Issue 35 February 2024

Issue 34 November 2023

Issue 33 August 2023

Issue 32 June 2023

Issue 31 February 2023

Issue 30 November 2022

Issue 29 August 2022

Issue 28 May 2022

Issue 27 February 2022

Issue 26 November 2021

Issue 25 August 2021

Issue 24 May 2021

Issue 23 February 2021

Issue 22 November 2020

Issue 21 August 2020

Issue 20 May 2020

Issue 19 February 2020

Letter from the Editor –Lindsay Preston Zappas
Parasites in Love –Travis Diehl
To Crush Absolute On Patrick Staff and
Destroying the Institution
–Jonathan Griffin
Victoria Fu:
Camera Obscured
–Cat Kron
Resurgence of Resistance How Pattern & Decoration's Popularity
Can Help Reshape the Canon
–Catherine Wagley
Trace, Place, Politics Julie Mehretu's Coded Abstractions
–Jessica Simmons
Exquisite L.A.: Featuring: Friedrich Kunath,
Tristan Unrau, and Nevine Mahmoud
–Claressinka Anderson & Joe Pugliese
Reviews April Street
at Vielmetter Los Angeles
–Aaron Horst

Chiraag Bhakta
at Human Resources
–Julie Weitz

Don’t Think: Tom, Joe
and Rick Potts

–Matt Stromberg

Sarah McMenimen
at Garden
–Michael Wright

The Medea Insurrection
at the Wende Museum
–Jennifer Remenchik

(L.A. in N.Y.)
Mike Kelley
at Hauser & Wirth
–Angella d’Avignon
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Issue 18 November 2019

Letter from the Editor –Lindsay Preston Zappas
The Briar and the Tar Nayland Blake at the ICA LA
and Matthew Marks Gallery
–Travis Diehl
Putting Aesthetics
to Hope
Tracking Photography’s Role
in Feminist Communities
– Catherine Wagley
Instagram STARtists
and Bad Painting
– Anna Elise Johnson
Interview with Jamillah James – Lindsay Preston Zappas
Working Artists Featuring Catherine Fairbanks,
Paul Pescador, and Rachel Mason
Text: Lindsay Preston Zappas
Photos: Jeff McLane
Reviews Children of the Sun
– Jessica Simmons

Derek Paul Jack Boyle
–Aaron Horst

Karl Holmqvist
at House of Gaga, Los Angeles
–Lee Purvey

Katja Seib
at Château Shatto
–Ashton Cooper

Jeanette Mundt
at Overduin & Co.
–Matt Stromberg
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Issue 17 August 2019

Letter From the Editor Lindsay Preston Zappas
Green Chip David Hammons
at Hauser & Wirth
–Travis Diehl
Whatever Gets You
Through the Night
The Artists of Dilexi
and Wartime Trauma
–Jonathan Griffin
Generous Collectors How the Grinsteins
Supported Artists
–Catherine Wagley
Interview with
Donna Huanca
–Lindsy Preston Zappas
Working Artist Featuring Ragen Moss, Justen LeRoy,
and Bari Ziperstein
Text: Lindsay Preston Zappas
Photos: Jeff McLane
Reviews Sarah Lucas
at the Hammer Museum
–Yxta Maya Murray

George Herms and Terence Koh
at Morán Morán
–Matt Stromberg

Hannah Hur
at Bel Ami
–Michael Wright

Sebastian Hernandez
–Julie Weitz

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

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Issue 16 May 2019

Trulee Hall's Untamed Magic Catherine Wagley
Ingredients for a Braver Art Scene Ceci Moss
I Shit on Your Graves Travis Diehl
Interview with Ruby Neri Jonathan Griffin
Carolee Schneemann and the Art of Saying Yes! Chelsea Beck
Exquisite L.A. Claressinka Anderson
Joe Pugliese
Reviews Ry Rocklen
at Honor Fraser
–Cat Kron

Rob Thom
at M+B
–Lindsay Preston Zappas

Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age
of Black Power, 1963-1983
at The Broad
–Matt Stromberg

Anna Sew Hoy & Diedrick Brackens
at Various Small Fires
–Aaron Horst

Julia Haft-Candell & Suzan Frecon
at Parrasch Heijnen
–Jessica Simmons

(L.A. in N.Y.)
Shahryar Nashat
at Swiss Institute
–Christie Hayden
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Issue 15 February 2019

Letter From the Editor Lindsay Preston Zappas
Letter to the Editor
Men on Women
Geena Brown
Eyes Without a Voice
Julian Rosefeldt's Manifesto
Christina Catherine Martinez
Seven Minute Dream Machine
Jordan Wolfson's (Female figure)
Travis Diehl
Laughing in Private
Vanessa Place's Rape Jokes
Catherine Wagley
Interview with
Rosha Yaghmai
Laura Brown
Exquisite L.A.
Featuring: Patrick Martinez,
Ramiro Gomez, and John Valadez
Claressinka Anderson
Joe Pugliese
Reviews Outliers and American
Vanguard Art at LACMA
–Jonathan Griffin

Sperm Cult
–Matt Stromberg

Kahlil Joseph
–Jessica Simmons

Ingrid Luche
at Ghebaly Gallery
–Lindsay Preston Zappas

Matt Paweski
at Park View / Paul Soto
–John Zane Zappas

Trenton Doyle Hancock
at Shulamit Nazarian
–Colony Little

(L.A. in N.Y.)
Catherine Opie
at Lehmann Maupin
–Angella d'Avignon
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Issue 14 November 2018

Letter From the Editor Lindsay Preston Zappas
Celeste Dupuy-Spencer and Figurative Religion Catherine Wagley
Lynch in Traffic Travis Diehl
The Remixed Symbology of Nina Chanel Abney Lindsay Preston Zappas
Interview with Kulapat Yantrasast Christie Hayden
Exquisite L.A.
Featuring: Sandra de la Loza, Gloria Galvez, and Steve Wong
Claressinka Anderson
Photos: Joe Pugliese
Reviews Raúl de Nieves
at Freedman Fitzpatrick
-Aaron Horst

Gertrud Parker
at Parker Gallery
-Ashton Cooper

Robert Yarber
at Nicodim Gallery
-Jonathan Griffin

Nikita Gale
at Commonwealth & Council
-Simone Krug

Lari Pittman
at Regen Projects
-Matt Stromberg

(L.A. in N.Y.)
Eckhaus Latta
at the Whitney Museum
of American Art
-Angella d'Avignon
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Issue 13 August 2018

Letter From the Editor Lindsay Preston Zappas
Letter to the Editor Julie Weitz with Angella d'Avignon
Don't Make
Everything Boring
Catherine Wagley
The Collaborative Art
World of Norm Laich
Matt Stromberg
Oddly Satisfying Art Travis Diehl
Made in L.A. 2018 Reviews Claire de Dobay Rifelj
Jennifer Remenchik
Aaron Horst
Exquisite L.A.
Featuring: Anna Sew Hoy, Guadalupe Rosales, and Shizu Saldamando
Claressinka Anderson
Photos: Joe Pugliese
Reviews It's Snowing in LA
at AA|LA
–Matthew Lax

Fiona Conner
at the MAK Center
–Thomas Duncan

Show 2
at The Gallery @ Michael's
–Simone Krug

Deborah Roberts
at Luis De Jesus Los Angeles
–Ikechukwu Casmir Onyewuenyi

Mimi Lauter
at Blum & Poe
–Jessica Simmons

(L.A. in N.Y.)
Math Bass
at Mary Boone
–Ashton Cooper

(L.A. in N.Y.)
Condo New York
–Laura Brown
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Issue 12 May 2018

Poetic Energies and
Radical Celebrations:
Senga Nengudi and Maren Hassinger
Simone Krug
Interior States of the Art Travis Diehl
Perennial Bloom:
Florals in Feminism
and Across L.A.
Angella d'Avignon
The Mess We're In Catherine Wagley
Interview with Christina Quarles Ashton Cooper
Object Project
Featuring Suné Woods, Michelle Dizon,
and Yong Soon Min
Lindsay Preston Zappas
Photos: Jeff McLane
Reviews Meleko Mokgosi
at The Fowler Museum at UCLA
-Jessica Simmons

Chris Kraus
at Chateau Shatto
- Aaron Horst

Ben Sanders
at Ochi Projects
- Matt Stromberg

iris yirei hsu
at the Women's Center
for Creative Work
- Hana Cohn

Harald Szeemann
at the Getty Research Institute
- Olivian Cha

Ali Prosch
at Bed and Breakfast
- Jennifer Remenchik

Reena Spaulings
at Matthew Marks
- Thomas Duncan
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Issue 11 February 2018

Letter from the Editor Lindsay Preston Zappas
Museum as Selfie Station Matt Stromberg
Accessible as Humanly as Possible Catherine Wagley
On Laura Owens on Laura Owens Travis Diehl
Interview with Puppies Puppies Jonathan Griffin
Object Project Lindsay Preston Zappas, Jeff McLane
Reviews Dulce Dientes
at Rainbow in Spanish
- Aaron Horst

Adrián Villas Rojas
at The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA
- Lindsay Preston Zappas

Nevine Mahmoud
at M+B
- Angella D'Avignon

Radical Women: Latin American Art, 1960- 1985
at the Hammer Museum
- Thomas Duncan

Hannah Greely and William T. Wiley
at Parker Gallery
- Keith J. Varadi

David Hockney
at The Metropolitan Museum of Art (L.A. in N.Y.)
- Ashton Cooper

Edgar Arceneaux
at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (L.A. in S.F.)
- Hana Cohn
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Issue 10 November 2017

Letter from the Editor Lindsay Preston Zappas
Barely Living with Art:
The Labor of Domestic
Spaces in Los Angeles
Eli Diner
She Wanted Adventure:
Dwan, Butler, Mizuno, Copley
Catherine Wagley
The Languages of
All-Women Exhibitions
Lindsay Preston Zappas
L.A. Povera Travis Diehl
On Eclipses:
When Language
and Photography Fail
Jessica Simmons
Interview with
Hamza Walker
Julie Wietz
Object Project
Featuring: Rosha Yaghmai,
Dianna Molzan, and Patrick Jackson
Lindsay Preston Zappas
Photos by Jeff McLane
Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA
Regen Projects
Ibid Gallery
One National Gay & Lesbian Archives and MOCA PDC
The Mistake Room
Luis De Jesus Gallery
the University Art Gallery at CSULB
the Autry Museum
Reviews Cheyenne Julien
at Smart Objects

Paul Mpagi Sepuya
at team bungalow

Ravi Jackson
at Richard Telles

Tactility of Line
at Elevator Mondays

Trigger: Gender as a Tool as a Weapon
at the New Museum
(L.A. in N.Y.)
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Issue 9 August 2017

Letter from the Editor Lindsay Preston Zappas
Women on the Plinth Catherine Wagley
Us & Them, Now & Then:
Reconstituting Group Material
Travis Diehl
The Offerings of EJ Hill
Ikechukwu Casmir Onyewuenyi
Interview with Jenni Sorkin Carmen Winant
Object Project
Featuring: Rebecca Morris,
Linda Stark, Alex Olson
Lindsay Preston Zappas
Photos by Jeff McClane
Reviews Mark Bradford
at the Venice Biennale

Broken Language
at Shulamit Nazarian

Artists of Color
at the Underground Museum

Anthony Lepore & Michael Henry Hayden
at Del Vaz Projects


Analia Saban at
Sprueth Magers
Letter to the Editor Lady Parts, Lady Arts
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Issue 8 May 2017

Letter from the Editor Lindsay Preston Zappas
Kanye Westworld Travis Diehl
@richardhawkins01 Thomas Duncan
Support Structures:
Alice Könitz and LAMOA
Catherine Wagley
Interview with
Penny Slinger
Eliza Swann
Exquisite L.A.
taisha paggett
Ashley Hunt
Young Chung
Intro by Claressinka Anderson
Portraits by Joe Pugliese
Reviews Alessandro Pessoli
at Marc Foxx

Jennie Jieun Lee
at The Pit

Trisha Baga
at 356 Mission

Jimmie Durham
at The Hammer

Parallel City
at Ms. Barbers

Jason Rhodes
at Hauser & Wirth
Letter to the Editor
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Issue 7 February 2017

Letter from the Editor Lindsay Preston Zappas
Catherine Wagley
Put on a Happy Face:
On Dynasty Handbag
Travis Diehl
The Limits of Animality:
Simone Forti at ISCP
(L.A. in N.Y.)
Ikechukwu Casmir Onyewuenyi
More Wound Than Ruin:
Evaluating the
"Human Condition"
Jessica Simmons
Exquisite L.A.
Brenna Youngblood
Todd Gray
Rafa Esparza
Intro by Claressinka Anderson
Portraits by Joe Pugliese
Reviews Creature
at The Broad

Sam Pulitzer & Peter Wachtler
at House of Gaga // Reena Spaulings Fine Art

Karl Haendel
at Susanne Vielmetter

Wolfgang Tillmans
at Regen Projects

at Chateau Shatto

The Rat Bastard Protective Association
at the Landing
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Issue 6 November 2016

Letter from the Editor Lindsay Preston Zappas
Kenneth Tam
's Basement
Travis Diehl
The Female
Cool School
Catherine Wagley
The Rise
of the L.A.
Art Witch
Amanda Yates Garcia
Interview with
Mernet Larsen
Julie Weitz
Agnes Martin
Jessica Simmons
Exquisite L.A.
Analia Saban
Ry Rocklen
Sarah Cain
Intro by Claressinka Anderson
Portraits by Joe Pugliese
Made in L.A. 2016
at The Hammer Museum

Doug Aitken
at The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA

at Tif Sigfrids

Jean-Pascal Flavian and Mika Tajima
at Kayne Griffin Corcoran

Mark A. Rodruigez
at Park View

The Weeping Line
Organized by Alter Space
at Four Six One Nine
(S.F. in L.A.)
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Issue 5 August 2016

Letter form the Editor Lindsay Preston Zappas
at The Underground Museum
Catherine Wagley
The Art of Birth Carmen Winant
Escape from Bunker Hill
John Knight
Travis Diehl
Ed Boreal Speaks Benjamin Lord
Art Advice (from Men) Sarah Weber
Routine Pleasures
at the MAK Center
Jonathan Griffin
Exquisite L.A.
Fay Ray
John Baldessari
Claire Kennedy
Intro by Claressinka Anderson
Portraits by Joe Pugliese
Reviews Revolution in the Making
at Hauser Wirth & Schimmel

Carl Cheng
at Cherry and Martin

Joan Snyder
at Parrasch Heijnen Gallery

Elanor Antin
at Diane Rosenstein

Performing the Grid
at Ben Maltz Gallery
at Otis College of Art & Design

Laura Owens
at The Wattis Institute
(L.A. in S.F.)
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Issue 4 May 2016

Letter from the Editor Lindsay Preston Zappas
Moon, laub, and Love Catherine Wagley
Walk Artisanal Jonathan Griffin
Marva Marrow's
Inside the L.A. Artist
Anthony Pearson
Mystery Science Thater:
Diana Thater
Aaron Horst
Informal Feminisms Federica Bueti and Jan Verwoert
Marva Marrow Photographs
Lita Albuquerque
Interiors and Interiority:
Njideka Akunyili Crosby
Char Jansen
Reviews L.A. Art Fairs

Material Art Fair, Mexico City

Rain Room

Evan Holloway
at David Kordansky Gallery

Histories of a Vanishing Present: A Prologue
at The Mistake Room

Carter Mull
at fused space
(L.A. in S.F.)

Awol Erizku
at FLAG Art Foundation
(L.A. in N.Y.)
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Issue 3 February 2016

Letter from the Editor Lindsay Preston Zappas
Le Louvre, Las Vegas Evan Moffitt
iPhones, Flesh,
and the Word:
at Arturo Bandini
Lindsay Preston Zappas
Women Talking About Barney Catherine Wagley
Lingua Ignota:
Faith Wilding
at The Armory Center
for the Arts
Benjamin Lord
A Conversation
with Amalia Ulman
Char Jansen
How We Practice Carmen Winant
Share Your Piece
of the Puzzle
Federica Bueti
Amanda Ross-Ho Photographs
Erik Frydenborg
Reviews Honeydew
at Michael Thibault

Fred Tomaselli
at California State University, Fullerton

Trisha Donnelly
at Matthew Marks Gallery

Bradford Kessler
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Issue 2 November 2015

Letter from the Editor Lindsay Preston Zappas
Hot Tears Carmen Winant
Slow View:
Molly Larkey
Anna Breininger and Kate Whitlock
Americanicity's Paintings:
Orion Martin
at Favorite Goods
Tracy Jeanne Rosenthal
Layers of Leimert Park Catherine Wagley
Junkspace Junk Food:
Parker Ito
at Kaldi, Smart Objects,
White Cube, and
Château Shatto
Evan Moffitt
Melrose Hustle Keith Vaughn
Max Maslansky Photographs
Monica Majoli
at the Tom of Finland Foundation
White Lee, Black Lee:
William Pope.L’s "Reenactor"
Travis Diehl
Dora Budor Interview Char Jensen
Reviews Mary Ried Kelley
at The Hammer Museum

Tongues Untied
at MOCA Pacific Design Center

No Joke
at Tanya Leighton
(L.A. in Berlin)
Snap Reviews Martin Basher at Anat Ebgi
Body Parts I-V at ASHES ASHES
Eve Fowler at Mier Gallery
Matt Siegle at Park View
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Issue 1 August 2015

Letter from the Editor Lindsay Preston Zappas
Metaphysical L.A.
Travis Diehl
Art for Art’s Sake:
L.A. in the 1990s
Anthony Pearson
A Dialogue in Two
Synchronous Atmospheres
Erik Morse
with Alexandra Grant
at François Ghebaly
Jonathan Griffin
#studio #visit
with #devin #kenny
Mateo Tannatt
Jibade-Khalil Huffman
Slow View:
Discussion on One Work
Anna Breininger
with Julian Rogers
Reviews Pierre Huyghe

Mernet Larsen
at Various Small Fires

John Currin
at Gagosian, Beverly Hills

Pat O'Niell
at Cherry and Martin

A New Rhythm
at Park View

Unwatchable Scenes and
Other Unreliable Images...
at Public Fiction

Charles Gaines
at The Hammer Museum

Henry Taylor
at Blum & Poe/ Untitled
(L.A. in N.Y.)
Buy the Issue In Our Online Shop
1301 PE
Anat Ebgi (La Cienega)
Anat Ebgi (Wilshire)
Arcana Books
Artbook @ Hauser & Wirth
Babst Gallery
Baert Gallery
Bel Ami
Canary Test
Carlye Packer
Charlie James Gallery
Château Shatto
Chris Sharp Gallery
Cirrus Gallery
Clay ca
Commonwealth & Council
Craft Contemporary
D2 Art (Inglewood)
D2 Art (Westwood)
David Kordansky Gallery
David Zwirner
Diane Rosenstein
François Ghebaly
Gana Art Los Angeles
George Billis Gallery
Giovanni's Room
Hamzianpour & Kia
Hannah Hoffman Gallery
Harper's Gallery
Hashimoto Contemporary
Heavy Manners Library
Helen J Gallery
Human Resources
Hunter Shaw Fine Art
in lieu
LaPau Gallery
Lisson Gallery
Lowell Ryan Projects
Luis De Jesus Los Angeles
MAK Center for Art and Architecture
Make Room Los Angeles
Matter Studio Gallery
Matthew Brown Los Angeles
MOCA Grand Avenue
Monte Vista Projects
Morán Morán
Moskowitz Bayse
Nazarian / Curcio
Night Gallery
Nino Mier Gallery
NOON Projects
O-Town House
One Trick Pony
Paradise Framing
Park View / Paul Soto
Patricia Sweetow Gallery
Regen Projects
Reparations Club
r d f a
REDCAT (Roy and Edna Disney CalArts Theater)
Roberts Projects
Royale Projects
Sean Kelly
Sebastian Gladstone
Shoshana Wayne Gallery
Smart Objects
Steve Turner
Stroll Garden
Tanya Bonakdar Gallery
The Box
The Fulcrum
The Hole
The Landing
The Poetic Research Bureau
The Wende Museum
Thinkspace Projects
Tierra del Sol Gallery
Tiger Strikes Astroid
Tomorrow Today
Track 16
Tyler Park Presents
USC Fisher Museum of Art
UTA Artist Space
Various Small Fires
Village Well Books & Coffee
Outside L.A.
Libraries/ Collections
Baltimore Museum of Art (Baltimore, MD)
Bard College, CCS Library (Annandale-on-Hudson, NY)
Charlotte Street Foundation (Kansas City, MO)
Cranbrook Academy of Art (Bloomfield Hills, MI)
Getty Research Institute (Los Angeles, CA)
Los Angeles Contemporary Archive (Los Angeles, CA)
Los Angeles County Museum of Art (Los Angeles, CA)
Maryland Institute College of Art (Baltimore, MD)
Midway Contemporary Art (Minneapolis, MN)
Museum of Contemporary Art (Los Angeles, CA)
NYS College of Ceramics at Alfred University (Alfred, NY)
Pepperdine University (Malibu, CA)
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (San Francisco, CA)
School of the Art Institute of Chicago (Chicago, IL)
The Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, NY)
University of California Irvine, Langston IMCA (Irvine, CA)
University of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia, PA)
Walker Art Center (Minneapolis, MN)
Whitney Museum of American Art (New York, NY)
Yale University Library (New Haven, CT)

From Both Sides of the Lens: Ulysses Jenkins’ Self-Reflexive Video Practice

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Ulysses Jenkins, Without Your Interpretation (rehearsal documentation) (1984). Color print, 3.5 × 5 inches. Image courtesy of the artist.

Ulysses Jenkins first encountered the word “doggerel” in the late ’70s in the Calendar section of the Los Angeles Times. Marlon Brando had used it in an interview about his role in Superman (1978), leading Jenkins to run off to look up the definition of the peculiar term.1 It turned out to be the word he needed to establish language around the video work he was making at the time. The term, which refers to a comedic verse with an irregular measure,2 usually has a negative connotation and can be used to describe work—be it a stanza in a poem or a filmmaker’s editing technique—that is poorly expressed. Brando was using it to convey his fondness for the interstitial scenes in Superman, which relied more on gesture and action than dialogue, but to Jenkins, the word doggerel described the Black experience—the daily feeling of traversing regular spaces while experiencing an irregular set of challenges. This feeling of discomfort, which Jenkins often observed was influenced by mainstream media, motivated him, as did a burning desire to capture this emotion in his film and video work. 

Early in his career, Jenkins saw the limitations of popular media and the ways that it enforces systems of white supremacy, but he also believed in the visual medium’s potential to offer individuals the ability to share narratives of their own, counteracting the popular media monolith. In his videos, he took on a self-reflexive role as both witness and subject, giving him the freedom to defiantly reframe the ideas about Black people that mass media (film, television, the news) was churning out with wanton disregard for the tokenized caricatures it propagated. Jenkins’ prescient interest in visual technology’s capacity to impact representation and community-building—another of his driving, lifelong interests—is all the more relevant in our media-centric contemporary world. The steady rise of self-documentation over the past half-century has proved that our universal desire to capture and preserve our most authentic selves is best achieved, it turns out, by making sure we are the ones both behind and in front of the camera. 

Jenkins’ video Inconsequential Doggereal (1981), marks the beginning of his “doggereal” series—the title intentionally misspelled. In each of the three films, which he produced in the ’80s, Jenkins plays with the malleability of time, storytelling, and memory, using jarring supercuts to give the work a choppy and Dadaist quality. Alongside frenetic editing glitches, the camera zooms in and out, rewinds, and repeats a series of seemingly-unrelated clips. Local broadcast news stories, Jenkins sitting and standing in the nude, a couple lustfully washing the dishes, psychedelic shots of space, a looming lawnmower, and a slew of other offbeat scenes shuffle and bounce. Together, they make up a 15-minute phantasmagoria that reminds us that memories aren’t always linear or fixed. Time can, in fact, be bent. 

Even if Jenkins pulls from the saturated media landscape in what feels like a haphazard manner, the film is highly self-aware. His comedic timing reveals itself with a surrealist edge as Jenkins makes a case for critiquing current media with a sense of humor. The myth of heteronormative domestic bliss is put into question when the exchange between the couple washing dishes is replaced by scenes of couples fighting. Throwaway lines from broadcast news stories resonate when Jenkins repeats phrases like “less take-home pay” that reveal buried ledes—during the time this film was made, the exciting prospect of a higher minimum wage was rendered abysmal against the rising cost of living in Reagan’s 1980s. Moreover, Jenkins reminds viewers that through the skill of video editing, one has the power to transform or remix existing narratives, bending them to reveal alternate stories. 

Jenkins is best known for his groundbreaking work as a Black video artist, but his prolific career also includes painting, photography, and performance. He was able to drift into various circles as a sort of interloper at the intersection of L.A.’s art movements. From the city’s mural movement to its various film collectives—including the L.A. Rebellion, a group of Black filmmakers who came out of UCLA—he’s found community in many seemingly distant corners. In grad school, Jenkins studied with Betye Saar and Charles White at Otis Art Institute, and later, other members of the Black arts movement who were driven by a new “Black aesthetic,” which endeavored to develop a separatist cultural identity that celebrated the Black experience in all of its facets. Because Jenkins had a hand in all of these movements, curator Erin Christovale fondly dubbed him the “godfather” of so many of the Black artists working at the forefront of video today.3 The Hammer Museum cemented his legacy with Ulysses Jenkins: Without Your Interpretation, the first major retrospective of the artist’s work, recently mounted in collaboration with the Institute of Contemporary Art, University of Pennsylvania. During a conversation with Jenkins, curators Christovale and Meg Onli revealed that it took them over four years to whittle down his teeming archive into a single cohesive exhibition.4

Born in Los Angeles in 1946, Jenkins began as a painter, influenced creatively by his father, a barber with a penchant for doodling, and his mother, who was a singer and garment worker. Jenkins was taken by the East L.A. mural movement of the ’70s and started pursuing commissions—eventually designing multiple segments of The Great Wall of Los Angeles (1974–84), a half-mile-long mural initiated by Chicana muralist Judy Baca that tracks the history of California through events and important figures from marginalized communities. But it was while Jenkins was working on murals and living in Venice Beach that he got his hands on a Sony Portapak.5 Released in 1967, the innovative, handheld video camera was a game-changer for his creative work. With the still relatively-new television technology booming as a consumer product, artists like Joan Jonas, Bill Viola, and Nam June Paik were embracing the burgeoning medium. Jenkins would do the same, though with a viewpoint unique to Los Angeles and his doggereal twist. 

Jenkins first got what he called “the video jones” during his influential time in a “Blacks in the Media” class at Santa Monica College, after which he made one of his very first films, Remnants of the Watts Festival (1972–73, compiled 1980).6 The work features what is now one of the country’s oldest Black festivals, founded one year after the Watts Uprising in the summer of 1966. His footage captures festival highlights with intimate close-ups, clips from live performances, and interviews on the scene.7 Conversations with festival-goers and organizers tackle serious subjects, like Watts’ tenuous relationship with the police, but these moments are tempered by a casual panning of the camera that bottles up the pleasant buzz of the day in a manner that feels familial, almost like a home movie. Jenkins used the film as an opportunity to not only commemorate the event but to combat the media’s maligning depictions of the community post-uprising. The film was produced by Video Venice News, a media collective Jenkins co-founded to challenge the narratives of mass media—they broadcast their recordings of local events on public access cable television to provide alternative narratives about L.A.’s Black communities.8

Ulysses Jenkins, Two-Zone Transfer (video still) (1979). Video transferred to DVD with color and sound, 24 minutes. Image courtesy of the artist and Electronic Arts Intermix.

Even Jenkins’ earliest films display an omnivorous use of appropriation and self-reflection as a mode of critiquing mass culture and media messaging. Several years after Remnants of the Watts Festival, Jenkins made Two-Zone Transfer (1979), which features performances by his Otis classmates Kerry James Marshall, Greg Pitts, Ronnie Nichols, and Roger Trammell in an investigation of Black representation. The film’s surrealist dreamscape involves a quasi-minstrel show performed in unexpectedly silly Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford masks. In one scene, Jenkins appears as a minister, preaching about verbal expression and slavery (“I want to talk to you about the power of life and death that’s in your mouth!”). Later, someone talks about African aesthetics. And finally, as the closer, Jenkins is seen dancing to James Brown before waking up from a dream.9 This sort of looping cultural reflexivity is apparent in many of Jenkins’ videos—he intentionally utilizes the stereotypical images that he works so hard to combat as a way to explore their omnipresence and incorrectness. Mass of Images (1978) achieves a similar feat by pelting the screen with racist imagery and stereotypes, with actors in blackface and stills from films like D.W. Griffith’s The Birth of a Nation (1915) and Alan Crosland’s The Jazz Singer (1927). Jenkins juxtaposes the footage with a voiceover that says, “You’re just a mass of images you’ve gotten to know, from years and years of TV shows.”10

Against the landscape of the Watts Uprising, the Civil Rights movement, and the accelerating Vietnam War, Jenkins continued to pursue involvement in various arts groups, creating films that highlighted the diversity within these communities. His collective approach made room for artists of all backgrounds to tell (or retell) their stories by making his resources—like awarded grant money—available to others. He was also involved with Studio Z, an artist collective that included David Hammons, Senga Nengudi, Maren Hassinger, and many others.11 When predominantly white art institutions weren’t interested in collaborating with him, Jenkins founded Othervisions Studio, where he made video and performance works, but also ushered in dancers, poets, and visual artists to make work out of the free-flowing incubator.12 In founding the studio, Jenkins created a place for artists who had to check the “other” box when describing their work and personal backgrounds. During this period, he made filmed performances like Without Your Interpretation (1984), which took place at the Art Dock on Center Street in Los Angeles and involved both Nengudi and Hassinger. The work’s political call-to-action addresses topics such as the middle-class indifference in Reagan’s America, the AIDS crisis, and the struggles of other nations. In the film, a kaleidoscopic haze of live music is spliced by images of delicate flowers, waterfalls, and interpretive dance, alongside others that addressed the world’s ills (images of impoverished children, protests, etc.). Despite its trippy nature, Without Your Interpretation is one of Jenkins’ more straightforward films, with a clear directive presented in the form of an acid-trip PSA. It encompasses all of the familiar trappings of his video work—collaboration, multiculturalism, doggerel inclinations, and alternative messaging that rivaled what the mainstream news was saying at the time. Significantly, its title reminds us that subjectivity is key not only to his practice but to our interpretations of the world at large.

Today, Jenkins teaches. He’s been in the art department at UC Irvine for the last 28 years, but he’s also taught at UC San Diego and his alma mater, Otis. As he has looked to West African storytelling traditions as an influence for his films, it’s interesting to consider how Jenkins’ teaching may become another form of verbal history-telling. Just as griot elders pass down their stories by sharing vital histories aloud, a new generation is connecting to the past through Jenkins’ video art and his lessons both in the classroom and the museum, tracking the progress that’s been made since he picked up a camera, and, of course, noting the work that is left to be done. While the accessibility of video technology is taken for granted these days, Jenkins’ revelatory early projects certainly helped to inform the ways we use visual media to reclaim our independent narratives today. Before it existed and lived in each of our pockets, Jenkins paved the way for the front-facing camera, putting himself on both sides of the lens. From the role of police dashcam footage as visual proof in driving conversations about police brutality to TikTok videos that inspire intergenerational and international exchange, the video tradition continues to shapeshift and adapt alongside technology, but it is clear that there is power in being the one to tell your own story—a way of filmmaking that Jenkins pioneered. 

This essay was originally published in Carla issue 29.

Ulysses Jenkins, Remnants of the Watts Festival (film still) (1972–73, compiled 1980). Black and white film with sound, 55 minutes and 44 seconds. Images courtesy of the artist and Electronic Arts Intermix.

Ulysses Jenkins, Remnants of the Watts Festival (film still) (1972–73, compiled 1980). Black and white film with sound, 55 minutes and 44 seconds. Images courtesy of the artist and Electronic Arts Intermix.

Ulysses Jenkins, Centinela Valley Juvenile Diversion Mural Project (documentation) (1976). Boulevard Market, Lennox, California. Image courtesy of the artist.

  1. Ulysses Jenkins, Inconsequential Doggereal, 1981, video, color, sound, 15:21 minutes,
  2. Encyclopaedia Britannica Online, s.v. “Doggerel,” accessed August 1, 2022,
  3. Carolina Miranda, “Art Godfather Ulysses Jenkins Finally Gets His Close-up with a Hammer Show of His Video Art,” Los Angeles Times, March 21, 2022,
  4. JJ Anderson, “Ulysses Jenkins: Without Your Interpretation.” Produced by Hammer Museum and HRDWRKER, Hammer Museum, documentary, 24:35,
  5. Ulysses Jenkins, “Pioneering L.A. Artist Ulysses Jenkins Changed the Way We Look at Video and Performance Art. We Talked to Him About How He Did It,” interview by Jheanelle Brown, Artnet News, March 9, 2022,
  6. J. Paul Getty Museum, California Video: Artists and Histories, ed. Glenn Phillips (Los Angeles: Getty Research Institute, 2008), 112.
  7. “Remnants of the Watts Festival.” Now Dig This! Art in Black Los Angeles, 1960–1980 Digital Archive. Los Angeles, Hammer Museum, 2016.
  8. Jonathan Griffin, “Video art pioneer Ulysses Jenkins – ‘You get addicted!’” Financial Times, February 11, 2022,
  9. “Two Zone Transfer.” Now Dig This! Art in Black Los Angeles, 1960–1980 Digital Archive. Los Angeles, Hammer Museum, 2016.
  10. “Mass of Images.” Now Dig This! Art in Black Los Angeles, 1960–1980 Digital Archive. Los Angeles, Hammer Museum, 2016.
  11. Ulysses Jenkins, “Pioneering Video Artist Ulysses Jenkins on Creating New Images of Black Life,” interview by Gabriella Angeleti, The Art Newspaper, February 18, 2022,
  12. Tiana Reid, “The Video Provocations of Ulysses Jenkins,” Current, The Criterion Collection, February 28, 2022,

Neyat Yohannes is a freelance writer based in Los Angeles. Her work has appeared in Criterion’s Current, Mubi Notebook, Bright Wall/Dark Room, Bitch, KQED Arts, cléo journal, Playboy, and Chicago Review of Books, among other publications. In a past life, she wrote tardy slips for late students.

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