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

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.
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
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.
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
Jessica Simmons
Launch Party Carla Issue 6
Exquisite L.A.
Analia Saban
Ry Rocklen
Sarah Cain
Intro by Claressinka Anderson
Portraits by Joe Pugliese
Made in L.A. 2016
Doug Aitken Electric Earth

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
at The Underground Museum
Catherine Wagley
The Art of Birth Carmen Winant
Escape from Bunker Hill
John Knight
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.
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
Marva Marrow's
Inside the L.A. Artist
Anthony Pearson
Mystery Science Thater
Diana Thater
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
at Arturo Bandini
Lindsay Preston Zappas
Women Talking About Barney Catherine Wagley
Lingua Ignota
Faith Wilding
at The Armory Center
for the Arts
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
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
at François Ghebaly
Jonathan Griffin
#studio #visit
with #devin #kenny
Mateo Tannatt
Jibade-Khalil Huffman
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
ARTBOOK @ Hauser & Wirth
Baert Gallery
Cirrus Gallery
Château Shatto
Club Pro
Dalton Warehouse
Elevator Mondays
The Geffen Contemporary 
Ghebaly Gallery
Mistake Room
MOCA Grand Avenue
Monte Vista Projects
Night Gallery
The Box
Wilding Cran Gallery
Boyle Heights/ Chinatown
A.G. Geiger
Chimento Contemporary
Charlie James
Human Resources
Ibid Gallery
Ooga Booga
Ooga Twooga
Parrasch Heijnen Gallery
Museum as Retail Space (MaRS)
Nicodim Gallery
Venus Over Los Angeles
67 Steps
Smart Objects
Skibum MacArthur
18th Street Arts
Ben Maltz Gallery at Otis 
College of Art and Design
Christopher Grimes Gallery
DXIX Projects
Five Car Garage
Team (Bungalow)
Pasadena/ Glendale/ Valley
The Armory Center for the Arts
The Pit
Los Angeles Valley College
The Art Gallery @ GCC
1301 PE
Big Pictures Los Angeles
California African American Museum
Chainlink Gallery
Commonwealth & Council
David Kordansky Gallery
Kayne Griffin Corcoran
ltd Los Angeles
Marc Foxx
Shoot the Lobster
Ochi Projects
Park View
The Landing
The Underground Museum
USC Fisher Museum of Art
Visitor Welcome Center
Culver City
Anat Ebgi
Arcana Books
Blum & Poe
Cherry and Martin
Honor Fraser
Klowden Mann
Luis De Jesus
Roberts and Tilton
Susanne Vielmetter
Diane Rosenstein
Family Books
Hannah Hoffman
Nino Mier Gallery
Moskowitz Bayse
Noysky Projects
Regen Projects
Shulamit Nazarian
Various Small Fires
South Bay
Grab Bag Studios
The Torrance Art Museum
Elsewhere in CA
Alter Space (San Francisco)
City Limits (Oakland)
Et al. (San Francisco)
Ever Gold Projects (San Francisco)
fused space (San Francisco)
Gym Standard (San Diego)
Helmuth Projects (San Diego)
Interface Gallery (Oakland)
Jessica Silverman (San Francisco)
Left Field (San Luis Obispo)
San Diego Art Institute (San Diego)
Verve Center for the Arts (Sacramento)
Wattis Institute for Contemporary Art (San Francisco)
Non CA
Artbook @ MoMA PS1 (Long Island City, NY)
Editions Kavi Gupta (Chicago, IL)
Good Weather (North Little Rock, AK)
Nationale (Portland, OR)
Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture (Skowhegan, ME)
Small Editions (Brooklyn, NY)
Space 42 (Jacksonville, FL)
Spoonbill & Sugartown (Brooklyn, NY)
Ulises (Philadelphia, PA)
Libraries/ Collections
Bard College, Center for Curatorial Studies Library (Annandale-on-Hudson, NY)
CalArts (Valencia, CA)
Cranbrook Academy of Art (Bloomfield Hills, MI)
El 123 (México City, MX)
John M. Flaxman Library at SAIC (Chicago, IL)
Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Research Library (Los Angeles, CA)
Los Angeles Contemporary Archive (Los Angeles, CA)
Marpha Foundation (Marpha, Nepal)
Maryland Institute College of Art, The Decker Library (Baltimore, MD)
Metropolitan Museum of Art, Thomas J. Watson Library (New York, NY)
Midway Contemporary Art (Minneapolis, MN)
Pepperdine University (Malibu, CA)
Point Loma Nazarene University (San Diego, CA)
School of the Art Institute of Chicago, John M. Flaxman Library (Chicago, IL)
Scholes Library, NYS College of Ceramics at Alfred University (Alfred, NY)
Skowhegan Archives (New York, NY)
Sotheby’s Institute of Art (New York, NY)
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)

The Languages of
All-Women Exhibitions

“I am still struck by the psychological displacement of women who are alienated by and in language.”1 –Lucy R. Lippard

Guerrilla Girls, Dear Art Collector, (2007). Image courtesy of guerrillagirls.com. © Guerrilla Girls.

All-women shows have been markedly in vogue in the past few years.2 Under various curatorial frameworks, these—often-exhaustive—gendered shows always have one thing in common: women. As a woman myself, I often feel sheepish about questioning the structures around these exhibitions as it is well documented that women are underrepresented in the art world, and in need of exposure and support. Still, I bend toward suspicion when galleries and institutions tout an all-women roster. Frustratingly, many of these exhibitions can feel revisionist, or worse, imply a capitalization on the trending socio-political resurgence of women’s rights, or the threat to them in our current politics. There are certainly broad problematics within the all-women structure worthy of discussion—the capitalization on the real struggles of women; the masking of uneven gallery rosters that show predominately men; the trend of showing late-career or deceased women artists; the dual demonization and romanticization of motherhood within the biographies of woman artists; and the lack of sustained institutional support for women artists working today. But, I’d like to focus here specifically on the languages of all-women exhibitions.

First we must consider how language—in the form of show titles, press releases, promotional materials, and general aura—spawns prejudice before anyone even walks through the front door. Like the joke about vegans: How do you know if an exhibition will include only women? It will tell you. And it often tells you loudly, and in advance. In a 2016 Atlantic article, Sarah Boxer described visiting Women of Abstract Expressionism at the Denver Art Museum: “I could see banners announcing the women’s exhibition from a distance. WOMEN WOMEN WOMEN. It almost looked like they were announcing a strip tease.” As Boxer walked closer, a miniscule text that read “women of abstract expressionism” could be seen in small type, low on the banner. Boxer also recalls the cover for the catalogue of WACK! Art and the Feminist Revolution—the massive all-women exhibition at MOCA in 2007—which features Martha Rosler’s clippings of naked women from Playboy, “as if to announce, ‘sexy ladies inside!’”3 While the Rosler work was exhibited in WACK!, choosing that particular work for the catalogue image problematically gave primacy to the fetishization of the nude female, if even while being subversive.

The recent exhibition CUNT at Venus Over Los Angeles chose a more subtle promotional tack, its title notwithstanding: a square baby-pink poster with the exhibition title centered, all caps, in white. While understated, the graphic recalls normative baby-girl colors as well as the anatomy of female genitalia. While the exhibition featured fantastic work, that poster (and the brashness of the word cunt) infected any pure experience of the work apart from its association to female genitalia. There are certainly many convincing arguments towards reclaiming and normalizing the word cunt4—even students in early feminist programs were instructed to repeat the word cunt until it was removed of its derogatory associations.5 Still, utilizing it as a moniker for a group show by women shrouds the work included under the complicated social and linguistic baggage that the word carries.

Marilyn Minter, Twenty Sixteen (2017). Dye sublimation print, 40 x 30 inches. Edition 2 of 5 + 2 AP. Image courtesy the artist and VENUS, Los Angeles.

In the WACK! catalogue, Eva Hesse’s incomparable work Hang Up (1966) is organized under the heading “Gendered Space” though historically this work has been associated with minimalism, not feminism. This reframing of context recalls the way in which Ana Mendieta’s work has been adopted by various feminist groups and causes over the years, while Mendieta herself was “dissatisfied with being reduced to one vision of feminism, or one articulation of identity.”6 For instance, white feminist groups looped her work in with the representation of The Goddess, “a trendy subtopic” of the era, although Mendieta’s relationship to goddesses was more “complex and volatile.”7 Her work was also contextualized within restricting feminist dialogues of the body, victimhood, and violence. This type of singularity was precisely what Mendieta’s work was meant to reject, and these misrepresentations ultimately led to her resignation from the feminist group A.I.R. in 1982.8 Charles Merewether explains, “the question of naming has afflicted the scholarship and reception of Ana Medieta’s work.”9 It is indeed this question of naming that is paramount in the re-historicization of women artists today, as it shapes the future narrative of their historically tenuous careers.

Often all-women exhibitions include the qualifier, woman, almost as a sort of warning of what can be expected of the work. In researching this article, I reached out to Micol Hebron, who has been actively tracking gender inequality on gallery rosters since 2013. “I think the more complicated and perhaps insidious reason that this is a problem is the longstanding inherent bias against women’s work,” Hebron wrote to me in a recent email. “Women’s labor(s) are historically valued less: their wages are lower, their art sells for less, and the aesthetics associated with ‘women’s work’ are considered less cool. So, an all-women show can be seen as a concession of sorts.”

When curators and gallerists preface exhibitions with an admission of the artist’s gender, it makes the fact impossible to ignore and surely has an effect on the way in which the artist’s work is being viewed. A wonderful exhibition at the Landing gallery last summer, which included stunning works by Tanya Aguiñiga, Loie Hollowell, Lenore Tawney, was titled dryly—and reductively—3 Women. The title was lifted from a 1977 Robert Altman film, yet, dropped on this context of three intergenerational artists, it became a descriptor, a confession. Under this titling, the indomitable weavings of Tawney, who worked alongside Agnes Martin and Ellsworth Kelly in the ‘60s, seemed to sink into categories of “women’s work,” while Loie Hollowell’s expansive and intricate paintings read more explicitly like pretty little vaginas.

We never hear an exhibition described as an all-men exhibition, since it is the understood normal. As such, as we constantly denote woman, we are reinforcing men as the engrained default. In her introduction to The Pink Glass Swan, the feminist art critic Lucy Lippard describes working on her own writing and constantly referring to “the critic” as he, “as though my own identity and actions had been subsumed by patriarchal nomenclature.”10

As we incessantly insert women back into art history, we in turn agree with the normative patriarchal telling of history that tells us that these women need inserting—while, as Griselda Pollock insisted, “feminist history began inside art history.”11 As we continue to group women together in exhibitions, and insist on qualifying the exhibition as belonging to women, we keep women on the outside of mainstream art. As my editor Aaron Horst commented in a recent conversation, “it makes the fact of being a woman and an artist somehow remarkable.” Famously, when asked at a party “what women artists think,” Joan Mitchell turned to Elaine De Kooning, exclaiming, “Elaine, let’s get the hell out of here.”12

Ana Mendieta, Silueta Works in Mexico (1973-1977). Color photograph, 19 1/4 x 12 7/8 inches. The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles Purchased with a grant provided by The Judith Rothschild Foundation. © The Estate of Ana Mendieta Collection, LLC. Image courtesy Galerie Lelong & Co.

Perhaps to combat these musty normatives of art-history, curators of all-women exhibitions slap on language that opposes weakness: power, revolution, radical, escape, get the fuck out, wack! This combativeness often feels put on, as if we must insist and argue that women might be able to wield power. Though not specifically an all-women exhibition, in reference to the titling of Trigger: Gender as a Tool and a Weapon (a recent group exhibition of mostly LGBTQ-identified artists at the New Museum), Peter Schjeldahl wrote “the four nouns in the title of the [show] go off like improvised explosive devices, boding civil strife.” A beat later, Schjeldahl concedes that the works in the exhibition don’t live up to its corralling and boosterish nomenclature. “The show’s provocative title turns out to function rather like the old vaudeville pistol that emits a little flag imprinted ‘BANG.’”13 This sort of blanket, categorical re-contextualization that the exhibition titling imbues is precisely problematic as it limits—or makes difficult—a reading of the artwork under any other conceptual framework.

In reference to the titling of SOGTFO (Sculpture or Get the Fuck Out), a five-woman sculpture exhibition at Ghebaly Gallery, Jonathan Griffin wrote, “Even subverted, its aggressive tone seems unfitting for the general measured output of these five artists. None are polemical about their gender, and it’s hard to imagine any of them coming up with a title as caustic as SOGTFO—which, of course, they didn’t.”14 While it is potentially the case that women artists are consulted and collaborated with in the development of exhibition titles (as in fact was the case with CUNT15), elsewhere the titling is meant to evoke struggle and combat that isn’t inherit in the work itself. In the case of titling WACK!, Connie Butler explains that “the exclamatory title of the exhibition is intended to recall the bold idealism that characterized the feminist movement during [the late ‘60s and ‘70s]…The violent and sexual connotations of WACK serve to reinforce feminism’s affront to the patriarchal system.”16 These abrasive nomenclatures seem to perpetuate the stereotype of the brash and wild feminist, while also reeking of self-congratulatory prose, suggesting that the institution who undoubtedly titled said exhibition has rediscovered—and tamed?—a wild bunch of feminists.

Yet, to a large extent, many women in these monstrous exhibitions do not consider their work feminist at all (and some decline participation). It is an arduous task to clarify the difference between a feminist framework and actual feminist art,17 and the all-women context “allow[s] for some form of erasure or fitting women into existing parameters.”18

The way in which we are speaking, writing, and naming all-women exhibitions seems paramount to the ways in which the next generation will understand the contributions of women artists. As Helen Molesworth has said, “the only way to get diversity is to actually do it.”19 It is this doing that can get complicated as institutions constantly point to diversity they are implementing—look ma, no hands!—with promotional language and curatorial strategies. Language instills pattern; pattern becomes habit. “The habits of mind that our culture has instilled in us from infancy shape our orientation to the world and our emotional responses to the objects we encounter,” wrote Guy Deutscher in a Times article about how language shapes reality. “They may also have a marked impact on our beliefs, values and ideologies.”20 As such, all-women exhibitions may have the power to accelerate or neuter efforts towards the equalization of gender biases in the arts. And much of this power comes down to the naming; the language that garnishes press releases and show cards may in fact be reinforcing our ingrained biases rather than liberating us from them.


This essay was commissioned by Contemporary Art Review Los Angeles as part of Field Perspectives 2017, a co-publishing initiative organized and supported by Common Field for their Los Angeles 2017 Convening. Field Perspectives 2017 is a collaboration between Common Field and arts publications ARTS.BLACK, Art Practical, The Chart, Contemporary Art Review Los Angeles, contemptorary, DIRT, Pelican Bomb, Temporary Art Review, and X-TRA. Partners each commissioned a piece of writing that aims to catalyze discussion, dialog, and debate before, during, and after the Convening. This essay will also be featured in our forthcoming issue 10 of Carla, which launches November 18th.


Dorothy Iannone, from Lists VI: A Much More Detailed Reconstruction Than Requested (1968). Set of 34 drawings, felt pen on paper, 8.66 x 8.86 inches each. Image courtesy the artist and VENUS, Los Angeles.

Judith Bernstein, Vertical #1 (2014). Charcoal on linen, 180 x 84 inches. Image courtesy the artist and VENUS, Los Angeles.

Betty Tompkins, Pussy Painting #22 (2012). Acrylic on canvas, 16 x 16 inches. Image courtesy the artist and VENUS, Los Angeles.

  1. Lucy Lippard, “Introduction: Moving Targets/ Concentric Circles: Notes from the Radical Whirlwind,” The Pink Glass Swan: Selected Feminist Essays on Art, (New York: The New Press, 1995).
  2.  Revolution in the Making: Abstract Sculpture by Women, 1947 – 2016 at Hauser & Wirth, Escape Attempts at Shulamit Nazrian, SOTGFO at Ghebaly Gallery, Power at Sprüth Magers, Signifying Form at the Landing, CUNT at Venus Over Los Angeles, Radical Women: Latin American Art, 1960–1985 at The Hammer, and We Wanted a Revolution: Black Radical Women, 1965–85 at The California African American Museum come to mind as notable examples in Los Angeles in the last year.
  3.  Sarah Boxer, “An Era for Women Artists?,” The Atlantic, December 2016.
  4. The etymology of the word cunt relates to the celebration of the feminine and the goddess, where its sister-word, vagina, has more violent and aggressive root word connotations, translating to sheath or scabbard in which to thrust a sword. Gillian Schutte, “C is for Cunt,” Ms. Magazine (blog), November 27, 2012, http://msmagazine.com/blog/2012/11/27/c-is-for-cunt/.
  5. Mira Schor, “The ism That Dare Not Speak its Name,” in A Decade of Negative Thinking (Durham: Duke University Press, 2009), 30.
  6. Julia Bryan-Wilson, “Against the Body: Interpretting Ana Mendieta,” Ana Medieta: Traces (London: Hayward Publishing, 2013), 35.
  7. Ibid., 31.
  8. Ibid., 134-135.
  9. Charles Merewether, “From Inception to Dissolution: An Essay on Expenditure in the work of Ana Medieta,” Ana Mendieta (Poligrapha, 1998), 148.
  10. Lippard, The Pink Glass Swan, 13.
  11. Griselda Pollock, “Feminist Interventions in Art’s Histories,” Kritische Berichte, 16, No. 1 (1998).
  12. Boxer.
  13. Peter Schjeldahl, “Safe Space: A Show on Gender Soothes More than it Unsettles,” The New Yorker, October 9, 2017.
  14. Jonathan Griffin, “SOGTFO at Francois Ghebaly,” Carla, issue 1, April 2015.
  15. Carla Podcast, Episode 1, October 2017. http://contemporaryartreview.la/episode-1/
  16. Cornelia Bulter, “Art and Feminism: An Ideology of Shifting Criteria,” WACK! Art and the Feminist Revolution (Los Angeles: The Museum of Contemporary Art, 2007), 15.
  17. Cecillia Fajardo-Hill, “The invisibility of Latin American Women Artists: Problematizing Art Historical and Curatorial Practices,” Radical Women: Latin American Art, 1960-1985 (Munich, London, New York: Prestel, 2017), 23-24.
  18.  Ibid., 21.
  19. Boxer.
  20. Guy Deitsher, “Does Your Language Shape How You Think?”, New York Times Magazine, Aug. 26, 2010.