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
Buy the Issue In our Online Shop

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
Buy the Issue In Our Online Shop

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
Buy the Issue In Our Online Shop

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.)
Buy the Issue In Our Online Shop

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.)
Buy the Issue In Our Online Shop

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
Buy the Issue In Our Online Shop

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
Buy the Issue In Our Online Shop

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)

Generous Structures


Tarot Class (2016). Image courtesy of The Golden Dome. Photo: Natalia Molina.

We were sitting in a circle in a window filled living room on a hill in Mt. Washington, holding barely filled cups of mugwort tea. We’d distributed the tea sparingly. It had been made under the assumption that no more than 20 people would attend this workshop, called Tactical Magic. Now 32 of us were squeezed into the room, here six days before the 2017 presidential inauguration. “We’re going to take our power back,” said artist Eliza Swann at the workshop’s start, simply setting the agenda. We would “build up to working on the government,” she said, hopefully by year’s end, using marginalized, spiritual, intuitive skill sets as a means of resisting formalized, mainstream authority. This didn’t seem far-fetched. Isn’t the undetermined anathema to the formal?

Saewon Oh, an herbalist and artist co-running this workshop with Swann, had made the tea and now guided us through our experience of it: we smelled it, introduced ourselves to it, slowly drank it, willed ourselves to be carried away by its qualities and then wrote about where our minds went. Mine went to a spare, sun-lit room. It vaguely resembled a lot of things, including a room I stayed in 100 miles north of Paris last summer, on a different kind of search for collective power.

For those who see art as a tool for living and probing, a commodity only circumstantially, the established art world has become an exhausting place. Galleries, academies, and museums seem in cahoots, together fueling the “hyper-professionalization” that Daniel Palmer decried in ARTNews last year. Success means learning to participate in a system of scarcity, branding yourself to appeal to those with the power to pull you onto a gallery roster or award you in other ways (teaching positions, institutional acquisitions, etc.).
 The obfuscating conditions of elite capitalism seem to have soaked through everything. The fact that Steven Mnuchin, who keeps forgetting to disclose additional assets to the Senate on his way to becoming Trump’s Secretary of Treasury, belonged to MOCA’s board is indicative, not anomalous.

“In a moment of monotony and conformity, artists must reclaim their freedom,” wrote Palmer. 1 Except, what good does it do to “reclaim” from a system indifferent to your unmarketable expressions? Instead, it seems, we need to build platforms for protecting, empowering, and sustaining one another’s non-conformity—not just alt exhibition spaces; something more than that. Even if I don’t know how to build them, exactly, I do know such platforms must have intellectual, emotional, and economic dimensions, and communities behind them ready to do the work. A desire for such communities led me to a conference in that small town in northern France.


Tarot Class (2016). Image courtesy of The Golden Dome. Photo: Natalia Molina.

The conference called Elsewhere & Otherwise—held at Paf, a cavernous former convent that, as of last year, is collectively owned by 50 people (artists, philosophers, writers, dancers)—started under dim lighting, with conversation aided by champagne. The more comfortable among us offered ideas for how the week could go; the organizers took notes. A casual misunderstanding shaped the second evening. The artist Eroca Nichols said she would be doing Pussy Readings in the Peacock Room (she meant she’d be giving tarot readings for people’s astral pussies and intimate relational lives). But, artists Corazon del Sol and Milena Bonilla thought she meant it literally—and thought, well wouldn’t that be worth while? To read vaginas as if reading palms or tea leaves? And then, somehow we were doing it, me going first because someone had to and because I trusted del Sol and Bonilla to be gentle as they made their first, semi-public foray into vagina-reading.

We wouldn’t be the first to do this—feminists consciousness-raising groups, among others, experimented similarly in the 1970s—though for us
it felt new and impulsive. The readers had been drinking, which made them less inhibited and maybe better at riffing about empowerment, hegemony, and vulnerability, collapsing space between the theoretical and personally sensual in a generous way. It took about 30 minutes for pussy reading
 to somehow become an electric thing, more women volunteering to sit on the shabby chic sofa with legs spread, more participating as readers.

I remember mixing vodka and lavender syrup in the kitchen with a group of men wondering if pussy reading excluded them—it wasn’t meant to, and there was talk of the ethereal pussy and fluidity of the feminine, but no one with non-female genitals volunteered to be read.

Later, there would be a charged discussion about whether the performance had alienated members of the group, those without conventional anatomical pussies specifically, and this would be uncomfortable but worth navigating. It seemed fitting to start off in something of a tangle, with theory, body, language, and sincerity blurred. None of us were experts in this tangle, and uncertainty helps if you really want to form something else.

“It is time for a more radical approach in which the knowledge that is already there can take enough time and space to be rehearsed, shared, articulated, transformed or even discarded,” wrote co-organizers Valentine Desideri and Daniela Bersham in describing the conference. 2


Performance class. Image courtesy of The Golden Dome. Photo: Angel Lauren.

The word radical can sound clear and directed, but what we were doing was more like informed groping. With no designated moderator, the week, full and amorphous, would end up changing as attendees realized what they wanted to contribute. 
Our knowledge pooling would feel 
like an attempt to have something of a shared foundation. It worked as well as it did because the convent was an affordable space, untethered to anything bigger and more established. But part of why we need a “more radical approach” is so spaces 
like this can spread and persist in many elsewheres.

“I want to create a structure
 for life that is in revolt through its generosity,” Eliza Swann said this past October, in an interview for Vice’s Creator’s Project,3 reminding me of a passage she introduced me to, from Monique Wittig’s relentless novel about foraging feminists: “Every gesture, act, deed, is overthrow, reversal.” 4 How can we afford to
make that true?

When I first met Swann, during consciousness-raising sessions held in a Silver Lake garage in 2014, she was half a year into running her school, The Golden Dome, and struggling with how to fund it. The school, in its aims, in some ways parallels the launch of Black Mountain College and Feminist Art Program—learning together differently in order to support each other and make art differently. It also exists to be non-hierarchical and thus collaborative. “A spiritual organization with a hierarchical structure can convey only the consciousness of estrangement,” says activist Starhawk, quoted on the school’s website.

The Golden Dome, which functions more like an artist-run residency than an actual school, meets twice annually, each session exploring the relationship between art, metaphysics, and spirituality. Swann plans to make it free, if she can. But building an autonomous, alternative platform has practical costs. Ten-day sessions can cost between $450-650, for room and board (in the Mojave desert, or upstate New York). The Mail Order Mystery School costs $125 for a year, relatively reasonable but still an investment for many artists.

The economic conundrum, present everywhere, has its own textures in the realm of art and artists. The art world is an exaggerated microcosm of the wealth gap, the one percent playing an outsized role in keeping institutions and galleries running. Few artists support themselves on their work; many gig, or adjunct, stretched thin. The fantasy that elusive gallery representation 
can save you from economic precarity is more widespread than makes sense, since many artists with galleries 
rarely sell enough to subsist. In the United States at least, where state support for artists barely exists, this fantasy probably represents just one more version of the capitalist American Dream, ingrained so deeply even if we know better.


Grace Kredell as “She Who Must Be Obeyed”, Emperor Artist Intensive, Joshua Tree (2016). Image courtesy of The Golden Dome. Photo: Angel Lauren.

There has been a fixation recently, in communities in which
 I traffic, on Italian-born, New York-based scholar Silvia Federici’s book Caliban and the Witch, originally published in 2004 and based on research Federici began alongside her friend Leopoldina Fortunati in the 1980s. Sarah Williams, co-founder of the Women’s Center for Creative Work (another attempt at a sustainable something else), was reading it; an artist friend texted from a bar in Massachusetts that she’d started a Caliban book club; during Elsewhere & Otherwise, we discussed it; at the start of Tactical Magic, Swann paraphrased it; and more. This surge in interest does not make chronological sense—Federici’s book has not been reprinted, nor is it at all an easy read. But it isn’t accidental. I devoured it for the second time in the days after the November election, as if nothing could be more relevant.

Federici, in exquisitely well-researched detail, depicts the transition to capitalism in Europe,
 the Americas, and the colonies as coinciding with a slaughter of alternative sensibilities, particularly those deemed feminine. Women
 who led food revolts, held procreative knowledge, healed, or encouraged community co-dependence: all threatened reproductive and productive labor, and were particularly vulnerable when witch trials began 
in earnest. Federici aimed in writing Caliban “to revive among younger generations the memory of a long history of resistance that today is in danger of being erased.”5 Younger generations are listening, wanting communitarian models more desperately as nationalist and autocratic leaders rise in misguided response to the estrangements neoliberalism causes.

A week after Donald Trump became president-elect, I received a chain of emails from the group of artists I had met at Paf. The emails had urgency to them. They discussed war against eroticism, intelligence, or any idea of self that defies capitalist drive, and using emotional resilience and spiritual power against hate. “Please let’s imagine and create all the tools we can in these next days,” wrote my friend, Corazon del Sol. 6

It’s some sick joke that the new U.S. administration moved so quickly toward cutting NEA and NEH funding, potentially killing the little publicly available to support non-product-oriented thinking, making the arts even more dependent on the market. The reductive language of new regimes, here and in Europe, seems poised against historical memory and disinterested in nuance. Forming and preserving spaces for unmarketable experimentation, uncertainties, and close attention to past and present possibilities falls to those of us who believe that art and life bear on each other. This work is already happening, has been happening. But now, liberated from whatever comfort zones we thought we had left, we should be more primed to lean on and glean from each other—or impel ourselves to be primed.

This essay was originally published in Carla issue 7.


Mollie McKinley leading a “Every Day Rituals” class (2014). Image courtesy of The Golden Dome. Photo: Eliza Swann

  1. Daniel Palmer, “Go Pro: The Hyper-professionalization of the Emerging Artist,” ARTNews, March 9, 2016, hyper-professionalization-ofthe-emerging-artist/.
  2. E-mail to the author and others, January 19, 2016.
  3. Tjana Laden, “A Modern Mystery School Unites Art and Soul in LA,” Vice Creator’s Project, October 28, 2016, dawn-mystery-school-los-angeles.
  4. Monique Wittig, Les Guerilleres (Boston: Beacon Press, 1985), 5.
  5. Silvia Federici, Caliban and the Witch: Women, the Body and Primitive Accumulation (New York: Autonomedia, 2004), 9.
  6. E-mail chain forwarded to the author, November 12, 2016.

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

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