Issue 36 May 2024

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
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
Buy the Issue In Our Online Shop

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

Buy the Issue In Our Online Shop

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
Buy the Issue In Our Online Shop

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
Buy the Issue In our Online Shop

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
Buy the Issue In Our Online Shop

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
Buy the Issue In Our Online Shop

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
Buy the Issue In Our Online Shop

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
Buy the Issue In Our Online Shop

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.)
Buy the Issue In Our Online Shop

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
Buy the Issue In Our Online Shop

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.)
Buy the Issue In Our Online Shop

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
Hannah Hoffman Gallery
Harper's Gallery
Hashimoto Contemporary
Heavy Manners Library
Helen J Gallery
Human Resources
in lieu
LaPau Gallery
Lisson Gallery
Louis Stern Fine Arts
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)
University of Washington (Seattle, WA)
Walker Art Center (Minneapolis, MN)
Whitney Museum of American Art (New York, NY)
Yale University Library (New Haven, CT)

Interview with
Haena Yoo

Leer en Español

Photo: Yujin Lee.

Viewers could smell Haena Yoo’s most recent show, The Oriental Sauce Factory at Murmurs gallery, before they could see it. Yoo’s exploration of scent and liquid is ongoing (her recent show, The Birth of Venus, at P.Bibeau in Brooklyn, contained sculptural, liquid amalgams of cosmetic skin products and rice yeast). But Sauce Factory was an uncanny, liquid-circulating installation formally modeled from both Yoo’s father’s sauce factory and the “desire motors” imagined by Duchamp in his 1915–23 work The Bride Stripped Bare by her Bachelors, Even (The Large Glass).

While odor permeated the exhibition, viewers were shielded from the full pungency of the installation’s centerpiece. The Milky Way Table (all works 2021), a swampy fermentation station of brewing sauce, was encased by a sealed plexiglass box. The mixture of meju (fermented soybeans), saltwater, jujube, oregano oil, elderberry, magnesium oxide, and over-the-counter American drugs released vaporous tendrils from eight small holes at the top of the box. An initial hit of soybean and kombucha. Soft overtones of rot. Sea mist. Oily scalp. The viewer watched the production of a fermented sauce as it percolated through various machines and was dried, filtered, and packaged to be sold as L’Oriental. Set out on top of boxes, bottles of the generically labeled sauce ranged in flavor and title, from Spicy to Floral to Authentic Oriental, making it ambiguous, ultimately, whether L’Oriental was for tasting or smelling.

In the lone video work, Checkmate, installed toward the back of the gallery, an AI-generated American male voice from an advertisement narrated: “It’s brown, savory, dark, black, yellow.” Meanwhile, a bottle of soy sauce spun onscreen along a conveyer belt facilitated by the laboring Korean women at Yoo’s father’s sauce factory in Eumseong, outside of Seoul. The same words could also be used to describe Yoo’s show. These are also all qualities of otherness that whiteness tells immigrants they cannot possess, but their products of labor (in this case, bottled condiments) can. Otherness is olfactory, after all. To be savory and yellow in America is to scrub the stinky sweet musk of foreign foods from one’s black hair as if it was possible to rinse the shame of alienation away. 

Upon visiting The Oriental Sauce Factory, I found myself yearning to connect with Yoo in another olfactory environment (maybe at a temple, maybe over pickled foods?)—stinky imbibement feeling appropriately immigrant. Having just moved to New York, I settled for connecting with Yoo over FaceTime from my Chinatown apartment while she was visiting Los Angeles from Seoul. We discussed her recent show, scent as a primary medium, the Atlanta spa shootings, herbal remedies, and Western biomedicine.

stephanie mei huang: How did your Duchampian sculpture, the Bride, function in the work? 

Haena Yoo: I was interested in the idea of “desire motor[s]” described by Marcel Duchamp in his work The Large Glass, as well as the desire machinery that [Gilles] Deleuze mentioned as subjectivity in capitalistic society. As a way of combining the logic of Duchamp and the manual of a sauce manufacturing factory, I built Bride Machinery as a desire-driven sculpture operated by a motor containing saltwater with meju dissolved in it. 

I wanted [my version of] the Bride to be more like a preindustrial, Asian agricultural machine that contains the source and power in herself… and this liquid [sauce] is fermented throughout history, time, and space while it flows, [and is] filtered, transformed, and contained somewhere. The whole manufacturing process starts from the Bride, but when it ends up at the bottling/ packaging station, the power and structure [of the system] can shift them or flip them up. These ideas reorder a use-value from ancient agricultural methods in an absurd way, by dissolving contemporary health products. Here, the Bride as an ancient agricultural heritage has, again, been largely stripped by “bachelors” of big franchise companies, the patriarchy, Western centrism, or cheap mass production, with the limited information that they have—just like labeling her with the name of L’ Oriental. 

But, also, the Bride Machinery has a gesture, implying her labors, constantly working and making her exertion—urine, sweat, odor. According to Duchamp, her motor, the desire motor, runs on self-secreted love gasoline: “The Large Glass has been called a love machine, but it is actually a machine of suffering.”1

The bride in my work is hanging from a rope in an isolated cage, or crucified, doing her labors, making her excretion; in contrast, the aluminum cast bachelors remain below, left only with the possibility of churning, agonized masturbation perceiving her orgasm.

smh: You speak about how the fermented is the feminine and the machine is the masculine. How do you see the fermented as specifically a form of feminized labor? 

HY: Yeah, that’s a good question. I see the fluidity in the installation as the source or identity of the Asian female. I was more focused on the Asian female identity because sauce-making and manufacturing are basically the domestic work of females. The liquid as a living organism or substance in the main installation [The Milky Way Table] shows the mold and spawns growing, the color and smell changing, the dissolving of all kinds of pills and soybeans. This whole process is the fermentation and the labors of entropy, just like giving birth. This femininity is flowing throughout the system, operated by a motor or the fog machine and [the] containing vitrine, as the whole capitalistic system is already set up as the platform in which we live. The living organism is maintained inside of the container, breathing in and out itself.

This entropy could make a special sauce or rotten liquid, as the female identity goes into society. They may have sort of matured in the process or been tortured, exploited by the system.

smh: Is meju usually made by women?

HY: Yes—moms, grandmas. And that’s all really very traditional—female laborers. It happens in their homes as a group, with neighbors or friends or family. They make it together, and it’s really like kimchi. They make it at home with their peers, traditionally.

smh: Meju and other fermented foods have a reputation for being somewhat stinky, something that’s associated with minority cultures and non-white cultures. And so, how does the palette resist?

HY: As we know, a smell can bring forth memories. It is cultural material. In my work, I started off by fermenting scents from the microorganism in the vitrine, smells like kombucha or soybean-paste stew. These are recognizable to some people. But then it changes into a weird, strange smell from nowhere. In the beginning, some people might say it caused nostalgia, [but] over time you can’t really tell what it is. This kind of uncertainty or unpredictable stage as a performative quality is what I wanted to see in my installation. It’s like a commentary on what happened in real life [these] past two years.

Smell was the most powerful material that I was working with in my show, which never really had happened before, because [while] I had these kinds of [olfactory] elements, the visuality was more dominant. But here, if you’re not experiencing the smell, then you can’t really comment on the [show]. Things are really bound by the smell or odor.

Haena Yoo, Oriental Sauce Factory (installation view) (2021). Image courtesy of the artist and Murmurs. Photo: Joshua Schaedel.

smh: I think it’s really powerful what you’re doing with smell. You’re saying it’s a cultural material. Otherwise, certain smells are not elevated in this way—smells that are always experienced in restaurants or at the Asian supermarket. And so bringing them into this space and making art viewers all experience this arresting smell is very affecting. How do you think smell is more effective than anything else as a material for you?

HY: For most of my installation, I use various different materials or immaterialities, some of which were borrowed from minoritarian cultures. It’s an orchestrating process, and it provides an element of defamiliarization. It gives me the chance to take on these cultural forms and interrogate them about their meaning within society.

When I visited my dad’s sauce factory in Korea, the smell was the most distinctive material that I confronted at first. It was the compelling and dominant presence in the factory, and I felt like it was a whole other world. But after a while, I got used to it and didn’t really mind being inside the factory. I wanted to drag that experience into this installation. 

I think smell is really important [in the work] because it represents the collision of desire and control in the system being decomposed or fermented. It brings an odor and that’s why the viewers are haunted by it. This kind of unpleasant or feminine smell baffles us. And it’s undiscerned; even though it’s a cultural affect, it’s unpredicted or uncontrolled. That’s my main intention, wanting to emphasize reality. It also gives me a little bit of [a] powerful sense, when [the smell is the] dominant presence. It’s invisible but aggressive. Like, oh, here, Asians! We’re contained, discriminated against, but very smelly. Watch out—[it will] immerse you. Attack you back.

smh: Ssanghwa-tang, a traditional Korean herbal medicine, makes an appearance in your meju blocks, while over-the-counter drugs such as Benadryl and Aleve brew in a fermented reservoir. Amidst Covid-19 and an increase in anti- Asian xenophobia and political demagoguery, how have you seen your relationship to Indigenous/traditional and conventional Western medicines change?

HY: I love herbal medicine… and my mom was really into it. It has been common already in Korea. They take herbal medicine from the Chinese acupuncture hospital. And during Covid-19, before the vaccine came out, we were really panicked. Some people were more into making homemade versions of herbal medicine to improve the immune system and sharing it with neighbors and family members. I thought it was cute, but also desperate. Most people were aspiring to find the right medicine or ideology to prevent getting sick from Covid-19. Maybe the vaccines or some pills that I purchased from Western drug stores here are medically better-proven. I don’t know. We’re taking both. I’m taking both the herbal medicine and the Western medicine, just hoping that it will help me. And I think [it] was kind of random. I can’t really say which one [will] work out or if it can work out differently individually. Rather, I see these pills as a panacea, appeasing all hopes and desperations, that I’m willing to take.

smh: Right. It’s a hybrid concoction, just like your sauce.

HY: Exactly. My ambivalent feelings towards [the] two kinds of medicines [are] why I play with the randomness and make my own medicine or magical sauce. And these are [the products of] my research and my explanation on [medicine] just as an ordinary person. I really can’t say what is right—[it’s] very controversial. So I wanted to take that position [of] my struggle, my conflicted or ambivalent feelings. I think this is what the main fermentation table is really about. I’m making the sauce.

smh: That’s so great. I also, of course, want to talk about the guns. I have so many feelings around these works in particular because the Atlanta spa shooting was really emotional and heartbreaking for me. In your show, I feel like that is the last room that the viewer will probably enter: soy-dyed rice paper pistols, a revolver, and a rifle with newspaper headlines that read: “8 Dead in Atlanta Spa Shooting,” “Attack on Asian Woman in Midtown.” I was sort of seeing the soy-stained paper as almost tear-stained paper, like the Bride’s tears.

HY: Yes, the guns are displayed as a punctuation of the show. I was upset by all the kinds of racism that have happened lately. Last year, I was in Seoul, but I got to see many friends who came back to Seoul from London, New York City, and L.A., because of [all the] racism and what they witnessed. I haven’t experienced any in person, but could feel this huge fear… And it was really breaking my heart again. I researched the most common guns used in America—pistol, revolver, and rifles. I took three models and made them into paper guns, titling them I’ve gone to look for America. Folding the papers, making [them] into origami guns, which are not functional, was like a ritual process to me—just like you said, it is presented with the tears, as a memoir to remember them. You know, we don’t forget what happened.

Haena Yoo, an artist born in South Korea, works between Los Angeles and Seoul. Yoo makes installations constructed with found materials, video, sound, and smell, exploring themes of labor, identity, and global capitalism.

This interview was originally published in Carla issue 27

Haena Yoo, Bride Machinery (detail) (2021). Image courtesy of the artist and Murmurs. Photo: Joshua Schaedel.

Haena Yoo, The Oriental Sauce Factory (installation view) (2021). Image courtesy of the artist and Murmurs. Photo: Joshua Schaedel.

Haena Yoo, The Milky Way Table (detail) (2021). Image courtesy of the artist and Murmurs. Photo: Joshua Schaedel.

  1. Janis Mink, “Marcel Duchamp, 1887-1968: Art as Anti-Art.”

stephanie mei huang is an L.A.-based interdisciplinary artist. They use a diverse range of media and strategies, including film/video, writing, sculpture, and painting. They were a participant in the Whitney Independent Study program (2022) and received their MFA from the California Institute of the Arts (2020).

More by stephanie mei huang