Issue 35 February 2024

Issue 34 November 2023

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Issue 27 February 2022

Issue 26 November 2021

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Issue 24 May 2021

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Issue 22 November 2020

Issue 21 August 2020

Issue 20 May 2020

Issue 19 February 2020

Letter from the Editor –Lindsay Preston Zappas
Parasites in Love –Travis Diehl
To Crush Absolute On Patrick Staff and
Destroying the Institution
–Jonathan Griffin
Victoria Fu:
Camera Obscured
–Cat Kron
Resurgence of Resistance How Pattern & Decoration's Popularity
Can Help Reshape the Canon
–Catherine Wagley
Trace, Place, Politics Julie Mehretu's Coded Abstractions
–Jessica Simmons
Exquisite L.A.: Featuring: Friedrich Kunath,
Tristan Unrau, and Nevine Mahmoud
–Claressinka Anderson & Joe Pugliese
Reviews April Street
at Vielmetter Los Angeles
–Aaron Horst

Chiraag Bhakta
at Human Resources
–Julie Weitz

Don’t Think: Tom, Joe
and Rick Potts

–Matt Stromberg

Sarah McMenimen
at Garden
–Michael Wright

The Medea Insurrection
at the Wende Museum
–Jennifer Remenchik

(L.A. in N.Y.)
Mike Kelley
at Hauser & Wirth
–Angella d’Avignon
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Issue 18 November 2019

Letter from the Editor –Lindsay Preston Zappas
The Briar and the Tar Nayland Blake at the ICA LA
and Matthew Marks Gallery
–Travis Diehl
Putting Aesthetics
to Hope
Tracking Photography’s Role
in Feminist Communities
– Catherine Wagley
Instagram STARtists
and Bad Painting
– Anna Elise Johnson
Interview with Jamillah James – Lindsay Preston Zappas
Working Artists Featuring Catherine Fairbanks,
Paul Pescador, and Rachel Mason
Text: Lindsay Preston Zappas
Photos: Jeff McLane
Reviews Children of the Sun
– Jessica Simmons

Derek Paul Jack Boyle
–Aaron Horst

Karl Holmqvist
at House of Gaga, Los Angeles
–Lee Purvey

Katja Seib
at Château Shatto
–Ashton Cooper

Jeanette Mundt
at Overduin & Co.
–Matt Stromberg
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Issue 17 August 2019

Letter From the Editor Lindsay Preston Zappas
Green Chip David Hammons
at Hauser & Wirth
–Travis Diehl
Whatever Gets You
Through the Night
The Artists of Dilexi
and Wartime Trauma
–Jonathan Griffin
Generous Collectors How the Grinsteins
Supported Artists
–Catherine Wagley
Interview with
Donna Huanca
–Lindsy Preston Zappas
Working Artist Featuring Ragen Moss, Justen LeRoy,
and Bari Ziperstein
Text: Lindsay Preston Zappas
Photos: Jeff McLane
Reviews Sarah Lucas
at the Hammer Museum
–Yxta Maya Murray

George Herms and Terence Koh
at Morán Morán
–Matt Stromberg

Hannah Hur
at Bel Ami
–Michael Wright

Sebastian Hernandez
–Julie Weitz

(L.A. in N.Y.)
Alex Israel
at Greene Naftali
–Rosa Tyhurst

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Issue 16 May 2019

Trulee Hall's Untamed Magic Catherine Wagley
Ingredients for a Braver Art Scene Ceci Moss
I Shit on Your Graves Travis Diehl
Interview with Ruby Neri Jonathan Griffin
Carolee Schneemann and the Art of Saying Yes! Chelsea Beck
Exquisite L.A. Claressinka Anderson
Joe Pugliese
Reviews Ry Rocklen
at Honor Fraser
–Cat Kron

Rob Thom
at M+B
–Lindsay Preston Zappas

Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age
of Black Power, 1963-1983
at The Broad
–Matt Stromberg

Anna Sew Hoy & Diedrick Brackens
at Various Small Fires
–Aaron Horst

Julia Haft-Candell & Suzan Frecon
at Parrasch Heijnen
–Jessica Simmons

(L.A. in N.Y.)
Shahryar Nashat
at Swiss Institute
–Christie Hayden
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Issue 15 February 2019

Letter From the Editor Lindsay Preston Zappas
Letter to the Editor
Men on Women
Geena Brown
Eyes Without a Voice
Julian Rosefeldt's Manifesto
Christina Catherine Martinez
Seven Minute Dream Machine
Jordan Wolfson's (Female figure)
Travis Diehl
Laughing in Private
Vanessa Place's Rape Jokes
Catherine Wagley
Interview with
Rosha Yaghmai
Laura Brown
Exquisite L.A.
Featuring: Patrick Martinez,
Ramiro Gomez, and John Valadez
Claressinka Anderson
Joe Pugliese
Reviews Outliers and American
Vanguard Art at LACMA
–Jonathan Griffin

Sperm Cult
–Matt Stromberg

Kahlil Joseph
–Jessica Simmons

Ingrid Luche
at Ghebaly Gallery
–Lindsay Preston Zappas

Matt Paweski
at Park View / Paul Soto
–John Zane Zappas

Trenton Doyle Hancock
at Shulamit Nazarian
–Colony Little

(L.A. in N.Y.)
Catherine Opie
at Lehmann Maupin
–Angella d'Avignon
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Issue 14 November 2018

Letter From the Editor Lindsay Preston Zappas
Celeste Dupuy-Spencer and Figurative Religion Catherine Wagley
Lynch in Traffic Travis Diehl
The Remixed Symbology of Nina Chanel Abney Lindsay Preston Zappas
Interview with Kulapat Yantrasast Christie Hayden
Exquisite L.A.
Featuring: Sandra de la Loza, Gloria Galvez, and Steve Wong
Claressinka Anderson
Photos: Joe Pugliese
Reviews Raúl de Nieves
at Freedman Fitzpatrick
-Aaron Horst

Gertrud Parker
at Parker Gallery
-Ashton Cooper

Robert Yarber
at Nicodim Gallery
-Jonathan Griffin

Nikita Gale
at Commonwealth & Council
-Simone Krug

Lari Pittman
at Regen Projects
-Matt Stromberg

(L.A. in N.Y.)
Eckhaus Latta
at the Whitney Museum
of American Art
-Angella d'Avignon
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Issue 13 August 2018

Letter From the Editor Lindsay Preston Zappas
Letter to the Editor Julie Weitz with Angella d'Avignon
Don't Make
Everything Boring
Catherine Wagley
The Collaborative Art
World of Norm Laich
Matt Stromberg
Oddly Satisfying Art Travis Diehl
Made in L.A. 2018 Reviews Claire de Dobay Rifelj
Jennifer Remenchik
Aaron Horst
Exquisite L.A.
Featuring: Anna Sew Hoy, Guadalupe Rosales, and Shizu Saldamando
Claressinka Anderson
Photos: Joe Pugliese
Reviews It's Snowing in LA
at AA|LA
–Matthew Lax

Fiona Conner
at the MAK Center
–Thomas Duncan

Show 2
at The Gallery @ Michael's
–Simone Krug

Deborah Roberts
at Luis De Jesus Los Angeles
–Ikechukwu Casmir Onyewuenyi

Mimi Lauter
at Blum & Poe
–Jessica Simmons

(L.A. in N.Y.)
Math Bass
at Mary Boone
–Ashton Cooper

(L.A. in N.Y.)
Condo New York
–Laura Brown
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Issue 12 May 2018

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
Reviews Meleko Mokgosi
at The Fowler Museum at UCLA
-Jessica Simmons

Chris Kraus
at Chateau Shatto
- Aaron Horst

Ben Sanders
at Ochi Projects
- Matt Stromberg

iris yirei hsu
at the Women's Center
for Creative Work
- Hana Cohn

Harald Szeemann
at the Getty Research Institute
- Olivian Cha

Ali Prosch
at Bed and Breakfast
- Jennifer Remenchik

Reena Spaulings
at Matthew Marks
- Thomas Duncan
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Issue 11 February 2018

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
Reviews Dulce Dientes
at Rainbow in Spanish
- Aaron Horst

Adrián Villas Rojas
at The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA
- Lindsay Preston Zappas

Nevine Mahmoud
at M+B
- Angella D'Avignon

Radical Women: Latin American Art, 1960- 1985
at the Hammer Museum
- Thomas Duncan

Hannah Greely and William T. Wiley
at Parker Gallery
- Keith J. Varadi

David Hockney
at The Metropolitan Museum of Art (L.A. in N.Y.)
- Ashton Cooper

Edgar Arceneaux
at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (L.A. in S.F.)
- Hana Cohn
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Issue 10 November 2017

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
Object Project
Featuring: Rosha Yaghmai,
Dianna Molzan, and Patrick Jackson
Lindsay Preston Zappas
Photos by Jeff McLane
Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA
Regen Projects
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
Reviews Cheyenne Julien
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.)
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Issue 9 August 2017

Letter from the Editor Lindsay Preston Zappas
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
Object Project
Featuring: Rebecca Morris,
Linda Stark, Alex Olson
Lindsay Preston Zappas
Photos by Jeff McClane
Reviews Mark Bradford
at the Venice Biennale

Broken Language
at Shulamit Nazarian

Artists of Color
at the Underground Museum

Anthony Lepore & Michael Henry Hayden
at Del Vaz Projects


Analia Saban at
Sprueth Magers
Letter to the Editor Lady Parts, Lady Arts
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Issue 8 May 2017

Letter from the Editor Lindsay Preston Zappas
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
Reviews Alessandro Pessoli
at Marc Foxx

Jennie Jieun Lee
at The Pit

Trisha Baga
at 356 Mission

Jimmie Durham
at The Hammer

Parallel City
at Ms. Barbers

Jason Rhodes
at Hauser & Wirth
Letter to the Editor
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Issue 7 February 2017

Letter from the Editor Lindsay Preston Zappas
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
Exquisite L.A.
Brenna Youngblood
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

at Chateau Shatto

The Rat Bastard Protective Association
at the Landing
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Issue 6 November 2016

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
Jessica Simmons
Exquisite L.A.
Analia Saban
Ry Rocklen
Sarah Cain
Intro by Claressinka Anderson
Portraits by Joe Pugliese
Made in L.A. 2016
at The Hammer Museum

Doug Aitken
at The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA

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.)
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Issue 5 August 2016

Letter form the Editor Lindsay Preston Zappas
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
Exquisite L.A.
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.)
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Issue 4 May 2016

Letter from the Editor Lindsay Preston Zappas
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
Interiors and Interiority:
Njideka Akunyili Crosby
Char Jansen
Reviews L.A. Art Fairs

Material Art Fair, Mexico City

Rain Room

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.)
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Issue 3 February 2016

Letter from the Editor Lindsay Preston Zappas
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
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
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Issue 2 November 2015

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
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
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
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Issue 1 August 2015

Letter from the Editor Lindsay Preston Zappas
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
Slow View:
Discussion on One Work
Anna Breininger
with Julian Rogers
Reviews Pierre Huyghe

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.)
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1301 PE
Anat Ebgi (La Cienega)
Anat Ebgi (Wilshire)
Arcana Books
Artbook @ Hauser & Wirth
Babst Gallery
Baert Gallery
Bel Ami
Canary Test
Carlye Packer
Charlie James Gallery
Château Shatto
Chris Sharp Gallery
Cirrus Gallery
Clay ca
Commonwealth & Council
Craft Contemporary
D2 Art (Inglewood)
D2 Art (Westwood)
David Kordansky Gallery
David Zwirner
Diane Rosenstein
François Ghebaly
Gana Art Los Angeles
George Billis Gallery
Giovanni's Room
Hamzianpour & Kia
Hannah Hoffman Gallery
Harper's Gallery
Hashimoto Contemporary
Heavy Manners Library
Helen J Gallery
Human Resources
Hunter Shaw Fine Art
in lieu
LaPau Gallery
Lisson Gallery
Lowell Ryan Projects
Luis De Jesus Los Angeles
MAK Center for Art and Architecture
Make Room Los Angeles
Matter Studio Gallery
Matthew Brown Los Angeles
MOCA Grand Avenue
Monte Vista Projects
Morán Morán
Moskowitz Bayse
Nazarian / Curcio
Night Gallery
Nino Mier Gallery
NOON Projects
O-Town House
One Trick Pony
Paradise Framing
Park View / Paul Soto
Patricia Sweetow Gallery
Regen Projects
Reparations Club
r d f a
REDCAT (Roy and Edna Disney CalArts Theater)
Roberts Projects
Royale Projects
Sean Kelly
Sebastian Gladstone
Shoshana Wayne Gallery
Smart Objects
Steve Turner
Stroll Garden
Tanya Bonakdar Gallery
The Box
The Fulcrum
The Hole
The Landing
The Poetic Research Bureau
The Wende Museum
Thinkspace Projects
Tierra del Sol Gallery
Tiger Strikes Astroid
Tomorrow Today
Track 16
Tyler Park Presents
USC Fisher Museum of Art
UTA Artist Space
Various Small Fires
Village Well Books & Coffee
Outside L.A.
Libraries/ Collections
Baltimore Museum of Art (Baltimore, MD)
Bard College, CCS Library (Annandale-on-Hudson, NY)
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Getty Research Institute (Los Angeles, CA)
Los Angeles Contemporary Archive (Los Angeles, CA)
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University of California Irvine, Langston IMCA (Irvine, CA)
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Walker Art Center (Minneapolis, MN)
Whitney Museum of American Art (New York, NY)
Yale University Library (New Haven, CT)

Anachronism and Apocalypse:
Notes on the Contemporary Medieval

Leer en Español

Elaine Cameron-Weir, Dressing for Windows/ Dressing for Altitude/ Dressing for Pleasure (detail) (2022). Fighter jet seat, bronze statue, stainless steel barrel cart, leather jacket, meat hooks, conveyor belt, pulleys, and hardware, 144 × 87 × 150 inches. Image courtesy of the artist and Hannah Hoffman, Los Angeles. Photo: Jeff McLane.

Elaine Cameron-Weir’s recent exhibition at Hannah Hoffman gallery, Exploded View / Dressing for Windows, enmeshed the old with the new and the sacred with the profane—or at least, with the grim, grimy, and secular. Disparate found objects were stripped of their original functions in favor of new forms. Four counterweighted sculptural installations resembled, as the exhibition’s title would suggest, department store window product displays. Comprising objects as various as stainless steel barrels, conveyor belts, and bronze reliefs depicting Jesus’ crucifixion, the assemblages cultivated a kind of junkyard mysticism in which the hypermodern conspired with the neomedieval.

A peculiar combination of anachronism and apocalypticism pervaded the exhibition. Objects invoking the Middle Ages were rendered equal to the detritus of modernity, as though the world envisioned by Cameron-Weir would emerge only after the “end times,” when all that remains is material ruin. In these constructions, time felt out of joint: Glass magic lantern slides depicting premodern religious imagery, such as cathedrals and stained glass, mingled with images of modern sites of violence and destruction. Cameron- Weir is one of several contemporary artists experimenting with anachronism, combining symbols of a medieval past with those lifted from contemporary life—what we might call the “contemporary medieval.” These artists’ invocations of the past offer new ways to think through contemporary existential laments surrounding technology, consumer culture, and environmental devastation.

In the 1980s, Italian philosopher and writer Umberto Eco linked neo-medieval style with apocalypticism. For Eco, the modern fascination with the Middle Ages visible across twentieth-century popular art and architectural forms (Hearst Castle in central California, the early films of Ernst Ingmar Bergman, mass-market paperbacks like Arthur H. Landis’ 1976 A World Called Camelot and J.R.R. Tolkien’s 1955 The Return of the King) might be ascribed to the era’s troublesome social, political, and economic dynamics, such as the rise of fascism and neoliberalism’s increasing hold on global economic and political structures. These circumstances mirrored changes that burgeoned in the medieval era between 1100 and 1500, when capitalist economies began to supersede feudalism, nation-states became primary political units, and heresy (the culture war of yesteryear) was rendered a punishable offense.

Judgment Day was a cornerstone of medieval ideology, and because its imminent arrival was perpetually deferred, it always loomed large in the medieval imaginary. Eco writes: “These Middle Ages […] still accompany us and will continue to do so, until midnight of the Day After. Source of so many insanities, [the Middle Ages] remain however as a permanent warning. Sometimes it is not so medieval to think that perhaps the end is coming and the Antichrist, in plainclothes, is knocking at the door.”1 In the mid-late twentieth century, medieval narratives, atmospheres, and archetypes became especially enticing tools to register an enduring doomsday anxiety. According to Eco, we were “dreaming the Middle Ages”2—a dream from which we’ve not yet woken. Caught between the environmental, political, and economic crises of today, it’s not difficult to imagine humanity’s imminent demise.

Just as Eco saw traces of medieval fascinations across pop culture in his lifetime, over the past few years, neomedievalism has made a pronounced resurgence, saturating contemporary cultural production with tales of nuns, knights, courtly love, and mortal sin. From Jos Charles’ poetry collection feeld (2018), Ottessa Moshfegh’s novel Lapvona (2022), and Lauren Groff’s novel Matrix (2021), to films like Ridley Scott’s The Last Duel (2021), David Lowery’s The Green Knight (2021), and Robert Eggers’ The Northman (2022), popular interest in totalizing (if not always historically accurate) medieval worldbuilding seems to be more widespread than ever. But as the genre increasingly appears in visual art, its relationship to anachronism takes on a slightly different form. From the commedia dell’arte3 masks present in the paintings of TARWUK, Joel Dean, Adam Alessi, and Victor Boullet, to the sculptures of Kira Freije, Rochelle Goldberg, and Cameron-Weir, these and other artists strategically appropriate icons and symbols invoking the medieval, rather than attempting to immerse the viewer in a contained narrative fantasy of another historical moment. In other words, they emphasize anachronism to reveal something about our current world.

Elaine Cameron-Weir, World Stage Town Crier (2022). Speakers, spotlights, electrical components, drop tank nose cone, paint, meat hooks, conveyor belt, pulleys, and hardware, 144 × 87 × 150 inches. Image courtesy of the artist and Hannah Hoffman, Los Angeles. Photo: Jeff McLane.

Like Cameron-Weir, Goldberg and Freije often work with imagery rooted in medieval Catholic art and architecture that nevertheless resonates in our present historical moment. In Goldberg’s Intralocuters series (2017–present), for instance, she works primarily with the “Composite Magdalene” of Roman Catholic theology, specifically Saint Mary of Egypt, a former prostitute who, upon visiting the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, ventured into the desert to live devoutly in solitude.4 Across the series, Goldberg renders Mary of Egypt as one with her environment through organic and inorganic materials—ceramic, steel, wood, human hair, animal fur, and feathers. This depiction of Mary as inextricable from the Earth provides a welcome foil to increasing attempts to escape it, like recent responses to the realities of climate change that embrace virtual or cloud-based worlds.5

Freije’s recent sculptures also traffic in a kind of hyper-materiality, albeit one more rooted in design and industrial materials. Composed of cage-like metal bands, the figures either resemble or are interspersed with light fixtures. They kneel and stand in various positions of awe and cowardice as though mimicking the postures painted in Renaissance depictions of Judgement Day. But instead of ascending to heaven among angels, or descending into hell among devils, Freije’s subjects are cyborgs, not the souls of mortals. In her merging of the technological with the human form, Freije asks us to imagine a future in which the human and the commodity can no longer be effectively distinguished.

Like Freije, Cameron-Weir harnesses neomedievalism to further an investigation of the commodity form, a Marxist term that describes the way in which so many features of cultural life have taken on the form and function of objects that are salable or exchangeable. In Joy in Repetition (all works 2022), two similar industrial fireproof doors lean against the gallery’s back wall, providing weighted support to two identical hanging bronze reliefs of a fallen Christ being tended to by his acolytes. The sizes of the massive doors and smaller reliefs are proportional to each other and, like most objects in the exhibition, cold and greyish in tone. The phrase Joy in Repetition reads like ad copy or a hokey slogan touted by a furniture store—an ironically upbeat title for a work that summons both Jesus’ sacrifices for humanity and the power and dangers of industry. The work flattens two disparate temporal lines through their formal similarities, creating an aesthetic harmony that enables Cameron-Weir’s wry subversion of contemporary marketing clichés.

Juxtapositions of medieval Catholicism and contemporary consumer culture also structure Cameron-Weir’s Florid Piggy Memories brought to you on the wing of the Common Ground Dove/ Dressing for Lectern. In this work, a dirt-smeared display case that might have once contained jewelry or watches is instead filled with slides depicting medieval religious sites and modern violence alike. The images include a depiction of the Virgin and Child from a thirteenth-century missal, the Salisbury Cathedral, the Gurk Cathedral, a series of concrete blast walls, and the stern deck of the battleship USS Nevada, which was subject to atomic bomb tests in 1946.6 Each photograph, adorned with an ornate pewter frame, is joined to its neighboring photograph with small, circular electrical components recalling jewelry clasps. First, Cameron-Weir materially and conceptually links medieval religiosity and its orientation towards Judgement Day with the twentieth-century development of world-ending bombs. Then, she turns the fear, grandeur, and gravitas of God and the A-bomb into mere ornaments, as though the end-of-world anxiety of today was already expressed through, or implicated in, the commodity form.

Cameron-Weir’s assemblages respond to, rather than erase, the fraught prehistories of the objects that comprise them. Dressing for Windows/ Dressing for Altitude/ Dressing for Pleasure positions a damaged fighter jet seat opposite a sculpture of the Virgin Mary kneeling in prayer on a furniture dolly. Their colors and curved forms are uncannily similar, and they both function as counterweights to a leather jacket affixed with meat hooks to a vertically-suspended conveyor belt. Here, the violence of Christ’s crucifixion implied in Mary’s piety is paralleled with the violence of a fighter jet that has presumably been struck down and plundered. The meat hooks and leather suggest further violence, still, pointing to the brutal slaughter and processing of animals. Dressing for Windows evokes an overdetermined narrative of violence that lingers throughout the show yet is impossible to fully comprehend—much like Eco’s account of the endurance of apocalyptic anxieties.

Many expressions of the neomedieval respond to present desires to remystify our relationship to society, the Earth, and ourselves. They offer us a chance to escape—or at the very least, aestheticize—the powerlessness we feel in an increasingly technologized and globalized world. But rather than provide avenues away from our world, Cameron-Weir and her contemporaries route us back to it through the deep past, as if to say the medieval is once again contemporary.

This essay was originally published in Carla issue 31.

Elaine Cameron-Weir, Florid Piggy Memories brought to you on the wing of the Common Ground Dove/ Dressing or Lectern (detail) (2022). Image courtesy of the artist and Hannah Hoffman, Los Angeles. Photo: Jeff McLane.

Kira Freije, the sudden sleep (2022). Stainless steel, cast aluminum, and copper, 61 × 40 × 40 inches. © Kira Freije. Image courtesy of the artist and The Approach, London. Photo: Michael Brzezinski.

  1. Umberto Eco, Faith in Fakes: Travels in Hyperreality, new ed. (London: Vintage, 1995), 72. (Original work published 1973).
  2. Eco, 104.
  3. Commedia dell’arte was an early form of improvised theater that emerged in the 1600s, not in the Middle Ages. However, neomedievalism is an aesthetic mode that collapses distinctions between the Renaissance and the Middle Ages. The flattening of the two eras abounds in popular media like Game of Thrones, or even at the Renaissance Faire, a primary site of neomedievalism.
  4. Western Catholicism characterizes Mary Magdalene as a penitent sinner partially because biblical exegeses from the Early Middle Ages conflate her with St. Mary of Egypt. See: Susan Haskins, Mary Magdalen: Myth and Metaphor (New York: Harcourt, Brace & Co., 1994).
  5. See: the island country of Tuvalu’s plans to upload the country to the metaverse. Simon Kofe, “Rising sea levels force Tuvalu to move to the Metaverse: COP27 speech,” YouTube, November 15, 2022,
  6. Alex Fox, “Researchers Locate Wreck of Battleship That Survived Pearl Harbor and Nuclear Bomb Tests.” Smithsonian Magazine, Smithsonian Institution, May 13, 2020,

Isabella Miller lives and works in Los Angeles.

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