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
Downtown
ARTBOOK @ Hauser Wirth
    & Schimmel
917 E. 3rd St.
Los Angeles, CA 90013

Baert Gallery
2441 Hunter St.
Los Angeles, CA 90021

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

Monte Vista Projects
1206 Maple Avenue, #523
Los Angeles, CA 90015

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

Charlie James
969 Chung King Rd.
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

Big Pictures Los Angeles
2424 W Washington Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90018

California African American Museum
600 State Dr.
Los Angeles, CA 90037

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

Ms. Barbers
5370 W. Adams Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90016

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
Anat Ebgi
2660 S. La Cienega Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90034

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
67 Steps
2163 Princeton Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90026

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

The Rise of the L.A.
Art Witch

Candice Lin, Recipe for Spontaneous Generation: Baby Mice (2015). Fabric, dried wheat, baby mice, alcohol, glass jar, airlock, copper pipe. 26 x 4 x 4 inches. Image courtesy the artist and Ghebaly Gallery, Los Angeles. Photo: Robert Wedemeyer.

Candice Lin, Recipe for Spontaneous Generation: Baby Mice (2015). Fabric, dried wheat, baby mice, alcohol, glass jar, airlock, copper pipe. 26 x 4 x 4 inches. Image courtesy the artist and Ghebaly Gallery, Los Angeles. Photo: Robert Wedemeyer.

The etymology of the word magic comes from the Greek magoi, referring to people the Greeks saw as astrology-touting, talisman-bearing foreigners from the East. (1) By its very definition, magic has always referred to outsiders, others, and those whose practices and beliefs run contrary to Western orthodoxy. It follows then that witchcraft, as a form of magic most commonly associated with medieval hags or sorcerers from “the dark continent,” also implies a practice that operates against the hegemonic authorities of the West. More and more frequently, we’re seeing contemporary artists utilize the methodologies of witchcraft in their practice, largely because, by its very nature, witchcraft is a political and creative act commanding power back into the hands of people who have historically been banished from the inner circles of cultural authority.

Many methodologies used
 in witchcraft and other magical practices overlap those of art-making. Take for instance, the fashioning of talismans and amulets. For the maker, the aim is to transform an ordinary object into a physical catalyst to bring about a desired result: love, abundance, protection, etc. To create a talisman or amulet, the witch subjects the object to a series of manipulations with the intention of attaching meaning by praying over it, anointing it, inscribing sigils into it, piercing it with pins, binding it with cords, and so on. The work of the artist is also to manipulate objects with the intention of attaching meaning through a similar kind of alchemy, bringing things together to create more than the sum of their parts. For both artist and witch, the function
 of their labor is to encourage objects to communicate something beyond their actual form. Today’s art world is so commercially driven however, that even objects made with the loftiest intentions are quickly transmuted into vehicles for capital as soon as they enter the magically charged field of the marketplace.

In a recent essay titled “The Broad: Class Hatred, Concentrated,” (2) an anonymous author using the pseudonym Demogorgon argues essentially that the contemporary art object is used as talisman to expiate the sins of capitalist accumulation. Drawing heavily from Marx, the article describes how capital is “dead labor” hidden and transformed, thus rendering invisible its system of violent social relations. Demogorgon accuses the Broad Museum of being a shrine to class hatred, saying that within its walls, “art takes upon 
itself the guilt of those who [cause] suffering and who think that art will discharge it. But it does not.” The author argues then, that when art is used by the wealthy as an uncrossing spell against the curses cast by suffering laborers, it fails.

But what about when art is used for magical purposes, not by “capitalist overlords”, but by the artists themselves? Given that many of the art witches practicing in Los Angeles today are women, people of color, and/or LGBTQ, for them an interest in systems of power, who has it, and how that power operates is of particular consequence.

This past April, Christie Roberts Berkowitz curated an event at Human Resources called the Brujaja, bringing together artists of all mediums for a night of sorcery and performance. Rafa Esparza demonstrated both 
the physical risks inherent in deep spiritual commitment, and perhaps also the harm suffered through cultural appropriation, in wearing a headdress of sage and letting it burn to ash on the crown of his head. Sarah Gail Armstrong read a series of fierce poems, one of which took to task white witches who refuse to recognize the African origins of their Western Mystery traditions. The evening included many other performances including my own piece, a ceremonial working called Capitalism Exorcism.

Earlier this year, the Women’s Center for Creative Work (WCCW) held a series of workshops, performances and residencies titled Magic Spring. It’s no coincidence that many of the participating artists chose to focus on systems of power directly, with projects addressing patriarchy, institutionalized racism, the destruction of the ecosystem and the profit-driven medical establishment.

Working contra to Western medicine (3) and the system of dependency and debt it can generate, several of Magic Spring’s contributing artists performed workshops (4) based on DIY alternative healing practices such as Taleen Kali’s “Femme Punk Yoga: Magical Healing Powers of the Divine Feminine.” Another program 
in the series, “Let the Earth Help You Hold It” was an herbalism workshop open to everyone but specifically focused on supporting women of color. Conducted by Melanie Griffin, a queer black artist, the workshop demonstrated how, “we can use [plants] to help nourish and support us as we move through the stress we experience living with systemic oppression and trauma.” (5)

Witchcraft and its relationship to medicine have a long and often ignominious legacy. According to critical theorist and witch icon, Silvia Federici, during the inquisitions of medieval Europe, folk healers were often persecuted. These witches cum female healers “were expropriated from a patrimony of empirical knowledge, regarding herbs and healing remedies, that they had accumulated and transmitted from generation to generation. This,” she continues, “was the rise of professional medicine, which erected in front of the ‘lower classes’ a wall of unchallengeable scientific knowledge, unaffordable and alien, despite its curative pretenses.” (6) Fundamentally, the question of power, who holds it, and how it is exercised, finds its answer through the body. The medical establishment erects a wall of scientific obfuscation around
 the processes of the body that many art witches are working to dismantle.

screen-shot-2016-11-30-at-10-30-46-am

Rafa Esparza, i just came to do brujeria on the artworld (2016) (performance still). Image courtesy of the artist.

Rafa Esparza, i just came to do brujeria on the artworld (2016) (performance still). Image courtesy of the artist.

 

Witches are agents of disturbance within the symbolic order. Art witches know this, and many use the discomfort around the word to their advantage to advance their cause. As part of another performance event at Human Resources last spring (called Yes Femmes), Johanna Hedva crawled across the floor in her performance Sick Witch. Her black wig was draped across her face like she’d just crawled out of the television in the Japanese horror film The Ring. Utilizing horror film tropes and the power of the witch as an icon of agitation, Hedva’s work is an act of defiance against a system that asserts that a person’s value can be measured mainly through their ability to accumulate more capital and direct it up the cultural food chain.

In her widely lauded essay, “Sick Woman Theory,” Hedva argues that, “The most anti-capitalist protest is to care for another and to care for yourself. To take on the historically feminized and therefore invisible practice of nursing, nurturing, and caring. To take seriously each other’s vulnerability, fragility, and precarity, and to support it, honor it, empower it; to protect each other, to enact and practice community. A radical kinship, an interdependent sociality, a politics of care.” (7) Again and again in surveys of the practices of art witches of Los Angeles and beyond, we see an explicitly stated allegiance to care for the body, and for the earth to whom it belongs.

There’s a myth about the “discovery” of the Americas that when Cortez showed up in his big ships
 off the coast of Mexico, because 
the natives had never seen such things before, they ignored them, as
if the ships were ghosts. It seems an unlikely story to me. But the story reminds me of how power is operating in our world today: except in negative image. Today, we’re trained to only see the big ships. We recognize power as it moves through banks, through the State, is showered upon celebrities, or comes speeding out the barrel of a police gun. But we often don’t recognize the softer forms of power, the ones that surround us, like the sea beneath Cortez’s ships.

Fundamentally, magic is about power, and both art and witchcraft still have it, although the form may be different than most of us have been taught to recognize. When Starhawk, a founding mother of contemporary witchcraft, said that “Magic is a shift in perception,” being able to recognize power in its unsanctioned forms was part of what she meant.

Magic has existed in every post-industrial culture as a feature that demarcates through relief. Early anthropologists were tasked with designating magic as “a conceptual field—shared with such notions as shamanism, fetishism, witchcraft, the occult, totem, mana and taboo—that was predominantly made to define an antithesis of modernity: a production of illusion and delusion that was thought to recede and disappear as rationalization and secularization spread throughout society.” (8) A major project of the Enlightenment was
 the attempt to create an intellectual monoculture of positivism and scientific rationalism. Social and applied scientists developed epistemological tools to let them see what was rational and real and true.

Scientific—and thus infallible—tools, developed within the hegemonic infrastructures of the patriarchal imperialist West, verified that nature is a machine possessing no spirit and is therefore available for every type 
of exploitation imaginable. Working under the auspices of this hegemony, tools like the nuclear centrifuge, for instance, were invented by scientists to separate isotopes of uranium. Witches too use tools, like athames (ceremonial swords), to separate truth from falsehood and make distinctions of value. Artworks and athames may not be able to separate isotopes, but neither can a centrifuge distinguish the value of keeping uranium in the mountain.

Perhaps not unlike witches, social scientists also developed tools of divination to determine which kinds of epistemologies were effective. Working under the auspices of imperialist capitalist patriarchy these soothsayers shook their Scientific 8-Balls 
to determine whether the indigenous, brown, female, queer, or just generally “abnormal” magic-practicing peoples of the world had value, epistemological or otherwise. Given the context, it’s unsurprising the divination tools of imperialist patriarchy decreed, “All signs point to no.”

Neither art nor science can be conducted outside the hegemony’s metanarratives of value. Artists might want to make work that questions and challenges the oppressive value systems of the hegemony, but they still have to find ways to survive within a system that frequently requires their capitulation. Even the liminal figure of the art witch cannot operate outside the orbit of capitalism’s great gas giant. As the ideology and aesthetics of witchcraft increase in popularity, so too does the likelihood of its being interpolated by the status quo—the threatening, rebellious figure of the witch used to hawk tote bags, crystal jewelry, and bougie craft fairs in Topanga Canyon. But as any experienced witch knows, practicing magic always involves a degree of risk.

Witches are travelers between the worlds. While art witches clearly do exist within the “consensus reality” of advanced capitalism, they also live in and are creating a new reality based on the primacy of the imagination, care for each other and for the earth that sustains us. If magic is the practice of transforming reality according to one’s will, then clearly the magic of the Los Angeles art witch is working.

Amanda Yates Gracia, Spell to Devour the Patriarchy (2016) (performance still). Image courtesy of Women's Center for Creative Work.

Amanda Yates Garcia, Spell to Devour the Patriarchy (2016) (performance still). Image courtesy of Women’s Center for Creative Work.

(1) Davies, Owen. Magic: A Very Short Introduction. New York: Oxford UP, 2012. Print.

(2) Demogorgon. “The Broad: Class Hatred, Concentrated.”  Ediciones Chafa, May 24, 2016.

(3) For another artist working to elaborate the themes of witchcraft, medicine, and anti-colonial theory see the work of Candice Lin. The show Sycorax’s Garden at the 18th Street Arts center in 2015 is of particular relevance. 

(4) Many Art Witches use the workshop as a performance model: workshops are educational, collaborative and participatory.

(5) Griffin, Melanie. “Let the Earth Help You Hold It.” N.p. Web.

(6) Federici, Silvia. Caliban and the Witch: Women, the Body and Primitive Accumulation. Brooklyn: Autonomedia, 2014. Print.

(7) Hedva, Johanna. “Sick Woman Theory.” Mask Magazine, January 2016. Web.

(8) Pels, Peter. Magic and Modernity: Interfaces of Revelation and Concealment. Stanford: Stanford UP, 2003. Print.

 

issue-6-cover-small-web

Originally published in Carla issue 6.