Issue 26

Issue 25

Issue 24

Issue 23

Issue 22

Issue 21

Issue 20

Issue 19

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
Buy the Issue In our Online Shop
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

Issue 18

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
Buy the Issue In Our Online Shop
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

Issue 17

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
Buy the Issue In Our Online Shop
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

Issue 16

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
Buy the Issue In Our Online Shop
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

Issue 15

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
Buy the Issue In our Online Shop
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

Issue 14

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
Buy the Issue In Our Online Shop
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

Issue 13

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
Buy the Issue In Our Online Shop
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

Issue 12

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
Buy the Issue In Our Online Shop
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

Issue 11

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
Buy the Issue In Our Online Shop
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

Issue 10

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
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
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

Issue 9

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
Letter to the Editor Lady Parts, Lady Arts
Buy the Issue In Our Online Shop
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

Issue 8

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
Letter to the Editor
Buy the Issue In Our Online Shop
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

Issue 7

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
Buy the Issue In Our Online Shop
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

Issue 6

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
Buy the Issue In Our Online Shop
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.)

Issue 5

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
Buy the Issue In Our Online Shop
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.)

Issue 4

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
Buy the Issue In Our Online Shop
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.)

Issue 3

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
Buy the Issue In Our Online Shop
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

Issue 2

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
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
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

Issue 1

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
Buy the Issue In Our Online Shop
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.)
Distribution
Downtown
Artbook @ Hauser & Wirth
Baert Gallery
Cirrus Gallery
Château Shatto
GAVLAK
François Ghebaly
ICA LA
in lieu
JOAN
MOCA Grand Avenue
Monte Vista Projects
Murmurs
Nicodim Gallery
Night Gallery
OOF Books
Over the Influence
Royale Projects
Sow & Tailor
The Box
Vielmetter Los Angeles
Wilding Cran Gallery
Boyle Heights/ Chinatown
Bel Ami
Charlie James
LACA
Parrasch Heijnen Gallery
Stanley's
Tierra del Sol Gallery
Eastside
BOZOMAG
Odd Ark LA
Marta
Smart Objects
Tyler Park Presents
Westside
18th Street Arts
Ben Maltz Gallery at Otis
Five Car Garage
L.A. Louver
Laband Art Gallery at LMU
Marshall Contemporary
Pasadena/ Glendale/ Valley
The Pit
Junior High
Mid-City
1301 PE
Anat Ebgi
as-is.la
Chris Sharp Gallery
Commonwealth & Council
Craft Contemporary
David Kordansky Gallery
Hammer Museum
Hannah Hoffman
Hunter Shaw Fine Art
Kayne Griffin
Lowell Ryan Projects
Ochi Projects
O-Town House
Park View / Paul Soto
Praz-Delavallade
Real Pain
Shoot the Lobster
Simchowitz
the Landing
Thinkspace Projects
USC Fisher Museum of Art
Culver City
Anat Ebgi
Arcana Books
Blum & Poe
Philip Martin Gallery
Roberts Projects
The Wende Museum
Hollywood
Bridge Projects
Diane Rosenstein
Family Books
LACE
LAXART
M+B
Matthew Brown Los Angeles
Moskowitz Bayse
Nonaka-Hill
Shulamit Nazarian
STARS
Steve Turner
Tanya Bonakdar Gallery
The LODGE
UTA Artist Space
Various Small Fires
Non-L.A.
Best Practice (San Diego, CA)
Et al. (San Francisco, CA)
Left Field (Los Osos, CA)
McNally Jackson (New York, NY)
Minnesota Street Project (San Francisco, CA)
Printed Matter (New York, NY)
Santa Barbara City College (Santa Barbara, CA)
Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture (Skowhegan, ME)
Verge Center for the Arts (Sacramento, CA)
Wattis Institute for Contemporary Art (San Francisco, CA)
Whitney Museum Shop (New York, NY)
Libraries/ Collections
Bard College, Center for Curatorial Studies Library (Annandale-on-Hudson, NY)
CalArts (Valencia, CA)
Center for the Arts, Wesleyan University (Middletown, CT)
Cranbrook Academy of Art (Bloomfield Hills, MI)
Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Research Library (Los Angeles, CA)
Los Angeles Contemporary Archive (Los Angeles, CA)
Marpha Foundation (Marpha, Nepal)
Maryland Institute College of Art, The Decker Library (Baltimore, MD)
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Thomas J. Watson Library (New York, NY)
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)
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)

Forged by Fire:
How a Ceramic Studio is
Creating a Radical
Community

Read in Spanish

Photo: Rikki Wright.

Amidst the coronavirus pandemic and racial justice uprisings, art-making—like everything else—is immensely challenging. But visual artists press on—and if any medium encapsulates the possibilities of creating beauty from high pressure and heat, it’s ceramics. Pottery is, after all, forged by fire. But the increasing popularity of the art form—across institutional shows, trendy retailers, and even Instagram how-to videos—begs the question: who gets to explore ceramics and who feels unwelcomed by the medium?

For years, ceramics has been on the rise in both the fine art and commercial design worlds. In 2015, the New York Times reported that the number of graduate students specializing in ceramics at the Rhode Island School of Design had increased by 50 percent.1 In 2018, the Los Angeles Times highlighted efforts by educational institutions, such as CalArts and Cal State Long Beach, to make pottery tools and facilities (as well as practical knowledge about starting careers in the field) more available to students.2 In 2016, Los Angeles’ own Craft Contemporary (formerly the Craft and Folk Art Museum) kicked off its annual CLAY LA fundraiser, featuring a marketplace of local vendors, with a percentage of proceeds going to the museum. This year, it also presented the second iteration of its clay biennial, The Body, The Object, The Other, featuring 21 contemporary artists. While there’s been increasing institutional interest in ceramics over the last few years, artists are still trying to fill in the gaps when it comes to representation and access in a field that often presents barriers to entry.

Seeing ceramic objects in museums or highbrow shop windows, flanked by lofty wall text and warnings not to get too close, can make the objects themselves feel inaccessible. Like with much art-making, there is also a financial barrier—a significant amount of equipment and space is needed to work with clay, and overly-expensive studio fees prevent casual experimentation. Aside from their prohibitive prices, the environments of many ceramic studios can feel particularly unwelcoming to beginners: these spaces are often predominantly white, making it hard for ceramicists of color to find community. For BIPOC, it’s often tough to even find a class where they won’t be the only person of color in attendance.

In 2017, Los Angeles native Mandy Kolahi got tired of art spaces that felt overly-professionalized and recognized the void of BIPOC-centric creative spaces. As a community organizer and activist with a focus on space-making, Kolahi wanted to build a place for creative solidarity and help BIPOC artists earn a living from their art-making. She joined forces with activist and artist Ambar Arias to create POT, a pottery studio in Echo Park that specifically aims to make ceramics more accessible to people from marginalized communities, with a focus on BIPOC artists, whom it supports through rigorous community programming. The studio hosts workshops, private parties, and classes—which include Spanish language offerings. Its online store sells wares made by POT members, and the studio offers classes on sliding scales—sometimes waiving fees entirely—and considers the trade of goods or services equivalent to payment. POT will even grant travel funding to BIPOC ceramicists living outside of Los Angeles, offering a stipend to help cover flights and free lodging. Amidst the pandemic, the studio has shifted to online classes, preparing hand-building kits for students to pick up before each virtual workshop.

The studio’s dedication to BIPOC and queer communities has been felt by ceramics lovers outside of Los Angeles. According to Kolahi, before the pandemic hit, it wasn’t unusual for people to drive two to three hours to attend POT’s classes, with some traveling from places like San Diego, Bakersfield, or Davis for the weekend. Others would plan an entire trip around attending a workshop, visiting from the Bay Area, and even the East Coast—a testament to both the need for, and success of, POT’s BIPOC- and community-centric mission.

Kolahi explained that other ceramic studios feel unwelcoming and sometimes aggressive to BIPOC: “The fact [is] that most of the spaces are owned by old white people. The microaggressions are there—they’re present. I get countless [ceramicists] of color who’ve been at other studios [and] who are dying to leave because of problematic shit that they’ve heard around the studio.” There’s something to be said for getting your hands dirty in a space that welcomes your full identity, particularly in a moment when the anger long felt by Black and brown communities over violent systemic racism is reaching a boiling point. “It’s like a physical energy transfer,” Kolahi said, describing working with clay as a way of processing feelings and experiences and re-centering oneself. “I never go to sleep feeling like my creativity hasn’t been sucked dry for the night.”

Photo: Sina Araghi.

Kolahi’s creativity is constantly utilized to problem solve, find new ways to uphold the studio’s core values, and support its members by addressing the barriers to entry that often make art-making inaccessible. Even the cost of clay and glazes can make new students feel like making mistakes—something essential to mastering a material—is a huge risk. Last year, the studio held free introductory workshops for trans, non-binary, gender non-conforming, and intersex individuals. These communities often don’t see spaces dedicated entirely to them, and POT politely asked that members not in these groups refrain from signing up for these classes. This created a safe (and unique) space for folks to be fully present as themselves. And perhaps because of the supportive space that the studio has cultivated, the community has stepped up to fund spots for those who would otherwise not be able to afford classes. Earlier this year, POT member donations and holiday sale proceeds allowed the studio to host a free workshop for Black students. Operating outside of the traditional commercial art space or even nonprofit model, POT relies and thrives on these communal gestures. While art spaces often fail to consider the needs of their communities—reflected through the gentrification of many L.A. neighborhoods—POT does the opposite, giving BIPOC artists a sense of grounding amidst rising levels of displacement.

Kolahi is purposeful in fostering this openness. For instance, POT’s instructors (including Kolahi) approach each workshop with a warmth that doesn’t reinforce the student-teacher hierarchy but instead encourages students to loosen up a little. The staff’s playful sense of humor seeps into their programming, as the studio’s past workshop titles demonstrate: “Psychedelia: Mushroom and Crystals Decorating,” “Pornaments with POT: Naughty Ceramic Ornament Building,” and “Decorate Your Own Bong.” Kolahi explained, “You’re not that worried about making this perfect vase when you’re making, like, a dildo.” POT’s playful themes are vital, creating a lighthearted point of entry into the world of ceramics. According to Kolahi, when you are in a room with others, trying to ornament your hand-built bong, “there isn’t this pressure to make high art.”

The playfulness at POT coexists with their social justice mission. Kolahi and Arias, motivated by a politics of inclusion from the start, were talking about issues like police abolition even before memes and petitions began circulating widely in recent months. Regular posts on the studio’s Instagram feature pots engraved with text like “Cops Ain’t Shit” or “Fuck the Police.” In one photo, cups on a drying rack above the sink have been painted with black glaze and the phrases “White Tears,” “Dismantle White Supremacy,” and the simple, but effective, “Fuck.”3 The studio also offers free workshops to any organizations or groups focused on police or prison abolition.

The recent uprisings have resulted in conversations around how art communities, and art consumers, might better support BIPOC artists. Many individuals are re-examining how their dollars can make a direct impact; choosing what they buy, and from whom, can be a way to directly support communities of color rather than pad the pockets of mega-corporations. Kolahi wants to help the artists at POT to shape their futures, and encourages financial independence. This support is particularly impactful for people from communities that have been historically denied loans and resources, which keeps the possibility of entrepreneurship at arm’s length. “I’m really passionate about economic empowerment and independence for Brown and Black communities,” said Kolahi. “I mean, I hate capitalism, but, you know, the country is run on money… I’m obsessed with self-enterprise, and I would love everyone to be able to self-enterprise.”

Kolahi often asks POT members if they want to sell their work, helping them to create branding and logos and sometimes even paying a staff member to help them build websites. Empowering artists to create their own brands and businesses helps them keep more of the profits and avoid splitting sales with big-name retailers. POT’s operations echo recent focuses on mutual aid, particularly in light of Covid-19—supporting creativity and entrepreneurship is especially important during tough economic times. “I just want people to be more fulfilled with the things they do to make money,” said Kolahi. “If you can make money off [of] pottery—this thing you enjoy—and survive off of it in any way, that would be great.” Fostering financial independence through supportive community investment is an important strategy that contrasts with the exclusionary gatekeeping that art institutions so often perpetuate.

When daily activities, like going for a run, become risks for BIPOC folks, art-making can feel like an unattainable luxury. Creating safe spaces that eliminate threats and aggressions for BIPOC—all while fostering experimentation and accessibility, as POT strives to do—is one way to ensure that these communities get to engage in the important act of self-expression.

Eva Recinos is a freelance writer and editor based in Los Angeles. Her arts and culture journalism has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, The Guardian, Hyperallergic, Artsy, Art21, and more. Her creative non-fiction writing can be found in Electric Literature, Catapult, and more. She is less than five feet tall.

Photo: Sina Araghi.

FTP mug by Amber Arias (2017). Photo: Michelle Genevieve.

Photo: Michelle Genevieve.


This essay was originally published in Carla issue 21.

  1. Tim McKeogh, “Why Handmade Ceramics Are White Hot,” The New York Times, December 16, 2015, https://www.nytimes.com/2015/12/17/fashion/why-handmade-ceramics-are-white-hot.html.
  2. Leah Ollman, “Ceramic art, once written off as mere craft, wins a brighter spotlight in the L.A. scene,” Los Angeles Times, April 25, 2018, https://www.latimes.com/entertainment/arts/la-ca-cm-ceramics-clay-art-20180425-htmlstory.html.
  3. POT (@pot.la), “A photo I posted to my personal IG in June 2017, a month before POT opened its doors,” Instagram, July 14, 2020, https://www.instagram.com/p/CCpc7EsA95P/.

Eva Recinos is a writer and editor based in Los Angeles. Her arts and culture journalism has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, The Guardian, Hyperallergic, Artsy, Art21, and more. Her creative non-fiction writing can be found in Electric Literature, PANK, Blood Orange Review, and more. She is currently working on a memoir in essays.

More by Eva Recinos