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Looking Back on Made in L.A.— What does it mean for an artist to be political? — How are artists responding to our time?—How do young artists connect with curators?
Lindsay is joined by the three Carla writers who reviewed Made in L.A. 2018 for Carla issue #13: Jennifer Remenchik, Aaron Horst, and Claire de Dobay Rifelj. Hear about the hits (and misses) from three of our very own critics. They also discuss how politics were interpreted across the exhibition, and how nuance can play a role in political work. You can read each of their Made in L.A. 2018 reviews here:
Precarious Healing, Jennifer Remenchik
Unfinished Finish Fetish, Claire de Dobay Rifelj
Loose Aesthetics and Agreeable Politicking, Aaron Horst
Lindsay speaks with the curators of Made in LA 2018, Erin Christovale and Anne Ellegood. They discuss the process of choosing artists for the show, what it means for an artist to be political, and the responsibility the curators felt in making the exhibition a reflection of our surreal historic era.
The Hammer curators stay on to weigh in on this listener submitted question: How does an artist ask a curator for a studio visit? There are unwritten rules for example about not asking gallerists unsolicited for studio visits..so how does an artist crack into the curatorial view.
You can submit your question on Instagram (DM us) or write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lindsay Preston Zappas: Hello and welcome to the Carla Podcast. My name is Lindsay Preston Zappas, and I’m the founder and editor in chief of Contemporary Art Review Los Angeles. Carla is a quarterly magazine, online journal, and podcast committed to being an active source for critical dialogue surrounding LA’s art community. This episode we look back at LA’s hometown biennial Made in L.A.. This last summer’s iteration ran from June 3rd to September 2nd at the Hammer Museum, and included 33 Los Angeles based artists. With a little distance from the exhibition, we wanted to look back broadly and hear from both the critics and the curators. So first up in the Writers Room, I’m joined by three Carla writers who reviewed Made in LA 2018 for Carla Issue 13. We’ll hear about the hits and misses from three of our very own critics. We also discussed how politics were interpreted across the exhibition and how nuance can play a role in political work.
Jennifer Remenchik: When there are pockets or little points of entry for other people to come in and have their own experiences brought in too, it doesn’t read it as too overt to be moved through.
Lindsay Preston Zappas: Next on L.A. at Large, I speak with the curators of Made in LA 2018 Erin Christovale and Anne Ellegood. We’ll discuss the process of choosing artists for the show and the responsibility the curators felt in making the exhibition a reflection of our surreal historic era.
Erin Christovale: We’re all political bodies you know, in a way. Regardless of what the work looks like, I think we’re all we’re forced to engage with the politics of the now.
LPZ: And finally on Dear Carla, we asked the Hammer curators a listener submitted a question about what pathways artists should use to connect with museum curators. This is a packed episode so stay with us.
Ad: The Carla Podcast is supported in part by Parrasch Heijnen Gallery. This November Parrasch Heijnen presents a solo exhibition of new work by Los Angeles artist Sara Gernsbacher. Concurrently on view as a cross generational conversation is a presentation of historic sculpture by Bruce Nauman. For more information please visit www.parraschheijnen.com or on social media @parraschheijnen.
LPZ: Welcome to the Writer’s Room. I’ve asked the three critics who reviewed Made in LA in our recent Issue 13 to come in for a roundtable discussion of the exhibition. So with me today we have Jennifer Remenchik, Aaron Horst, and Claire Rifelj. As Los Angeles’s only comprehensive biennial of emerging artists in this city, Made in LA has made a reputation for having the potential to kick start young artist’s careers or to celebrate under-recognized artists who have been working in L.A. for decades. In this issue, we published three side-by-side reviews of the exhibition in an effort to share a multiplicity of viewpoints, and really to make the case that critics can have differing opinions—it’s OK. So our roundtable starts with the writers sort of discussing their starting places for each review. Here’s Jennifer.
Jennifer Remenchik: Initially when I saw the show I was thinking about the work as sort of anti-individualistic sort of, like work that was really geared towards community. You know I went back and I saw the show again and that particular take on it kind of got problematized for me. I couldn’t make it work. Sort of like what you were just saying about how now that we’ve had some time with the show, my own perception of it changed and I just couldn’t make that argument anymore. But what I did find was that the show seemed to reflect a kind of broken state of affairs, in general. And also I saw on the show a lot of hope, like a lot of coping mechanisms, frankly. I saw anger from some people, healing from some people and in the artworks, but also there was a very human element to this show. I mean it struck a chord with me emotionally, and I would say that what I saw as a general theme was a lot of people kind of grappling, with various things, but a lot of grappling. I think also because so many of the artists came from a lot of diverse backgrounds, and because I even noticed that, I was like “Oh wow, this actually looks like a depiction of the world in terms of the identity of the artist.”
LPZ: In the art world, shocker!
JR: I mean, that is shocking. The fact that that’s shocking makes you think. And I wouldn’t even say that I have an overtly positive or negative feeling about that, at least initially, it just was a shock that I was shocked. And I was shocked. Like, wow—this is kind of reflective of the makeup of people.
LPZ: It came off to me as extremely intentional, like I could just feel the curator’s so heavily through that, which I think was interesting.
Claire Rifelj: I agree with you Lindsay, that the diversity—there was an intentionality behind that on the part of the curators, rightly so. And one of the things that you sort of brought us together to talk about was thinking also about the biennials over time. Of the last four that have happened, the first was in 2012, and I remember there being some criticism. There was a bit of a hubbub about someone who had sort of called out, “Oh, there’s not enough diversity,” but then they sort of made very specific judgments about who can be called a person of color and then it was this whole shebang. So it exists in the world of Made in LA that this was a topic to think about, and I think that they created an exhibition that, like you said Jennifer, reflects very much more of the actual makeup of Los Angeles and that was definitely a breath of fresh air.
LPZ: And so Aaron, you didn’t always love the way the politics manifested in the show.
Aaron Horst: I don’t always love politics and art, in general. I think it’s often hugely problematic. I think that the reasons for why artists would include political content in their work is sometimes problematic, I guess from the perspective of the work being read in a specific, controlled way.
LPZ: As in the artist being too didactic about their message or capitalizing on the political aspects?
AH: Or, not really analyzing the politics that they’re showing. And I have some trouble with how to evaluate a biennial. I think it’s a bit arbitrary as an exhibit, but it does at the same time make this claim of being “of its time,” and of perhaps saying something about its time, which I think is important and necessary, and for that reason I think it can be forgiven for being a bit messy, and for not always making sense room-to-room.
LPZ: It’s very different than a thematic, curated exhibition, although it attempts at that too, I feel. Each one has had a sort of overarching vision or goal and must respond to the ones before it, as Claire mentioned, which is a hard task…kind of a tall order.
AH: So I mean, maybe I was a little hard.
LPZ: So, explain some of your themes, like you had a hard time with the politics, what else?
AH: I hated that I saw a pair of sunglasses. It’s the first thing at a show called “Made in LA.” Like, I hate that I see something that is just this immediate stereotype, and in some ways didn’t seem to really delve into that or unpack it at all, just kind of showing it.
LPZ: Right, so you’re referring to MPA’s sunglasses…
AH: Clearly Ray-Bans, which are you know preferred by I don’t know, people who want to be cool. I have a pair you know, whatever I like them too…
LPZ: …but you say in the article that the show, in certain places, amplified the L.A.-isms “to a level of slickness that’s hard to trust.”
AH: That example in particular. I’m trying to think of what else.
JR: I mean, to take it to a slightly different place, one piece where L.A.-isms I felt like did work was in Neha Choksi’s piece about the sun. She’s taking this sort of, very L.A. thing, but it was handled in such a poetic way ,and she seemed so emotionally invested in the content, and the moves were done really subtly. It didn’t feel as you would say maybe ham-fisted at all.
AH: No, no. I mean, it sort of unveiled itself very gradually, and very beautifully, and very dramatically. Which, I appreciate the earnesty of it I think, that there wasn’t an attempt at irony or sort of fooling you. There wasn’t a lot of knowledge that you had to bring to the work to understand it, which is something I have a huge problem with in terms of art, conceptually. I don’t think that the viewer should have to know a lot of history when they’re approaching an object or a piece of work to understand the basic meaning.
LPZ: The exhibition really privileged work that is primarily conceptual I would say, and the objects were kind of secondary in, I would argue, most of the work there. I think you harped a little bit on sort of “trash art.” What do you say…that the trash is “to the (mixed) effect of their weak ecopolitics or the arty romanticization of L.A.’s chronic litter problem.”
CR: I wasn’t sure there if you were talking about just art made from junk broadly, or the specific work in the show?
AH: Particularly the—and I enjoy Nancy Lupa’s work often, but that piece in particular, I felt like was not successful. It just felt like a scattered bunch of stuff, and it was hard to get a reading of it because of where it was as well…
JR: Also, it’s hard to make a piece that works if it’s like disparate stuff in a biennial, which is already kind of disparate stuff.
JR: You know, like what we were saying earlier. I mean if the world was this sort of clean, thematic place where you had these clear, strong themes that happened in 2018…I mean, you can maybe pick out a couple of overarching things, but people are messy, and communities have different reactions to things so, the biennial definitely has that feeling. So, to try and make this sort of scattered…it’s kind of like, all of it’s scattered…
LPZ: And so low to the floor…I even felt with Charles Long’s work, which I generally liked, I feel like it was going for installation, and there was lighting and smoke and sort of these environmental aspects to it that kind of lost steam as light came in through the hallway next door, and as people were kind of crossing through using in his room almost as a walkway to Alison O’Daniel’s video, and it just felt like a train station.
AH: Right, well there was that stained glass piece of his that, where the light from it was actually landing like right where you would need to walk to pass between the rooms.
LPZ: Sure, which almost became a way-finding mechanism.
AH: Yeah, so you didn’t really have the opportunity to engage with that specific element of it, because of issues of how the show was set up. But I mean in general I think I think work from junk is a problem, I don’t know. I don’t know that it says that much today as it might have when it was reacting to a very rarefied artistic context a few decades ago?
LPZ: Trash Art. So, in Rosha Yaghmai’s work, she used a lot of found object in her piece as well. A lot of childhood momentos, mixed with found objects, a lot of plastic objects. Can you talk about that, Claire?
CR: Yeah, definitely sort of little junk elements, but I guess the way they were then embedded in this resin, and then with the light streaming through them I thought sort of gave them this poeticism that could be considered trite. And certainly the work is augmented by when you learn that the slides are from her father who was an immigrant growing up…I think getting an architecture degree, in the 70s, and that is an aspect that I also have trouble with sometimes like what people need to bring to the work. But in that work I felt like it added extra layers, where if you just walked in and sort of walked around you would get you know, possibly you wouldn’t have that back story, but you could still have this sort of experiential spatial take away.
JR: I wrote about impressions that I had, being surprised about kind of thinking historically as I was walking through the galleries and seeing echoes of work typically linked to Los Angeles from the 60s and 70s: industrial materials and capturing light in different ways, thinking about monumentality and sculpture. And so I saw echoes of that in a lot of the works that I was looking at. I had picked out Rosha Yaghmai as a sort of a framing device for that, and was interested both in the fact that these characteristics were very much changed, tweaked over time, understandably so of course this is 50 years later, but also being produced by women making these sort of larger statement pieces in a sense. Candice Lin’s is a whole room. And also at once degrading that sort of monumentality. One way that they were doing that was sort of breaking apart the very central aspects of their work, and making them ricochet, whether physically with the light or sort of in time.
LPZ: So, I do want to talk about politics in more depth, and I think we talked a bit about diversity earlier as something that sort of…as walking into the show the first time really hit me as a major tenet of the curation. But I think politics was huge in the show, and felt very intentional on the part of the curators as a means of reflecting our current moment for better or worse.
JR: Yes, a biennial is a snapshot, but of course each one is organized by a curator or a group of curators, and is going to have, or possibly try and have a thesis of some kind. I remember even thinking of quoting the intro text in a first draft of my review, because I felt like they were trying so hard not to have a thesis you know. I think they said very purposefully no biennial can have you know…the artwork being made is so disparate and so uncategorizable that we’re not trying to come up with some kind of a theme. So I feel like they sort of stated that very explicitly. Which I thought was interesting, because of course any biennial curator’s going to wrestle with that, trying to show a moment in time. But you still have the realities of an institution where people are going to expect some kind of a message about what that moment in time means. So it’s impossible, even if you try to make it completely just like here’s a bit of this, and here’s a bit of that.
AH: Also, maybe just to get a little bit back on to talking about specific works in the show, I wonder how often we use the word political nowadays to describe work that’s actually just personal. You know, the personal is political. I believe that, I understand that, but I also think sometimes it’s an overstatement to call certain types of work political like this. I’m thinking specifically of the paintings in the show by Celeste Dupuy-Spencer, where she does have a few that are specific to what you might call political activity or you might just call cultural activity, like the taking down of one of those Confederate statues. But then so many other paintings of hers are of friends or of what may or may not be scenes that actually happened in someone’s apartment, or on the street, or in someone’s car. And there’s references to politics and there’s references to things that are going on because I think that’s just part of the fabric of your life, of our lives, but I wonder maybe if we could talk a little bit about works in the show that seem more intimate rather than trying to kind of get a message across about politics, and why we keep saying politics you know.
LPZ: I mean identity politics. You know, I think that’s where it gets a little blurry is autobiographical work is often about the artist’s identity, which is political as you say. You know, not all of the quote political works we’re talking about dealt directly with politics i.e. Trump, or the White House administration. But yes. So what is politic? I like that question.
JR: I mean it becomes it becomes an issue. It is a complicated issue to unpack because it becomes a question of, essentially if your identity is othered in some way your work almost becomes de facto, if it’s personal de facto political, right? And there are arguments as to why that’s kind of a good thing or a bad thing, for the artist may be as well. There are artists who are frustrated with this idea that all my gestures are read in this way because of the body that I’m in. But then there’s also this other idea that it’s important to make note of that. I don’t really know exactly how you balance those things, and we’re trying to do that constantly.
AH: I think because of whether it was the effort or just the way that it happened to come together, that there’s so much diversity within the artists in the show themselves, in the show itself, you start to forget that. You’re able to just approach works like Naotaka Hiro’s drawings.
LPZ: Those are so good.
AH: And those are so specifically of a person’s body, the way that they’re made, but the way that they look you know, you forget that. Or Alison O’Daniel’s work, and I believe she’s deaf, and there’s these aspects of the work that have to do with that, with sign language and with subtitles, but the broadness of the work itself and the nuance of that work in particular I think starts to get beyond a reading of just a person and their abilities or disabilities, and into a broader theme of their experience in the world and what it might say to our experience in the world, which I think is really powerful and meaningful. So, I think I think Made in L.A. does to some effect mitigate that, by just…there’s so much diversity. It’s almost not worth thinking about at some point because it’s everywhere, so you just experience it as a show itself.
CR: Yeah, and I think that’s illustrated by, I mentioned earlier before we start recording that I went back and looked at all of the promo videos for all of the past four biennials, and it was really interesting to me that for that 2018 one, instead of sort of doing an overview with the names or sort of curatorial voiceover, which some of them did have, is that they asked the artists to just record five seconds of video, and they interspersed that with images of L.A. or other things, and so taking seeing what I see versus who I am, and who’s the one seeing. So not portraits of the artist, but actually what they’re looking at in the everyday. That very much illustrates what Aaron just said.
LPZ: I do feel like a lot of the artists approached politic in a nuanced way that I didn’t feel hit over the head really, that often in this show. I feel like there was nuance, or subtlety.
JR: When you leave enough space for a viewer to have their own experience, and bring something to the piece themselves, you can have really overt things in a piece. You know, as an artist you get to have your own opinion about anything. I mean, it can be literally whatever you want it to be. But when there are pockets, or little points of entry for other people to come in and have their own experiences brought in too, it doesn’t read as too overt to be moved through.
LPZ: We’re all sort of in agreement here that we don’t want to read a damn piece of paper to tell us what the work is about, and with nuance, I find that it opens a space for discussion and discourse rather than being told to.
JR: Which maybe is a more effective way to communicate in a lot of ways.
AH: But I think that for me, successful art relies on nuance. On having some kind of even just minor level of mystery for the viewer to unlock right, and to experience and interpret. This is why I think politics and religion don’t mix, why I think politics and art don’t always mix, you know with exceptions obviously, but I think it overwhelms the narrative right? It becomes this question of what your stance is, and whether or not you agree with it. Which, I don’t know is a question that’s appropriate to ask of art I guess. It’s like, do I agree with it, or is it more do I understand it, or does it inspire some kind of thought?
CR: Do I relate to it in as a human being maybe.
AH: Right, exactly. I mean yeah, I think that’s a good baseline. Maybe even “relate to” is too specific. Is it is it humanizing, is it something that says something about someone’s experience that might not be my own but that I can still get a glimpse of?
LPZ: Right. Did you feel for instance Lauren Halsey’s work did that in a more productive way?
AH: I think so. I think the scale of it was great for where it was specifically. It’s on that balcony of The Hammer, so she kind of has this temple that you have just enough room to approach and to recede from on either side. I guess I thought that she was capturing a feeling and relating it to this more classical, architectural form in a way that I thought was very powerful and that still points to the aspirational in a way that doesn’t have to be as spelled out as it was…like literally spelled out in neon in EJ Hill’s piece. I mean I think I took away a little bit more from that.
LPZ: Maybe more earnestness by literally including markers of the neighborhood street signs, things from the community…EJ’s was a little more centered sort of as him as a representational body for a larger community.
CR: Yeah, I agree with what you’re saying, and it’s interesting that both of them use these kind of monumental images. This sort of the temple in Lauren’s piece, which could have been a temple to herself, or her own family, or something but it really does bring in a lot of different voices in a way that perhaps EJ’s does less so.
JR: The way politics plays out in the art world is just this unending mystery to me. There’s a sort of generally, kind of progressive left feel, at least superficially in the art world, but then the politics of power as I’m sure we’re all aware of are so mysterious as to be just almost entirely opaque, and problematic in reality.
AH: Maybe there’s a point to be made there about the type of work that you see in a museum context, and in a biennial. To me at least seems not to be the sort of blue-chip type of work that you would see. You know, Marciano and The Broad are technically museums, but they’re museums to private collections, and so you see a particular kind of work that looks like something someone might have in a very expensive house, where I can’t imagine. And they do. Where, I can’t imagine a Nancy Lupo installation being in someone’s house.
LPZ: Claire I want to hear you have to say on this.
CR: Well, I mean speaking about the art world and the art market I guess to me really can’t be separated. Because yes, someone who’s maybe showing in the biennial now isn’t thinking about Eli Broad collecting their work immediately. But if the point is to be an artist, the point is to be making art as you’re living and in order to do that you’re going to have to interact with the art market in some way. I mean we see this in pure conceptual art, you know. You have to start generating contracts for Lawrence Weiner walls because you need to make it concrete in some way so that you know the Lehman’s can or whatever. But it just can’t be separated because an artist is going to be thinking about their career over time at least at some level. And also thinking about the sort of screwed up politics of the art world I mean, yes art collectors who were buying Jenny Holzer works are often very much to the right in their politics but the work that she’s trying to put out into the world is of course trying to effect change in a very, very opposite way.
LPZ: That happens a lot, I feel.
CR: Of course. It has to, and that’s just probably never going to change. But of course there are many different levels of the art world and different pockets. I mean that’s one wonderful thing about Los Angeles is the sort of pocketed nature of the city, and what it allows for in terms of art and artist-run this an artist-run that, and thinking about sort of the history of Made in L.A. I mean one aspect that I really loved about the 2014 one, which was curated by Connie Butler and Michael Ned Holte, was that they brought in a lot of collectives to sort of mix it up within the space of the exhibition and make it sort of reach out, and branch out in different ways.
And they even were able to release their curatorial voice because those collectives brought in artists of their own choosing. It’s sort of more of that community aspect—that you you’re talking about Jennifer—as the impression the very first impression that you had that then had to be kind of countered as you thought about it more and experienced different works. That one really did sort of have that life to me—that I thought was wonderful.
LPZ: I do think it’s interesting having political work in the institution in the museum. I think with institutionalization comes value. The fact that it’s in the Hammer Museum like instantly gives it value. Monetary value.
JR: It does give it value. But I do think the big work of that is not necessarily being done right now. I think it has and done primarily and like the ‘60s and ‘70s and the canonization of a lot of those artists. But that work continues. You know, it’s not like you just do that once and you hang up your hat, because all the problems continue. And so, the solutions continue as well.
CR: I mean the fact that the Hammer has put these particular artists in the show, certainly creates new pathways for those artists, whether they’re making political work or not.
Ad: The podcast is supported in part by the Hammer Museum where Adrian Pipe:r Concepts and Intuitions 1965 to 2016 is now on view. The first West Coast museum exhibition of the artist’s work in more than a decade, this is a rare opportunity to experience a Adrian Piper’s provocative and wide ranging artwork which directly addresses gender, race, xenophobia, social engagement, and self transcendence. Admission to the Hammer is free. Details at Hammer.ucla.edu.
L.A. AT LARGE
Lindsay Preston Zappas: Welcome to L.A. at large. So now that we’ve heard from the critics I wanted to speak with the curators of Made in L.A. 2018, Erin Christovale and Anne Ellegood. I asked them to walk us through the process of conceptualizing themes and artists for the show, from researching diversity in L.A.’s history to hosting brunch conversations, to going on hundreds of studio visits. We discuss some of the details of the show, like budgets giving to each participating artists, but also get into the way that politics can play out in an artwork. The curators weigh in on if they think artists have to be political today, and discuss the role of ambiguity in political artwork. To begin, I ask them each to give us a bit of background. Here’s Erin to tell us about her film background before she began curating.
Erin Christovale: I actually went to film school I went to USC for critical studies and you know it’s a great program. But what happened was my senior year I actually ended up taking a film video class in the art department, and that’s what really sparked my interest.
LPZ: You were like “oh, this is weird.”
EC: Yeah I was like, “oh this is what I actually like.” You know, I’ve always loved film but I think thinking about you know the capacity of moving image and just experimental work. I was like oh I’m really interested in this. And so from there I started putting together these like rogue film programs. I was working with the collective, just a group of friends, who had also graduated from USC who were in different programs. And I kind of became the film programmer person. And I was just really interested in more experimental work. And then I ended up doing this ongoing film program called “Black Radical Imagination” with my co-programmer, Amir George, who’s based in Chicago. He’s a filmmaker. And I think that to sort of segwayed me into a more standard curatorial practice. So yeah it was an interesting segway, but I appreciate that I have that background. I think it’s allowed me to sort of think outside the box.
So I guess thinking about how that immediately ties into Made in L.A…like we did have a lot of film and video work; maybe more than other years. So I think that in some ways, those works really grounded the way folks navigated the show.
LPZ: And, Anne, you’ve been at the Hammer for quite a while: almost 10 years right?
Anne Ellegood: Yes it’ll be 10 years…I think in May.
LPZ: So what happens? Do you get a party, or?
AE: [laughs] You know it’s hard to believe it’s gone by so fast.
LPZ: So tell us a little bit about your experience before you’re at the Hammer.
AE: Well I went to Bard College’s Center for Curatorial Studies and graduated 20 years ago, which freaks me out. And my first museum job was at the New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York. Marcia Tucker was still there, and she was a really important mentor to me. And then I was at the Hirshhorn Museum in D.C. and from there I came to the Hammer. So, I’ve always been in museums. I’m really interested in museum practice and institutional practice. And I think because I went to Bard one important component of my work or how I think about my work is to always be thinking very carefully through curatorial methodologies. And critically thinking through them. So something like a biennial is such a specific type of exhibition and the curators are always faced with really a kind of blank slate. Obviously Made in L.A. has certain parameters. All the artists have to be from L.A. and makes our lives a little bit easier. But other than that, it’s quite open in how we want to approach it. So one of the questions is always you know what are the what are the really valuable aspects of an exhibition like a biennial, and then what are the pitfalls that can make it a less satisfying experience for people? So Erin and I really talked through those things quite a bit and developed some ways of working with each other as a pair in a way that I think really benefited the show actually right.
LPZ: I was interested to talk to you with this kind of space between the show. The show’s down, we have Adrian Piper up now. So there’s been time. The work is literally not in the building..well it might be, I’m not sure how these things work.
AE: Well, we acquired some.
LPZL: Right. That’s awesome. That’s excellent. But looking back, are there any kind of loose or broad revelations? Given that space [since the show] is there anything that’s changed for you over that time?
EC: I think one thing immediately after the show closed, I was like, am I going to go some sort of like post traumatic stress?
EC: Exactly, because it’s like this this event. You know, leading up to this event was almost like a two year endeavor. And so actually I was surprised that I didn’t feel that way. I think a big part of it had to do with me having to like jump ship and start getting ready for the Piper show. But I think another part of it was that this show has had such a profound effect on the city and just to see how the artists have sort of circulated after the fact. Like, they’re winning awards, they’re getting into galleries. Their works are showing everywhere. And so I feel like even though it’s not physically here anymore, the energy of that show is still floating around.
LPZ: And that’s such a privilege of being able to work with young working artists who are in the city. So you have this kind of direct relationship to seeing their careers grow and kind of have a role in fostering that as well.
AE: Yeah I mean it was a show that was hard to say goodbye to, sort of because the sense of community was so palpable. And I think not only did Erin and I become very close with the artists, they got to know each other over the course of the exhibition. Some of them already knew each other of course. But I think other relationships were forged and created in the context of the exhibition and that was just such a beautiful thing to see. Yeah we did a little raised a glass for the artists on the last Monday of the show just to bring people together, and to see some of those relationships that seemed to be really growing…it was just so meaningful and just really nice. I think as Erin’s describing, we can still see the kind of network of that happening in the community and we can watch it. I mean it’s so rare to do a show where all the artists are in your own community and you can see them often. I mean artists were here all the time, in the galleries all the time, and coming to programs, and participating in programs. So it was just very active and very kind of on the ground. I mean Erin and I were there much of the summer. We were in the galleries a lot. We were doing programs and we were in dialogue with the artists, so it’s a very unique experience.
LPZ: And not to mention now sort of a growing roster of Made in L.A. alum where I’m sure they come out and support, and are excited to see who’s next. It creates a lineage or familial…
AE: Definitely yeah.
LPZ: I read in your essay in the catalog some of the early curatorial research that you did. So that’s sort of one aspect of the decision making, but then the other aspect being studio visits. Like, how do you even approach such a broad biennial?
EC: Well yeah it was a long time ago. I’m like OK…so I think we did our first studio visit in February, right? 2017. Like right at the beginning of February.
AE: Yeah. I opened Jimmy Durham and then we like hit the road.
EC: Yeah but you know I think for us it was just like you know first sort of compiling our artists that we were interested in and then it was this ongoing spreadsheet of like artists we were interested in or people who other curators or other people were recommending. You know, it kind of became this massive list. And if we weren’t doing studio visits, we’re going to galleries, and we’re going to museums just trying to get like a lay of the land.
AE: So you know even just doing online research if somebody recommended an artist that we weren’t familiar with already, we would check them out and think about whether we wanted to visit them. And also it was interesting with Erin and I, we each had our own—every curator has their ongoing list of artists that they’re interested in. And to see what those overlaps were and start with some of those. But then also to be introducing each other to artists, that felt like it had to be part of the process. And other artists are great, of course, at..
LPZ: At recommending other artists.
AE: And then we did these brunches. The first one was a dinner, and then we turned it into brunches, but we decided we wanted to reach out to our colleagues and peers. People in the community that we really admire who we are also really just active and looking and participating in the contemporary art scene here. So we started inviting people over to my house and we would have brunch and this would maybe be like four to eight people maximum. And we probably did it five or six times. Some of those people were Made in L.A. alumni, or members of our artists council, or you know curators, writers, performers. And we would just talk about L.A. And we weren’t saying give us all your artists names for us to look at.
LPZ: [laughs] Cheat sheet.
AE: Yes, it was more broad than that. It was kind of like, what’s happening now in our city? What’s interesting? What are we noticing? Anything from you know gentrification and how that’s affecting artists, to institutions that are popping up that are now changing the ecology of the landscape of institutions in L.A. And so we just talked about all kinds of things, and it was really informative without being…I would say it didn’t necessarily lead us to particular artists, but it just made us think about context.
EC: Yeah it really helped us inform I think how we put together the show. And I think another thing that was really helpful is we did a lot of our visits together.
AE: It was like 95% together.
EC: Yeah. And so you know we’d like focus on certain neighborhoods you know for each day and try and hit the visits in that area. But what was so important was that we would have these conversations between studio visits riding from one visit to the other. And those really informed…you know it just made decisions so much easier. You know when we would get back to the office and kind of go through, we had already had a conversation about which way we were leaning. I think just like really working together in all those tangible ways made a huge difference.
AE: That’s for sure.
LPZ: Yeah as art critic going everywhere, you know to the galleries, I think about that time in the car. I think is really profound. I mean, It’s annoying…of course there are problems to it, but I feel like that space in between seeing a show or a studio visit allows a little bit of mental rest, but also time to kind of reflect. So that’s interesting that you picked up on that.
AE: Yeah, it ended up being an important part of our process because we just could immediately talk about what we just seen and our impressions, and just share with each other. And then keep moving. When we would go out for the whole day, we would probably do about six visits in that day.
LPZ: Wow, that’s a long day.
AE: Oh yeah.
LPZ: And artist studios are notoriously so hot!
EC: Yeah, no AC. [laughs]
LPZ: Going back a little to some of this research. And maybe this includes the brunches, but you mentioned. But, in the essay in the catalog, there’s a lot of research that was done about L.A. specifically. Specifically kind of like a multiracial and multiethnic kind of diversity as it influenced the early history of Los Angeles.
EC: You see it throughout the exhibition. I think the most tangible example is you know Mercedes Dorame, thinking about the history of the Tongva people, who have been in the L.A. basin for almost 8,000 or so. And I think for me, as someone who grew up here, and experiencing the city in a very like on the ground way, the city is extremely diverse. There’s so many different cultural pockets here. And I think oftentimes in larger narratives a city sort of gets streamlined into one narrative, maybe that’s more focused on like Hollywood or something. And so for me it was really important to point out that this is an extremely diverse, multiracial city, but more importantly to think about the people who really informed the structure of the city. Folks like Pio Pico, you know is coming from Mexico, or Biddy Mason who’s coming from the south and you know frees herself. She’s a former slave. So all of these amazing stories that I feel like aren’t necessarily known or celebrated in a more public way, but are so important to thinking about how the city is structured, and how it sort of continues the legacy of this multi-racial cultural exchange.
LPZ: Right. And that’s a history that’s (I was going to say) separate from art history within the city. But it certainly overlaps. But, we tend to think about you know like the Cool School artists… like L.A. has its own kind of history that doesn’t necessarily reflect the diversity you’re talking about
EC: But I think there is actually an L.A. history and art history in particular that does reflect that. And it takes me immediately to the Brockman Gallery, you know, and it was predominantly black artists that were being shown. You know you have Noah Purifoy, Betty Saar, John Otterbridge, David Hammons. But then you know Kenzi, who is in the last Made in L.A show, he was shown in Brockman Gallery. You know, so it actually was a site for a lot of artists of color to show. So again, like a history that maybe is contending with, or doesn’t have as much prominence, as something like the Ferris Gallery, or like you’re saying the Cool School. That history is there, just not as prominent.
AE: And, even certain aspects of how people think the art world develops in L.A…so, for example, there’s always a lot of discussion about how many artists come to L.A. to go to art school here. Obviously, we have many great art schools, and that is certainly one of the avenues that artists come here, and study, and then oftentimes stay. That’s true. But there are also a lot of other narratives. And one of the things that I think our selection of artists reveals is the nuances and the diversity of reasons why people come to L.A. So there were several artists who had immigrated to this country with their families at younger ages. And that was something that we felt was really interesting and kind of noteworthy just in terms of looking at the particular biographies of these artist. So it might be because of you know the war and El Salvador…that Beatrice came here.
EC: Or right, or Gelare coming from Iran. You know, for several reasons, for political asylum, also. And staying here for that reason.
AE: Or Naotaka immigrating from Japan with his parents. And this is so typical of Los Angeles. I mean it really is a place where people from all over the world come and we felt that it’s so important for an exhibition like Made in L.A. to reflect those stories and those histories. And this aspect of Los Angeles, we think makes us not only an interesting city but I think a really important city in a kind of global network of places right.
LPZ: So you discussed L.A. as a place of art schools, artists moving here. And there are certain patterns within the show. Like, I noticed there is about a third of the artists that have gone to UCLA. And with the Hammer Museum being affiliated with UCLA. You know, a lot of the other major art schools are represented: USC, CalArts and Yale also, were kind of prominently featured. So I wonder if you can talk about some of those pathways.
AE: Well it’s probably important just to note that there’s no quotas or any way that the curators are tasked with looking at particular schools. I think it’s not surprising that many of the artists who are living here, especially the more emerging ones, went to art school here and are still working here. That said, a school like Yale, I guess it’s also not surprising that people are getting out of school and then wanting to move to L.A. There’s a lot of interest in living here. So, you know it’s funny when you gave us those numbers. I mean I didn’t even know that, actually. We didn’t really go through and think how many UCLA grads are here, but I guess I’m not particularly surprised. I would imagine CalArts is probably high in there as well. Yeah mostly because they’re great schools. And you know I think that good artists are coming out of those schools.
LPZ: Again, this is maybe personal because I didn’t go to art school here, but I also I’m an artist. I’m curious about optically how that might look to artists that didn’t go to school here and are trying to have careers here.
AE: Well we certainly visited a lot of artists who didn’t go to school here and there are artists in the show of course who didn’t get to school here. So there’s, you know I think it just it’s interesting to think about your awareness of that when you’re visiting artists because oftentimes your relationship with artists comes from so many different places. I mean I think that in many cases I maybe wouldn’t have even known where they went to school when we were visiting them. It was certainly wasn’t a way that we decided on studio visit. But, because we live in L.A. I think it’s almost a foregone conclusion that that many of the artists in the show might have gone to school here.
EC: Yeah I mean I think it’s also about proximity and very like simple ways you know like I can go over to UCLA and see the thesis show you know just literally up the street and I know I can make the time to do that. So I’m like go do that and engage with some of those artists. So I think you know, especially with Nikita Gale. Like I went over and saw that show and was totally blown away by it which led me to wanting to seek her out for a studio visit. So I think speaking of L.A. and it being a car city I think it was just that some of those UCLA choices were just very you know, practical.
LPZ: So there are 33 Artists in this show. And thinking about filling the space. I felt like it felt packed, but at the same time roomy if that makes sense. I feel like each artist really had like a mini exhibition. And so, thinking about that specific number and how conscious you were of that relationship I’m talking about: wanting to fill, but also leave space.
AE: We always had the number 35 in our hands. I think knowing that we didn’t want to go any higher than that in part just because we were thinking spatially. How many artists can we fit into the museum? Making sure that they were well represented. It was important to us that everyone had enough space that it wouldn’t be too crowded. And then we were kind of aiming for that number for a while and then we realized really when it came to 32 projects (because Jade and Megan are collaborators). We just thought we should stop. It’s feeling like a lot. And I think the other important part of that is that, you know I look at these other biennials around the country, or the world, and they’ll have 100 artists or 150, even 65 artists, and I just think my God! How do you work with that many artists? And because Made in L.A. is quite hands on, there’s a lot of interaction between the curators and other staff with the artists, and we wanted that.
LPZ: I’m curious about that. Like how involved are you in your curatorial feedback on a specific piece that the artist is working on? Or is there like a pitch structure?
EC: Very involved. I mean I think that’s actually what made this show so amazing is a lot of these emerging artists felt comfortable enough and trusted us in making either major transitions in their work, or working in the new medium that they really wanted to explore. For example, with MPA, that is the largest sculpture she’s ever made. The sunglasses. Which kind of became you know this iconic image representation of Made in L.A. which is great. And so, yeah I think it’s just working with emerging artists, and for some of the artists, this is the first time that they had a budget of this size that they could work with, or a platform on the scale that they really wanted to show what they could do. And so, it led to…we had tons of conversations with people, and our exhibition designer, you know, was involved in some of those. So that was really amazing. Also even our exhibition manager: for example, one artist was working with a contractor and the work just wasn’t…the relationship wasn’t working out. And so our preparator did a site visit with that artist, and basically to her like “hey this doesn’t feel right. How do you feel about this?” And she was like “actually I don’t feel ok about this.” So our exhibition manager got involved and kind of sent her some ideas around how to form a contract. So it was very much a relationship for people, and I think that it was so important because moving forward now they have the skills which sometimes aren’t taught in art school. You know, how to navigate museums and galleries and things like that. So that was really amazing to contribute in that sense.
AE: Yeah, and for several of the artists, I think it was their first museum exhibition. And these might be artists who have a gallery, and are showing commercially, but haven’t necessarily worked with curators in a museum, and had consistent dialogue around the production of new work. Because, as I think you know, most artists really want to make new work for Made in L.A. And we encourage that. That said, there are a few for which we were really interested in an existing piece, and we asked to show those, but for the most part 90% of what you’re seeing is new work that’s been made for the exhibition. And that meant that we would talk through ideas, and sometimes talk through 3 and 4 ideas before we would really land on something that felt that it was both meaningful in the context of the exhibition, and also feasible in the time frame that we had, and for the resources that we had. And, for the artist from their side of things as well of course.
LPZ: Yeah I am curious about the budget if we can talk about that. Because specifically we’d like Carmen Argote’s piece, where she kind of foregrounds the cost of an exhibition, and thinking about a lot of these young artists as being sort of emerging, and struggling financially. A lot of them perhaps. And then given the task of filling a museum space is a bit daunting. So what kind of support is there to help them through that?
AE: Well we should say first of all that every artist gets an honorarium, and that’s the same amount. And that is to honor the labor and their work. So we feel that that’s really important. And that’s just you know, a done deal, and that every Made in L.A. we’ve done that. And then essentially Erin and I had a pot of money to draw from to help artists with production and fabrication.
And so it was just a process of vetting proposals, talking with the artists, getting budgets from them, talking through what all the needs were. And balancing that some artists of course who are making, let’s say, a new film would have a lot more budgetary needs than perhaps a painter who’s working solo in the studio. So we would just look at all of that and then come back to the artists and tell them what we thought we could give them. So it ranged. And then in many cases the artists might also have to contribute themselves or find another way to raise money. We of course wish we could pay for every penny of fabrication and production, but it’s not possible. But, we did feel that we were able to distribute those funds really well and that everyone who needed some help got some help. And you know, and sometimes those budgetary concerns might impact the project. But I think for the most part artists felt supported and felt like they were able to make the work they wanted to make. And then of course there’s lots of internal costs on our end that we cover. That have to do with technology, equipment, obviously staff, and preparators, and materials. So, all of that would come out of the Hammer budget as well.
LPZ: We talked a bit before about previous iterations. So that’s sort of involved in this question, I think. But, 2018. There’s so many political and social issues just on the burner right now. So I guess I’m curious if you felt a responsibility towards that going into this exhibition that maybe previous years didn’t have that same degree.
EC: Absolutely. I mean you know I think that’s when we were giving our tours, one thing that we would sort of start out with is from the last Made in L.A. until now, the political climate of this country, you could argue, has drastically shifted. So, I think even beyond us wanting to curatorially speak about that, when we were doing our visits I think we were noticing that artists were clearly responding to that. And I think for us, you know, we didn’t necessarily want work that was reactionary towards a certain administration, or a certain person. But more so, I think the artists were really invested in sort of looking at that and sort of pulling out personal narratives or experiences, and then using those in order to create their objects, or start conversations. And so I think a lot of the work had this duality where on one hand it felt very personal or intimate in some ways, but on the other hand you sort of had this capacity to speak to, I think, the human condition in general. Or to sort of align itself with some sort of political issue that we’re all dealing with. And I think that was really the beauty of the show that everyone sort of tapped into that.
LPZ: Yeah it’s interesting, one of our writers when we recorded about the show, he brought up when politic differs from individuality or identity. And you’re kind of talking about this back and forth between those two poles. You guys wrote about looking for complexity and ambiguity, and I wonder if we could talk about those things in relationship to politics, and work that is political. And something I think about a lot: is ambiguity a more effective tool to talk about political themes.
AE: I think it can be. I mean I think that artists tend to not work in polemics or necessarily statements or propaganda (hopefully). So, of course when you’re talking through any particular issue, whether it’s feminism, whether it’s immigration, the environment, I think what artists can bring to those conversations through their work is a kind of nuanced look at a complex subject. And as Erin is describing, sometimes that comes out of personal experience. We can see an issue as it’s impacted a particular person’s life. But I also think that ambiguity can come in different forms, so it makes me think about Jade and Megan’s installation, which is so much about female empowerment and feminist practices of all kinds dating from the Victorian era to present day. But they use so much humor and so much levity within that. There are very serious issues in that installation, but it’s done in such a way that it’s incredibly absorbing. It’s really funny. I think people very much enjoyed being in that space and there was also this, you could argue, really critical attention to the idea of craft. To the notion of women’s work quote unquote. And all of these topics that are important for us to be thinking through. But they did it in such a way that it was almost like you didn’t even totally recognize what those conversations were until you really tapped into it. And I think we can say that about a number of the artists in the exhibition who approached very topical issues. But through a variety of lenses. You know, the other side of that spectrum would be somebody like Daniel Joseph Martinez, who I think his work is much overt. In a way more you know, more intense. But at the same time, that body of photos is so incredibly beautiful, and he is you know somebody who has consistently been able to tackle these incredibly complicated historical questions around violence and political totalitarianism, and to make us think through those questions and those histories. But in a way, I was actually really impressed with how many people engaged with that work in a very profound way, and I think got a lot out of it in the context of the exhibition. And then of course, you know, he got the career achievement award. Which just felt really meaningful for an artist who has devoted his practice to taking up not easy subjects in the work.
LPZ: Do you feel that artists have a responsibility today to be tackling political subjects?
EC: I think something else that I want to mention is like, we’re all political bodies. You know in a way, like we you know regardless of what the work looks like. I think we’re all forced to engage with the politics of the now regardless. And so, I saw a show this past weekend, and you know, it was very light. There’s a lot of like still lifes and I was walking through this show, and I was thinking, is this doing anything for our socio-political issues? Because everything feels so urgent. But then I was also reminded that we need moments to catch our breath. We need moments of joy. We need moments of beauty. And so I think those works can be considered political as well. You know like how are we defining that is that this sort of hard notion that goes directly back to an issue, or can we broaden it more and think more about world-making? Or, what artists want for the future and how that’s manifested. And yes, sort of the fantastical nature of that. So I think in some ways you could argue all artists are responding in some way. It’s just maybe buried a bit more in the context for certain artists right.
LPZ: Yeah I mean I could argue that just putting a pencil to paper is super political. I mean I think any artist kind of countering a more overt capitalist driven career is very political. But I like what you said about needing breaks, or escape. You know, thinking about art also as fantasy or an alternate reality is really interesting.
AE: Yeah, I think one thing that we became more tuned into or attentive to in the exhibition through our conversations with artists and the research phase was the awareness of what great citizens artists can be artists tend to be extremely aware of what’s going on in their community and in the nation and in the world at large and are often students of a whole variety of subjects. And so when you’re in conversation with them what you often will find is that these are people who care very much about their environment about their city about their community. And so those things can come out in the work. And I think the distinction that needs to be made is if we can all agree that you know at its core being an artist or being an engaged citizen is political on some level. I think the distinction then is that we don’t ask artists to solve political problems because that’s really not their job. And we have politicians who are supposed to do that.
LPZ: Oh boy.
AE: You know, how well that’s going these days is a good question. But I think that it’s when we task artists with solving problems, rather than being part of the discourse, where we can get into trouble. Or, you know, artists will kind of move backwards from that. They don’t really want to be tasked with doing that. Nor should curators, nor should institutions. And yet, I do think that as civic institutions as public institutions, we want to be part of the dialogue, and we want to be part of the discourse. An exhibition like this can become a great platform to have those conversations right.
LPZ: Definitely. For me the take away, seeing any kind of curatorial vision through an exhibition, gives you an idea of kind of the value systems of the curators. But also of our time. So I did feel this urgent political identity politics throughout the show. And, do you think it kind of sets a bar for artists? Like, these are the issues of our time. Like, get with it. Yeah, I guess this goes back to the other question about do all artists have to respond politically, now? But, I do think valuing those ideas through a museum exhibition—I mean you also mention artists are now getting galleries or having careers—I mean it values that body of work, that type of work. Which I think is really important.
AE: You know one thing that we understood from talking with people, taking people through the show… anecdotal feedback that we would get either directly or indirectly, was that I think people did respond to what you’re describing. In other words, I think it felt meaningful in the moment that there were a number of artists who were addressing concerns that other people share. Whether it’s the vulnerability of the body, which came through and several artists work; whether it’s the environment, and climate change that is impacting us so directly, especially in California. And these things felt resonant for people. And I think that we did understand that that held some meaning or meaningfulness to the public as they went through the show.
LPZ: And then, we talked about this a little, but how do you balance those ideas with also the desire to sort of paint a portrait of Los Angeles’ art scene? Or are those two things kind of intertwined you think?
EC: I mean I think they’re intertwined. And I’ll speak towards some of the artists in this show that grew up here, who were sort of directly responding to their personal experience in this city. So Lauren Halsey, for example, who got the main Mohn award. You know, her work and her ongoing practice is very much responding to different black communities, but more specifically South Central, the neighborhood that she grew up in. And, really thinking about how that neighborhood is shifting right now. You know, thinking about gentrification and development, and how certain local economies are changing. And so, for her, I think building this prototype—which is amazing, because now this installation is going to be realized as a public project in her neighborhood—was so important for her to sort of make a functional archive of the people that she knows and loves in her community. And so I think that something that feels very local and can be centralized, but also gentrification is a national issue right now.
So I think that her piece sort of had that duality. People could relate to what she was attempting to do. I think EJ Hill. Again ,you know, focusing on the various schools that he went to in Los Angeles. You know, he went to seven different schools, he got his MFA at UCLA right up the street. And, thinking about working through his experiences in those different schools…again, a very local thing. He would tell me that people would go in and point out schools like, “oh I went there,” and it would be a conversation starter with other people. Like “oh, what year did you go there?” You know, or old classmates would come in. But again, the education system in general is something to think about. It’s something that I think we’re working through in terms of who gets what sort of education. Who’s privileged in that, and how does that accessibility lead towards college, or just broader pursuit of knowledge? And so again, this sort of duality is something that’s very local, but also something that is currently happening throughout the nation, or something that is an issue.
Lindsay Preston Zappas: Welcome to Dear Carla, the segment where we answer a listener-submitted question about the art world. You can submit your question on Instagram (by DMing us), or you can write to us at email@example.com. This episode, the question comes from a local artist who asks: “How does an artist ask a curator for a studio visit? There are unwritten rules for example about not asking gallerists for unsolicited studio visits. So how does an artist crack into the curatorial view? And here to answer are Hammer curators, Anne Ellegood and Erin Christovale.
Erin Christovale: So I feel like I’ve been getting this question a lot, and I think what’s really valuable to me when an artist approaches me is that they know my curatorial history. They know what themes I’m interested in. They know what artists I like to typically work with, and then for them to really think about does their work align with my practice? And if it does, I think that’s great to sort of reach out and be like “hey, I see you did this show, you know you’re interested in these themes I think my work really gels well into that.” I appreciate really thought out, researched emails like that and that will usually lead me towards having a visit with an artist.
Anne Ellegood: I would underscore that also with the institution. So occasionally an artist might contact the Hammer, but they don’t really know what the Hammer means, or what kind of program we have. You know, as diverse as our program can be—it can be both historical and contemporary, and obviously we’re interested in all mediums. But, they don’t necessarily know the institution well at all. And you get the feeling they’re just kind of blanket sending out feelers to a lot of different institutions. So, I think it’s important for artists when they reach out to have some knowledge of the institution or the curator that they’re reaching out to. As Erin describes, and then I mean we also recognize that it’s really difficult and can be really intimidating. I think as artists tend to do, being part of communities, and being out in the community…you know going to openings, going to different events, talks…you know, just participating in the community can be a really natural avenue toward meeting curators.
So then it doesn’t feel so much like you’re making these cold calls that may or may not get a response. I think we all struggle with frankly too many emails. I know I’m guilty of not always replying, so apologies in advance. It’s just not even possible sometimes to respond to all of those, and I think for a lot of museums it’s not really possible to have a kind of open submission process because it’s too much material for the curators to go through. So I think that doesn’t mean never reach out to a curator. I think sometimes the way that Erin’s describing it can be a great way. But I would also just encourage people to be out in the world and you’ll probably meet us. Because we’re out there.
LPZ: Yeah how important, or linked, do you think gallery representation is. I know for a lot of artists, that’s like the goal, you know? And I think a lot of artists also believe—and sometimes this doesn’t work out—that if they have that gallery representation, they’re all set. And as we know, that doesn’t always work. But how important do you think, or how does that fit into this discussion?
EC: I think it depends on your practice. You know, I think there’s a sort of traditional things like painting and sculpture that tend to align with the gallery system, but, you know, how does social practice or how does performance work in a traditional gallery structure? I think those are questions that are always sort of floating around. I think it depends on your practice and I think it also sort of depends on your what economies you’re interested in tapping into.
AE: I mean it can be…obviously we go to galleries, and see what’s happening out there. But I think it’s also really important and interesting that there is such a range of types of spaces in L.A. These are not commercial galleries. There’s a lot of artists around an artist-run and artist-initiated spaces, a lot of non-profit spaces, some of which are tiny. It might be in the back of a truck, or they might be in somebody’s apartment, or they might be a temporary space, and you know it’s difficult to try to keep up with all of this. And I think curators are able or can only see so much. But that said, I think that most curators who are engaged with their local community are going to go to spaces that aren’t necessarily just the best known galleries. And of course, historically we always see that artists initiate a lot of things themselves, you know curating shows of their own work and their friends, and finding platforms and contexts in which to do so. And those are always things that you know I think are important to pay attention to and to try to follow. And you know that can be a way for an artist to get visibility that isn’t necessarily by getting a commercial gallery right.
LPZ: Do it yourself.
Lindsay Preston Zappas: The Carla Podcast is produced by Contemporary Art Review Los Angeles and me, Lindsay Preston Zappas, with production assistance from Charlotte Renner. Joel P. West composed our theme music. The podcast is available on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, or wherever you get your podcasts. We also archive and post every episode on our website at contemporaryartreview.la and we also just started adding transcriptions of each episode there as well. On the website, you can also sign up for our e-mail list to receive weekly reviews of Los Angeles exhibitions, and receive updates on the podcast. Coming up we’ll be celebrating the launch of Carla issue 14 with the launch party at Odd Ark LA on November 17th from 6 to 9. We’ll have music, drinks, and the gallery will be hosting an exhibition of paintings by Lauren Satlowski. If you can’t make it to the party, the magazine is available at 100 galleries around L.A. for free, or can be ordered through our online store. Don’t forget to follow us on Instagram under the handle @contemporaryartreview.la to see daily posts of art around Los Angeles. And finally if you’re a regular listener of the podcast, we would love to hear from you. Leave us a comment on iTunes, DM us on Instagram. Or you can write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We will be back next month with another episode. We’ll see you then.