Issue 35 February 2024

Issue 34 November 2023

Issue 33 August 2023

Issue 32 June 2023

Issue 31 February 2023

Issue 30 November 2022

Issue 29 August 2022

Issue 28 May 2022

Issue 27 February 2022

Issue 26 November 2021

Issue 25 August 2021

Issue 24 May 2021

Issue 23 February 2021

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
Buy the Issue In our Online Shop

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
Buy the Issue In Our Online Shop

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
Buy the Issue In our Online Shop

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
Buy the Issue In Our Online Shop

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
Buy the Issue In Our Online Shop

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
Buy the Issue In Our Online Shop

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.)
Buy the Issue In Our Online Shop

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.)
Buy the Issue In Our Online Shop

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
Buy the Issue In Our Online Shop

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
Buy the Issue In Our Online Shop

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.)
Buy the Issue In Our Online Shop
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)
Charlotte Street Foundation (Kansas City, MO)
Cranbrook Academy of Art (Bloomfield Hills, MI)
Getty Research Institute (Los Angeles, CA)
Los Angeles Contemporary Archive (Los Angeles, CA)
Los Angeles County Museum of Art (Los Angeles, CA)
Maryland Institute College of Art (Baltimore, MD)
Midway Contemporary Art (Minneapolis, MN)
Museum of Contemporary Art (Los Angeles, CA)
NYS College of Ceramics at Alfred University (Alfred, NY)
Pepperdine University (Malibu, CA)
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (San Francisco, CA)
School of the Art Institute of Chicago (Chicago, IL)
The Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, NY)
University of California Irvine, Langston IMCA (Irvine, CA)
University of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia, PA)
Walker Art Center (Minneapolis, MN)
Whitney Museum of American Art (New York, NY)
Yale University Library (New Haven, CT)

Art in Isolation
with Katy Cowan

Photo: Scott Cowan.

In the coming weeks, Carla founder and editor-in-chief Lindsay Preston Zappas will be hosting chats with members of the L.A. art community via Instagram Live on Fridays. 

The following was edited for web from an Instagram Live conversation on May 8, 2020 at 5:30 PST.

Art in Isolation with Katy Cowan

In the coming weeks, Carla founder and editor-in-chief Lindsay Preston Zappas will be hosting chats with members of the L.A. art community via Instagram Live on Fridays. 

The following was edited for web from an Instagram Live conversation on May 8, 2020 at 5:30 PST.

Lindsay Preston Zappas: So how have you been? How have the last couple of months shaken out for you as far as mental/studio balance?

Katy Cowan: It changes. It was really weird, and it still is really weird, but then it was trying to figure out how to make work. and also for me, I teach, so How to teach online, and I don’t know it’s been an interesting result. 

LPZ: At this point, two months into this, I personally feel that I’m settling in a little bit. I’m feeling calmer. I feel less frantic. How do you feel? 

KC: Yeah, same. Especially living in California where [shelter-in-place] happened pretty quickly, I feel like there were tons of emotions but it happened really fast, like panic and worry and confusion and everything and then it was like, all right now how do we just go forth? 

LPZ: And for you it kind of bumped up with some deadlines right, because you made this new body of work for Frieze? What was it like to kind of have to shift into the studio during that panic mode?

KC: It was interesting because the way that I make work is [to] have everything produced in metal first and then I work into it [painting and drawing] on top of the metal. I just got in this body of work back from the foundry right before the quarantine happened and then I obviously had way more time than normal to work on it. It was great to have this deadline, but now it’s interesting because I finished this body of work and I’m kind of sad because I don’t have other things to start working on immediately. But it’s also like okay, now what do I do?

LPZ: Right, because of the foundry limitation you mean?

KC: Just the unknown of everything. Should I get stuff into the foundry right now? Logistical and financial questions… 

LPZ: And if you’re sending stuff to the foundry, you’re obviously paying for that fabrication. So I could see how that could be a mental block of, “should I really be doing this right now?” I’m sure at this point you’re kind of past that a little bit because that’s your practice and that’s the first step often. 

KC: Yeah well, we’ll see. I am kind of curious to investigate some other material. I’ve really been wanting to learn for a couple of years how to make sculptural paper pieces—like actually grind up paper and turn them into sculptural bodies. And that’s a relatively inexpensive thing to do that takes a lot of time, so maybe something like that will happen.

LPZ: Interesting. And I feel like there’s a lot of potential for molding paper, too. You could kind mold over your rope shapes. That could be really interesting.

KC: Yeah. Yeah, exactly. 

LPZ: Let’s talk about this body of work that’s in Frieze right now. These works are stunning. To me, they seem a bit different—they seem so much more composed on a two-dimensional plane. Can you talk about the process? You said you shape the rope and then get it cast—were you always placing it within this picture plane as you were doing that planning process? 

KC: Basically what happens is I compose and have to situate the ropes on some sort of board, just to stabilize them for the molding process at the foundry. I work with a really awesome foundry where they’re willing to just kind of do whatever, which means they can cast stuff and cut it out really cleanly, but often I’ll ask them to cast stuff and leave the kind of mess-ups, and spillover, and splashing, just for the sculptors out there.

For this series, I really wanted to just go back to the traditional, rectangle-painting proportion, which I hadn’t done for a really long time. There were a few reasons—these were made for an art fair, and I wanted to see what it would be like to make a more traditional format for a fair, like how would they stand out in a booth?

I feel like I’m always just setting up these challenges in my studio for myself, which is like, as someone who used to paint in undergrad, can I go back to the canvas, which I’ve rejected so far? Can I do that? What will it be like for me to try to go back to that?

LPZ: It’s interesting that you’re talking about the canvas as moving backward, regressing to the canvas or something, but I think we all learn on a two-dimensional space.

KC: Totally—and I just mean that’s how I started, so to me it feels like going back to this thing that I had rejected, but I know how scary and exciting a canvas is. So like, can I go back to it with a sculpture mentality as well? So these results could be more painterly, kind of like low-relief sculptures. Which was fun and really hard, and I’m actually really thankful that I had more time to work on them than I thought I would because of the quarantine… it resulted in much more elaborate, composed paintings than other pieces you’ve probably seen. 

LPZ: Yeah, they feel so much denser to me and that’s something I wanted to talk with you about. Some previous works are slightly more minimal feeling, or more having to do with space, and stretched out-ness, and weight, and things like that, and I’m curious if in the process of making these: do you feel that density is something that’s shifted in this body of work? 

KC: I think it’s just that I focus on different things at different times. A lot of the things I end up focusing on just come from questions people ask me, which as of late has been like, “what’s up with your color usage?” And I’m like, “well, I think I know what’s up with my color usage, but maybe if I like really have to focus on it really hard, I can figure some things out that I’m maybe not paying attention to.” They don’t feel that divergent, even though I know visually, they totally are. It’s just a different area of thinking that I wanted to investigate. 

LPZ: I wanted to also talk about these [new] drawings because I think you even talk about the drawings as sketches, but these newer drawings feel so complete. Can you talk about that relationship and how you see the drawings fitting in?

KC: The drawings—and I think this might actually be kind of similar to how I think about the sculptures, is that they take on different roles. Some are actual sketches of what I’m trying to figure out, so they seem like the more one-to-one relationship. Some happen way before the process and they might look more like a painting or a watercolor, and then they enter a sculpture later on. Some are made afterward, a lot of the times they’ll have my practical notes written on them or some segment of a book I’m reading, a line of poetry or something. I really try and have the drawings around as this different sort of thinking space that different modes of thinking kind of flow through.

LPZ: And there’s something about paper that feels less precious, like you could just scribble a note, or scribble a quote from a book you’re reading. But all of those thoughts become really precious too, because they’re being composed on paper, so it kind of straddles this line of being a sketch, but it’s almost a more intimate look at your practice or your process because it’s showing us all of these thoughts along the way.

KC: Yeah, I think so. It’s funny because I’ve always done them, and I can’t remember when it happened, but someone, I think it was Philip, was at the studio from the gallery, and he was like, “I haven’t seen these before.” And I’m like, “oh yeah, this is just something I do”—you know? I just hadn’t ever thought about them [that way]… that people might be interested in seeing that other layer of what’s going on. But I love the drawings. And honestly, if I had to explain how I’m composing the ropes, I’m totally thinking of the ropes as a drawing tool. I’m ultimately just drawing with them. 

LPZ: The ropes become almost the first brushstroke or the first line. I wanted to talk about your older work, where I feel like some of these moves are coming into the drawings too, where the rope becomes the first gesture, and then you’re going in with paint and colored pencil, and kind of doing a similar move, where you’re almost responding. Can you talk about that? Some of the moves just seem so playful, and a little more intuitive, like you’re just responding as you go. 

KC: I like that because there’s a bunch of weird steps that happen. First, I have to compose these ropes, which are actually all CrossFit ropes—I have so many CrossFit ropes, it’s really weird… there are different capacities that I have just with the physicality of the rope. Then I’ve got to take then to the foundry, get them cast, talk about how we should cast them. Then I get these big metal objects back, which is so beautiful and you don’t really want to paint it. And then hang it up and go into the painting part of it. And the painting part shifts piece to piece. 

In some of them, I get kind of romanced by the material almost, and I find myself drifting off and painting these really thin lines. Some are kind of bulky and showing the boringness of a rope, almost. Some of the ropes, just the way that I’ve composed them kind of section off spaces that I’ll start creating or painting landscapes… Then in some of them, there are inconsistencies in the plywood, so it’s a big response to the physical material, and I feel like I go into a drawing mentality where I’m getting lost in my line work, and sometimes it’s a sculptural mentality where I’m trying to pull something out with the paint. It varies a lot. 

LPZ: So thinking about a work like [(is, is; informal) Position, 2019] where there’s still paint involved, but to me, it feels so much more like an object than a painting. Is that a similar process of applying paint on something like this [work], or are you talking more about the two-dimensional works? 

KC: No, the same—in that one, I was like, “I kind of just want to paint this one white and leave it just like a rope.” I just wanted it to be almost kind of blunt and boring as an object but realized I had to apply a little bit of color in there to show the three-dimensionality of it. Obviously it fades from a darker—there’s just a little bit of dark blue spray paint—and then it fades to that pink on the bottom there. All within that rope is a ton of graphite where I’m pulling out all of the lines of the rope, so when you see it in person it really looks like a rope that just has some coloring on it. But again, it’s just a simple, doodle-y kind of shape.

LPZ: When did you first use rope and what drew you to that material? And do you think you might ever move away from it, or do you feel like its one of those materials that it’s like, “I need this in my work”?

KC: I think I started using it a few years ago. I go through these periods of different materials. I’ve gone through periods of using just wax and plywood and clay and sun-sensitive paint, but I also go through periods of focusing on just one tool, using just two-by-fours, or just bricks, or just hammers, or something. 

I started using ropes actually because was trying to make these big mobile structures that could pack down… so it was just a way for me to make something that could take up space but didn’t demand all these crates. I didn’t have the means to just get stuff made out of metal… and then I happened to learn metal at a school I was teaching at [from a friend] for free… so it was a very natural move into metal. 

But I haven’t moved away from the ropes lately because I keep discovering new things about them. I think if I stop discovering new things about them, I’ll just move to some different subject matter. But the more that I take them apart, and the more I play with them, the references just keep opening up, of landscapes and the insides of bodies, moving away from just that tool-ness. I think that’s why I haven’t left them yet. 

LPZ: Hearing you talk about it, it’s almost like you’re thinking about it in a figurative way— like the rope as a body, unraveling it, feeling the organic nature. I never feel like rope is functional in your work—it does serve a function but it’s doing something very different. 

One other thing that you had mentioned to me, thinking about this quarantine time and different things you might pull from this time going forward in your work. You spoke to me on email about “economy of means,” can you talk about that?

KC: Yeah. That’s a thought process with a ton of questions that I’m sure everybody, any artist, is thinking about. We know how we were making stuff right before this, but what are we going to be able to do, or what makes sense to do? That’s the next step that I’m really curious about. Sure, financially, what can I do, but then—and this is a question I continually ask myself—what can I do to work in a way that’s still interesting and meaningful for what I’ve been focusing on since I’ve always made artwork?

LPZ: And do you mean that on a kind of limited financial scheme, or what do you mean by that exactly?

KC: Yeah, that’s one obvious component of it. But also social—I like to make work where I’m always moving around and interacting with people and having to go to all of these different shops and being around my students and talking to them, and that isn’t what’s happening right now. So how is that going to affect my work? 

I know as artists, it’s nice to be quarantined in your studio because you like working, not having to go to the hardware store, go to the foundry, get distracted by my students—that whole component is not there right now so maybe it’ll become insular in a different way. But I don’t know what that is. But of course, there’s the economic component. How do you shift your practice so it doesn’t feel like you’re not fulfilling what you want to do with your practice or something? I think that’s really interesting for everybody.

LPZ: I think a lot of artists are realizing how communal their art practice actually is—a lot of times we think as artists we’re just kind of alone doing our thing or that studio time is kind of selfish time or something, but I think more and more artists I’ve talked to through these interviews, it’s like “oh, no.” Going out to openings, going to the foundry, going to another artist’s studio, going to Home Depot and just walking up and down the aisles—whatever it is, I feel like all that stuff is really generative. I think everyone’s art is kind of built by committee in this weird way. 

KC: Totally. I think so too, I think so too. 

LPZ: In solitary art practices we don’t always think of other people as an important studio material.

KC: That is a huge part of making work for me. But even things like the art fair, people are doing online Zoom meetings with collectors and stuff, interviews with galleries online. It’s nice that you’re approaching people you wouldn’t normally be talking to. It’s cool that that’s opening up, or people are getting more relaxed about those conversations.

LPZ: Totally. And also I feel like those weird hierarchies that are kind of embedded in the art world, and all the world, are kind of being broken down in a way. We’re all just in our houses and seeing other people in their house, it kind of breaks down all those barriers. Whatever boundaries we place on how we’re supposed to engage with each other— it’s like, whatever. We’re all doing Zoom together.

Going through this digital art fair—your work is so physical. How does it feel having it viewed digitally and talking to collectors digitally about it? Has that been difficult?

KC: I’m doing the talking to collectors next week, so we’ll see how that goes. But I am curious because I think it’s really helpful for people to see them in person because you don’t necessarily know that they’re metal. And that even happens in person. I’ll be talking to people and they’re like, “oh, what is this?” And I’m like, “oh it’s a metal reproduction of rope.” And they’re like, “oh it’s rope on metal that you’re painting.” And I’m like, “no, it’s a metal rope that I painted.” There’s always that confusion. I don’t know what it’ll be like online—if they can’t even catch that, especially if they’re kind of scrolling through an online art fair. I’m not sure. I don’t know what that experience is like for them because I’m on the other side, you know?

LPZ: Definitely. And they’re so graphic, and it’s so interesting when you see an image versus a sculpture, like a photograph versus a painting. I do feel like the graphic nature is the first thing that catches you. I went through your art fair booth earlier and I do feel like the captions become much more important. To see the caption right next to [the work]—aluminum, paint—those are tools that help us understand what this thing is made of. 

KC: That’s true. I hadn’t thought of that. And being aware of someone’s titling. If you look at a checklist [normally], that might be something you gloss over, potentially. 

You’re obviously immediately confronted with the titling and the dimensions and the material and whatnot. I think because of that—going back to these shifts—that writing and people actually reading interviews [might be] happening more often, because people have more time and have time on a screen to sit there and read the thing. Maybe I’m just hopeful that text, as a result, is having more of a presence right now. 

LPZ: I mean it’s good for me if that’s the case!

KC: I hope so!

Katy Cowan, To advance into (Position) (2020). Oil and enamel paint, graphite on cast aluminum, 40 x 32 x 2 inches. Image courtesy of the artist and Philip Martin Gallery, Los Angeles. Photo: David Robert Elliot.
Katy Cowan, To advance into (Position) (detail) (2020). Oil and enamel paint, graphite on cast aluminum, 40 x 32 x 2 inches. Image courtesy of the artist and Philip Martin Gallery, Los Angeles. Photo: David Robert Elliot.
Katy Cowan in her studio. Photo: Scott Cowan.
Katy Cowan in her studio. Photo: Scott Cowan.
Katy Cowan, to admire the light (Position) (detail) (2020). Oil and graphite on cast aluminum, 40 x 32 x 2 inches. Image courtesy of the artist and Philip Martin Gallery, Los Angeles. Photo: David Robert Elliot.
Katy Cowan, the wind, to admire the light, the almost (2020). Oil paint, graphite, and watercolor on paper, unframed 22.5 x 30 inches. Image courtesy of the artist and Philip Martin Gallery, Los Angeles. Photo: David Robert Elliot.

Lindsay Preston Zappas is an L.A.-based artist, writer, and founder and editor-in-chief of Carla. She is an arts correspondent for KCRW. She received her MFA from Cranbrook Academy of Art and attended Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in 2013.

More by Lindsay Preston Zappas