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
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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
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
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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
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
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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.)
Buy the Issue In Our Online Shop
1301 PE
Ace Hotel DTLA
Anat Ebgi (Wilshire)
Anat Ebgi (La Cienega
Arcana Books
Artbook @ Hauser & Wirth
Baert Gallery
Bel Ami
Blum & Poe
Canary Test
Carlye Packer
Charlie James Gallery
Château Shatto
Chris Sharp Gallery
Cirrus Gallery
Commonwealth & Council
Craft Contemporary
D2 Art
David Kordansky Gallery
Diane Rosenstein
François Ghebaly
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
Karma, Los Angeles
Lorin Gallery DTLA
Lorin Gallery La Brea
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
New Low
Night Gallery
Nino Mier Gallery
NOON Projects
O-Town House
One Trick Pony
Paradise Framing
Park View / Paul Soto
Patricia Sweetow Gallery
r d f a
Rele Gallery LA
Roberts Projects
Royale Projects
Sean Kelly
Sebastian Gladstone
Shoshana Wayne Gallery
Shulamit Nazarian
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
Libraries/ Collections
Bard College, Center for Curatorial Studies Library (Annandale-on-Hudson, NY)
CalArts (Valencia, CA)
Center for the Arts, Wesleyan University (Middletown, CT)
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, Research Library (Los Angeles, CA)
Marpha Foundation (Marpha, Nepal)
Maryland Institute College of Art, The Decker Library (Baltimore, MD)
Midway Contemporary Art (Minneapolis, MN)
Museum of Contemporary Art Santa Barbara, Emerging Leaders of Arts (Santa Barbara, CA)
Northwest Nazarene University (Nampa, ID)
NYS College of Ceramics at Alfred University, Scholes Library (Alfred, NY)
Pepperdine University (Malibu, CA)
Point Loma Nazarene University (San Diego, CA)
Room Project (Detroit, MI)
School of the Art Institute of Chicago, John M. Flaxman Library (Chicago, IL)
Skowhegan Archives (New York, NY)
Sotheby’s Institute of Art (New York, NY)
Telfair Museum (Savannah, GA)
The Baltimore Museum of Art Library & Archives (Baltimore, MD)
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Thomas J. Watson Library (New York, NY)
University of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia, PA)
University of San Diego (San Diego, CA)
USC Fisher Museum of Art (Los Angeles, CA)
Walker Art Center (Minneapolis, MN)
Whitney Museum of American Art, Frances Mulhall Achilles Library (New York, NY)
Yale University Library (New Haven, CT)

Art in Isolation
with Lita Albuquerque

Lita Albuquerque. Image courtesy of the artist.

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 Wednesdays and Fridays. 

The following was edited for web from an Instagram Live conversation on April 17, 2020 at 5:30 PST.

Lindsay Preston Zappas: I always feel like you [present a kind of] wisdom in your work. I’m really excited to get your feedback with what’s going on in the world right now, in a pulled-back, cosmic kind of way. So, how are you doing? What are some of your major thoughts right now, going through all of this?

Lita Albuquerque: Well…

[Both laugh]

LA: I happen to have landed in this beautiful, beautiful place. We happened to move out of the residency that we were in—in the city for 15 months—a few days before we were to stay home. I landed two miles from where our house was in the Malibu hills, and right now, I have this little space. It’s seven feet by twelve feet, with windows overlooking a dale, almost like a forest and a creek, and bunnies and squirrels are saying hi to me, so I’m like: [laughs, raises hands in praise].

LPZ: You’re in heaven.

LA: In that way, I’m definitely in heaven. In the house, my husband has the news on 24/7, so it’s this incredible reality… A lot of conversations I’ve had with so many people, at least the people I’m speaking with, were very much on the same page, where we’re realizing that in lessening our footprint, [and] in stepping back some, nature is coming back. It’s very evident here, but also in the city. Our sky’s getting clearer, the air’s getting [better]. It’s a little shocking.

LPZ: The birds are going crazy.

LA: I’ve really come to the same conclusion as a lot of thinkers, that we are indeed the virus on the earth. I have increasingly felt that in the last year, and the reason I say that (the reason philosophers say that is for other reasons)[is] because we’re so disconnected from the natural world. I’ve increasingly become aware of it. 

Maybe it has to do with the experience with the fire. I’m not sure, but it’s really the sense of this unconsciousness of who we are. This pause has given us a little something to think about, that we are, in fact, affecting [the earth] in a very big way, and not such a positive way. The virus is real. It’s not a joke, and it’s really scary, but who we are—it’s just as scary. I’ve never been that kind of person, thinking that way, but I’m definitely thinking that now.

LPZ: I knew we’d get a zoomed-out, cosmic viewpoint from you. How do you approach those thoughts without it being super nihilistic and negative?

LA: I’m not nihilistic. I’m, in fact, the opposite. I feel that what’s really happening is [that] this consciousness is pushing itself. Just like the universe is expanding, everything is expanding, including us. The light is coming through us, so of course it’s going to show the dark, it’s going to put it in our face. It’s all kind of coming up. 

But, if you focus on the fact that if we can connect to the cosmic story, if we can connect to the fact that the elements are just as important as we are—that anything from particles of light, to particles of dust, to cosmic space, to rocks, to galaxies, and within us, you know? That whole thing—we can’t forget that, we can’t separate it anymore. We’ve gone up the top of the mountain, and it’s crumbling. It doesn’t work. The domination doesn’t work. 

I think one of the ways of becoming connected to the beauty of that is to [be present in] the moment, to really think [about] what is going on, in a physics kind of way. If you take a slice through time and space, which is the moment, we can [see] ourselves in relation to everything else. 

One of the things we’ve learned in quarantine is how incredibly interconnected we are, and how interdependent. I remember, for years, I used to tell this to my students. I’ve had this project I want to do, which is impossible: when I wake up in the morning, I’m in my bed. I open my eyes, and I think of all the people that have gotten me to this place where I can have this moment. Where do you start? Do you start with the wood of the floor? Do you start with the steel, which means getting the iron out of the earth? [There’s] the toothpaste—that has designers and chemists… I mean, who we are at this moment, that’s on the human level. If we could really see that… I’ve got to do it. I’ve got to at least start making that list.

LPZ: I think if you did that list, like you’re saying, you would see how impossible it was—

LA: It’s impossible.

LPZ: —But I would love to see an attempt, you know, of going into the rabbit hole. 

LA: I think I should at least try. If we at least begin to get at this moment—all of my materiality, everything, and my thinking—not just who we are materially, but who we are spiritually, who we are physically—all of this… 

We’re so dense with others. If you could take that model—I always go to the biological model—and expand it into the universe, that’s the connection. That’s not nihilistic; that’s incredibly positive. That goes to the feeling of sacredness, the feeling of respect, the feeling of gratitude, the feeling of who we are. 

I just love these Zoom meetings because you see everybody in their thing— [frames a square with hands]. And we’re all the same. It’s leveled in a beautiful way. The leveling of the ego. I hadn’t thought about it until this moment—it’s as if the ego had left already. It just went away. It’s out the door! We’ve been wanting to do that forever, right? So, then we can start working. Then, we can talk to the Other, and the sacredness of the Other. It’s incredible if we could get to that spot.  

Lita Albuquerque, Untitled (2019). 24kt gold on resin, pigment on panel, 30 x 30 inches. Image courtesy of the artist and Kohn Gallery.

LPZ: How do you deal with people that see the world differently, that don’t believe in global warming, that push things more toward a capitalist model and don’t want to collaborate or connect? How do we deal with that energy?

LA: I wish I had an answer. I feel like all the Democrats are banging their heads against the wall every day. Every day, everybody’s talking about the divide. I wish I knew the answer. I don’t. [Laughs]

LPZ: I’m looking at the skies, [which] are so amazing, [and] like you’re saying, nature is coming back. But a large majority of people are going to want to [be like], “Back to business,” “Here we go,” “Turn the lights on.”

LA: I know, and we can’t go back to what we had. We can’t.

LPZ: I’ve heard so many people say, “I don’t want to go back.”

LA: I don’t either, I really don’t. But we’re talking billions of people. We’re talking [about] this huge machinery. I wonder if I could speak like this to those who don’t believe it, and I always think if one can speak soul to soul, heart to heart—if you speak from the heart to the heart, it usually opens people [up]. That tends to be my modus operandus, in a way, especially when I speak publicly. But we’re so divided that we don’t speak to one another. That’s, perhaps, the first thing we need to start thinking about—how to do that.

LPZ: We feel like we’re all connected, but we’re still in our little isolated groups. We’re connecting, [but only] with [a] like-minded cohort.

LA: Exactly, exactly, exactly. [Avoiding the conversation] is not the way to go. I think that’s the issue. We have to [have] that conversation somehow. 

We’re up against the wall soon, politically. I do believe in the power of art, and in fact, one of the things that saved me out of the craziness of what happened with the fire was art, being able to make art. I had been slated to do a lecture about my work ten days after the fire happened. I was not even a person. I didn’t even know where I was. But, I switched it and did a performance, and it helped. It really did transcend. Everybody [told] me, “you’re so lucky you’re an artist, because you can express that.”

LPZ: Your house burned down in the Woolsey fire, and your studio, and most of your archive of artwork, correct?

LA: Not all of my digital archives, thank god. My daughter was living there—Jasmine Albuquerque—and my children had their things there as well, and my husband, of course. So it was not just me or the studio. It was a family home for 30 years.

LPZ: It’s been a little over a year at this point. I wanted to ask you about that experience [and] how that has been a precursor for our current moment as far as having to let go, and having to invite that energy of chaos into your life. 

LA: It does prepare you for anything to happen. And again, I’ve had so many people come to me, and love, and support. So much support from the community. I couldn’t have done it without that. My childhood prepared me, and [the fire] prepared me. You become a warrior. It’s not easy, but you’re a warrior. You connect with your elemental self. Very interestingly, back in 1993, there was a fire as well. In fact, a lot of my friends lost their homes in that fire, and we were surrounded by fire. 

[During the Woolsey fire,] I was teaching at Art Center in Pasadena, and I was coming home and I heard that the fire was really close to our house. I really have a thing about books and my library. I had an amazing library. In my head at that time, I knew it had burned down, and I thought, “oh my god, my library, my library.” In one moment, I shifted and realized, “oh, no.” I understood that I had the elemental self. The elemental self is still intact. 

That prepared me for the fire that did occur, where I did lose my library, I think, to some degree. What really helped was everybody coming forward and doing a “Library for Lita.” Steffi Nelson and Maximilla Lukacs — amazing. 

So, yes, when it happened, I remember thinking, “oh my god.” I had this feeling that this kind of thing was going to happen more and more. Global warming was a big part of that, and I was thinking, “I just hope it doesn’t happen to a lot of people,” but it was like, “I can handle this. I can handle it.” You become, like I said, a warrior—and that doesn’t mean you don’t have fear, and that you don’t have grief, and that you don’t have those emotions and feelings. So we’re all here now, and we do have each other, and we’re connected. It’s a very interesting place to be.

LPZ: I’ve been thinking about how connected we all are. We’re all having parallel experiences, but we’re also isolated, [and there’s] this contradiction that we’re all living this parallel. But what else could connect the entire world so quickly? Everyone on earth is experiencing some version of this right now. 

LA: It’s really amazing that everywhere around the world [is] in their homes. I have friends all over the world. My son’s in Peru, and they’re doing pretty much the same thing: finding routine to make them able to do whatever they have to do, which is really beautiful. 

LPZ: How do we channel that communal energy and move it forward?

[Both laugh]

LA: Yes…

LPZ: Wise Lita, tell us.

LA: I think keeping [communication]. The more you speak to people and you see how much we’re all experiencing a similar feeling of things opening up for the natural world, that kind of thing. Your question of how to go forward—as artists, we make the work. Like, in my case, I want to do an opera.

LPZ: Wow.

LA: I’ve been wanting to way before this, and now I see why I wanted to. It’s very interesting, and why it was specifically the way I was thinking of it. Now, it makes total sense.

LPZ: Tell me what specifically about the opera makes sense for you now, why that idea feels really resonant.

LA: It’s about the idea that it’s time to hold hands. It’s time to face the unknown, to have the courage to face the unknown—and the way to have that courage is to do it collectively, and hold hands and to jump. It’s really about a song, it’s about a song that unites us to the cosmos. We’re all doing that to this new image, this new story.

LPZ: Right, thinking about song as somehow integral to that idea of projecting forward—

LA: —Right, and if we’re all singing and moving toward this unknown. [laughs]

LPZ: We got a question from Hillary. She said, “How do we connect authentically via this virtual platform?” What do you think? Do you feel like the digital/virtual is enabling authentic interactions?

LA: I think it is! I’m surprised. I’m actually surprised by it, but I think it is. My experience with it is that people are more authentic, and are saying and expressing themselves more.

I had a Zoom meeting for a friend of ours who had a birthday, and she had invited seven couples on Zoom. I had no time and I felt really bad—I had to leave. So I did it for three minutes only, but in that three minutes, the seven couples stayed in my brain after I had left. The image of them was indelible, and now, I started to think about the difference. When we see each other physically, the memory is of the body. It goes in our body. We leave them and we feel them. But, in this case, it’s mental and visual.

LPZ: And it’s pictorial, kind of— [index fingers frame a square]

LA: Exactly. It’s graphic. Perhaps it’s through that: perhaps it’s through understanding—I mean, graphic designers are going to have a field day—that visual and how that grabs people. When I do my paintings, what I like is the idea that it’s because of the pure pigments—I use, and gold, and pure materials, [and colors]—that it leaves an imprint in your head. It’s the same kind of thing. Somehow, electronically, if we can really understand that and work with that, that could be a way… 

LPZ: There’s something about digital interfaces that feel inauthentic, or that tends to be how we think about the Internet or digital technology. It’s interesting now that that’s all we have. Some of those things you’re talking about, of how we connect with it, is changing our minds and our bodies differently than how it has in the past.

LA: I remember telling a friend, “oh, I’m so glad I can see you instead of texting you.” It’s really fascinating. [Laughs]

LPZ: Absolutely. It’s so lovely that you and I, just right now, are having this conversation that we probably wouldn’t have otherwise. It’s been really beautiful to connect with people like that.

LA: It really is.

LPZ: I wanted to ask you, too, on a day-to-day level, [about] what your routine has been,  if there’s anything in particular you’re doing that you’re finding really helpful or peaceful. 

LA: The answer to that is a lot of things. I’m so happy being here. It’s also been the rainiest year, so it’s so green, and the flowers are all out, so it’s hard not to be in love with [it]. I do quite a routine in the morning. I have to go into the ocean. That’s really important to me. It’s a little difficult these days—

LPZ: Yeah! Are you able to do that right now?

LA: —The [farther] up north I go, I find spots where I’m able and there’s no one there. I don’t do it that often, [or] as much as I’d like. I’m doing a lot more self-care. Just cooking three times a day—the last fifteen months, we were eating out all the time. I was telling somebody earlier, it’s like, “oh yeah, I remember this life.” I grew up in the ‘50s, and in North Africa—in Tunisia—so it was very [much] like this, except for the [electronics]. You get this sense of yourself, and it’s plain but it’s wonderful. I don’t know if your generation has the same feeling, but for us, or at least, for me, it’s like, “I remember this.”

LPZ: It’s like we’re moving all the clutter and everything…

LA: I used to feel guilty if I did this normally. If I did what I do now, I’d feel so guilty. It’s a lot of self-care. It’s a routine that includes gratitude, and meditation, and reading, and walking, and swimming. So, it feels like you’re not supposed to be doing that, like we’re supposed to be working. It feels very healing, which is interesting because we’re working with a pandemic. It needs to heal. So, this part of us has to heal as well.

This review was originally published in Carla issue 20.

Lita Albuquerque, NAJMA (She Placed One Thousand Suns Over the Transparent Overlays of Space) (2020). Pigment, aluminum. AlUla, Saudi Arabia. Image courtesy of the artist. Photo: Lance Gerber.
Lita Albuquerque, NAJMA (She Placed One Thousand Suns Over the Transparent Overlays of Space) (2020). Pigment, aluminum. AlUla, Saudi Arabia. Image courtesy of the artist. Photo: Lance Gerber.
Lita Albuquerque, NAJMA (She Placed One Thousand Suns Over the Transparent Overlays of Space) (2020). Pigment, aluminum. AlUla, Saudi Arabia. Image courtesy of the artist. Photo: Marc Breslin.
Lita Albuquerque installing NAJMA. Image courtesy of the artist. Photo: David McFarland.
Lita Albuquerque, NAJMA (She Placed One Thousand Suns Over the Transparent Overlays of Space) (2020). Pigment, aluminum. AlUla, Saudi Arabia. Image courtesy of the artist. Photo: Marc Breslin.
Lita Albuquerque during 2019 Market Street Studio Residency, Venice, CA. Image courtesy of the artist.
Lita Albuquerque, Untitled (2019). 24kt gold on resin, pigment on panel, 60 x 60 inches. Image courtesy of the artist and Kohn Gallery.

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