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)

I Shit on
Your Graves

Mathieu Malouf, Deep Friend Portrait of Jesse Helms (2019). 4 color silkscreen process, plasticol, diamond dust on silver chromed epoxy resin on linen on wood, 60 x 40 inches. Image courtesy of the artist and Jenny’s, Los Angeles. Photo: Ed Mumford.

I’ve been carrying around Gary Indiana’s Vile Days since September. The book is the size of a Bible, and contains chapter and verse of the art criticism Indiana wrote for the Village Voice from 1985 to 1988. Every now and then I crack it open to a random page, and—like the Bible again—the answer is always right there. A couple days ago, for instance, as I sat down to write this piece, I opened to page 524: an essay from February 9, 1988 titled “Secrets of the Rothko Chapel.” Indiana performs a juking, multidenominational survey of that edifice— a modernist octagon inside a Greek cross-shaped floorplan. But he pays special attention to where the chapel stands: ground purchased by first-generation oil-rich Texans, the de Menils, who staked out several square blocks for their foundation in a tony oak tree’d part of Houston. In the chapel, you can pray to anyone, or anything, and nobody, not even Indiana, will judge. Inside the Menil Collection galleries, it’s a different story. That Warhol Shadows painting (1978–79), for instance—a marching, multi-panel installation of high contrast blobs of ink. “Are the Warhols good,” Indiana asks, “or are they bad?”1 A chapel is a meditative space. A museum, though, is forever a critical one.

Is judgment good, or is it bad? The Rothko Chapel is an apt occasion to grok such moral maximums. In fact, as Indiana sees it, the very question of goodness and badness is a sham—because questions of quality are always also questions of class. Ultimately, the de Menils could afford all those Warhols and Twomblys and Duchamps and, sorry, you never will. “History is the consensus of the empowered,” he writes.2 In other words, there are no bad or good Warhols, and there’s no reason to trust whoever’s so invested in phrasing criticism as a litmus test. Indiana puts forth the fact that such binary questions forced into a world of analog morals only distract from the totally self-serving relativism that is power’s one true creed. Indiana has a flair for snubbing the obvious.

This is not to say that Indiana doesn’t judge. He does. He constantly seethes. He inhaled the septic air of the 1980s, fragranced by the breath of white-toothed bigots and ideologues and trickle-downers, and declared it vile. In Indiana’s Village Voice column, he modulates his exhalations into a knife’s edge eloquence that cuts through art and into the world, deflating the pretensions of both. Thus he indicts the economy of misery that continues to thrive to this day. In 1985, for instance, the New Museum presumed to remind the nation of the Vietnam War with a photography exhibition called The Art of Memory / The Loss of History. “These photo pieces,” Indiana writes, “do revive important historical memories, as if with a sledgehammer. But who, exactly, is supposed to have forgotten these things?”3 Another article from that year, “Paradigms of Dysfunction,” splays open Jeff Koons with professional ease. Of the artist’s perfectly floating basketballs and dire bronze aqualungs, “Koons’s marvelously skeptical show was a cogent reminder that we are really all in the same boat,” Indiana writes, “even though the steerage passengers are likely to drown first.”4 What does it mean that Indiana damns and absolves the artist with one flick, lancing him for being such a cynic while rescuing his genius?

I bet Indiana could do brain surgery with Twitter. More than that, I would love to see Indiana’s little knife go to work on all the self-serious declarations and moralizing squabbles that flavor that particular discursive platform. Artists, especially artists, should know better than to speak in binary, but in such a zero-sum format, no matter how many crying poop crystal ball emojis you use, nearly anything you say can spiral into a clash of civilizations. There’s even a name for this: it’s called Poe’s Law, and it says that, online, statements of extreme belief are impossible to distinguish from their parody. (Fittingly, the term originated on a creationist message board.) To stay sane under these conditions, it helps to entertain a full spectrum of eventualities. Otherwise, you might tear into someone who basically shares your politics with your blunt, meaty fingers. Which is more or less what got Mathieu Malouf.


I’ve struggled to describe just what it is Malouf did, to himself and to others, with his just-closed exhibition at Jenny’s in Los Angeles, ultimately titled (in a lightly censored version of the ableist original) #luketurnerisr****ded.5 Brain surgery it wasn’t. Nor do the terms “trolling” or “callout culture” convey the appropriate tang of self-immolation. It’s like Malouf rubbed himself with dollar bills and honey and strolled down Wall Street during lunch: he wanted the bears to take a swipe, and the artist named in his flagrantly problematic title obliged. Luke Turner (@Luke_Turner) struck back with a tweet spectacularly headlined “ANTISEMITISM IN THE ART WORLD.”6 In digest: Turner, who is Jewish, took issue with a statue in the show called Tankie Meme (Blacked) (2018–19) that Malouf based on a KAWS character that appeared to Turner like a Jewish stereotype wearing his (his!) signature black pants, shirt, and fedora. When a few artists suggested that anti-Semitism is seriously, agelessly pernicious and the label should be reserved for things that, unlike this statue, are actually anti-Semitic, Turner turned on them too. This is what the culture wars look like now. Mathieu Malouf sees this. Luke Turner does not. Even if Luke Turner got the joke he might prefer not to. Instead of the X’s KAWS applies to the eyes of whatever cartoon characters he “subverts,” from the Michelin Man to Homer Simpson, Malouf’s 19th century pro-labor riff on the nouveau-riche street artist sees hammers and sickles.

Mathieu Malouf, #luketurnerisr****ded (installation view) (2019). Image courtesy of the artist and Jenny’s Los Angeles. Photo: Ed Mumford.

In many ways, Malouf’s 2019 show follows up one in 2017 at Greene Naftali titled Toxic Masculinity Fallout Shelter, which featured overcooked Warhol-style portraits of Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un. Most of the pieces at Jenny’s were paintings titled Deep Fried Portrait of Jesse Helms (all works 2019) and followed a certain formula: four-color silkscreens processed in a range of neon inks, sprinkled with diamond dust, printed on chromed resin on canvas. Through this sprinkling of sparkles, as well as in the same-but-different iterations, Death and Disaster style, of a single grisly theme, Malouf summons the passively aggressive capitalist Andy Warhol. One canvas shows Helms himself, eyebrows slanted in bigotry inside large ’80s eyeglass frames, mouth slack, possibly mid-hate speech, printed in a strained, scan-lined orange. Others, though, provide cathartic views of Helms’ grave in Raleigh, North Carolina, the headstone and plot he now shares with his wife Dorothy “Dot” Helms. Like the title says, these pictures have been deep fried, as in intentionally degraded in an internet kind of way. With his diamond-dusted, cum-battered Jesse Helmses, Malouf is egging on Warhol’s uber consumerist and relatively apolitical ghost. Yet, instead of a news item about an electric chair, Malouf appropriates a 1982 Robert Mapplethorpe photograph descriptively titled Cock and Gun. Two silkscreens of the image—these, too, are called Deep Fried Portrait of Jesse Helms—sparkling like Warhol’s Diamond Dust Shadows (1979), flank a canvas dotted with AR15 bullets and a skull mask, all chromed, titled THE SCREAM (2019), in age-appropriate all caps.

Late in the 1980s, Senator Jesse Helms, R–North Carolina, was the culture wars. Helms was the kind of guy who thought everyone with HIV deserved it. It was he who tried to pass a law prohibiting NEA funding of Mapplethorpe’s retrospective, The Perfect Moment, which the deeply devout senator deemed obscene (and which opened months before the artist died of AIDS). I have the privilege of having been born and raised in the state he represented, while he was representing it. I can’t help but think that our clear and present shitstorm originated in that decade, too—when righties like Helms and Ronald Reagan and Newt Gingrich decided they hated gays and loved money so much they would demonize poor folks and pander to fundamentalist Christian folks and dog-whistle at rich white folks until they won. I will set aside Malouf’s casual stereotyping of the American South. It feels wonderful that something other than chicken drumsticks or pig skin can be crisped into its final, consumable form. The Helms’ gravestones look sucked on, and a little shaken.

Mathieu Malouf, Deep Friend Portrait of Jesse Helms (2019). 4 color silkscreen process, plasticol, diamond dust on silver chromed epoxy resin on linen on wood, 40 x 60 inches. Image courtesy of the artist and Jenny’s, Los Angeles. Photo: Ed Mumford.

Mathieu Malouf, Deep Friend Portrait of Jesse Helms (2019). 4 color silkscreen process, plasticol, diamond dust on silver chromed epoxy resin on linen on wood, 40 x 60 inches. Image courtesy of the artist and Jenny’s, Los Angeles. Photo: Ed Mumford.

A few more turns of the screw: Luke Turner, a British artist born under Margaret Thatcher, is most famous for his artistic collaborations (along with Nastja Säde Rönkkö) with Transformers (2007) star Shia LaBeouf. You may remember 2017’s immortal HEWILLNOTDIVIDE.US, where people could recite the titular phrase into a security camera mounted on various walls. This piece is so earnest, and so naive, that you could almost forget about #IAMSORRY (2014), the trio’s first outing, which consisted of LaBeouf sitting penitently in a gallery for six days with a paper bag on his head while visitors inflicted various abuses. LaBeouf was genuinely #SORRY for plagiarizing a short story in his first short film and, while casting despondently around the internet, found Luke Turner’s “Metamodernist Manifesto,” a list of proclamations like, “Movement shall henceforth be enabled by way of an oscillation between positions, with diametrically opposed ideas operating like the pulsating polarities of a colossal electric machine.”7 Never mind that, as a tiny footnote reveals, the “Manifesto” is nothing more than an overexcited paraphrase of a 2010 article in the Journal of Aesthetics & Culture.8 “Metamodernism,” Turner writes, “shall be defined as the mercurial condition between and beyond irony and sincerity, naivety and knowingness, relativism and truth, optimism and doubt.” Luke Turner was Shia LaBeouf’s guy. Just like that, his ironic apology tour became their sincere performance art. And yet, in 2019, would it not have been more metamodern for Turner to demonize Mathieu Malouf while also thanking him for the occasion to oscillate? The vicissitudes of contemporary art have broken him.


Gary Indiana spent most of Reagan’s second term and half of Helms’ third as an art critic at the Village Voice. In a piece from November 1987, as the U.S. economy tanked, he noted a new enthusiasm for “the critic’s role” in the art world—meaning that newly-frugal collectors might have to put more thought into their purchases. Indiana is quick to say that this restored relevance boils down to closer attention to how many times an artist’s name appears in the press (of which, it’s been said, there’s no such thing as bad). In the spirit of these quantitative times, therefore, I analyzed the index of Vile Days. Indiana wrote 127 individual pieces for his column. Of these 127, the person most frequently mentioned is Andy Warhol, who appears in 20. Rating a distant second, mentioned in 16 different articles (or 13%), is Ronald Reagan. After him come Barbara Kruger (15), Richard Prince (13), Cindy Sherman (11); then Sarah Charlesworth, Sherrie Levine, Jeff Koons, and Marcel Duchamp (10). As ironic as this method is, I think the overlapping interests of this elite bunch are a pretty fair description of the art of the 1980s: appearance (acting), appropriation (theft), speculation (finance), consumption (optimism), and politics (the art of). It would be a grave mistake to think things have qualitatively changed— per the critic’s role or per the artist’s. It would be graver still to accept the Manichean vision of (art) history that such contests promote. Because if there must be losers, Indiana writes, mentioning the senator just this once, guys like Helms are happy to pick them, and in the process foreclose “the window of vulnerability” through which we encounter “things that are alien . . . that carry seeds of large, incalculable changes.”9 Comfort the afflicted, afflict the comfortable. Repeat.

This article was originally featured in Carla issue 16.

Mathieu Malouf, THE SCREAM (2019). Silver chroming process, AR15 bullets, and mixed media on linen on wood, 60 x 60 inches. Image courtesy of the artist and Jenny’s, Los Angeles. Photo: Ed Mumford.

Mathieu Malouf, #luketurnerisr****ded (installation view) (2019). Image courtesy of the artist and Jenny’s Los Angeles. Photo: Ed Mumford.

  1. Gary Indiana, Vile Days: The Village Voice Art Columns, 1985–1988, ed. by Bruce Hainley (South Pasadena: Semiotext(e), 2018), 525.
  2. Ibid, 525.
  3. 184.
  4. Ibid, 91.
  5. Midway through the exhibition’s run, Malouf redacted the show title to #luketurnerisr****ded after Luke Turner spelled it that way on Twitter, presumably to avoid saying the r-word himself.
  6. 6. See
  7. See
  8. Timotheus Vermeulen and Robin van den Akker, “Notes on Metamodernism,” Journal of Aesthetics & Culture, 2:1 (2010), doi/full/10.3402/jac.v2i0.5677.
  9. Indiana, 61.

Travis Diehl has lived in Los Angeles since 2009. He is a recipient of the Creative Capital / Andy Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Grant (2013) and the Rabkin Prize in Visual Arts Journalism (2018).

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