Issue 35 February 2024

Issue 34 November 2023

Issue 33 August 2023

Issue 32 June 2023

Issue 31 February 2023

Issue 30 November 2022

Issue 29 August 2022

Issue 28 May 2022

Issue 27 February 2022

Issue 26 November 2021

Issue 25 August 2021

Issue 24 May 2021

Issue 23 February 2021

Issue 22 November 2020

Issue 21 August 2020

Issue 20 May 2020

Issue 19 February 2020

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

Chiraag Bhakta
at Human Resources
–Julie Weitz

Don’t Think: Tom, Joe
and Rick Potts

–Matt Stromberg

Sarah McMenimen
at Garden
–Michael Wright

The Medea Insurrection
at the Wende Museum
–Jennifer Remenchik

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

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

Derek Paul Jack Boyle
–Aaron Horst

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

Katja Seib
at Château Shatto
–Ashton Cooper

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

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

George Herms and Terence Koh
at Morán Morán
–Matt Stromberg

Hannah Hur
at Bel Ami
–Michael Wright

Sebastian Hernandez
–Julie Weitz

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

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Issue 16 May 2019

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

Rob Thom
at M+B
–Lindsay Preston Zappas

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

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

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

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

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

Sperm Cult
–Matt Stromberg

Kahlil Joseph
–Jessica Simmons

Ingrid Luche
at Ghebaly Gallery
–Lindsay Preston Zappas

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

Trenton Doyle Hancock
at Shulamit Nazarian
–Colony Little

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

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

Gertrud Parker
at Parker Gallery
-Ashton Cooper

Robert Yarber
at Nicodim Gallery
-Jonathan Griffin

Nikita Gale
at Commonwealth & Council
-Simone Krug

Lari Pittman
at Regen Projects
-Matt Stromberg

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

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

Fiona Conner
at the MAK Center
–Thomas Duncan

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

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

Mimi Lauter
at Blum & Poe
–Jessica Simmons

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

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

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

Chris Kraus
at Chateau Shatto
- Aaron Horst

Ben Sanders
at Ochi Projects
- Matt Stromberg

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

Harald Szeemann
at the Getty Research Institute
- Olivian Cha

Ali Prosch
at Bed and Breakfast
- Jennifer Remenchik

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

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

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

Nevine Mahmoud
at M+B
- Angella D'Avignon

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

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

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

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

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

Paul Mpagi Sepuya
at team bungalow

Ravi Jackson
at Richard Telles

Tactility of Line
at Elevator Mondays

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

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

Broken Language
at Shulamit Nazarian

Artists of Color
at the Underground Museum

Anthony Lepore & Michael Henry Hayden
at Del Vaz Projects


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

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

Jennie Jieun Lee
at The Pit

Trisha Baga
at 356 Mission

Jimmie Durham
at The Hammer

Parallel City
at Ms. Barbers

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

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

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

Karl Haendel
at Susanne Vielmetter

Wolfgang Tillmans
at Regen Projects

at Chateau Shatto

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

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

Doug Aitken
at The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA

at Tif Sigfrids

Jean-Pascal Flavian and Mika Tajima
at Kayne Griffin Corcoran

Mark A. Rodruigez
at Park View

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

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

Carl Cheng
at Cherry and Martin

Joan Snyder
at Parrasch Heijnen Gallery

Elanor Antin
at Diane Rosenstein

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

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

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

Material Art Fair, Mexico City

Rain Room

Evan Holloway
at David Kordansky Gallery

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

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

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

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

Fred Tomaselli
at California State University, Fullerton

Trisha Donnelly
at Matthew Marks Gallery

Bradford Kessler
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Issue 2 November 2015

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

Tongues Untied
at MOCA Pacific Design Center

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

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

Mernet Larsen
at Various Small Fires

John Currin
at Gagosian, Beverly Hills

Pat O'Niell
at Cherry and Martin

A New Rhythm
at Park View

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

Charles Gaines
at The Hammer Museum

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

Going Back: Kevin Beasley and the Power of Homecoming

Leer en Español

Kevin Beasley, Site V (2022). Polyurethane resin, raw Virginia cotton, housedresses, T-shirts, confetti T-shirts, altered T-shirts, confetti housedresses, and durags, 74 × 55.5 × 2 inches. Image courtesy of the artist and Regen Projects.

In her 1995 essay, “The Site of Memory,” Toni Morrison mentioned the Mississippi River—how its route was redirected to make space for housing and acreage, and how areas in its former path experience intermittent flooding. “[B]ut in fact it is not flooding,” she writes, “it is remembering. Remembering where it used to be.”1 Morrison believed that writers behave similarly, reassembling the past from the traces left behind. Her approach to fiction hovered at the crossroads between the truth, the remembered, and the invented. Though she may begin with an image culled from reality, she preferred to dwell in her emotional memory of the image rather than convey exact facts, letting her impulses guide her “reconstruction of a world.”2 A stray detail or hunch would lead her on a “journey to a site to see what remains were left behind.”3 To these remains, she added her own possibilities. Kevin Beasley works similarly. 

The New York-based multimedia artist recently held his first Los Angeles solo show at Regen Projects, a gallery situated on a frantic corner of Santa Monica Boulevard. I darted there, one balmy weekend in May, and was greeted by abstract, candy-colored whirlpools that rippled with ineffable movements. The works hung on the walls and were joined by the sounds of twinkling birds. For a minute, I lost sense of where I was. It was like being simultaneously in a gallery and still out on the street, dually inside and outside. Moving further into the space exposed me to other auditory frequencies that rumbled below the chirping—what sounded like a slowed-down heartbeat and the half-snatched murmurings of distant voices. Like Morrison’s notion of water, my memories seemed to emerge and blend with Beasley’s as I viewed the works, creating new forms of connection in the process. 

Featuring 28 works all made in 2022—ranging from ossified sculptures to booming sound collages that worked in concert to conjure a multi-sensory experience—On site continues Beasley’s decade-long experiment with sculpture, sound, and the quixotic intermingling of the two. He is known for his fabric-based wall objects, which riff on the ancient sculptural technique of relief, a method of adding 3-dimensional elements onto a flat surface.4 Beasley inundates his surfaces with materials, combining puffy wisps of raw Virginia cotton with T-shirts and other items (many sourced from family and friends) before bonding the fragments in polyurethane resin. At Regen, Beasley’s reliefs, or “slabs,” as he calls them, punctuated the walls of the three galleries and ranged from roughly human-scale to the size of a wide bay window. At first glance, these wall sculptures might be mistaken for woozy acrylic paintings that live somewhere within the modernist canon; Beasley’s sly wink toward the artistic legacies that he upends. With titles like Site and Section, which refer to two distinct series within the show, most of the slabs are glossy topographies that straddle the lines between landscape, painting, and sculpture. From afar, portions of In my dream I saw a landscape looked like a fantasia of melted Jolly Ranchers and chewed-up Starbursts, an explosion of mustard and cerulean. Drawing closer, I recognized four housedresses in shades of seafoam green levitating like ghosts on the left side of the slab. Strips of cherry red T-shirts pirouetted across the surface of Site V, while two black durags seemed to waltz against a lemony stream.

Kevin Beasley, On Site (installation view) (2022). Image courtesy of the artist and Regen Projects. Photo: Paul Salveson.

On site finds the artist returning to his memories of Virginia, where he was born and raised, and the work in the show continues Beasley’s general inquiry into place as a potent site of remembrance, history, and invention. His artworks reflect this search, often circling a central question: What narratives are told by our surroundings? In his return to his homeland, though, he is less concerned with presenting the past exactly as it was. Instead, he has built out audiovisual landscapes where personal and historical remains merge with chance. Taking material form and grabbing hold of us in ways that burrow into the deepest parts of our core, these works invite us to reconsider how the past echoes in our present. When staring into a spill of color embedded in one of Beasley’s slabs or listening to the natural soundtrack humming through the gallery, I found myself falling into a psychically alive space, where private memories collided with historical debris in ways that upended my understanding of place and belonging. 

Four of the slabs featured dye sublimation-printed photos taken in parts of Virginia, including Lynchburg, where Beasley grew up, and Valentines, where his family has owned a plot of land for generations. Engaging with the photos felt like flipping through a personal album. There were images of bushy trees; a wooden shed; and a figure in the distance, ear fastened to a cell phone. These pictures move beyond pure documentation—printed on T-shirts and then added into his slab works, Beasley subtly warps the surface of the images, creating riptides of distortion, as if the memories are still in the process of being stitched together. The slabs deluge viewers with their sensory multiplicity, suggesting a fascination not just with intimate, personal objects but with how they telegraph larger cultural narratives. 

Left with the traces of Beasley’s narrative, I began grafting my own stories onto his objects, creating a shared experience based on invention and collaboration. In this way, Beasley’s practice extends outwards, opening us up to a self that is an amalgamation of details and experiences; a history that is elastic and malleable. By integrating charged items like cotton alongside others that hold private meaning (housedresses, personal photos, durags), Beasley considers the residues of the South—how it continues to mold not only his particular history and perspective but also our national conceptions of self and other. Beasley’s uncanny environments turn our attention to the ways that the residues of chattel slavery, both as an economic system and a method of anti-Black surveillance, continue to reverberate across our country like a spectral presence, warping our conceptions of labor, freedom, and identity. His materials speak their own narratives, reminding us that we cannot escape their hold unless we address their effects, no matter the myths we create. 

“It’s really important that an object comes from me or at least someone close to me,” Beasley explained to Art in America. “That’s the starting point, and the work sort of opens up from there.”5 In 2011, while visiting Valentines for an annual family reunion, he noticed cotton growing on a farm leased on his paternal grandmother’s property. The sight sent Beasley down an existential rabbit hole, sparked by his desire to place himself within his family’s particular lineage as well as the larger history of Black Americans in the South. “I was spending time down there just trying to understand, in some way, what makes me: How am I here? What am I doing? Why am I making work?”6 These ruminations led to his use of raw cotton from Valentines as a recurring material in his work. He also purchased a 1915 cotton gin motor on eBay, which became the centerpiece of his pivotal Whitney Museum exhibition in 2018, A view of a landscape. Placed inside a clear soundproof box and surrounded by microphones in one gallery, the motor’s continuous drone was broadcast into a separate gallery. As Aria Dean wrote in a review of the show for Spike Art Quarterly, the exhibition “catches us all in its gears,” as we attempt to place ourselves within the aftermath of slavery.7 Though On site hit quieter registers than A view of a landscape, it joined Beasley’s evolving loop, creating an experience that implicates its viewers in the creation of our personal and national narratives. 

Eventually, I found the origin of On site’s fizzing soundscape: a modified utility pole, set up in the South gallery, fittingly titled THE SOURCE. Rising from floor to ceiling and outfitted with LED streetlights, the pole looked like a preserved relic from a bygone neighborhood. A pair of blue and white Nike Cortez sneakers hung from powerlines suspended from the ceiling and a beverage cooler was attached near the bottom of the structure. The hum of an internal AC unit added to the layered soundtrack, which emanated from speakers that were connected by the sinuous powerlines and positioned throughout the gallery (including on the roof). The work played a collage of field recordings taken by Beasley across various locations, with a different soundtrack for each day of the week. On my second visit, a Wednesday, the audio had shifted from the natural sounds of my weekend visit, moving from a crooning synth to a percussive, motorized loop. 

THE SOURCE is itself a continuation of sorts—Beasley presented an iteration of the sculpture at Prospect New Orleans, a triennial exhibition, last February. To have a version of this New Orleans sculpture, which was installed in the Lower Ninth Ward on land purchased by Beasley,8 reappear in a Los Angeles gallery creates another return, reminding us of the ways that the American South has also shaped this city. Placed in the same gallery as the Virginia slabs, THE SOURCE adds to Beasley’s curio cabinet of Southern materials. His work insists that the act of returning is a full-body experience, one that obliterates the limits we place on time and space and leads to “a multidimensional understanding”9 of ourselves and our surroundings. For Beasley, returning is another word for deep engagement, a communal practice of enveloping ourselves within the strange loops of history. In placing us within the currents of his memories, Beasley embraces Morrison’s belief that remembering is a collective experience, a way of recognizing and tapping into the unspoken energies linking us in time.

This essay was originally published in Carla issue 29.

Kevin Beasley, A view of a landscape: A cotton gin motor (installation view) (2012–18). Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, December 15, 2018–March 10, 2019. Collection of the artist. Image courtesy of the artist and Casey Kaplan, New York. Photo: Ron Amstutz.

Kevin Beasley, Peach Tree (2022). Polyurethane resin, raw Virginia cotton, altered T-shirts, and dye sublimation T-shirts, 93 × 55 × 2 inches. Image courtesy of the artist and Regen Projects.

  1. Toni Morrison, “The Site of Memory,” in Inventing the Truth: The Art and Craft of Memoir, ed. William Zinsser (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1995), 99.
  2. Ibid, 95.
  3. Ibid, 92.
  4. Sadie Rebecca Starnes, “Kevin Beasley: A view of a landscape,” Brooklyn Rail, March 2019,
  5. Kevin Beasley, “In the Studio: Kevin Beasley,” interview by Mike Pepi, Art in America, November 30, 2014,
  6. Ibid.
  7. Aria Dean, “Kevin Beasley: ‘A view of a landscape’ at the Whitney,” Spike Art Magazine, February 25, 2019,
  8. Siddhartha Mitter, “In the Lower Ninth Ward, an Artist Renews His Purpose,” The New York Times, January 6, 2022,
  9. “Kevin Beasley on Confronting the Social and Cultural Underlayers of Objects,” interview by Spencer Bailey, Time Sensitive, MP3 audio, 1:34:55,

Allison Noelle Conner’s writing has appeared in Artsy, Art in America, Hyperallergic, East of Borneo, and elsewhere. Born in South Florida, she is based in Los Angeles.

More by Allison Noelle Conner