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
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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
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
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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.)
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)

Bodies that Move: On Process Over Product

Leer en Español

Anna Halprin Studio (Dancers’ Workshop of Marin), Branch Dance (c. 1955). Marin County, California. Photo: Warner Jepson.

Beyond the devastation of the illness itself, the coronavirus has disrupted routines that previously kept us healthy and sane. It turns out that isolation, ubiquitous uncertainty, and sadness exacerbate everyday maladies—backaches, migraines, stiff limbs—and that taking care of our own bodies proves difficult while we’re watching the world fall apart. I wasn’t that interested in celebrity fitness fads before Los Angeles County temporarily prohibited hiking, around the same time freelance work began to dry up. And while it is uncomfortable to be seduced by a trend, to watch yourself pulled in hook, line, and sinker, I—like so many—began auditioning different, virtually-available exercise methods with an alarming urgency. 

The most hyped methods are often named after their founders, and court cult-leader status almost blatantly: chipper but zealous Body By Simone; less-chipper, more-zealous Tracy Anderson Method; though The Class by Taryn Toomey (the one that ultimately got me) dropped Toomey’s name from the official branding in January 2021.1 The Class is highly aestheticized and impressively produced. In their headshots, the teachers wear white, gray, or beige, and hover mid-air, mid-motion, or with hands on or near their hearts (the workouts involve much jumping and heart holding, always performed elegantly by lithe onscreen bodies). The photos appear to have been taken in big-windowed lofts, awash in intense afternoon sunlight. The instructors glow in a sexily monastic way. 

During the virtual classes, the sound quality is immaculate—the soundtrack ranging from Rihanna to Sylvan Esso—and the instructors move along to the beat alone, in nearly bare rooms, with just a neutral colored mat on the floor and a large white candle positioned near the mat’s crown. The instructors typically dress to match the room, usually in neutral, well-fitted workout wear, the pristine optics contrasting with the makeshift quality of my own space (a rug kicked clumsily out of the way, mat angled between dresser and hastily-made bed). They share choice platitudes about digging deeper into yourself, periodically inviting students to make guttural noises as a kind of release. A New Yorker article pegged to the 2017 grand opening of The Class’ Tribeca studio was cheekily titled “Taryn Toomey Will Make You Scream.”

Something about this combination of the minimal, controlled aesthetic, the pop-and-indie soundtracks, and the self-realization bromides tricks me into doing an hour of mixed cardio almost daily. I’ve become strangely grateful to this limber group of instructors, who are often the only people, beyond my partner, who speak to me during the day—encouraging me, and an unknown number of others, to move when we are mostly stationary and solitary. I have come to rely on them, and start to understand the unnerving way in which fitness becomes something spiritual.2 (After taking a class with Toomey at a conference, Business Insider columnist Adam Lashinsky called the experience “part Fight Club part religious [experience].”)3 Separation from other bodies and an increasing need to escape my anxious thoughts made me susceptible to The Class, with its calculated balance between free expression and controlled movement. But the way its strikingly well-crafted vibe so fully infiltrated my life got me thinking about the space that pandemic-living opens up for different aesthetic experiences—and eventually pushed me to seek out artists who use movement and participation as their mediums, treating movement as more of a tool for excavation than as a product. 

A few months after I started doing The Class, I joined the Facebook group in search of a playlist a Class instructor promised to post. On Facebook, I encountered mostly-female-identified The Class aficionados asking each other questions about footwear, diet, and their postnatal pelvic floors, some offering tips for participating when unable to move fully, or at all. Discussion threads were filled with so much more desire for validation and community than any fitness regimen could meet, no matter how spiritualized or holistic. One woman wished classes were more intellectually stimulating; another that instructors would talk less so she could lose herself in the experience more. A thread about how other workouts were cribbing The Class’ methodologies reminded me how central appropriation is to popular workout culture. Barre spinoffs proliferate, and Simone De La Rue started Body By Simone after working for fitness guru Tracy Anderson; Anderson’s repetition-heavy moves crossover to The Class too, as do some Kundalini yoga methods, which Toomey has said was unintentional.4 Even the language used by fitness gurus conjures somatic theory and the process- and feeling-oriented vocabulary of forms like the intuitive, expressive Authentic Movement. Tracy Anderson recently called working out “a miraculous and magical time to process,”5 while Taryn Toomey told Gwyneth Paltrow that The Class is “a practice where we are using intensity in the physical body to acknowledge when you are in thought, when you are thinking, and when you are in your body.”6 Yet, by never explicitly tracing where such language comes from, they make their methodologies feel blissfully self-contained and uncomplicated, ensuring that each new spinoff can peddle itself as innovative. Exclusivity sells, even though mind-body-earth connections are ancient forms of knowledge (which Western trendsetters have spent the last century “rediscovering”). Nothing is as ahistorical or apolitical as it might seem when a beautifully toned human on your laptop screen is exhorting you to “stay in your body and breathe” while doing endless leg lifts. 

Image courtesy of The Class.

Image courtesy of The Class.

Unsurprisingly, artists, dancers, and performers whose interest in the somatic is grounded in research and experiment—and perhaps too idiosyncratic to ever quite trend—tend to give history and legacy deliberate, unhurried space in their work. In the past, I periodically attended movement workshops run by artists or dancers, but it only occurred to me to attend virtual movement workshops when I noticed one on a list of upcoming local art events, and wondered if these more studied, less goal-oriented formats would offer a chance to feel physically connected with myself and others outside of the conforming aesthetic of workout culture. Movement, more so than other mediums, has a long history of using the participatory, collaborative workshop format. Artists like Anna Halprin, Simone Forti, and Pauline Oliveros7 made participation central to their work and have influenced younger artists like Marbles Jumbo Radio, Hana van der Kolk, Elana Mann, and Emily Mast, many of whom I have moved with over the years. 

I often came away from these experiences just happy to have overcome my own social anxiety for a little while, although that sometimes proved challenging. I remember one 2016 workshop with Forti during which I did a series of exercises beside a man in his early 20s, who kept correcting me—albeit sincerely—and these corrections still dominate my memories of the experience; at a 2014 event with van der Kolk, I remember nervously adjusting my skirt as I rolled around the floor. Now, in the era of endless Zooms, I can just turn off my device’s video if I feel self-conscious while trying to transform myself into a pebble (as in a recent workshop with artist Marbles Jumbo Radio organized by Pieter Performance Space in Los Angeles) or crawl around my room (as during a BodyMind Dancing workshop with somatic movement therapist Martha Eddy). While it was the toll of isolation that led me to these workshops in the first place, the opportunity to make myself temporarily, virtually invisible while still participating allowed me to more fully engage in the uncertainty and communal messiness of these experiences. From home, embracing movement in this way felt useful—kind of like journaling before breakfast—a way of prioritizing a certain scriptlessness that starkly contrasted with The Class’ predictable moves and energy. 

Typically, Movement Research, a dance and movement laboratory, hosts MELT workshops each summer and winter in person in New York City, but the pandemic forced programming online, making it accessible to those of us located elsewhere. Early on in her MELT class, which she titled Home Launch, artist, disability culture activist, and scholar Petra Kuppers asked us to make a “nest” as a launch pad for the dream journeys, trances, and intuitive collaborative dances we’d undertake throughout our time together—a week of one-hour-a-day meetings. My nest was a yoga mat on a carpet, but others appeared to curl up on beds or couches. Kuppers has a calm, comfortable moderating style, the result of years of practice. The Olimpias, the performance group she cofounded in Wales in 1996, often invites the public into their performances (“there isn’t really an audience position,” Kuppers has said of The Olimpias’ actions; “you kind of step into it and you do it”8). The group calls itself a “disability performance artist collective”—Kuppers dances from a wheelchair—and creates workshops and opportunities for those with cognitive, physical, or emotional differences to move together. In leading Home Launch, Kuppers made no assumptions about what a body could or should be able to do, an approach that invited all of us in attendance to similarly toss off expectations of ourselves and others. She also made sure to let us know that she had borrowed certain exercises and terms from others—friends, past collaborators, and influences, including performer and choreographer Ishmael Houston-Jones and scholar Donna J. Haraway. Such acknowledgment grounded our time together in something bigger, communal, and complex; threads of connection ran off-screen, beyond the virtual space we temporarily shared, weaving an amorphous web pregnant with information that we, the participants, could plot our way through at our own speed. 

In fact, much movement work is defined by the absence of set, pre-orchestrated outcome. Former members of the Judson Dance Theater, some of whom went on to found Movement Research in 1978, were united by an interest in process over product, and by a distaste for hierarchy—which led them to privilege workshopping as a method for choreographing and collaborating. Multiple participants, including Simone Forti, Anna Halprin, Yvonne Rainer, and Steve Paxton, had studied and then rejected tenets of modern dance—Halprin disapproved of the way “a choreographer takes an authoritarian position,”9 while Forti disliked how icons like Martha Graham dictated how performers’ bodies should look (“I would not hold my stomach in,” Forti wrote after studying at the Graham School10). They instead embraced a kind of anti-performative spontaneity that can leave participants feeling unsure of what they’ve just experienced. When Halprin, then in her late 80s, taught a seven-hour-long workshop at Judson Memorial Church in 2010, critic Claudia La Rocco described participants as awed by Halprin’s energy, yet disappointed by how unsophisticated the improvised activities felt. Near the end, dancer/writer Wendy Perron asked if the question posed at the start of the workshop—“Does dance make a difference?”—had been answered. “Well, that’s up to you,” Halprin responded. She wasn’t there to tell the group what to think, just to share exercises and strategies.11

I have found it helpful over the years to think of art as something that is for rather than about life, a tool for living, though not in a self-improvement way. While highly-stylized self-care products have to provide feel good solutions, however short-lived, art needn’t improve anything in any quantifiable way. Instead, art can help to pick aspects of life apart, or make us feel differently. This can be hard to remember at times, given its status as a constructed, exclusive commercial object—though easier to conjure while lying on the floor in your own living room with your eyes closed. During one of the dream journeys Kuppers led, she invited us to imagine our blood flowing. Imaginary blood didn’t have to be red, she pointed out, and I imagined my blood the exact color of my nearby yellowish-gold couch, picturing liquid pumping through its worn cushions, and delighted at how in touch I felt with my home, in an irreverent, unstructured sort of way. More delightful still was the fact that others had also sought out this amorphous, weird kind of togetherness—here we all were, “in our bodies,” and in our nests, mostly just to explore what it meant to be here. 

This essay was originally published in Carla issue 23.

Simone Forti, Huddle (April 24, 1978). Performed at Modern Art Galerie, Internationales Performance Festival, Vienna, Austria. Image courtesy of the artist. Photo: Robert Fleck.

  1. Until early 2021, her name was still there, in slightly smaller all-caps print, beneath The Class—though Toomey has said in interviews that she wanted to remove her name from the title, to free it from its tight association with her persona, and ensure it can continue without her.
  2. There have reportedly been an increasing number of CrossFit studio weddings. See, for instance, “Our CrossFit Wedding,”, retrieved Jan. 18, 2021.
  3. Adam Lashinsky, “Fitness class by @taryntoomey is part Fight Club part religious experienced. Thank you @lululemon #TED2014 and Taryn!” March 19, 2014, 7:59am,
  4. “Taryn Toomey – Founder of the class,” The New Jock, retrieved Jan. 18, 2021,
  5. “Watch Tracy Anderson’s Full Body Workout Routine | Vogue Beauty Festival 2020,” Vogue India, Aug. 30, 2020,
  6. “Gwyneth Paltrow & Taryn Toomey: The Class | In goop Health Sessions,” goop, May 20, 2020,
  7. While Oliveros is primarily known as a composer, her workshops often involved breath and movement exercises alongside listening.
  8. DJ Oliver, “Petra Kuppers | Detroit Performs,” Detroit Public TV, May 3, 2016, Youtube video,
  9. Ilene A. Serlin, “Interview with Anna Halprin,” American Journal of Dance Therapy 18 (1996): 115-123,
  10. Simone Forti, Handbook in Motion (Halifax, CA: Press of the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, 1974), 34.
  11. Claudia La Rocco, “Lunch Break,” Artforum, August 18, 2014,

Catherine Wagley writes about art and visual culture in Los Angeles.

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