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
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at the Venice Biennale
by Thomas Duncan

Broken Language
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Artists of Color
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Anthony Lepore & Michael Henry Hayden
at Del Vaz Projects
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Home
at LACMA
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Analia Saban at
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Kanye Westworld Travis Diehl
@richardhawkins01 Thomas Duncan
Support Structures: Alice Könitz and LAMOA Catherine Wagley
Interview with Penny Slinger Eliza Swann
Exquisite L.A.
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Young Chung
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Letter to the Editor
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Parallel City
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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:
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"Human Condition"
Jessica Simmons
Launch Party
Exquisite L.A.
Featuring:
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Ma by Claire de Dobay Rifelj
The Rat Bastard Protective Association by Pablo Lopez
Kenneth Tam
's Basement
Travis Diehl
The Female
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Catherine Wagley
The Rise
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Amanda Yates Garcia
Interview with
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at LACMA
Jessica Simmons
Launch Party Carla Issue 6
Exquisite L.A.
Featuring:
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Sarah Cain
Intro by Claressinka Anderson
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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.
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Claire Kennedy
Intro by Claressinka Anderson
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Claire De Dobay Rifelj,
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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,
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Ikechukwu Casmir Onyewuenyi
Le Louvre, Las Vegas Evan Moffitt
iPhones, Flesh,
and the Word
F.B.I.
at Arturo Bandini
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Women Talking About Barney Catherine Wagley
Lingua Ignota
Faith Wilding
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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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Hot Tears Carmen Winant
Slow View:
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Orion Martin
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Dora Budor Interview Char Jensen
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Art for Art’s Sake:
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Erik Morse
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VESSEL // CINS and
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Ben Medansky
I've been a lot of places,
seen so many faces
Nora Slade
Launch Party Carla Issue 1
Slow View:
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Anna Breininger
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Performing the Grid at Ben Maltz Gallery

At Otis College of Art and Design

Performing the Grid (installation view) (2016). Images courtesy of Ben Maltz Gallery at Otis College of Art and Design. Photo: Chris Warner.

Performing the Grid (2016) (installation view). Images courtesy of Ben Maltz Gallery at Otis College of Art and Design. Photo: Chris Warner.

The grid occupies a seemingly contradictory place in our culture, representing both dystopian rigidity and utopian perfectibility. Take for instance, the architecture of prisons v. that of modernist utopian art movements. As organic bodies, we are caught between the two: simultaneously defined and corralled by the dystopian, and striving toward and illuminated by the utopian. The recent exhibition Performing the Grid at Otis College of Art and Design’s Ben Maltz Gallery, brought this tension to a sustained vibration, bringing the eccentricities of the body into relief. Here, bodies perform the grid, but also confront, are dwarfed by, give rise to, and abide within grids both monolithic and evanescent.

One of the pleasures of the show was its inter-generational roster, as well as the range of media within which the artistic investigations took place. Dance and performance were well represented (on video) with iconic works like Bruce Nauman’s Walking in an Exaggerated Manner Around the Perimeter of a Square (1967); Dance, Lucinda Childs collaboration with Sol LeWitt and Philip Glass from 1979; and David Haxton’s strangely affecting Cube and Room Drawings (1976-1977). More recent performance and video works included Sense and Sense (2010), Emily Roysen’s video of the artist MPA’s awkward and somehow tender attempt to walk on her side along the grid of a notorious Stockholm public square. Neil Beloufa’s The Analyst, the researcher, the screenwriter, the cgi tech and the lawyer (2011), dislodges any notion of fixed perspective by bringing together divergent narratives around an ambiguously surveilled city block.

The two and three dimensional works in the show also highlighted the unmanageability and temporality of the body, as grids made by hand go happily askew and/or become opportunities for spontaneity. With titles like 1,000,000 Days Away (2009), Xylor Jane’s hand-drawn grids translate the ineffability of time into complex visual systems. Even when the mark of the hand isn’t present, the grid is a structure against which improvisation can occur: the mysterious curve and the shifting green of Kathleen Ryan’s Wave (2015) transforms an imposing chunk of gridded metal fence (rendered innocuous on its back) into something vegetal, aspirational, and airy. Conceptually and formally, these and other works in the show demonstrated both the transcendental and the oppressive qualities of the grid, contrasted with the delightfully unreliable, always shifting human body.

Performing the Grid (installation view) (2016). Images courtesy of Ben Maltz Gallery at Otis College of Art and Design. Photo: Chris Warner.

Performing the Grid (2016) (installation view). Images courtesy of Ben Maltz Gallery at Otis College of Art and Design. Photo: Chris Warner.

On a Sunday afternoon during the run of the show, MPA held an event called Interrupting the Grid. This included a lecture on her research into the future colonization of Mars and its relationship to current life on Earth. The talk was held simultaneously with an exercise called Walking the Grid, which was performed by former students of the artist. The design of the exercise caused the performers to haphazardly run into each other—and the audience—as they walked imaginary grids. Afterwards, everyone came together to discuss the lecture and how it felt, as actors and spectators, to participate in the performance.

Since the grid is about definition and demarcation, the separation of audience and performer during the event—and the occasional lack thereof—brought to light the kind of psychological structures that function like physical grids, but are invisible. The performance produced an acute awareness of how codes of logic and separation inform our bodies and their movement: classifications that inhibit us, hierarchies that structure our movement, and value systems that delineate our relationships to each other. Ultimately, these psychological grids serve the logic of capitalism, which benefits from defining us and our relationships solely in terms of the roles we play as actors in its system.

MPA’s performance, and the exhibition as a whole, gave form to the ways that our bodies are vulnerable in relation to these physical and imagined grids. However, coming together in a non-hierarchical formation to discuss what it felt like to be bodies relating to each other seemed like a radical departure from the unconscious ways that we usually engage with the various grids in our lives. Changing our relationships with each other changes the structures that limit us.

Performing the Grid was on view from January 23–May 15, 2016 at Ben Maltz Gallery, Otis College of Art and Design (9045 Lincoln Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90045).

Performing the Grid (installation view) (2016). Images courtesy of Ben Maltz Gallery at Otis College of Art and Design. Photo: Chris Warner.

Performing the Grid (2016) (installation view). Images courtesy of Ben Maltz Gallery at Otis College of Art and Design. Photo: Chris Warner.

Performing the Grid (installation view) (2016). Images courtesy of Ben Maltz Gallery at Otis College of Art and Design. Photo: Chris Warner.

Performing the Grid (2016) (installation view). Images courtesy of Ben Maltz Gallery at Otis College of Art and Design. Photo: Chris Warner.

2016-07-12Originally published in Carla Issue 5.