Issue 36 May 2024

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
Hannah Hoffman Gallery
Harper's Gallery
Hashimoto Contemporary
Heavy Manners Library
Helen J Gallery
Human Resources
in lieu
LaPau Gallery
Lisson Gallery
Louis Stern Fine Arts
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)
University of Washington (Seattle, WA)
Walker Art Center (Minneapolis, MN)
Whitney Museum of American Art (New York, NY)
Yale University Library (New Haven, CT)

From Earthwork to Test Plot:
Transdisciplinary Approaches to Ecological Reparation

Leer en Español

Test Plot in Elysian Park, Los Angeles, California (2023). Image courtesy of Terremoto. Photo: Nina Weithorn.


A garden is a garden is a garden is a garden…

In 2020, artist David Horvitz, in collaboration with landscape architecture office Terremoto, began transforming the neglected lot adjacent to his studio in Arlington Heights, Los Angeles, into 7th Ave Garden (2020–present). The project is a space, a site, an experience, and a “plant-based [art]work,” according to Artillery.1 But more compelling than the trivial qualification of a “garden” as “art” is the utility of this transdisciplinary fusion. In what measure does it inform or enhance the work’s capacity to mediate plausible and meaningful ecological reparation? To what extent is contemporary art obligated toward efficacious ecological outcomes in the context of land-based practice? These are the crucial questions that 7th Ave Garden and adjacent artworks posit, challenging us to discern where artistic innovation and environmental remediation coalesce towards tangible, ethical action.

Art’s present entanglement with design and the environmental humanities reflects an expanding public consciousness of colonial anthropogenic climate and biodiversity crises. Today, as efforts to reduce carbon emissions flail and unpredictable weather patterns increasingly threaten life on Earth, it is understood that addressing these matters requires tactical coordination across political, spatial, and disciplinary borders. Terremoto, whose gardens are remarkable studies in both form and intention, is but one example of a contemporary practice that torques the traditional boundaries of its field. “Our primary goal [is] to do right by the land,” Terremoto’s co-founder and principal David Godshall writes in a project statement for 7th Ave Garden.2 “To repair it, to restore it, to be kind to it, to respect it,” he continues. Within commercial landscape architecture, it remains rare for projects to transcend client-driven imperatives and achieve visionary status, yet this is precisely what Terremoto endeavors: “It is our goal to build gardens and landscapes not for this civilization,” Godshall says, “but rather, the next.”3

I like the idea of a landscape, or a garden, as nothing less than a host for future life. In Los Angeles, where the extremes of organic and human-built environments chafe against a backdrop of colonial violence, migration, and fantasy, transdisciplinary artistic practices are uniquely poised to navigate this infirm terrain. In my work as a writer, as a teacher, and with my project No Canyon Hills (2023– present)—a community coalition seeking land back conservation in the Verdugo Mountains—I increasingly encounter practitioners operating in this manner, zipping across disciplinary vectors. Studio Moonya, for instance, led by Hyunch Sung, crafts California gardens that weave together material history and cultural nuances, connecting people, place, and memory. Hyunch also co-founded Ssi Ya Gi (Seed Story), a collective that elevates the narratives of senior immigrants through food, cultivating Korean heritage crops, hosting meals, and publishing zines that extend and record intergenerational diasporic experiences. Active Cultures, an organization dedicated to examining foodways, stages events that intersect food, ecology, and contemporary art. Clockshop, Metabolic Studio, and Friends of the Los Angeles River (FoLAR) focus on public programming that supports environmental education, highlighting riparian habitat and the health of the L.A. River. Then there’s Crenshaw Dairy Mart, which conceptualizes garden operations as abolitionist pods; Living Earth, an arts organization that connects soundscape and landscape; Meztli Projects, an Indigenous arts and culture collaborative; and the Ron Finley Project (RFP), which transforms urban food deserts into vibrant food sanctuaries.

These are but a few examples of the innovative creative forces, spanning contiguous fields of art, environmental science, urban planning, and anti-colonial activism, that point towards a multifaceted, contemporary ecocritical movement where art actively participates in environmental sustainability and social equity at a scale beyond the representational. The complex challenges of our time, rooted in a history of settler violence and amplified by the urgency of potentially non-remediable climate change, require innovative, cross-disciplinary collaborations that, in their manifoldness, resist easy ontological classification. In some instances, it may even be difficult to discern a gesture as art, the work having cleanly hopped its representational enclosure altogether: art on the run, wreaking havoc in the real.

Among the many noteworthy projects in L.A. that embody this philosophy, 7th Ave Garden, which bolsters biodiversity and supports native pollinators, and Metabolic Studio’s Bending the River (2012–present), which employs bioremediation to irrigate a public park, are exemplary case studies through which to scrutinize the processes, limitations, and transformative potential of these interdisciplinary efforts.

Tour of Lauren Bon and Metabolic Studio’s Bending the River (2012–present) during the construction phase in the Los Angeles River, 2023. © Metabolic Studio, LLC. Image courtesy of Metabolic Studio.


7th Ave Garden is modest, about 5,000 square feet, dotted with mounds of fragrant sage, clumps of yarrow, dozens of Sycamore starters, and piles of rubble and rebar—gifts from the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) following its contentious demolition. Reconstituting institutional rubble (ruins) into new, ecologically inflected artwork resonates as a tidy metaphor for an ongoing reappraisal of art’s heritage and future value. But it is the shaggy, habitat-dense pollinator planting, the chaparral shrubbery, and its self-mulching understory that asserts the work’s identity as more than merely symbolic. The transformation of the formerly untended lot into a “lush garden of native plants”4 indicates a broader paradigm shift, in which collapsing divisions between artists (such as Horvitz) and commercial design offices (such as Terremoto) opens doors for actually-generative ecological interventions that exceed the symbolic transgressions typical of contemporary art. Framing 7th Ave Garden as both a garden and an artwork poses an interesting question: If the intrinsic ecological value of the garden persists independent of its artistic designation, what other potentialities does “art” enable—or preclude?

Test Plot (2019–present), Terremoto’s ongoing “guerilla”5 experiment in community land care, predates their joint venture with Horvitz, setting their precedent for the communal and ecologically reparative use of public space. What began as a novel exploit in Elysian Park has grown into a program, seeding multiple “test plots”—modestly-sized plots around the city and throughout the state that are weeded and planted primarily with California native plants.6 By inviting community volunteers to support the long-term maintenance of these restoration zones, Terremoto has successfully produced an integrated stewardship model that can be replicated and scaled. Like 7th Ave Garden, Test Plot is a crucible. Both projects echo the concept of “usership” proposed by theorist Stephen Wright, who writes on art’s potential beyond aesthetic-conceptual function. Extending a postmodern lineage, Wright assigns equal value to the user’s role in art, promoting a shared responsibility for ecological stewardship and community engagement.7

A major distinction between the two projects, however, is in their contexts. When Horvitz and Terremoto repurposed the neglected lot into a rejuvenated ecosystem, the synergy of their collaboration secured institutional acknowledgment from cultural heavyweights, including the commercial gallery Vielmetter Los Angeles, nonprofit exhibition space JOAN, and publication Triple Canopy.8 Such recognition cemented Horvitz’s dual identity as an artist and environmental steward while bestowing on Terremoto the attention of an artworld audience. As a bona fide artwork and nexus of collaborative artistic production, 7th Ave Garden is upheld by what Wright terms “an institutionally guaranteed framing device”9—the network of museums, galleries, critics, and academic institutions that sanctions certain objects, spaces, or performances as “art.”

As an artwork, then, 7th Ave Garden is endowed with a rarefied cultural currency. During Frieze week in March, scores of cultural actors gathered on its mulchy grounds for luncheons and readings. In May, Mexico City-based writer and curator Yasmine Ostendorf-Rodríguez will host “a regenerative community barbeque” in the garden, co-programmed with Artbook at Hauser & Wirth LA and Active Cultures.10 7th Ave Garden’s status renders it a medium and platform for ecological discourse intended to mobilize community engagement and shape ideological narratives that address our planet’s pressing ecological challenges. But the twinning of cultural and ecological values should also prompt a certain scrutiny, given the art world’s bent towards commodification and exclusivity. “How can I get a coyote to live here?”11 Horvitz ponders in his project statement. I can’t help but wonder whether the coyotes may have been more abundant before the artists rolled in.

At the local level, the double bind of retooling art’s symbolic agency to realize ecological reparation occurs at the risk of such projects becoming vehicles of cultural commodification and gentrification, ultimately spurring development that prioritizes profitability rather than community or ecological (other-than-human) benefits. The trend is evident in L.A. neighborhoods where an influx of galleries, like those that participate in the annual Frieze fair, drives up property value, precipitating a cascade of effects for residents.12 L.A.’ Indigenous practitioners know all too well that any serious ecological movement, no matter how creatively or rhetorically invigorating, will fail its justice-oriented goal without an integrated anti-colonial ethic that honors reciprocity, interdependence, and the mutual flourishing of all living beings.13 Although 7th Ave Garden does not claim to provide a panacea for the deeply entrenched social structures under which we live and make art—or gardens—it does herald a redirection of artistic action away from purely phenomenological experience and instead toward a more functional framework that can approach to the societal and environmental needs of our time.

In essence, 7th Ave Garden is a contemporary manifestation of a long-reaching dialogue between art and environment, one that has evolved significantly over the years. While the garden channels the radical spirit and conceptual provocation of the mid-twentieth century “land art” (or “earthwork”) movement, it diverts from its predecessors’ paths by foregoing the massive structural interventions in the landscape conceived by artists like Robert Smithson and Michael Heizer, who reshaped vast tracts of earth into monumental artworks. While they may have hinted at the potential for art’s engagement with ecological themes, their work was primarily symbolic, frequently spectacular, and reveled in nature’s sublimity. It was also willfully oblivious to the violent colonial mechanisms and ecological exploitations reproduced in the formation of the work itself. Examining 7th Ave Garden’s historical precedent, we see that the trajectory of art’s engagement with land-based practice reflects not only shifting cultural and environmental sensibilities—capitulating to a more nuanced interplay between artistic expression and ecological consciousness—but tensions within art’s very ontology, its peculiar and particular mode of existence.


Last summer, amid a terrible heatwave, I clambered into the back of a multi-passenger minivan in the parking lot of a repurposed tow yard in Lincoln Heights to tour an art project on the Los Angeles River. It was my first encounter with Metabolic Studio, an interdisciplinary art and research laboratory founded by environmental artist Lauren Bon that aims to explore “critical social and environmental issues through art interventions and innovative projects aimed at reparation.”14 Over the years, activists and organizers alike have made various attempts to uncage the river from its concrete cladding: Metabolic Studio’s major project, Bending the River, is an ambitious attempt at intervention. The studio aims to redirect a low-flow portion of the river into an onsite filtration area before flushing it into the irrigation grid of Los Angeles State Historic Park (LASHP), utilizing the river as a sustainable water source for an urban green space. Headed by Bon, Bending the River is simultaneously presented as art and as a broad-reaching civic intervention with significant real-world effect.

Bon’s foray into environmental reparation in L.A. commenced with Not A Cornfield (2005–6), an industrious work that reimagined an unused brownfield rail yard in Chinatown as a thriving thirty-two-acre cornfield for a single agricultural cycle. This gesture echoes the visionary work of Hungarian American artist Agnes Denes, who, in the summer of 1982, cultivated a two-acre wheat field on the Battery Park landfill in Manhattan, meticulously planting and harvesting it by hand (Wheatfield — A Confrontation). Denes’ wheatfield and, later, Bon’s cornfield, evidence a shift toward art that grapples with anthropogenic disaster. The following year, in his book Art in the Landscape: A Critical Anthology (1983), environmental artist Alan Sonfist asked a question that had become ever more pertinent: “It may be important at the end of the twentieth century to ask ‘In what direction are artists leading our society?’”15

Bon’s practice heralds a pivotal moment in the evolving continuum of contemporary art—where the demarcations between art, ecological stewardship, and community engagement dissolve, becoming more fluid and permeable. The neon proclamation borrowed from Sherrie Rabinowitz pictured on Metabolic Studio’s homepage, “Artists Need to Create On the Same Scale that Society Has the Capacity to Destroy,” frames a provocative dialectic: It pits the scale of individual artistic agency against the broader scale of societal impact, advocating for a balance of creative power that harnesses the collective’s capacity for change. In doing so, it veers artists away from the spectacle of enormity (no more Levitating Masses!). Wright’s ethos of art with a factor of one envisions art harmonized with the world at a 1:1 scale, rendering it potentially indistinguishable from day-to-day functionality.16

Within a 1:1 framework, art transcends its traditional guise, integrating with life’s infrastructure and acting as a lever for social and infrastructural transformation—as Bending the River’s literal reconfiguration of urban anatomy (through acts as tangible as cutting concrete or rerouting pipelines) vividly exemplifies. This register of activity entails maneuvering within legislative and bureaucratic systems, wrestling space between science, art, and policy, where questions of ethical governance and oversight remain essential. As initiatives like Test-Plot, 7th Ave Garden, and Bending the River continue to advocate for a transition from private ownership to collective stewardship, harnessing art to redefine land use, the framing devices through which we come to comprehend such gestures must keep pace with an ethics of accountability. At this critical ecological juncture, the impetus to envision a restructured future in the aftermath of colonial land appropriation must translate into tangible reparation and restitution. Only through such transformative pursuits can the art community play an instrumental role in the larger journey toward equitable land stewardship practices.

This essay was originally published in Carla issue 36.

The Fifty-One Miles team walking along a stretch of the Los Angeles River in Burbank, California, August 2023. Image courtesy of Friends of the Los Angeles River (FoLAR) and Nova Community Arts. Photo: Rio Asch Phoenix.

Volta Collective, Eva and Julian have a conversation (performance view) (2024). Performance in David Hammons, 7th Ave Garden, Los Angeles, March 2, 2024. Organized by JOAN and David Horvitz. Image courtesy of the artists and JOAN. Photo: Olivia Fougeirol.

David Hammons (installation view) (2024). 7th Ave Garden, Los Angeles, February–March 2024. Organized by JOAN and David Horvitz. Image courtesy of the artists and JOAN. Photo: Olivia Fougeirol.

  1. Kate Caruso, “Secret Garden: David Horvitz,” Artillery, May 13, 2021,
  2. “7th Ave Garden with David Horvitz,” Terremoto, accessed April 1, 2024, emphasis original,
  3. Audrey Wachs, “TERREMOTO rejects convention in pursuit of a more just practice,” The Architect’s Newspaper, April 27, 2023,
  4. Tina Barouti, “Absurd, Mischievous, and Hoaxy: Horvitz, Cadere, and Artist Estates,” Carla, August 30, 2023,
  5. “Editor’s Choice: Test Plot,” Landezine, January 24, 2022,
  6. Test Plot began as a collaborative project with Saturate ( and Citizens Committee to Save Elysian Park (
  7. Toward a Lexicon of Usership, eds. Stephen Wright and Nick Aikens (The Netherlands: Museum of Arte Útil, 2013),
  8. JOAN, “DAVID HAMMONS,” press release, 2024,; Vielmetter Los Angeles, “A Compost Performance with Cassandra Marketos, David Horvitz, and Terrmoto,” press release, 2022,
  9. Stephen Wright, “‘Use the country itself, as its own map’: operating on the 1:1 scale,” n.e.w.s., October 23, 2012,
  10. “Let’s Become Fungal in The Garden,” Active Cultures, accessed April 16, 2024,
  11. “7th Ave Garden with David Horvitz,” Terremoto.
  12. Matt Stromberg, “Art Galleries Are Not Reviving a ‘Desolate’ LA Neighborhood,” Hyperallergic, July 25, 2023,
  13. “Guides / Guías,” Meztli Projects, accessed April 29, 2024,
  14. Metabolic Studio, accessed April 2, 2024,
  15. Alan Sonfist, “Introduction,” Art in the Land: A Critical Anthology of Environmental Art, ed. Alan Sonfist (New York: E.P. Dutton, 1983), xii.
  16. Stephen Wright, “After Third Text,” n.e.w.s., December 14, 2012,