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
Launch Party August 17, 2019
@ Park View / Paul Soto
Buy the Issue In Our Online Shop
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
at NAVEL
–Julie Weitz

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

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
Klowden Mann
Luis De Jesus
Philip Martin Gallery
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)

Hanna Hur
at Bel Ami

Hanna Hur, The Wheel (2019). Colored pencil on silk, 48 x 36 inches. Image courtesy the artist and Bel Ami, Los Angeles. Photo: Naoki Sutter-Shudo.

As a writer with a seminary background, I wanted to unquestionably support Hanna Hur’s recent spiritually-inflected solo exhibition, Signal at the Wheel, Hover at the Gate. “Art” and “spirituality,” already unwieldy words on their own, have had a complicated history—so much so that it’s often easier to nod our heads along with Harry Cooper, senior curator at the National Gallery of Art, who argues that “art has replaced religion: In a secular, modern, disenchanted world, art is as close as we can come to the divine.”1

But a quick glance around recent museum and gallery exhibitions will reveal that this viewpoint oversimplifies a much more complex relationship. Today, monks host meditation practices in museums,2 artists self-identify as witches,3 and exhibitions with spiritual themes break attendance records.4 The belief that art replaced religion—that it was an easy switch, like a change of clothes—misses how art and spirit are blending in complicated ways now. I wanted to leave Bel Ami celebrating another show that could deftly navigate these two worlds, more proof that spirituality and religion continue to offer vital ways of engaging with art. Instead, I left feeling conflicted and struggled for weeks to understand why.

For Hur, her paintings function as documentation, notes from spiritual quests. Her investigations developed out of her departure from Korean-American Christianity and later work she did with Korean shamans (mudangs) in Seoul to navigate spiritual and ancestral realms. More than dabbling in spirituality, Hur’s return to shamanism reads as postcolonial recovery. A religious practice long-banished by missionaries, shamanism’s revival in South Korea has been decades in the making as the country recognized its cultural importance as a “repository of Korean culture” with rituals that have “preserved traditional costumes, music, and dance forms.”5

This religious biography directly entered Hur’s exhibition as subject matter: in Mother ix (2019) and Moonbather (after Laurie) (2018), clothed figures, evoking the costume of the mudang, open geometric gates and walk through metaphysical borderlands. In The Wheel (2019), ethereal figures congregate around central orbs on a translucent silk surface. These bulbous, Matisse-like figures reappear in The Gate and The Gate iv (both 2019), drifting through geometric patterns of soft grids and circles like spirit guides in action.

Hanna Hur, Mother ix (2019). Graphite and colored pencil on paper, 9.75 x 12.50 inches. Image courtesy the artist and Bel Ami, Los Angeles. Photo: Naoki Sutter-Shudo.

Hur’s spiritual quest also influenced her geometric abstractions, works in dialogue with a long history of artists painting patterns to reach beyond the canvas.6 Like Hilma af Klint’s spiritualist abstractions, Hur’s Through and Through ii (both 2014–2018) balance whorls of organic and geometric shapes in harmony. Elsewhere, as in Signal (2019), delicate circular grids endlessly repeat and transfigure—meditative movements that slow down the viewer’s eyes like the faintly drawn repetitions of an Agnes Martin. All of these works felt hypnotic, even centrifugal— as if by staring at the patterns long enough, they might expand beyond the frame. There was a meditative repetition that Hur invited her viewers to experience, a kind of visual mantra to encourage a common spiritual practice: the difficult task of slowing down the ego to see beyond its limiting boundaries (what the novelist Iris Murdoch calls “unselfing”).

But more than just depicting religious subject matter or translating spirituality through geometric abstraction, Hur sees these artworks functioning as ritual artifacts created to transform consciousness and literally limn the otherworldly. Certainly, Hur is not alone in this blending of ritual and artistic practice (see fellow L.A. artists like Carolina Caycedo, Candice Lin, Betye Saar, and Veronique D’Entremont), but the press release—a genre meant to contextualize a gallery artwork, and ultimately position it for sale—pushed this spiritual function of her work hard, describing Hur as opening channels to “another dimension, immaterial and unseen” somewhere “beyond the veil.” In preparation for this show, the artist performed private ceremonies in the gallery space to “open a gate for spirits to enter” and co-mingle with gallery goers. Viewers were asked to not only look at contemplative paintings, but to believe in them as literal gates to other dimensions.

It’s this uncritical merger of explicit spiritual claims with the actions of art-making that can feel transgressive,  especially for viewers unfamiliar with (or uninterested in) religion. According to the logic of the press release, there would be little difference between looking at the artworks and participating in hours-long gut rites performed by a Korean shaman—both open the same doorways “to an alternate world.” So if both Hur’s painting and the ritual objects of the mudang serve the same purpose, what is the artwork or its gallery for? Or the shaman for that matter?7 It’s a similar dynamic that L.A. art critic Christopher Knight noticed in LACMA’s didactic show on Buddhism. Troubled by how the “embodiment of a religious philosophy” obscured the materiality and aesthetic properties of certain art objects, he ultimately concludes that “an art museum cannot be a Buddhist shrine.”8

In our current moment, art and spirituality can be in fruitful dialogue, even as they allow each other slippage between genre and context. This complex relationship works as long as both traditions remain distinct enough that neither obscures the other. When placed within a gallery, an artwork, no matter how spiritually inflected, should be freed from its author enough to function as a stand-alone aesthetic object, open for multiple interpretations. In Signal at the Wheel, Hover at the Gate, the preemptive spiritual claims for the artworks exaggerated the role of the gallery to religious dimensions. Dislocated from its historical function, the gallery space became ambiguous: is this a space for viewing (and purchasing) art objects or for participating in the rituals of Korean shamanism? This  ambiguity of the purpose of the show worked against the viewer’s ability to see Hur’s work as aesthetic pieces in their own right. Without this pretext, Hur’s graceful geometric works would have done plenty to slow the breath and the eyes—offering if not a doorway into another world, at least a clearer vision of our own.

Michael Wright is a Los Angeles-based writer with an interdisciplinary MA in art and religious studies. He is the Art and Religion Editor for The Marginalia Review of Books.

Hanna Hur, Signal at the Wheel, Hover at the Gate (installation view) (2019). Image courtesy the artist and Bel Ami, Los Angeles. Photo: Naoki Sutter-Shudo.

Hanna Hur, Ritual of Ancestors (2018). Colored pencil on paper, 11 x 13 inches. Image courtesy of the artist and Bel Ami, Los Angeles. Photo: Naoki Sutter-Shudo.

Hanna Hur, Signal at the Wheel, Hover at the Gate (installation view) (2019). Image courtesy the artist and Bel Ami, Los Angeles. Photo: Naoki Sutter-Shudo.

Hanna Hur, Moonbather (after Laurie) (2018). Colored pencil on silk, 30 x 40 inches. Image courtesy of the artist and Bel Ami, Los Angeles.

Hanna Hur, Signal at the Wheel, Hover at the Gate (installation view) (2019). Image courtesy the artist and Bel Ami, Los Angeles. Photo: Naoki Sutter-Shudo.

Hanna Hur, The Gate iii (2014-2019). Hand cut and shaped copper, clay, 97 x 84 inches. Image courtesy the artist and Bel Ami, Los Angeles. Photo: Naoki Sutter-Shudo.

Hanna Hur, The Gate iii (detail) (2014-2019). Hand cut and shaped copper, clay, 97 x 84 inches. Image courtesy the artist and Bel Ami, Los Angeles. Photo: Naoki Sutter-Shudo.


This review was originally published in Carla issue 17.

  1.  Harry Cooper, “The Whole Truth,” Artforum, May 2018.
  2. Sophia Kamps, “Buddhist monks to lead meditation at New York’s Museum of Modern Art,” Lion’s Roar, July 10, 2018, https://www.lionsroar.com/buddhistmonk-to-lead-meditation-at-themuseum-of-modern-art/.
  3.  Amanda Gates Garcia, “The Rise of the L.A. Art Witch,” Carla Issue 6.
  4.  Annie Armstrong, “Guggenheim’s Hilma af Klint Survey Is Most Popular Show in Its History,” ARTnews, April 18, 2019, http://www.artnews.com/2019/04/18/guggenheims-hilmaaf-klint-survey-is-most-popular-showin-its-history/.
  5. Choe Sang-Hun, “Shamanism Enjoys Revival in Techno-Savvy South Korea,” New York Times, https://www.nytimes.com/2007/07/07/world/asia/07korea.html.
  6. See LACMA’s “The Spiritual in Art: Abstract Painting 1890-1985” exhibition for a thorough overview.
  7. For more on how images operate in religious contexts see David Morgan’s Images at Work: The Material Culture of Enchantment.
  8. Christopher Knight, “Overstating the Religious?” Los Angeles Times, https://www.latimes.com/archives/la-xpm-2003-oct-06-et-knight6-story.html.