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 Paulina Lara

Leer en Español

Photo: Monica Orozco.

Carving one’s own space in the art world can be daunting. For Paulina Lara, it was a necessity. The curator and producer-turned-gallery director founded LaPau Gallery in 2021 to develop and express her curatorial voice. She had previously organized exhibitions and programming independently with ONE Archives at the USC Libraries, OXY ARTS, and other venues, though she never held a formal curatorial role at an institution.

In a relatively short amount of time—just three years—Lara has established her Koreatown gallery as a vibrant community space and platform that spotlights some of the city’s most cutting-edge talent. She has presented ten exhibitions of artists from Los Angeles and abroad, and also organized music programming and pop-up events at the gallery and elsewhere in collaboration with Nike, Jarritos, and the music collective Mas Exitos.

Lara’s interests are as dynamic and varied as the artists she has shown. Her debut exhibition, Gabriela Ruiz’s Grounding, Prevent from Flying (2021), addressed the idea of grounding oneself amidst an existential crisis. Ruiz’s immersive blue installation invited viewers into her mind, simulating emotional regulation through color-saturated paintings, a sandbox that covered the gallery’s entire floor, and an original soundscape. Lara’s most recent project with Guatemala-based brothers Ángel and Fernando Poyón encapsulates her interests in global cultural exchange and the role of art in preserving ancestral and collective memory. As Tina Barouti wrote, Fernando Poyón’s maize sculpture, carved from yellow pencils, honors Mayan Kaqchikel ancestral knowledge and agricultural practices—the pencils transform the corn stalk into an “instrument of remembrance” and reflect the artists’ efforts to record, preserve, and promote Kaqchikel rituals and beliefs.1

History and memory serve as throughlines across several other exhibitions, including Jazzy Romero’s Servicios Express (2022), which featured a forty-seven-minute film structured around an intimate oral history that highlighted how Romero’s mother’s migration story intersected with histories of labor and food service industries across Mexico and the United States. Similarly, Lara’s project with Jorge G. Balleza of the group Sabotaje Media (2022), revealed the historical moment when Colombian cumbia music hit Monterrey, Mexico in the 1980s and ’90s through the display of rare photographs, footage, and ephemera belonging to cumbia aficionado Toño Estrada. This project is notable in that it engaged Lara’s deep interest in Latin American music histories, offering an excellent example of how her gallery’s program has bridged the visual art and music worlds.

Over a series of phone calls, Lara and I spoke about her curatorial practice, discussing the importance of art, archives, music, and human connection in her work. Our conversation began by reflecting on how we first met in 2014 at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) as part of the inaugural group of fellows in the Mellon Summer Academy. We stayed connected after the program, frequently checking in as we progressed through our undergraduate education, and eventually, we teamed up to curate our first exhibition together, Liberate the Bar! Queer Nightlife, Activism, and Spacemaking, with ONE Archives in 2019.

Joseph Daniel Valencia: What did you study in school?

Paulina Lara: I went to a community college in Oakland called Laney College. I was deeply interested in sociology, political science, and philosophy. It was very transformative because a lot of the professors were from different places. A lot of the students were international students. I was exposed to a lot of different cultures at once. I really didn’t consider art history. I took one art history class, but I didn’t take many art history classes until I transferred [schools].

Right before I transferred, I met my dear friend, San Cha. She was the only person I’d ever known who worked at a museum, at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (YBCA), at the box office. I ended up getting a job there, and I just made the decision—I was like, “this is what I always wanted to do.” I’ve always been into art. It just made sense to me, working at a museum. I just love the environment. I love everything about it.

JDV: How did working at YBCA shape your trajectory?

PL: I transferred as an art history major. I went to University of California, San Diego (UCSD). I did Art History, Theory, and Criticism and Ethnic Studies. I remember the first art history class that I took, and being like, “what did I get myself into?” because it was a whole different language! But I learned quickly, and the rest was really history. I did a lot of Latin American art history classes, specifically thinking about these different movements within Mexico, Brazil, and Peru. I felt like, in ways, I had to supplement things I didn’t get in art history with ethnic studies. I took a lot of Native American art history classes as well as theory classes—decolonial theory. Being interested, looking at things from a perspective that’s so broad, with different viewpoints, has shaped where I’m at now, specifically the work that I’m doing right now with my gallery program and my curatorial framework.

JDV: Let’s talk about your first exhibition, which we worked on together, Liberate the Bar! The project explored queer nightlife’s role in both activism and community building.

PL: Liberate the Bar! was a very important show. It was honestly the start of thinking about what my program is as a person that’s invested in art, and artists, and archives, and history. I think that show really put [together] the framework for what I was gonna do in the future.

JDV: What did you enjoy about the show?

PL: I enjoyed telling the stories of people who lived that experience. The exhibition came because it was the fiftieth anniversary of Stonewall, and you asked me if I wanted to co-curate this exhibition. We both agreed that we wanted to include L.A. history as well as honor Stonewall and its legacy. It was about nightlife, and I’ve always connected with nightlife—it was a place that I could be myself, and all my closest friends, we met in queer nightlife. [In the exhibition,] I was able to talk about this legacy of spaces that would discriminate against people who were Black and Brown. And from that, these new venues and spaces started to exist. I organized the archives, and the ephemera was from lived experience. A lot of people shared their stories with me. I was very happy and grateful that you gave me the opportunity to co-curate, because we always said that we would one day. [Laughs.]

JDV: What are some of the factors that led you to create LaPau Gallery?

PL: I wanted to continue to keep curating and be in conversation with artists. And I just wasn’t seeing the opportunities. I wanted to see the work that I wanted to see in the world, and I felt like I had to create a space for that. I couldn’t wait around for those opportunities to come. I just had to create them for myself, or I would be waiting forever.

Sabotaje Media, Pioneros Vallenatos y Tropicales; The Story of Toño Estrada (installation view) (2022). Image courtesy of the artist and LaPau Gallery. Photo: Monica Orozco.

Liberate the Bar! Queer Nightlife, Activism, and Spacemaking (installation view) (2019). Image courtesy of the artists and ONE Gallery, West Hollywood. Photo: Monica Orozco.

JDV: Tell me about your program at LaPau Gallery. How does it reflect your interests and experiences?

PL: My program is thinking about my experience being born here in the U.S., my parents being born in Latin America. I constantly think about my exchanges between these countries—my home and my parent’s home countries—but also through a lens of music, film, and art, actively remembering and constantly preserving. I do it by thinking about materials that are common or familiar to the artist—I think about how we relate to something that’s familiar.

JDV: I have noticed that many of your shows have a multidisciplinary focus. They include art, archives, music, and more. Can you talk about where that comes from?

PL: I come from a family of musicians on both sides. My grandpa plays the marimba—I actually had a marimba band play for this last show [featuring the work of the Poyón brothers]—but also, my uncle played in a couple of bands. So I come from deep roots of music. I will always include that, as well as film. That’s how I see the world, in all those different mediums. And the more I think about archives and the way I’m reimagining them—I’m working on several projects this year really thinking about the archive—I feel like it’s important for me and my family because my family moved from their countries to the U.S., and in that, you lose a lot of material, you lose a lot of things. The photos, archives, and videos are really important.

JDV: How does music shape your curatorial practice?

PL: I didn’t realize until later that I’ve actually programmed music for every show that I’ve had, or incorporated original sound. It’s so natural to me. And I feel like that’s what throws people off. Usually, if you’re into something, you’re in one scene, you just focus on that. I focus on a lot of things—different types of music, and different types of people, at the same time. I can exist in all those realms and spaces. We don’t have to confine ourselves to certain molds, stereotypes, or tropes. I’m all about breaking those, because they don’t really exist to me.

JDV: I have seen how dedicated you are to the artists you work with. For example, Gary “Ganas” Garay is someone you have known for a long time. You have supported him from his days in graduate school, exhibited his work at LaPau, and more recently helped stage his work for Made in L.A. 2023. Tell me about how you met, and how you have collaborated.

PL: Gary and I met at UCSD. He was a grad student on his way out of the MFA program, but we connected over music. I told him that I liked this one DJ [who] at the time was super underground. Once I said that, we just knew that we would stay in touch, that we were homies. We just rocked with each other in that way. Gary had collaborated with [some of] my good friends from the Bay Area, and it just grew from that. We’ve all been in conversation and supported each other and have created this little network of music nerds [laughs]. It’s been a beautiful thing to unfold. Gary has a label called Discos Rolas, and he art directs it with Alexandra Lippman. We are all involved in music, concerts, and producing.

Gary Garay, Rotaciones (installation view) (2022).
Image courtesy of the artist and LaPau Gallery.
Photo: Monica Orozco.

JDV: What have been the main themes of your projects at LaPau, such as with your first show by Gabriela Ruiz?

PL: That [show] was the future, past, and present all at the same time. You’re looking at yourself in the future, and then you’re looking at your past with the sound. The sandbox was about thinking about memory and childhood. It’s in this liminal space. And then Jorge [G. Balleza] was working in archives, starting with archival material about these histories of working-class people—our histories. I pushed to have everything digitized so that it could be shown, [preserving] the story of how that [cumbia] music scene in Monterrey became what it is now.

JDV: I like how you are describing these projects in terms of thinking about interrelated ideas over a longer period of time.

PL: Yeah, because it’s all of the themes in the shows. [The themes of LaPau shows] still connect to our past, but also contemplate and acknowledge our position of being born here, and still try to honor histories that we forgot. I hold space for people too. I’m proud of that. I’m proud of all those things because it goes back to the core of why I opened the gallery. It was to have a space to exist, but also to have a space to relate to the art in different ways. I feel like people like my space because they’re able to do that. There’s no right or wrong way to engage with art.

JDV: It is amazing to think that you have nearly single-handedly organized ten exhibitions in the past three years. That’s almost one show for every season of the year. How did you do it?

PL: I’m very fortunate to have a lot of people who believe in the gallery but also supported me along the way. Those ten shows have been incredible, but also very difficult. And I’m not shy to say that. It’s the reality, and it’s the truth.

JDV: You have shared with me privately that this conversation comes at a significant time for you and LaPau Gallery. You have organized so many meaningful projects and refined your voice, but you are also at a point of reflection. What is on your mind?

PL: Well, when I think about it, when you and I curated [Liberate the Bar!], that was a moment for me when things changed because I didn’t believe that I could be a curator. I didn’t see it within me even though others had seen it. And I think at that moment, I had lost loved ones, and I just was like, “life is too short to just be scared.” It propelled me to do all those shows, to not really have fear and just keep going. But, realistically, the amount of work that goes into the shows is not sustainable for anybody, not just me, you know? For everybody in the art world. I am taking a moment to think about that and also ground myself in what is really important to me or what fills my soul. What’s my spirit tapped into, with my ancestors, what is that guiding me to? It’s guiding me to music, and it’s an incredible realization and path that I’m on. So I’m excited.

Paulina Lara is an independent curator, event producer, and art and music consultant born and based in Los Angeles. LaPau Gallery, which she opened in 2021, has been featured in Artforum, ArtNews, Aperture, Los Angeles Times, and Latina Magazine. She is the co-curator of We Live! Memories of Resistance (Oxy Arts, 2021); Liberate the Bar! Queer Nightlife, Activism, and Spacemaking (ONE Archives at USC Libraries, 2019); and is serving on the curatorial team of Make Amerika Red Again, the first complete survey of James Luna (MOCA Tucson, forthcoming 2026). She holds a BA in Art History Theory, Criticism and Ethnic Studies from UC San Diego.

This interview was originally published in Carla issue 36.

Opening reception of exhibition celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Nike Cortez, LaPau Gallery, Los Angeles, 2022. Photos: Monica Orozco.

  1. Tina Barouti, “Sik’inik chukojol cholaj, chukojol nïm taq jay/ Gritos, voces entre surcos, entre edificios at LaPau Gallery,” Carla, October 25, 2023, https:// nim-taq-jay-gritos-voces-entre-surcos-entreedificios- at-lapau-gallery/.

Joseph Daniel Valencia is a curator and writer working across Los Angeles and Orange County, California. His writing often addresses the importance of artist networks, alternative spaces, and issues of historical erasure and collective memory in contemporary art. In addition to Carla, he has contributed to Aperture, KCET Artbound, OC Register, and the U.S. Latinx Art Forum, as well as numerous exhibition catalogs. He is Curator at the Vincent Price Art Museum at East Los Angeles College.

More by Joseph Daniel Valencia