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
Koreatown / Pico-Union
Commonwealth & Council
3006 W. 7th St., #220
Los Angeles CA 90005

Dalton Warehouse
447 E. 32nd St.
Los Angeles, CA 90011

Elevator Mondays
1026 Venice Blvd., Suite E
Los Angeles, CA 90015

Park View
836 S. Park View St., #8
Los Angeles, CA 90057

Skibum MacArthur
712 S. Grand View St., #204
Los Angeles, CA 90057

VACANCY
2524 1/2 James M. Wood Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90006

Visitor Welcome Center
3006 W. 7th St., #200 A
Los Angeles, CA 90005
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

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

Praz Delavallade
6150 Wilshire Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90048

The Landing
5118 W. Jefferson Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90016

SPRÜTH MAGERS
5900 Wilshire Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90036

The Underground Museum
3508 W. Washington Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90018
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

Us & Them, Now & Then: Reconstituting Group Material

Reconstitution (2017) (installation view). Image courtesy of LAXART.

It’s hard to make good art about flags—especially, to risk an exceptionalism, the American one. This owing to the flag’s sometimes brutal metonymy: the flag is America. Don’t burn America. America, don’t run. To wave the flag can be ironic in context, but the flag itself is never ironic; to disrespect the flag is to risk offending generations of proud, if thin-skinned, patriots.

But the American flag is also, maybe, an effective in for artists looking to take on that selfsame country through their art. The bold, graphic flag offers a formalist interface rich with mutual significance. Reconstitution, curated at LAXART by Catherine Taft and Hamza Walker, wasn’t about the American flag, it was about the United States Constitution, and yet it couldn’t resist a couple of flag pieces. On a shelf on the title wall was Sonya Clark’s Unraveled (2015), consisting of three piles of thread—red, white, and blue. Clark’s deconstruction of American patriotism turned another turn once you read the wall label and learned that these are the remains of a Confederate battle flag, Old Glory’s discredited double. In the video Flag and its Shadow (2004), by Van McElwee, an American flag waves at full mast; the shot is mirrored along the vertical, so that one flag becomes two. The left side of the frame appears in natural color and the right with the colors inverted: one positive, one negative, two opposites, tied to the same pole.

In 1987, on the occasion of the 200th anniversary of the U.S. Constitution, Group Material (GM) mounted a show at the Temple University Gallery in Philadelphia. (1) Called Constitution, the show offered to reframe this country’s founding document as an ongoing, living structure constantly and contradictorily adapted by the plurality for which it claims to speak. In particular, the work on display took up so-called identity politics to mark the truly diverse makeup of the citizenry; a wall relief by John Ahearn joined a quartet of sepia portraits by Edward Curtis and a quilt by Faith Ringgold.

Reconstitution (2017) (installation view). Image courtesy of LAXART.

Reconstitution translated the GM exhibition forward 30 years; the show hinged on the continuity of then and now, us and them, Reagan and Trump. As with GM’s 1987 show, the LAXART curators hung works on top of walls printed with the words of the preamble and first articles—only in 2017 the text appeared in Persian. Where the U.S. Constitution is increasingly misread in the service of regressive nationalism, the LAXART show countered with a nod to Los Angeles’s large Persian community.

In the GM spirit, Walker and Taft’s show drew connections across national, linguistic, and historical limits—sometimes quite literally. In U.S. Customs Demand to Know (2016–ongoing), Gelare Khoshgozaran mails packages from Tehran to the United States and displays the stamped and taped boxes lit from within by LEDs. Lawrence Weiner’s vinyl wall text, An Object Tossed from One Country to Another (1969/2017), suggests everything from cruise missiles to bales of marijuana.

These crossings were mirrored in the exhibition design. The GM-style hang departed from white-walled modernist autonomy, abandoning the standard 60-inch center at which most paintings are hung, and stacking works four high on top of Persian script. Fine art hobnobbed with kitsch and craft; media ranged from drawings to textiles to a 16mm projection to a clothing line. This polyvalent installation put art’s critical dexterity into play; like GM’s best efforts, Reconstitution cut formal escapism with political engagement, yet cut political didactics with sex appeal.

Group Material, Constitution (1987). Temple University Gallery, Philadelphia. Image courtesy of Group Material, New York. Photo: Gregory Benson.

Against one wall was a shop door framing a photo by Kathryn Andrews (Santa Door IV [Pilgrim’s Booty], 2014): a model in t-shirt and underwear holds a pineapple, as if in a softcore American Apparel ad. If one considers the colonial significance of the tropical pineapple, the piece turns acid. On the other side of the gallery, an untitled Rachel Harrison drawing (2011) still bore an actual bullet hole from when an enraged former museum guard shot it, among other works, before committing suicide. Where else, but in America—where two flags, two constitutions, aren’t us-and-them opposites but a whole mess of unity?

“What did this show mean 30 years ago,” ask the curators, “and what could it mean today?” Put another way, what made Group Material special? To start with the obvious, they were a group. GM approached exhibition making as a collective effort, even a democratic one. Consequently, the themes of their exhibitions are better described as issues—from the HIV/AIDS crisis (AIDS Timeline, 1989/90) to democracy itself (Democracy, 1988/89, Democracy Wall, 1989/90). From the beginning, GM treated each project as a statement of purpose. Their fourth show, The People’s Choice (Arroz con Mango) (1981), was an open platform for the gallery’s neighbors to exhibit their household art collections alongside work by GM’s members—and, implicitly, for those with more than an art-discursive interest in the subject to join in a critique of gentrification. GM exhibited a particular, collective concern for not just the art world, but the world. “Our project is clear,” they wrote. “We invite everyone to question the entire culture we have taken for granted.” (2)

Muslim ban? Women’s March? Is topicality the endgame of political art? Christine Wang’s paintings, Untitled 7 and Untitled 8 (2017), incorporate echoes of current events via Facebook dialogues; one work reads, in part, “is there space to wonder about pink pussy hats?” To rephrase: is art the space to wonder about pink pussy hats? Reconstitution joins a string of group shows post-November 9th in addressing the explicitly political question of what-do-we-do-now. Many of these exhibitions have looked to history for some guidance. But Walker and Taft’s Reconstitution is remarkable in that it doesn’t just look back to the ’80s or to Reagan but back to a group working then who had a strategy for moving forward.

Taft and Walker’s exhibition, above all, raised the question: what is important about a reiteration of GM’s diagrammatic style of exhibition making? This style is, above all, how GM reconstituted our most patinaed symbols by finding in them the fragile, shining interface between art and not-art, between culture and activism. Danh Vo’s We the People (2011), included in Reconstitution, is a wavy copper section of a full-size Statue of Liberty replica. The work is only ever displayed in sections. Like the flags, the piece participates in a metonymy wherein the symbol seems to constitute the unique attributes of a nation and its citizens—the ideals that grow into compromise.

GM had a plan: an idea to operate politically within the art world, without being concerned with making political art. Yet GM operated as and within the art world, a flawed but liberal system with raw and outdated parameters. The tattered American flag or the Constitution blown up on the walls aren’t taken for artworks, but works in progress. And alongside these grand sentiments, the odd aesthetic outgrowths of America’s political culture speak just as loudly: for Constitution, a sober, black bench designed by Thomas Jefferson; for the Reconstitution, a plastic shopping bag printed with the text, blue and red on white: “President Nixon. Now more than ever.”

 

  1. By this time, Group Material (GM) consisted of Dough Ashford, Julie Ault, and Felix Gonzalez-Torres.
  2. See the brochure printed to accompany the first GM exhibition at their Lower East Side space in October 1980, reprinted in Julie Ault, ed., Show and Tell: A Chronicle of Group Material (London: Four Corners Books, 2010), 21-23.

Group Material, Constitution (1987). Temple University Gallery, Philadelphia. Image courtesy of Group Material, New York. Photo: Gregory Benson.

Christine Wang, Untitled 7 (2017). Acrylic and oil on canvas, 48 x 48 inches. Image courtesy of the artist and Night Gallery.

Reconstitution (2017) (installation view). Image courtesy of LAXART.

Group Material, Constitution (1987). Temple University Gallery, Philadelphia. Image courtesy of Group Material, New York. Photo: Gregory Benson.

Reconstitution (2017) (installation view). Image courtesy of LAXART.

Group Material, Constitution (1987). Temple University Gallery, Philadelphia. Image courtesy of Group Material, New York. Photo: Gregory Benson.

 

Originally published in Carla Issue 9