigfrids

Jean-Pascal Flavian and Mika Tajima
at Kayne Griffin Corcoran

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
at Hauser Wirth & Schimmel

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:
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 L.A. Art Fairs

Material Art Fair, Mexico City

Rain Room
at LACMA

Evan Holloway
at David Kordansky Gallery

Histories of a Vanishing Present: A Prologue
at The Mistake Room

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
Reviews Honeydew
at Michael Thibault

Fred Tomaselli
at California State University, Fullerton

Trisha Donnelly
at Matthew Marks Gallery

Bradford Kessler
at ASHES/ASHES
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:
Parker Ito
at Kaldi, Smart Objects,
White Cube, and
Château Shatto
Evan Moffitt
Melrose Hustle Keith Vaughn
Reviews Mary Ried Kelley
at The Hammer Museum

Tongues Untied
at MOCA Pacific Design Center

No Joke
at Tanya Leighton
(L.A. in Berlin)
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/
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
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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Elsewhere in CA
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Yale University Library (New Haven, CT)

On Laura Owens
on Laura Owens

Laura Owens catalogue (2017). Image courtesy of the Whitney Museum of American Art.

The first plate in the catalog for Laura Owens at the Whitney Museum shows a newspaper clipping from 1985, when Owens was a junior in high school. In the yellowed halftone image, the young artist holds up a poster of her winning drawing for a charity contest. “Support our children,” it reads, and below, “Take Responsibility for the Future.” The final plate in the catalogue isn’t a Laura Owens artwork at all, but a photograph of a note handwritten on an unlined page: “Questions the book should answer,” goes the heading—“the book” meaning this book in your hands. “The goal is for this to be more than catalogue / more than artbook? [sic].” It is. A book that begins with precocious juvenilia and ends with its own design; and in between are over 600 pages of artwork, ephemera, and professional texts. Owens’ catalog succeeds in both particularizing the structures undergirding art and in being a beautiful example of the same.

As the final plate notes, every artwork is an act of self-branding. But the Owens catalog is also calibrated not to fall, as such a project easily could, into self-indulgence—this because the artist takes care to mark the vulnerability of her project. It is a big, thick book, for instance, but flops around in its soft cover—an uncoated cover that bears one of thousands of unique designs (no two alike!) painstakingly silkscreened by Owens’ studio. There are disappointments: among the pages is a rejection letter for a teaching job. The catalog also accounts for some of its own struggles. Late in the volume is an Instagram post from the exhibition’s curator, Scott Rothkopf, showing Owens in her studio with the famous L.A. food critic Jonathan Gold. The image hovers over an email from Rothkopf to Gold asking him to write an essay for the catalog. As Rothkopf laments in an inset text, he never did.

The typical retrospective catalog seems to return inevitably, despite some dips and twists, to the sealed narrative of stylistic/artistic development. Plate five follows plate four, one artwork follows another, up to the latest—as if artworks are all there is to art. Call it hotdog art: turgid, slick, and celebratory. Like a Koons balloon dog, pure of form, perfectly made, obviously synthetic—yet the object withholds/obscures any hint as to how it came about. The Laura Owens catalog is something else. It is a granular, varied, uneven book; it is meaty and satisfying, spiced, subtle, and complex, flecked with gristle. The skin is organic and translucent, and you have some idea of what’s inside; call it sausage art. You can get the recipe, but then you might not want to eat it, let alone make it yourself.

It’s like John Baldessari said: going to an art fair is like watching your parents have sex. Owens, though, doesn’t dwell too much on the primal scene but instead “frames” it—that is, attacks the art fair booth like she would any other space. One exchange in the catalog, sketched both in letters and an inset text, describes Owens’ contribution to a certain edition of Art Basel. She made a single painting to match the exact dimensions of the booth’s back wall. Just one painting. Her dealer Gavin Brown was miffed, since the price of the painting (around $15,000) was just about exactly the price of the booth, and so how’s the gallery supposed to make any money? We imagine, as Owens describes, the artist sobbing on the convention hall steps as the moneyed flow of dealers and collectors parts around her. On the other hand, this conflict was no accident. We knew that showing the art world a full-scale picture of itself would break some kind of etiquette and put many things at risk, not least, the artist’s own plausible naiveté: once you make a painting of the primal scene, you can’t pretend you don’t know.

Laura Owens at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, November 10, 2017–February 4, 2018 (installation view). Photo: Ron Amstutz.

This way of probing and activating parts of the gallery/museum mechanism, simply by representing them—or, in the style of some kind of Midwestern public access show, throwing to a reporter who is really just in another corner of the studio—is as resourceful as it is charming. On one occasion described in the catalog, Owens produced a diptych where one half of the pair hung in the gallery office (the boudoir, even…), indicating art’s transactional back end. Moves like this recall Michael Asher (whose influence and post-studio critique are invoked several times in the book)—the difference being that Owens’ paintings not only leverage the institution’s infrastructure against itself, but offer an internal, compositional pleasure all their own. She (playfully) provokes the institution through its most classical unit, the painting. Her formalism is what pierces the casing and lets out the steam.

It’s odd to privilege, as Owens’ catalog does, the more wonkish, banal aspects of art making. Inventories, loan agreements, and condition reports might be interesting and/or insiderey—but they are also an example of how much this catalog, and Owens’ project in general, shares with the more austere critiques of the ’60s and ’70s. Pieces by Christopher D’Arcangelo and Peter Nadin come to mind, such as 1978’s 30 Days Work, which comprised exactly the labor and material the two had spent building out a gallery. It was partially claiming art-adjacent labor as Art proper that made D’Arcangelo and Nadin’s project radical. It was also their frank admission that art, even a post-studio or conceptual practice, requires material support—their day job was to renovate industrial buildings into lofts for other artists, a cold fact offered with warm rapport.1

As institutional critique, the Owens catalog is tactful and unsystematic. It is not anything near a complete representation of the artist’s archive; yet what it does do, at its most naked, is sample the particular economy of Owens’ practice at various points in her career. For instance, in 1995, freshly MFA’d, she found a live/work storefront in Eagle Rock for $300 a month, which allowed her to sustain herself and keep making work with just babysitting gigs and a part-time bookstore job. Flash forward to 2012 and then to the present: the catalog includes accounts from the people she now employs (if not exactly their salaries), both at her studio and at 356 Mission Rd., the Los Angeles kunsthalle that she co-runs. Photos show people stretched across the gigantic canvases that would become the exhibition 12 Paintings, making Owens’ work. We can see which parts are stenciled, which taped off or silkscreened: hints of process, clues about the scale of her workshop.

Elsewhere Owens includes diagrams and instructions, such as for the motors for her working “clock paintings,” or exploded views of stretchers, walls, and electronics. In one case, a rendering of a nested set of four canvases and one book that were shown in the 2014 Whitney Biennial reveals the whole group, where only the largest was visible (or even acknowledged) in the exhibition. It’s a glimpse at the back end of the artistic process, as well as a nod to her persistent “inside” jokes; and while Owens never gives a complete rundown of the economics of her practice, she also never lets us forget how essential this mundane, structural stuff is to her splashy surfaces. The number of notebook and sketchbook pages is balanced by an equal number of faxes and notes asking her grad school mentor for more financial aid or asking her gallerists for money.

The book’s chronology corresponds to growth, but not necessarily satisfaction. Even latter entries reveal a degree of self-doubt and self-analysis that we might find familiar…the sense that, success aside, Owens should be doing better, faster, more. Such inclusions paint a clearer picture of how art gets made than a photo of the artist in her studio putting brush to canvas—although there are a few of those too. Among all the ways the Laura Owens catalog addresses the reader, it composes a letter to the young artist. Dear young artist, don’t give up; this is how you make sausage.

Laura Owens, Untitled (2015) (installation view). Acrylic, oil, and vinyl paint on linen, with powder-coated aluminum strainer; five panels, 108 x 84 inches. Collection of the artist. Image courtesy Capitain Petzel, Berlin. Photo: Ron Amstutz.

Laura Owens at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, November 10, 2017–February 4, 2018 (installation view). Photo: Ron Amstutz.

Laura Owens catalogue (2017). Image courtesy of the Whitney Museum of American Art.

Laura Owens catalogue (2017). Image courtesy of the Whitney Museum of American Art.

Originally published in Carla issue 11.

  1.  “This is how much I make from various magazines: I make $300 every two months from my LEAP column. I make $100 per 400-word review or $1,200 for a feature for Modern Painters, which is paid about six months after I turn in my final draft (they are currently six weeks behind on my fall payment, with which I was expecting to pay my rent). I make $300 for a 550-word review for Art Agenda, which is paid within three weeks. I make 14 cents per word, maximum $180, when I write for Rhizome. I make €200 for Kaleidoscope features, which are paid basically never. I make €400 for features and about €150 for reviews from Spike, who graciously remind me to invoice them when I haven’t. I make £120 from writing reviews for frieze. I make $300–$2,500 for catalog essays, hopefully paid within a month. I actually don’t know how much I’m going to make for writing this piece.” Karen Archey, “Hack Life,” Art Papers, November/December 2013, https://karen-archey-u89x.squarespace.com/s/Archey-p26-28-1.pdf.