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 Patty Chang

Leer en Español

Patty Chang, Milk Debt (video still) (2020). 5-channel HD video, 53 minutes. Image courtesy of the artist.

Patty Chang’s recent shows have both featured breast milk. Bodily fluids (milk, urine, tears) continue to percolate through her practice. I have oft-conceived of Chang’s practice as a semiaquatic mammal of its own: watery and bodily, helical in flow.

Chang’s new exhibition at 18th Street Arts Center, Milk Debt, takes its title from Chinese Buddhist notions of filial piety, wherein children owe a lifelong debt to the mothers who suckled them. In the five-channel video installation, lactating women pump their breast milk while reciting lists of fears, which Chang collected by surveying communities in Los Angeles, where she lives and works, as well as Hong Kong and New Mexico, where she has recently completed artist residencies. Chang then chose a handful of women to lm while they pumped breast milk— constellating women across various cities through this shared act.

The inventory of fears begins with Chang’s personal list, first drafted in 2018. Upon moving to Altadena in late 2017, Chang, who had recently given birth, found her anxieties over the environment and climate compounded by her own postpartum. Many of the fears in Chang’s list are eerily prescient: the fifth fear is “ re, burning in a re”; two fears later is “smog”; then, “113 degrees everyday.”

I previewed Milk Debt just three days after the recent San Gabriel earthquake, the very night of Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death. As my personal fears became increasingly tangible amidst a milieu of unrest, eroding democracy, and an overworked planet, I was soothed by Chang’s performers; speaking over the mechanical suck of the breast pump, their stated fears felt more collective than isolating.

Last month, as we sat in distanced chairs in Chang’s backyard to talk about Milk Debt, I told Chang that I like to think of the solace I found in Milk Debt as a form of successful affect labeling. Affect labeling—
an implicit emotional regulation strategy of verbalizing feelings, or more specifically in this case, fears—is a form of linguistic processing. Milk Debt grounds pandemic-era fears by allowing them to linguistically congregate in a commons. In this way, Chang forges a reservoir in which visitors can bathe in their fears—the porosity of one’s anxieties intermingling with those of others.

stephanie mei huang: I wonder, how do you think about the way the pandemic has really transformed collectivized fears? I’ve heard you use the phrase “communal text” in regards to the list of fears that is read in Milk Debt.

Patty Chang: I think maybe an environmental difference [between] now and when we were building our list of fears is that [now, fears are] much more socially on the surface. So, people are actually feeling these and then vocalizing them, whether it be in an intimate setting or in a public setting. I think that when I made my personal list and then when we were collecting the fears, we thought of these [fears] as things that people thought but didn’t speak. It was much more internalized … like there’s a sort of low, humming anxiety, but maybe we can’t name what it is because we don’t want to. So perhaps that’s one of the differences that Covid has revealed.

smh: Were your fears being amplified after you had your son, Leroy, and you were responsible for another life?

PC: I think that this idea of looking at my fears started from being pregnant and having a child. When I had the baby, I found that I just had so much anxiety about everything. It seemed over the top, but I couldn’t separate it from the experience of giving birth and trying to keep the baby alive. Trying to keep this baby alive extended to basically everything … So I think starting from that point, I realized that I was having really intense fears about things that we could imagine, that are rational or irrational … I think it’s just part of the biological response on one level to start to fear everything or to be concerned about everything.

smh: I know that the ethics of care were so crucial for you in this work. Given the intimacy involved in the act of breast pumping, which is an act rooted in care and nourishment, I’m wondering what the shift was like for you, from filming your performers in person to virtually on Skype or Zoom during the pandemic. What was it like to engage with such a visceral bodily act over these virtual platforms?

PC: It definitely felt different. I think there was less of a connection. When we were in-person in the beginning, we did it many, many times, and we shot many times in different locations. It was a much more extended experimentation and learning curve for what the experience would be like … So it definitely felt like it was much more connected in terms of immediately responding to someone and having an audience in some way. We would be there watching and witnessing the performance. And then once we decided we shouldn’t meet in-person anymore, it was interesting intellectually, because we were all moving onto online platforms. There were so many features about recording through the technology that I was interested in. But after a few times, it kind of became boring. I felt like my witnessing them was very different in a way. The first one I did with Haejung, you see my image at the top of the Zoom. [It is] so weird for me to see that there, because I’m standing by the camera and I look like I’m performing this function—I have a job. It very much points to the process of filming, filmmaking, and artifice, and it’s really strange.

smh: Right, well I still really enjoyed that. There is just one trace of you. And then Leroy appears behind the laptop screen with his violin.

PC: I think they’re interesting to look at and to consider in the present moment … the shift from so much being in-person— especially in art and performance—to this mediated platform. I think it speaks to our time and that is why it’s interesting, but in terms of [the embodied] experience, it feels a little lacking.

smh: You also have a solo show on view at the San Francisco space, Friends Indeed—the synergistic timing of these two exhibitions is really impactful. In the Friends Indeed show, you’ve included still images of discarded breast milk in empty vessels like cups and fish tins photographed in Uzbekistan. How do you see these two shows working in dialogue with each other?

PC: The first thing I think of when you bring that up is the idea of movement and flow. In Milk Debt, the milk is moving. It’s active, but images of Letdown are stagnant. They’re in a discarded form. They’re not going to be used and they feel like puddles or stagnant pools.

Patty Chang, Milk Debt (video still) (2020). 5-channel HD video, 53 minutes. Image courtesy of the artist.

smh: And in your book, The Wandering Lake (2017), you talk about a “sympathetic loss of flow.”1

PC: Specifically, [I was] pumping milk while going to the Aral Sea [on a film shoot in 2014] and thinking about this fluid that has a function and that is being left in a place and will not be useful in the way it’s meant to be. Whereas in Milk Debt, the piece is more about the production of [milk] versus the discarding of it. It’s coming out [and it’s] unclear if it’s going to be used or not. The milk is what’s being produced by the hormones, and the hormones are being activated in the body. And those hormones, oxytocin and prolactin, are coursing through the women’s bodies, and those are the hormones that create this feeling of love or openness and affective response. It’s kind of an opposite relationship.

smh: Would you say breast milk is abject?

PC: I guess that’s about context, maybe. I mean, if you think about it, the fluid that comes out of the body, once it leaves the body, it’s not of the body, so it’s othered from the body. So, in that sense, it could be abject if it’s not going straight into a baby’s mouth. But there’s something about the machinery—the pump—that lends to this idea, the abjection, the possible abjections, because it’s pulling the fluid out of the body in an artificial way. And I guess if the baby was doing that, we wouldn’t see [the milk]. It would just be a logical conclusion of the milk going into its mouth. The part of the abjection is not the milk, but maybe the apparatus.

smh: Do you think there is a sense of healing in the act of lactation as bodily release?

PC: I think so. Yeah. And I guess also healing for whom—the body that’s lactating or the body that needs the nutrients or needs the love? I guess that’s why I was drawn to the gesture. We talked about the question of abjection in relation to breast milk, but at the same time, I think that the gesture itself is also inextricably linked to love and to caring. And so, if there’s abjection, there is still always love, you know?

smh: Definitely. Especially when I was thinking about oxytocin, which triggers lactation. I mean, falling in love is the best feeling in the world because of that amount of oxytocin and serotonin. And I’m like, wow, is that what breastfeeding feels like?

PC: Maybe for some people.

smh: Bodily expulsion and bodily ingestion have both had a lengthy history in your work. Astrida Neimanis, who you recently had a conversation with through 18th Street, writes that “we are all bodies of water” and that the feminist subjectivity is in fact “watered” and that embodiment is “watery.”2 Can you recall the moment and motivation when you began to more explicitly explore the intertwinement of humans and bodies of water?

PC: I think the logical answer for me would be The Wandering Lake (2017). But I was just thinking back about other projects that I’ve done about water. And one of them is the piece I did with [my partner and collaborator] David, Flotsam Jetsam (2007), about the building of the Three Gorges Dam and the subsequent flooding of the landscape. I guess in some ways that piece linked [my] thinking about dreams [with my] thinking about what happens to a place when it disappears and becomes submerged by water and enters [the] imaginary.

smh: But what drew you to that? What was the moment or shift for you in moving from bodily fluids to bodies of water?

PC: I’d say maybe it was a process that took time. I don’t think I just got there. These [works] all seemed like evolutionary steps along the way. I think before you can enter a geological body, you have to exit your own body. There’s kind of this process of leaving one’s own body in order to be able to think within other bodies, geological or otherwise.

Patty Chang is an L.A.-based artist and educator who uses performance, video, installation, and narrative forms when considering identity, gender, transnationalism, colonial legacies, the environment, large-scale infrastructural projects, and impacted subjectivities. Her work has been exhibited nationwide and internationally. She teaches at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles.

This essay was originally published in Carla issue 22.

Patty Chang, Milk Debt (video still) (2020). 5-channel HD video, 53 minutes. Image courtesy of the artist.

Patty Chang, Milk Debt (video still) (2020). 5-channel HD video, 53 minutes. Image courtesy of the artist.

Patty Chang, Letdown (2017). Archival inkjet print, 9.5 x 14 inches. Image courtesy of the artist, Cushion Works, and Friends Indeed Gallery, San Francisco.

Patty Chang, Letdown (2017). Archival inkjet print, 10.75 × 14.75 inches. Image courtesy of the artist, Cushion Works, and Friends Indeed Gallery, San Francisco.

Patty Chang, Letdown (2017). Archival inkjet print, 5.5 × 7.25 inches. Image courtesy of the artist, Cushion Works, and Friends Indeed Gallery, San Francisco.

Patty Chang, Letdown (2017). Archival inkjet print, 12.5 × 17 inches. Image courtesy of the artist, Cushion Works, and Friends Indeed Gallery, San Francisco.

Patty Chang and David Kelley, Linyi and Tiger (2007). Digital C-print, 50 × 40 inches. Image courtesy of the artists.

Patty Chang and David Kelley, Submarine (2007). Digital C-print, 50 × 40 inches. Image courtesy of the artists.

  1. Patty Chang, Patty Chang: The Wandering Lake (Brooklyn, NY: Dancing Foxes Press, 2017).
  2. Astrida Neimanis, “Feminist Subjectivity, Watered,” Feminist Review, no. 103 (2013): 23–41, http://www.jstor. org/stable/41819667.

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