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

at 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
at LADIES’ ROOM
– Jessica Simmons

Derek Paul Jack Boyle
at SMART OBJECTS
–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
at NAVEL
–Julie Weitz

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

Buy the Issue In Our Online Shop

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
Buy the Issue In Our Online Shop

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
at LAXART
–Matt Stromberg

Kahlil Joseph
at MOCA PDC
–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
Buy the Issue In Our Online Shop

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
Buy the Issue In Our Online Shop

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
Buy the Issue In Our Online Shop

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
Buy the Issue In Our Online Shop

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
Reviews
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.)
Buy the Issue In Our Online Shop

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

Home
at LACMA

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.
Featuring:
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
Generous
Structures
Catherine Wagley
Put on a Happy Face:
On Dynasty Handbag
Travis Diehl
The Limits of Animality:
Simone Forti at ISCP
(L.A. in N.Y.)
Ikechukwu Casmir Onyewuenyi
More Wound Than Ruin:
Evaluating the
"Human Condition"
Jessica Simmons
Exquisite L.A.
Featuring:
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

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

Doug Aitken
at The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA

Mertzbau
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
Non-Fiction
at The Underground Museum
Catherine Wagley
The Art of Birth Carmen Winant
Escape from Bunker Hill
John Knight
at REDCAT
Travis Diehl
Ed Boreal Speaks Benjamin Lord
Art Advice (from Men) Sarah Weber
Routine Pleasures
at the MAK Center
Jonathan Griffin
Exquisite L.A.
Featuring:
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
Reconsidering
Marva Marrow's
Inside the L.A. Artist
Anthony Pearson
Mystery Science Thater:
Diana Thater
at LACMA
Aaron Horst
Informal Feminisms Federica Bueti and Jan Verwoert
Marva Marrow Photographs
Lita Albuquerque
Interiors and Interiority:
Njideka Akunyili Crosby
Char Jansen
Reviews L.A. Art Fairs

Material Art Fair, Mexico City

Rain Room
at LACMA

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.)
Buy the Issue In Our Online Shop

Issue 3 February 2016

Letter from the Editor Lindsay Preston Zappas
Le Louvre, Las Vegas Evan Moffitt
iPhones, Flesh,
and the Word:
F.B.I.
at Arturo Bandini
Lindsay Preston Zappas
Women Talking About Barney Catherine Wagley
Lingua Ignota:
Faith Wilding
at The Armory Center
for the Arts
and LOUDHAILER
Benjamin Lord
A Conversation
with Amalia Ulman
Char Jansen
How We Practice Carmen Winant
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
at ASHES/ASHES
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
MEAT PHYSICS/
Metaphysical L.A.
Travis Diehl
Art for Art’s Sake:
L.A. in the 1990s
Anthony Pearson
A Dialogue in Two
Synchronous Atmospheres
Erik Morse
with Alexandra Grant
SOGTFO
at François Ghebaly
Jonathan Griffin
#studio #visit
with #devin #kenny
@barnettcohen
Mateo Tannatt
Photographs
Jibade-Khalil Huffman
Slow View:
Discussion on One Work
Anna Breininger
with Julian Rogers
Reviews Pierre Huyghe
at LACMA

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
Distribution
Downtown
Ace Hotel DTLA
Artbook @ Hauser & Wirth
Baert Gallery
Château Shatto
Cirrus Gallery
François Ghebaly
GAVLAK
ICA LA
in lieu
JOAN
Luis De Jesus Los Angeles
MOCA Grand Avenue
Monte Vista Projects
Murmurs
Nicodim Gallery
Night Gallery
Over the Influence
Royale Projects
The Box
Track 16
Vielmetter Los Angeles
Wilding Cran Gallery
Chinatown/Boyle Heights
Bel Ami
Charlie James
Human Resources
LACA
NOON Projects
Parrasch Heijnen Gallery
Sebastian Gladstone
Tierra del Sol Gallery
The Fulcrum
Wönzimer Gallery
Culver City/West Adams
Anat Ebgi
Arcana Books
Blum & Poe
George Billis Gallery
Hashimoto Contemporary
Philip Martin Gallery
Roberts Projects
Shoshana Wayne Gallery
the Landing
The Wende Museum
Thinkspace Projects
Eagle Rock/Cypress Park
BOZOMAG
Gattopardo
la BEAST gallery
La Loma Projects
OXY ARTS
Historic South Central
Sow & Tailor
USC Fisher Museum of Art
Hollywood/Melrose
Bridge Projects
Diane Rosenstein
Harper's Gallery
Helen J Gallery
Lauren Powell Projects
LAXART
MAK Center for Art and Architecture
Make Room Los Angeles
Matthew Brown Los Angeles
Meliksetian | Briggs
Moskowitz Bayse
Nino Mier Gallery
Nonaka-Hill
Rele Gallery LA
Shulamit Nazarian
Simchowitz
STARS
Steve Turner
Tanya Bonakdar Gallery
The Hole
The LODGE
Various Small Fires
MacArthur Park/Pico-Union
as-is.la
Commonwealth & Council
Hannah Hoffman
O-Town House
Mid-City
Chris Sharp Gallery
Harkawik
Hunter Shaw Fine Art
Lowell Ryan Projects
Matter Studio Gallery
OCHI
Park View / Paul Soto
r d f a
Shoot the Lobster
Mid-Wilshire
1301 PE
Anat Ebgi
Craft Contemporary
David Kordansky Gallery
Hamzianpour & Kia
Kayne Griffin
One Trick Pony
Pace
Praz-Delavallade
SPRÜTH MAGERS
Pasadena/Glendale
Junior High
The Armory Center for the Arts
The Pit
Office Space Burbank
Atwater Village/ Silver Lake/ Echo Park
Marta
No Moon LA
Smart Objects
Tyler Park Presents
Umico Printing and Framing
Westside
18th Street Arts
Five Car Garage
L.A. Louver
L E  M A X I M U M
Laband Art Gallery at LMU
Marshall Contemporary
Paradise Framing
Von Lintel
Westwood/ Beverly Hills
CLEARING
Hammer Museum
M+B
Simchowitz
UTA Artist Space
Non-L.A.
Angels Gate Cultural Center (San Pedro, CA)
BEST PRACTICE (San Diego, CA)
Bread & Salt (San Diego, CA)
Beverly's (New York, NY)
Bortolami Gallery (New York, NY)
Buffalo Institute for Contemporary Art (Buffalo, NY)
DOCUMENT (Chicago, IL)
Et al. (San Francisco, CA)
Left Field (Los Osos, CA)
Minnesota Street Project (San Francisco, CA)
Mrs. (Queens, NY)
OCHI (Ketchum, ID)
Office Space (Salt Lake City, UT)
Santa Barbara City College (Santa Barbara, CA)
South Gate Museum and Art Gallery (South Gate, CA)
University Art Galleries, UC Irvine (Irvine, CA)
Verge Center for the Arts (Sacramento, CA)
Wattis Institute for Contemporary Art (San Francisco, CA)
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 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)

Dreaming the Neighborhood: The Communal Visions of Pipilotti Rist

Leer en Español

Piplotti Rist, Ever is Over All (video still) (1997). Audio-video installation. © Pipilotti Rist. Image courtesy of the artist, Hauser & Wirth, and Luhring Augustine.

Saturated, slow-motion videos of eyes, skin, flesh, and hair marble across the windows of an apartment building’s façade. The images are indeterminate and meditative—indistinguishable body parts swirl together in psychedelic splays. Nearby, in a radical shift of scale, a tiny, diabolic woman surrounded by flames reaches up to us from an almost vaginally-sized floor projection that a museum guard warns me not to step on. This is how pioneering media artist Pipilotti Rist invites us into Big Heartedness, Be My Neighbor, her expansive solo exhibition at The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA, which lives up to its welcoming title. Generous and, indeed, big-hearted, it showcases Rist’s seamless collapsing of public and private space through her signature explorations of the immersive and sensual power of video. The exhibition marks the first West Coast survey of the Zürich-based artist’s extensive body of work and spans her three-decade-long career. Rist was among the first media artists of the ’80s and ’90s to expand video beyond the black box of the monitor, and her more recent work marks an innovative turn toward creating immersive environments through projections that disrupt institutional architecture, metamorphosing space into a sensorial, and at times haptic, introspective dérive. 

While the majority of the works on view at The Geffen have been shown before (with the exception of five video installations realized specifically for the Los Angeles exhibition), for this retrospective Rist has installed them in a unique setting full of unexpected turns and unmoored from chronology or linearity. Instead, Rist upends both her oeuvre and the constraints of the screen, transforming The Geffen’s warehouse-like space into a series of communal living rooms, bedrooms, backyards, and forests—a far cry from the often isolating nature of our relationships with our screens. After nearly two years of doom-scrolling from our respective lonely quarantines, and at a time when visiting museums after a long hiatus still kindles renewed excitement, Rist’s exhibition feels like an invitation to a shared intimacy of her creation, rich with imagery of plant life, the ocean, outer space, and the female body. Unleashing these subjects’ knack for hypnotism without ever glorifying or reducing them to stereotypes, Rist dares to separate the contemporary idea of “connection” from its digital associations and returns it to its more neighborly origins. 

One unintended side effect of Rist’s ambitious, enveloping installation is that its spectacularity distracts at times from its substance, encouraging surface-level engagement (often via iPhone selfie) that intercepts, and maybe even forecloses a more critical or genuinely transformative interaction with the work. In particular, the seductive, twinkling colored lights of Pixel Forest Transformer (2016), a hanging light installation, veer dangerously close to the art-as-entertainment aesthetic of projects like Artechouse or the traveling Immersive Van Gogh exhibition, a disconcerting effect that obscures the work’s more compelling conceptual status as a video deconstructed into a “forest” of individual pixels. 

But elsewhere, a more unexpected, transportive immersivity is achieved to great success, particularly when objects and props are used as screens or canvases for Rist’s vast video repertoire, the projections stretching like skin across walls, furniture, rugs, books, in one instance through a yellow one-piece swimsuit in Digesting Impressions (Gastric endoscopy journey) (1996/2014), and even onto a replica of a veduta painting in Prisma (2011). Spattered across the museum’s surfaces, Rist’s video works bring static objects to life, enveloping carefully placed vases and knickknacks in a lush and idiosyncratic visual world, a veritable cabinet of curiosity. 

Throughout the exhibition, inner and outer realities become porous and the screen acts as a double for human skin, a container for Rist’s messy, nearly-overflowing images, which often depict or evoke the viscous materiality of the body. Active bodies—often the artist’s own—float in and out of focus across naturescapes viewed from unwieldy and unfamiliar angles—tall blades of grass seen from the perspective of an insect in Another Body (from the Lobe of the Lung Family) (2008/2015), or mirrored visions of legs swimming underwater in Sip My Ocean (1996)—while technical manipulations representative of early forays into the video medium (playful use of green screen, experiments in color saturation) embed Rist’s subjects in kaleidoscopic textures and patterns. 

Pipilotti Rist, Digesting Impressions (Gastric endoscopy journey) (installation view) (1996/2014). Image courtesy of the artist, Kunstmuseum Bern, and The Museum of Contemporary Art.

Sip My Ocean plunges us into a collective experience of Rist’s design, a series of bodies (including Rist’s own) accompanying us on a nonlinear perceptual journey through water and sky and offering a resplendent alternative to our individualistic relationships to technology. The video’s mirrored image spreads across two walls in a viewing room adorned with large, round cushions on which visitors can lounge—Rist’s iconic cover of Chris Isaak’s “Wicked Game,” on loop. Rist croons the heartrending lyrics, “No I don’t wanna fall in love,” over and over, alternating between a soothing, breathy whisper and a blood-curdling cry that channels a punk sensibility. Her affecting song, replete with dragging guitar chords, sets the emotional tone for the visceral video in which an array of aquatic imagery pours across the screen. Bodies swim through a colorful underwater reef, and objects that evoke childhood —a beaded heart, a toy caravan—float through the water, tumbling in waves down to the ocean floor as swirls of orange fish compel us to drift along with them. Rist’s videos have no clear beginning, middle, or end. Instead, they wash over us with seemingly endless, cyclical imagery: much like our own sensory experiences of the world, they call upon feeling, memory, and dreams rather than narrative logic and the perceived continuity of time’s passing. This cyclical approach warps the linearity of the medium, bringing the video closer to the haptic quality of physical sensation, as well as its abstracted manifestations in both memory and dreams.

This temporal warping is just one device Rist employs to shatter the substrate of the screen, in turn seeking to break us out of our technological isolation by bringing the screen into the commons and reimagining it as an experience of collectivity. An integral manifestation of this substrate-shattering sensibility is Rist’s conflation of her body with the video monitor—her skin and the screen become parallel layers, just thin enough to hint at the possibility of breaking through to the other side. She explores this limit in Open My Glade (Flatten) (2000)—a video that was originally projected on a billboard in New York City’s Times Square—by literally pressing her face up to the camera lens as though she might be able to reach us through it, breaking not only the fourth wall but the physical boundary of the screen. A similar effect is achieved in many of the works on view, among them the three-channel video Neighbors Without Fences (2021), in which close-ups of an expansive, hazel iris and the moist lashes of an eyeball and lid threaten to pierce outward, dragging us back into their larger-than-life anatomy. Scale is collapsed: the eye’s pupil becomes a black hole or planet adrift in a nebulous galaxy.

Exemplifying the porosity between interior and exterior, Rist reimagines the public institution as an oneiric backyard where “neighbors” can convene in a dream state—whether lounging on oversized furniture around a TV monitor as if it were a hearth in Das Zimmer (The Room) (1994), sinking into a bed projected with lanky bodies drifting through the cosmos in Tu mich nicht nochmals verlassen (Do Not Abandon Me Again) (2015), or splayed across body-sized floor cushions and gazing up at an architectural-scale projection of the iconic Ever Is Over All (1997) playing on a loop. Rist invites us into the personal space of dreaming in Deine Raumkapsel (Your Space Capsule) (2006), a miniature bedroom in a wooden box that visitors can gaze into by climbing up a small set of stairs. Within the maquette, a minuscule projection of a fantastical moon floats across the room, colliding with the bedroom as in a wakeful dream. By inviting us into this space, Rist reveals an intimate dreamscape wherein we might exchange subconscious visions, setting the stage for a collective reverie.

In this cultural moment, screens largely keep us apart while sustaining an addictive illusion of connection. Big Heartedness, Be My Neighbor asks whether screens, ubiquitous signifiers of our technocratic world, still have the radical potential to bring us together, to make neighbors of us. When Rist’s work is at its best, the answer is, unequivocally, yes. She revolutionizes the notion of the contained screen by making pixels material, projecting her visions onto whiskey bottles or parasols. Films enter into nostalgic sets, filling the windows that line the exterior of a quiet apartment building, someone’s laundry hanging down from a ledge. A projection onto communal red picnic tables beckons the viewer to sit, and thus temporarily become part of the swirling, abstracted plant-life beaming down. Rist sets up the possibility for neighborly communion by first making herself vulnerable through uninhibited explorations of her own body—though never with undue seriousness. It is with this sense of dreamlike play, in the spirit of childlike curiosity that exists outside of both logic and danger, that we are encouraged to join her. If screens can bring us together in shared experiences of trancelike wonder, perhaps we must first rethink their containers. Upending the notion of “screen-time,” Rist liberates her images from their tiny boxes, casting them sensually onto a world that is also of her making, in a blurred superposing of digital and material realities. Like figments of a collective unconscious in a shared lucid dream, these are images that are not afraid to touch.

Pipilotti Rist, Big Heartedness, Be My Neighbor (installation view) (2021). Image courtesy of the artist and The Museum of Contemporary Art. Photo: Zak Kelley.

Pipilotti Rist, Big Heartedness, Be My Neighbor (installation view) (2021). Image courtesy of the artist and The Museum of Contemporary Art. Photo: Zak Kelley.

This essay was originally published in Carla issue 27.

Vanessa Holyoak is an interdisciplinary writer and artist based in Los Angeles. Her art writing focuses on installation, sculpture, image-based, and performance practices. She holds a dual MFA in Photography & Media and Creative Writing from the California Institute of the Arts and is a PhD candidate in Comparative Media and Culture at USC. Her criticism has appeared in art-agenda, BOMB, East of Borneo, and Hyperallergic, among others. 

More by Vanessa Holyoak