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
Launch Party May 18th, 2019
@ The Pit
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
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
Launch Party February 2019
Frieze Los Angeles, ALAC,
Spring Break Art Fair, Felix
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
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
Launch Party November 18, 2018
at Odd Ark L.A.
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
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
Launch Party August 18, 2018
At Praz-Delavallade
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
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
Launch Party May 19, 2018
at Karma International
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
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
Launch Party
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
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.)
Launch Party November 18, 2017
at the Landing
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
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
Launch Party August 19th at Blum and Poe
Object Project
Featuring: Rebecca Morris,
Linda Stark, Alex Olson
Lindsay Preston Zappas
Photos by Jeff McClane
Reviews Mark Bradford
at the Venice Biennale

Broken Language
at Shulamit Nazarian

Artists of Color
at the Underground Museum

Anthony Lepore & Michael Henry Hayden
at Del Vaz Projects

Home
at LACMA

Analia Saban at
Sprueth Magers
Letter 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
Launch Party May 13, 2017
at Commonwealth and Council
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 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
Launch Party February 18, 2017
at Shulamit Nazarian
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
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
Launch Party Carla Issue 6
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.)
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
Launch Party Carla Issue 5
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.)
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
Launch Party Carla Issue 4
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.)
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
Launch Party Carla Issue 3
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
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
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
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
Launch Party Carla Issue 1
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
A+D Museum
Artbook @ Hauser & Wirth
Baert Gallery
Cirrus Gallery
Château Shatto
Elevator Mondays
The Geffen Contemporary 
at MOCA
Ghebaly Gallery
ICA LA
JOAN
LACA
Mistake Room
MOCA Grand Avenue
Monte Vista Projects
Night Gallery
The Box
Wilding Cran Gallery
Boyle Heights/ Chinatown
A.G. Geiger
Charlie James
Good Luck Gallery
Human Resources
Ibid Gallery
Parrasch Heijnen Gallery
Nicodim Gallery

Eastside
ESXLA
Odd Ark LA
Oof Books
Otherwild
River Gallery
Smart Objects
Women's Center for Creative Work
Westside
18th Street Arts
Ben Maltz Gallery at Otis
Crap Eyewear
DXIX Projects
Five Car Garage
Laband Art Gallery at LMU
team (bungalow)
Pasadena/ Glendale/ Valley
The Armory Center for the Arts
The Pit
Los Angeles Valley College
Mid-City
1301 PE
Big Pictures Los Angeles
California African American Museum
E.C. Liná
Commonwealth & Council
David Kordansky Gallery
Hunter Shaw Fine Art
Kayne Griffin Corcoran
Lowell Ryan Projects
ltd Los Angeles
Marciano Art Foundation
Ochi Projects
Praz-Delavallade
the Landing
Shoot the Lobster
SPRÜTH MAGERS
The Underground Museum
USC Fisher Museum of Art
Visitor Welcome Center
Culver City
Anat Ebgi
Arcana Books
Blum & Poe
Honor Fraser
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Luis De Jesus
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Roberts Projects
Susanne Vielmetter
Hollywood
AA|LA
Diane Rosenstein
East Hollywood Fine Art
Family Books
GAVLAK
LACE
LA> M+B
Nino Mier Gallery
Moskowitz Bayse
Noysky Projects
Regen Projects
Shulamit Nazarian
Steve Turner
Tanya Bonakdar Gallery
The LODGE
Various Small Fires
Mobile
Gas Gallery
@gasdotgallery
Elsewhere in CA
CLOACA (San Fransisco)
Curatorial Research Bureau @ the YBCA (San Fransisco)
Et al. (San Francisco)
Ever Gold [Projects] (San Francisco)
fused space (San Francisco)
Gym Standard (San Diego)
Interface Gallery (Oakland)
Jessica Silverman (San Francisco)
Left Field (San Luis Obispo)
Minnesota Street Projects (San Fransisco)
San Diego Art Institute (San Diego)
Verge Center for the Arts (Sacramento)
Wattis Institute for Contemporary Art (San Francisco)
Wolfman Books (Oakland)
Non CA
Artbook @ MoMA PS1 (Long Island City, NY)
Nationale (Portland, OR)
McNally Jackson (New York)
Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture (Skowhegan, ME)
Small Editions (Brooklyn, NY)
Space 42 (Jacksonville, FL)
Spoonbill & Sugartown (Brooklyn, NY)
Ulises (Philadelphia, PA)
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)
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)
Pepperdine University (Malibu, CA)
Point Loma Nazarene University (San Diego, CA)
School of the Art Institute of Chicago, John M. Flaxman Library (Chicago, IL)
Scholes Library, NYS College of Ceramics at Alfred University (Alfred, NY)
Skowhegan Archives (New York, NY)
Sotheby’s Institute of Art (New York, NY)
Telfair Museum (Savannah, GA)
University of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia, PA)
USC Fisher Museum of Art (Los Angeles, CA)
University of San Diego (San Diego, CA)
Walker Art Center (Minneapolis, MN)
Whitney Museum of American Art, Frances Mulhall Achilles Library (New York, NY)
Yale University Library (New Haven, CT)

Generous Collectors:
How the Grinsteins
Supported Artists

Elyse Grinstein with David Hockney.

“Before he died, Picasso designed a KFC in Koreatown.”1 This was tweeted in reference to the po-mo Kentucky Fried Chicken on Western Avenue and Oakwood, just blocks from my home. Elyse Grinstein and her architecture partner Jeffrey Daniels envisioned the building in the late 1980s, when a franshisee wanted to take a risk. Curbed L.A. later nominated the “funked out bendytower shaped building” (a description by a Yelp reviewer) for its Ugly Building Contest in 2007, citing its “strange clown” qualities.2 The KFC features a bucket-shaped exterior (though one journalist compared its shape to an abstracted chicken), and a dumbwaiter that brings food from the bottom floor up to the top, where most patrons sit. Perhaps it has been so misunderstood because it was designed by someone whose tastes had graduated well beyond Picasso, and whose cultural proclivities had never been conventional.

Elyse Grinstein liked Robert Rauschenberg, Barbara T. Smith, Ken Price, James Lee Byars, and Alexis Smith, and she prized a sense of community. “If people gather in fast-food joints,” she asked an L.A. Times reporter in 1994, 22 years before her death at age 87, “why can’t a chicken shack be a community center?” (Her chicken shack, despite its many critics, is friendly, with seating on indoor and outdoor balconies.) Said that same L.A. Times reporter, “she doesn’t want to build monuments, nor does she think she can change the world.” She just wanted to help “people feel as if they belong to a place.”3

Before Grinstein’s late career in architecture—which she began in 1978, at age 48—a different building defined her. She and Stanley Grinstein, her husband from 1952 until his 2014 death and the proprietor of a forklift business, bought their home on Rockingham Avenue in Brentwood in 1965. By that time, they had three daughters in tow, and owned one modest work by Josef Albers. But it was the Rockingham house that enabled the kind of patronage that distinguished them: hosting parties, introducing East Coast artists to West Coast artists, or housing itinerate or out-of-town artists for days, weeks, and sometimes months. “My dad and mom always said without this house they wouldn’t have had this life,” their daughter, Ellen Grinstein, told me.4 The artist Laddie John Dill, remembering how often the Grinsteins hosted artists, asked me earlier this year, “Who is doing that for the art world now?”5

The short answer is no one. No collector on ARTnews’ top 200 collectors list, a list that never included the Grinsteins, supports artists in a quite so open and egalitarian way. “A flophouse,” is what the Grinsteins’ eldest daughter, Ayn, jokingly called the home in a 2016 W Magazine article, referencing the way artists came and stayed as they pleased.6

Collector Chara Schreyer likes to meet artists, but that comes later, after she has decided to support a particular artist’s work. Cliff Einstein has said repeatedly “never meet the artist before you meet the work,” and offloaded certain works in his collection when he and his wife Mandy wanted to become more serious about collecting. The Grinsteins only ever sold one work, a sculpture by George Rickey, to finance a family vacation after their daughters confronted them about caring more about art and artists than their own children.

Though it was used often to describe the Grinsteins, the term “generosity” is a complicated one in relation to art collecting. The Observer noted in a 2015 editorial that reliance “on the generosity” of donors and trustees often leads museums to exhibit work that donors like or already own.7

Business Insider used it to describe CEO Leon Black’s “generosity” to MoMA, shortly before he lent the museum a version of Edvard Munch’s The Scream, which Black bought for $119 million and still privately owns.8 But more often, the term is used for collectors of lesser means: Herb and Dorothy Vogel, who shared a one bedroom New York apartment with small Sol Lewitts and Lawrence Weiners; or playwright Edward Albee, who used proceeds from the success of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? to start a grant-giving foundation.

The Grinsteins did have means, but their collecting began before they could afford to buy pieces outright (Stanley’s business was in early stages), and their approach was much more bottom up than top down. They supported the making of the artwork: in addition to housing artists while they made work, Stanley Grinstein opened charge accounts for artists at Anawalt Lumber, Bel-Air Camera, and FLAX Art Supply, where they could charge their supply purchases to him.

They weren’t alone at the time; certain other collectors made supporting artists and the local art world their vocation, too. Diana Zlotnick, who also collected, was similarly unprecious about her artwork—while Elyse Grinstein used Andy Warhol’s soup can editions as doors for her kitchen cabinets, Zlotnick hung Wallace Berman pieces exposed in the stairwell of her Studio City split level. She also wrote an art newsletter from 1970 into the 2000s that posted artist classifieds (objects for sale, jobs needed), show announcements, and rebuttals to L.A. Times reviews with which Zlotnick disagreed. Eugenia Butler, who ran an experimental gallery for three years on La Cienega, also invited artists from the East Coast or overseas to stay with her for extended periods, and would host big gatherings in her Hancock Park home. By the later 1970s, however, Butler had divorced her husband and begun to see herself as an artist, and no longer collected and hosted in the same way.

The Grinsteins, in contrast, continued, though their collecting slowed somewhat after Elyse became an architect in the 1980s, just as certain artists they knew well began to command exponentially higher prices. “I believe the global art market is appalling,” said Elyse in a 2009 oral history about L.A. “It becomes a commodity; it’s no longer a work of art.”9 While the Grinsteins aren’t an extinct breed—for instance, collector Juliet McIver supports the making of new work, and loaned money to a young gallerist—the model seems increasingly antiquated as the art fair and auction house circuit continue to promote collecting as an asset-driven sport. At the same time, their model is still attainable for collectors interested in the not-yet-established, and all the more attractive as investment collecting increasingly encourages homogeneity at blue chip levels (the priciest art all polished in the same kind of way).

The Grinsteins acquired the Rockingham house almost accidentally. The house was on the market for beyond what they could afford in 1965 and, according to their daughters, Elyse told Stanley she just wanted to practice bidding. They bid dramatically low, and the owner, a recent divorcee eager to leave, promptly accepted. They could barely afford their own low bid, but they went ahead with it. The house has a maze-like assortment of rooms, a bedroom with its own sitting room, and a kidney-shaped, tiled swimming pool in its pleasant backyard. “We felt very self-conscious because it was so big,” Elyse told W Magazine in 2016. “We brought in a jukebox and invited everybody we knew to funk it down so it didn’t seem so grand and pretentious. That was the start of the parties.”10

Party for Robert Rauschenberg with friends and artists, including Frank Gehry and wife Berta, Chuck Arnoldi, Laddie John Dill, and more.

Elyse and Stanley Grinstein met at USC —Elyse had lived in California most of her life, and Stanley had transferred from the University of Washington when his father moved to Los Angeles to start a scrap metal business. In the mid-1950s, they began taking extended learning courses at USC and UCLA, because, according to Ayn Grinstein, “They were looking for something they could do together.”11 They took an art course with a young Walter Hopps, shortly before he co-founded Ferus Gallery. They started collecting by buying a Josef Albers painting from Hopps’ business partner, Irving Blum, on $10 per week installments.

They met artist Larry Bell early on because their class visited his studio, and when they bought the Rockingham house, Stanley asked Bell to invite his friends to their first art party. The Grinsteins invited some of their friends too—“straight people,” as Stanley called non-artists. That first party went poorly. “The artists didn’t want to interact with the straight people,” Stanley recalled in a 2012 interview. “[The artists] were here because Larry asked them to be here. But […] they’d rather be at Barney’s Beanery or something.”12

From then on, the Grinsteins would only invite one or two “straight couples” to their parties, often Jim and Eugenia Butler, who shared their taste for adventure and lack of pretention. “We’d have music in that room, we’d have a juke box. We had food, salami and cheese, and not much else, some dip maybe, in this room, and then you could talk in this other room,” said Stanley. “So it’s a place for everyone. Artists didn’t need new friends, and they didn’t need us to show them off to our friends.”13

Sometimes though, artists did need forklifts, and, early on, Elyse would use the forklift business to barter for things she wanted. Circa 1965, she wanted some works framed, and asked the framing company Art Services if they needed a forklift. They said they did not but that she should ask Ken Tyler, a master printer working under the company name Gemini but struggling to get his business off the ground. Elyse thought Gemini had promise, and introduced Tyler to Stanley and his fraternity brother, Sidney Felsen. With Tyler as their talent, the two families developed a business model. Gemini G.E.L., a fine art printmaking studio that still partners with artists to make limited editioned  prints, worked with Josef Albers, Richard Serra, and Robert Rauschenberg early on. The business operated more exclusively than the Grinsteins’ own collecting and patronage.

While the couple made no qualms about keeping works they liked that had no monetary value—like the pendulum Elyse found at a swap meet, which swings across from an Ellsworth Kelly inside the main, high-ceilinged living room—Gemini only worked with artists of a certain, proven caliber. As it could take years to complete an edition, they invited artists they believed could sell enough for them to break even. (“But the artists never cared if they were asked to Gemini or not,” said Ellen Grinstein, before her sister Ayn countered that “Some of them probably did.” Replied Ellen, “But it never made them feel any different about our parents.”).[14Ayn and Ellen Grinstein, interview with the author, July 5, 2019.]

Gemini is perhaps better known than the Grinsteins, in part because they did not advertise their involvement and the print shop’s name wasn’t their own. Their name is not on any building in the city either, unlike the Broads, who started out similarly, buying at low price points. Elyse and Edye Broad used to visit La Cienega galleries together early on, but by the late 1980s, Edye’s role faded into the background as Eli Broad took the art patronage spotlight.

The late Morley Safer of 60 Minutes interviewed Eli Broad a few years back, asking about a sculpture called Zombie (2008), made of newspaper and wheat paste:

Broad: Well, it’s Tom Friedman—who’s quite an accomplished artist, I’m told.

Safer: I’m told?

Broad: You know, some of these artists, I’ve gotta learn more about.

Critic Rhonda Lieberman, who quoted this Safer-Broad exchange in her 2014 takedown of the billionaire collecting class, described Broad as “[w]ielding the purse-power to make or break careers.”14 Neither Stanley nor Elyse would have struggled to describe an artwork in their collection, or an artwork not in their collection for that matter, as they were as much interested in artist’s ideas as they were the art.

One morning in 2012, artists gathered at the Grinsteins’ house so their daughter Ellen could record an oral history. In footage from that day, artist Jim Ganzer skeptically recalls a performance by another artist, Paul Cotton, describing seeing Cotton “in a rabbit suit with his dick hanging out” accompanying Eugenia Butler to a LACMA opening in the early 1970s. Stanley, sitting in the breakfast nook and wearing a housecoat, pipes in to explain that Cotton’s life and art were indistinguishable, and the rabbit suit with a genitalia-exposing hole in it “was his costume.” Says Stanley, “He did it at documenta too […]. Paul was a pretty good artist, an interesting artist.” Ganzer discloses, “I just was embarrassed to see the whole thing,” to which Stanley knowingly replies, “You weren’t ready for it.”15

At Stanley’s memorial in 2014, Ed Ruscha described the environment The Grinsteins created in their home as “unstructured merriment.” A 2016 print by Ruscha, with those words floating over a photo of the Rockingham house, now hangs in the back sun room. “Sometimes [things] got out of hand,” Ruscha continued. “But it didn’t seem to matter. We were the zoo and they were the zookeepers.”16

The Grinstein’s home is not like collector’s residences built to look and function as museums (of which there are a number in this city, including the Einsteins’ or Michael Ovitz’s homes). It needs people to activate it. Before he died, Stanely told his daughters he knew they would sell the house, but he asked them to throw one last party before they do. “I don’t want it to be about me and mom,” Ellen recalls him saying. “This house was too important to too many people. It has to be about the house.”17

Catherine Wagley writes about art and visual culture in Los Angeles.

Corrections:

1. An earlier version of this article included the street address of the Rockingham house. We have removed it at the request of the family out of respect for their privacy.

2. An earlier version of this article stated that artists could charge their supply purchases to Stanley Grinstein, and rarely abused the privilege. This text was based on a conversation the writer had with the interviewee(s) that the interviewee(s) later clarified. In fact, it was the Grinstein daughters, and not the artists, who occasionally misused the expense accounts.

3. An earlier version of this essay was unclear on Sidney’s involvement in the foundation of Gemini G.E.L. Stanley Grinstein and Sidney Felsen started Gemini, and it was later run by both families.

4. This essay has been updated to further clarify that it was the writer, and not the interviewee(s), who named the Einsteins and the Ovitzes in discussing the collector’s homes.

Ayn, Nancy, and Ellen Grinstein with Robert Rauschenberg.

Elyse Grinstein with Ken Price.

Nancy and Ellen Grinstein with sumo wrestler and friend Tracy Albert in background.

Stanley Grinstein and Robert Rauschenberg by the pool for breakfast.

Elyse Grinstein with Jasper Johns.

Elyse Grinstein with Chuck Arnoldi, Laddie John Dill, and Andy Warhol.


This essay was originally published in Carla issue 17. 

  1.  Quoted in Laurie Galerreta, “In Defense of Koreatown’s Weird, Wacky Misunderstood KFC,” LAist, February 21, 2019.
  2. J. Williams, “Ugly Building Contest,” Curbed L.A., April 17, 2007.
  3. Aaron Betsky, “Stylemaker: Not the Retiring Type,” Los Angeles Times, July 31, 1994.
  4.  Ellen Grinstein, interview with the author, July 5, 2019.
  5. Laddie John Dill, interview with the author, March 20, 2019.
  6.  Susan Morgan, “Opening the Doors of Gemini, a Family Home Brimming with Historic Art,” W Magazine, Oct. 12, 2016.
  7.  The editors, “Smart Money in Art,” The Observer, March 25, 2015, https://observer.com/2015/03/thesmart-money-in-art/.
  8.  Kayta Wachtel, “Meet Wall Streets 25 Most Serious Art Collectors,” Business Insider, Feb. 7, 2011, https://www.businessinsider.com/wall-street-art-collectors#leonblack-24.
  9. Richard Hertz, The Beat and the Buzz (Los Angeles: Minneola Press, 2009).
  10. Morgan.
  11.  Ibid.
  12. Stanley Grinstein, video interview with Corazon del Sol, 2012.
  13. Ibid.
  14.  Rhonda Lieberman, “Hoard D’Oeuvres,” The Baffler, January 2014.
  15. Del Sol.
  16. Quoted in Donna Granata, “Gemini G.E.L.: 50 Years and Counting,” Ampersand LA, Oct. 2016, http://www.ampersandla.com/gemini-gel-50-years-and-counting/.
  17.  Ellen Grinstein, interview with the author, July 5, 2019.