Letter From the Editor Lindsay Preston Zappas
Letter to the Editor
Men on Women
Geena Brown
Eyes Without a Voice
Julian Rosefeldt's Manifesto
Christina Catherine Martinez
Seven Minute Dream Machine
Jordan Wolfson's (Female figure)
Travis Diehl
Laughing in Private
Vanessa Place's Rape Jokes
Catherine Wagley
Interview with
Rosha Yaghmai
Laura Brown
Exquisite L.A.
Featuring: Patrick Martinez,
Ramiro Gomez, and John Valadez
Claressinka Anderson
Joe Pugliese
Launch Party February 2019
Frieze Los Angeles, ALAC,
Spring Break Art Fair, Felix
Buy the Issue In our Online Shop
Reviews Outliers and American
Vanguard Art at LACMA
–Jonathan Griffin

Sperm Cult
at LAXART
–Matt Stromberg

Kahlil Joseph
at MOCA PDC
–Jessica Simmons

Ingrid Luche
at Ghebaly Gallery
–Lindsay Preston Zappas

Matt Paweski
at Park View / Paul Soto
–John Zane Zappas

Trenton Doyle Hancock
at Shulamit Nazarian
–Colony Little

(L.A. in N.Y.)
Catherine Opie
at Lehmann Maupin
–Angella d'Avignon
Letter From the Editor Lindsay Preston Zappas
Celeste Dupuy-Spencer and Figurative Religion Catherine Wagley
Lynch in Traffic Travis Diehl
The Remixed Symbology of Nina Chanel Abney Lindsay Preston Zappas
Interview with Kulapat Yantrasast Christie Hayden
Exquisite L.A.
Featuring: Sandra de la Loza, Gloria Galvez, and Steve Wong
Claressinka Anderson
Photos: Joe Pugliese
Launch Party November 18, 2018
at Odd Ark L.A.
Reviews Raúl de Nieves
at Freedman Fitzpatrick
-Aaron Horst

Gertrud Parker
at Parker Gallery
-Ashton Cooper

Robert Yarber
at Nicodim Gallery
-Jonathan Griffin

Nikita Gale
at Commonwealth & Council
-Simone Krug

Lari Pittman
at Regen Projects
-Matt Stromberg

(L.A. in N.Y.)
Eckhaus Latta
at the Whitney Museum
of American Art
-Angella d'Avignon
Letter From the Editor Lindsay Preston Zappas
Letter to the Editor Julie Weitz with Angella d'Avignon
Don't Make
Everything Boring
Catherine Wagley
The Collaborative Art
World of Norm Laich
Matt Stromberg
Oddly Satisfying Art Travis Diehl
Made in L.A. 2018 Reviews Claire de Dobay Rifelj
Jennifer Remenchik
Aaron Horst
Exquisite L.A.
Featuring: Anna Sew Hoy, Guadalupe Rosales, and Shizu Saldamando
Claressinka Anderson
Photos: Joe Pugliese
Launch Party August 18, 2018
At Praz-Delavallade
Reviews It's Snowing in LA
at AA|LA
–Matthew Lax

Fiona Conner
at the MAK Center
–Thomas Duncan

Show 2
at The Gallery @ Michael's
–Simone Krug

Deborah Roberts
at Luis De Jesus Los Angeles
–Ikechukwu Casmir Onyewuenyi

Mimi Lauter
at Blum & Poe
–Jessica Simmons

(L.A. in N.Y.)
Math Bass
at Mary Boone
–Ashton Cooper

(L.A. in N.Y.)
Condo New York
–Laura Brown
Poetic Energies and
Radical Celebrations:
Senga Nengudi and Maren Hassinger
Simone Krug
Interior States of the Art Travis Diehl
Perennial Bloom:
Florals in Feminism
and Across L.A.
Angella d'Avignon
The Mess We're In Catherine Wagley
Interview with
Christina Quarles
Ashton Cooper
Object Project
Featuring Suné Woods, Michelle Dizon,
and Yong Soon Min
Lindsay Preston Zappas
Photos: Jeff McLane
Launch Party May 19, 2018
at Karma International
Reviews Meleko Mokgosi
at The Fowler Museum at UCLA
-Jessica Simmons

Chris Kraus
at Chateau Shatto
- Aaron Horst

Ben Sanders
at Ochi Projects
- Matt Stromberg

iris yirei hsu
at the Women's Center
for Creative Work
- Hana Cohn

Harald Szeemann
at the Getty Research Institute
- Olivian Cha

Ali Prosch
at Bed and Breakfast
- Jennifer Remenchik

Reena Spaulings
at Matthew Marks
- Thomas Duncan
Letter from the Editor Lindsay Preston Zappas
Museum as Selfie Station Matt Stromberg
Accessible as Humanly as Possible Catherine Wagley
On Laura Owens on Laura Owens Travis Diehl
Interview with Puppies Puppies Jonathan Griffin
Object Project Lindsay Preston Zappas, Jeff McLane
Launch Party
Reviews Dulce Dientes
at Rainbow in Spanish
- Aaron Horst

Adrián Villas Rojas
at The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA
- Lindsay Preston Zappas

Nevine Mahmoud
at M+B
- Angella D'Avignon

Radical Women: Latin American Art, 1960- 1985
at the Hammer Museum
- Thomas Duncan

Hannah Greely and William T. Wiley
at Parker Gallery
- Keith J. Varadi

David Hockney
at The Metropolitan Museum of Art (L.A. in N.Y.)
- Ashton Cooper

Edgar Arceneaux
at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (L.A. in S.F.)
- Hana Cohn
Letter from the Editor Lindsay Preston Zappas
Barely Living with Art:
The Labor of Domestic
Spaces in Los Angeles
Eli Diner
She Wanted Adventure:
Dwan, Butler, Mizuno, Copley
Catherine Wagley
The Languages of
All-Women Exhibitions
Lindsay Preston Zappas
L.A. Povera Travis Diehl
On Eclipses:
When Language
and Photography Fail
Jessica Simmons
Interview with
Hamza Walker
Julie Wietz
Reviews Cheyenne Julien
at Smart Objects

Paul Mpagi Sepuya
at team bungalow

Ravi Jackson
at Richard Telles

Tactility of Line
at Elevator Mondays

Trigger: Gender as a Tool as a Weapon
at the New Museum
(L.A. in N.Y.)
Launch Party November 18, 2017
at the Landing
Object Project
Featuring: Rosha Yaghmai,
Dianna Molzan, and Patrick Jackson
Lindsay Preston Zappas
Photos by Jeff McLane
Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA
Reviews
Regen Projects
Ibid Gallery
One National Gay & Lesbian Archives and MOCA PDC
The Mistake Room
Luis De Jesus Gallery
the University Art Gallery at CSULB
the Autry Museum
Letter from the Editor Lindsay Preston Zappas
Women on the Plinth Catherine Wagley
Us & Them, Now & Then:
Reconstituting Group Material
Travis Diehl
The Offerings of EJ Hill
Ikechukwu Casmir Onyewuenyi
Interview with Jenni Sorkin Carmen Winant
Letter to the Editor Lady Parts, Lady Arts
Launch Party August 19th at Blum and Poe
Object Project
Featuring: Rebecca Morris,
Linda Stark, Alex Olson
Lindsay Preston Zappas
Photos by Jeff McClane
Reviews Mark Bradford
at the Venice Biennale

Broken Language
at Shulamit Nazarian

Artists of Color
at the Underground Museum

Anthony Lepore & Michael Henry Hayden
at Del Vaz Projects

Home
at LACMA

Analia Saban at
Sprueth Magers
Letter from the Editor Lindsay Preston Zappas
Kanye Westworld Travis Diehl
@richardhawkins01 Thomas Duncan
Support Structures:
Alice Könitz and LAMOA
Catherine Wagley
Interview with
Penny Slinger
Eliza Swann
Exquisite L.A.
Featuring:
taisha paggett
Ashley Hunt
Young Chung
Intro by Claressinka Anderson
Portraits by Joe Pugliese
Letter to the Editor
Launch Party May 13, 2017
at Commonwealth and Council
Reviews Alessandro Pessoli
at Marc Foxx

Jennie Jieun Lee
at The Pit

Trisha Baga
at 356 Mission

Jimmie Durham
at The Hammer

Parallel City
at Ms. Barbers

Jason Rhodes
at Hauser & Wirth
Letter from the Editor Lindsay Preston Zappas
Generous
Structures
Catherine Wagley
Put on a Happy Face:
On Dynasty Handbag
Travis Diehl
The Limits of Animality:
Simone Forti at ISCP
(L.A. in N.Y.)
Ikechukwu Casmir Onyewuenyi
More Wound Than Ruin:
Evaluating the
"Human Condition"
Jessica Simmons
Launch Party February 18, 2017
at Shulamit Nazarian
Exquisite L.A.
Featuring:
Brenna Youngblood
Todd Gray
Rafa Esparza
Intro by Claressinka Anderson
Portraits by Joe Pugliese
Reviews Creature
at The Broad

Sam Pulitzer & Peter Wachtler
at House of Gaga // Reena Spaulings Fine Art

Karl Haendel
at Susanne Vielmetter

Wolfgang Tillmans
at Regen Projects

Ma
at Chateau Shatto

The Rat Bastard Protective Association
at the Landing
Letter from the Editor Lindsay Preston Zappas
Kenneth Tam
's Basement
Travis Diehl
The Female
Cool School
Catherine Wagley
The Rise
of the L.A.
Art Witch
Amanda Yates Garcia
Interview with
Mernet Larsen
Julie Weitz
Agnes Martin
at LACMA
Jessica Simmons
Launch Party Carla Issue 6
Exquisite L.A.
Featuring:
Analia Saban
Ry Rocklen
Sarah Cain
Intro by Claressinka Anderson
Portraits by Joe Pugliese
Reviews
Made in L.A. 2016
at The Hammer Museum

Doug Aitken
at The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA

Mertzbau
at Tif Sigfrids

Jean-Pascal Flavian and Mika Tajima
at Kayne Griffin Corcoran

Mark A. Rodruigez
at Park View

The Weeping Line
Organized by Alter Space
at Four Six One Nine
(S.F. in L.A.)
Letter form the Editor Lindsay Preston Zappas
Non-Fiction
at The Underground Museum
Catherine Wagley
The Art of Birth Carmen Winant
Escape from Bunker Hill
John Knight
at REDCAT
Travis Diehl
Ed Boreal Speaks Benjamin Lord
Art Advice (from Men) Sarah Weber
Routine Pleasures
at the MAK Center
Jonathan Griffin
Launch Party Carla Issue 5
Exquisite L.A.
Featuring:
Fay Ray
John Baldessari
Claire Kennedy
Intro by Claressinka Anderson
Portraits by Joe Pugliese
Reviews Revolution in the Making
at Hauser Wirth & Schimmel

Carl Cheng
at Cherry and Martin

Joan Snyder
at Parrasch Heijnen Gallery

Elanor Antin
at Diane Rosenstein

Performing the Grid
at Ben Maltz Gallery
at Otis College of Art & Design

Laura Owens
at The Wattis Institute
(L.A. in S.F.)
Letter from the Editor Lindsay Preston Zappas
Moon, laub, and Love Catherine Wagley
Walk Artisanal Jonathan Griffin
Reconsidering
Marva Marrow's
Inside the L.A. Artist
Anthony Pearson
Mystery Science Thater:
Diana Thater
at LACMA
Aaron Horst
Informal Feminisms Federica Bueti and Jan Verwoert
Marva Marrow Photographs
Lita Albuquerque
Launch Party Carla Issue 4
Interiors and Interiority:
Njideka Akunyili Crosby
Char Jansen
Reviews L.A. Art Fairs

Material Art Fair, Mexico City

Rain Room
at LACMA

Evan Holloway
at David Kordansky Gallery

Histories of a Vanishing Present: A Prologue
at The Mistake Room

Carter Mull
at fused space
(L.A. in S.F.)

Awol Erizku
at FLAG Art Foundation
(L.A. in N.Y.)
Letter from the Editor Lindsay Preston Zappas
Le Louvre, Las Vegas Evan Moffitt
iPhones, Flesh,
and the Word:
F.B.I.
at Arturo Bandini
Lindsay Preston Zappas
Women Talking About Barney Catherine Wagley
Lingua Ignota:
Faith Wilding
at The Armory Center
for the Arts
and LOUDHAILER
Benjamin Lord
A Conversation
with Amalia Ulman
Char Jansen
How We Practice Carmen Winant
Launch Party Carla Issue 3
Share Your Piece
of the Puzzle
Federica Bueti
Amanda Ross-Ho Photographs
Erik Frydenborg
Reviews Honeydew
at Michael Thibault

Fred Tomaselli
at California State University, Fullerton

Trisha Donnelly
at Matthew Marks Gallery

Bradford Kessler
at ASHES/ASHES
Letter from the Editor Lindsay Preston Zappas
Hot Tears Carmen Winant
Slow View:
Molly Larkey
Anna Breininger and Kate Whitlock
Americanicity's Paintings:
Orion Martin
at Favorite Goods
Tracy Jeanne Rosenthal
Layers of Leimert Park Catherine Wagley
Junkspace Junk Food:
Parker Ito
at Kaldi, Smart Objects,
White Cube, and
Château Shatto
Evan Moffitt
Melrose Hustle Keith Vaughn
Reviews Mary Ried Kelley
at The Hammer Museum

Tongues Untied
at MOCA Pacific Design Center

No Joke
at Tanya Leighton
(L.A. in Berlin)
Snap Reviews Martin Basher at Anat Ebgi
Body Parts I-V at ASHES ASHES
Eve Fowler at Mier Gallery
Matt Siegle at Park View
Max Maslansky Photographs
Monica Majoli
at the Tom of Finland Foundation
White Lee, Black Lee:
William Pope.L’s "Reenactor"
Travis Diehl
Dora Budor Interview Char Jensen
Letter from the Editor Lindsay Preston Zappas
MEAT PHYSICS/
Metaphysical L.A.
Travis Diehl
Art for Art’s Sake:
L.A. in the 1990s
Anthony Pearson
A Dialogue in Two
Synchronous Atmospheres
Erik Morse
with Alexandra Grant
SOGTFO
at François Ghebaly
Jonathan Griffin
#studio #visit
with #devin #kenny
@barnettcohen
Mateo Tannatt
Photographs
Jibade-Khalil Huffman
Launch Party Carla Issue 1
Slow View:
Discussion on One Work
Anna Breininger
with Julian Rogers
Reviews Pierre Huyghe
at LACMA

Mernet Larsen
at Various Small Fires

John Currin
at Gagosian, Beverly Hills

Pat O'Niell
at Cherry and Martin

A New Rhythm
at Park View

Unwatchable Scenes and
Other Unreliable Images...
at Public Fiction

Charles Gaines
at The Hammer Museum

Henry Taylor
at Blum & Poe/ Untitled
(L.A. in N.Y.)
Distribution
Downtown
A+D Museum
Artbook @ Hauser & Wirth
Baert Gallery
Cirrus Gallery
Château Shatto
Elevator Mondays
The Geffen Contemporary 
at MOCA
Ghebaly Gallery
ICA LA
JOAN
LACA
Mistake Room
MOCA Grand Avenue
Monte Vista Projects
Night Gallery
The Box
Wilding Cran Gallery
Boyle Heights/ Chinatown
A.G. Geiger
Charlie James
Good Luck Gallery
Human Resources
Ibid Gallery
Parrasch Heijnen Gallery
Nicodim Gallery

Eastside
ESXLA
Odd Ark LA
Oof Books
Otherwild
River Gallery
Smart Objects
Women's Center for Creative Work
Westside
18th Street Arts
Ben Maltz Gallery at Otis
Crap Eyewear
DXIX Projects
Five Car Garage
Laband Art Gallery at LMU
team (bungalow)
Pasadena/ Glendale/ Valley
The Armory Center for the Arts
The Pit
Los Angeles Valley College
Mid-City
1301 PE
Big Pictures Los Angeles
California African American Museum
E.C. Liná
Commonwealth & Council
David Kordansky Gallery
Hunter Shaw Fine Art
Kayne Griffin Corcoran
Lowell Ryan Projects
ltd Los Angeles
Marciano Art Foundation
Ochi Projects
Praz-Delavallade
the Landing
Shoot the Lobster
SPRÜTH MAGERS
The Underground Museum
USC Fisher Museum of Art
Visitor Welcome Center
Culver City
Anat Ebgi
Arcana Books
Blum & Poe
Honor Fraser
Klowden Mann
Luis De Jesus
Philip Martin Gallery
Roberts Projects
Susanne Vielmetter
Hollywood
AA|LA
Diane Rosenstein
East Hollywood Fine Art
Family Books
GAVLAK
LACE
LA> M+B
Nino Mier Gallery
Moskowitz Bayse
Noysky Projects
Regen Projects
Shulamit Nazarian
Steve Turner
Tanya Bonakdar Gallery
The LODGE
Various Small Fires
Mobile
Gas Gallery
@gasdotgallery
Elsewhere in CA
CLOACA (San Fransisco)
Curatorial Research Bureau @ the YBCA (San Fransisco)
Et al. (San Francisco)
Ever Gold [Projects] (San Francisco)
fused space (San Francisco)
Gym Standard (San Diego)
Interface Gallery (Oakland)
Jessica Silverman (San Francisco)
Left Field (San Luis Obispo)
Minnesota Street Projects (San Fransisco)
San Diego Art Institute (San Diego)
Verge Center for the Arts (Sacramento)
Wattis Institute for Contemporary Art (San Francisco)
Wolfman Books (Oakland)
Non CA
Artbook @ MoMA PS1 (Long Island City, NY)
Nationale (Portland, OR)
McNally Jackson (New York)
Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture (Skowhegan, ME)
Small Editions (Brooklyn, NY)
Space 42 (Jacksonville, FL)
Spoonbill & Sugartown (Brooklyn, NY)
Ulises (Philadelphia, PA)
Libraries/ Collections
Bard College, Center for Curatorial Studies Library (Annandale-on-Hudson, NY)
CalArts (Valencia, CA)
Center for the Arts, Wesleyan University (Middletown, CT)
Cranbrook Academy of Art (Bloomfield Hills, MI)
Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Research Library (Los Angeles, CA)
Los Angeles Contemporary Archive (Los Angeles, CA)
Marpha Foundation (Marpha, Nepal)
Maryland Institute College of Art, The Decker Library (Baltimore, MD)
Metropolitan Museum of Art, Thomas J. Watson Library (New York, NY)
Midway Contemporary Art (Minneapolis, MN)
Museum of Contemporary Art Santa Barbara, Emerging Leaders of Arts (Santa Barbara, CA)
Northwest Nazarene University (Nampa, ID)
Pepperdine University (Malibu, CA)
Point Loma Nazarene University (San Diego, CA)
School of the Art Institute of Chicago, John M. Flaxman Library (Chicago, IL)
Scholes Library, NYS College of Ceramics at Alfred University (Alfred, NY)
Skowhegan Archives (New York, NY)
Sotheby’s Institute of Art (New York, NY)
Telfair Museum (Savannah, GA)
University of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia, PA)
USC Fisher Museum of Art (Los Angeles, CA)
University of San Diego (San Diego, CA)
Walker Art Center (Minneapolis, MN)
Whitney Museum of American Art, Frances Mulhall Achilles Library (New York, NY)
Yale University Library (New Haven, CT)

Interview with
Rosha Yaghmai

Rosha Yaghmai, Miraclegrow (2019) (installation view at the Wattis Institute). Image courtesy of the artist and Kayne Griffin Corcoran, Los Angeles. Photo: Johnna Arnold.

Around the glass and bronze entry to the Griffith Observatory, the building’s concrete exterior is inlayed with a series of turning patterns and stripes. In 2015, Rosha Yaghmai recreated a fragment of this façade, making her own patterned doorway to the stars on a smaller, single-body scale. These portals (Gates) were finished smooth with various pigments and products, including silver oxide, copper, Miracle-Gro®, and Aztec Secret bentonite clay. She installed each flush against the wall at Kayne Griffin Corcoran gallery with a rust covered pool chair placed nearby. Together they implied the body in various postures and against architectures—traveling between realms, or reclining. Since this scene, Yaghmai’s list of hallucinatory motifs and materials has steadily grown. For her solo exhibition, Miraclegrow, at the CCA Wattis Institute (running January 15–March 30, 2019), she turns from tableau mode to full installation, fashioning a tiled room from the perspective of a spider. I was curious about this shift. We caught up over the phone in the weeks prior to the exhibition’s opening.

Laura Brown: Could you describe what you’re working on for Miraclegrow?

Rosha Yaghmai: I’m remaking a bathroom floor. Zooming into one little section of a floor, from observation. I saw a spider on my bathroom floor trying to crawl on my jumpsuit. I pulled the clothing away and watched the spider not totally understand what happened. It perceived the moment in some way I can’t comprehend. And so I wanted to zoom into its existence and think, what does the spider see? I can’t imagine.

LB: There’s a drastic shift in the entire landscape for that small animal.

RY: That must be so much a part of its daily existence. This idea of a weird, disappeared ghost landscape. And the spider is left perched next to these black tiles, so it’s seeing some kind of reflection, potentially.

For the Wattis show, I’ve created a faux floor that’s tile and grout, which acts as the pedestal for a 17-foot hair that is made from a rusty pipe. There are eight black tile panels, where the wall meets the floor. I’ve painted a very loose landscape onto the panels. It’s a backdrop for the hair but also acts as a semi-reflective surface, reflecting another indeterminate landscape of the room. There’s also a bug zapper. It reflects and follows you like a charged little spot of purple.

LB: Why Miraclegrow?

RY: I think it’s just about a very literal scale shift. Your surroundings just grew, like you’re Alice in Wonderland. Since my show Easy Journey to Other Planets (in 2015), I’ve been using Miracle-Gro®, copper, mud masks, and so on as pigments. Miracle-Gro® is a chemical (a fertilizer) that you put on a living thing to change its properties. In the back of my mind I’m always thinking of psychedelics.

LB: How were chemicals involved in the process of making this work?

RY: A lot of the time I’m drawn to a certain material and I know it’s going to provide me some limitations. Generally, I’ll work with something liquid that becomes solid. And so for the hair, with the pipe as the armature, I coated it for a couple months until it resembled sedimentary stone. It’s encrusted with patches, blue chunks of Miracle-Gro® made with copper and plasters. There’s no silicone on the sculpture, but I started with casting my body in silicone. I used rust oxide and all these dry earth pigments, putting them down with my body casts. There’s also melted plastics—shampoo bottles and laundry bottles. There’s nail polish, and Aztec Secret bentonite clay, limestone, tons of sand. At this point, the pipe is so covered, it’s not a visible part of the work anymore. It’s a sort of inner passage.

LB: Casting has been a large part of your practice.

RY: Yet I’ve never actually cast my body before. I keep returning to the resins and silicones. In The Courtyard (2017), the silicones were a facade that you couldn’t enter. Or the cast Gates (2015), they imply a portal, but you can’t enter. I seem to always be making doorways, pass-throughs, windows, screens. I think most of my work is some kind of screen. This whole show was supposed to be silicones, and then I changed it. I was actually dreaming about it last night. For me, the silicones are always a stand-in for the body. Just the weight of it, the properties of it.

Rosha Yaghmai, Miraclegrow (2019) (installation view at the Wattis Institute). Image courtesy of the artist and Kayne Griffin Corcoran, Los Angeles. Photo: Johnna Arnold.

LB: Is the relation of silicone to the body a prosthetic one?

RY: I actually don’t think of it so much as a prosthetic. I’m coming from Los Angeles, Hollywood, so it’s more about special effects or adopting another body. In The Courtyard, I really wanted to find a way to use that body on a more architectural scale, and to project the body into certain architectures. That came from observing façades around the city at night when I couldn’t sleep. And from this desire to connect to other ways of living, or other lives. So much of my work is about the pain of existing in one body, or one life.

LB: Where did the pipes originate from?

RY: A few years ago, I went to my friend’s house and she was redoing the gas lines under her house because there was a leak. There were all these pipes gnarled and stacked in the corner of her yard. I saw them and immediately I recognized them as an unearthed system of connection and communication, altered and broken. I wanted to cut into them and insert these lenses. The lenses were from my father and a lot of the men in my family, over many decades and locations. They all have bad eyes. I wanted to further fracture the line, to blend perspectives, alter sights, or layer visions. I think the lenses are a really intimate part of the body. You are looking through someone else’s corrected eyes.

With this new work, the pipe is a blown-up hair on the tiles. A hair is its own pass-through of your life, your DNA, and a record of the chemicals on your body. It’s a map or a timeline of your experiences in the stretch of however many years that hair was in your head. So for me it just made sense to use the pipe to make it.

LB: You’ve mentioned psychedelics. There’s this connection between the sense of tracing you’re describing, including with your family, and then the hallucinogenic experience— entering into a psychedelic state to reach this other, longer, sedimentary history.

RY: Yes. It’s so much about alienation or foreignness. Not so much the image of the Californian psychedelic experience, being one with nature—instead a window into how disconnected you are, how much you don’t understand. You can get into a little wormhole with one object, and then another object doesn’t appeal to you at all. For me, it’s really tapping into some weird, trapped knowledge.

For example, with the benches in The Courtyard, I was responding to a ’90s beach experience that I can remember, again just from being outside at night. When I was making that show I found a suitcase. My dad’s an architect but he owned a marble company for a long time, and I was looking through his drawings and, sure enough, there was a whole line of furniture that looked exactly like the benches I was making.

LB: All these apparently inherent connections. There seems to be a certain embeddedness to your materials.

RY: It’s a strange bleeding or seepage of information. This sort of slow drip, digging out my understanding of this world. I’m realizing my work is very personal. The process is totally entangled with me figuring out what I’m drawn to and why. And so there are motifs that come back, like windows and doors and draped fabric. A mysterious under-life or psyche.

I’m realizing how removed from my own cultures I am. My father’s from the Middle East. He’s from Iran and perhaps because it was a traumatic exit for most Iranians who came to this country, and everyone deals with it in a different way, I think through the process of assimilation, or migration, that part of my DNA, my absorbed culture, is such a mystery to me. There are so many ways I could research or look into the facts and I just don’t have any interest in that, because I feel that figuring it out in-process is really generative. I think misunderstanding is a very generative thing.

That’s the crux of the installation I made for the Hammer’s Made in L.A. 2018. I had these photos and slides that my father made. I finally talked to him about them. When he first immigrated and he was in Berkeley, he took a photo class and started making slides. He got chunks of glass from the Coca-Cola factory up there and was using the television and other light sources to make these psychedelic images. I’d been making slides too.

LB: Does this familial connection appear in Miraclegrow?

RY: There is a copper tube coming out of the wall. It’s a sound piece that consists of my brother Amir and me. It sounds very strange. We remade the Three’s Company jingle, and put it together with this Iranian song about a river. It’s not very clear; it’s very muffled. So it implies this other possible apartment or unreachable existence, just on the other side of the wall.

“Roodkhooneha” or “River Song” is originally sung by Ramesh. It’s about how she wants to become another being, like a fish, and swim in the river, then become an ocean. Reincarnation. It tracks her small existence into a greater one. It’s about her desire; it’s not about the reality.

Laura Brown is a writer and curator living in New York.

Rosha Yaghmai lives and works in Los Angeles, CA, and received her MFA from CalArts in 2007. Notable solo and two-person exhibitions include those at The Wattis Institute (San Francisco); Marlborough Contemporary and Cleopatra’s (New York); Kayne Griffin Corcoran and Commonwealth and Council (Los Angeles); and Weiss Berlin (Berlin). Her work has been included in many shows internationally, including at the Hammer Museum and the Marciano Art Foundation (Los Angeles); Artissima (Turin); Transmission Gallery (Glasgow); and Estación Tijuana (Tijuana).

Rosha Yaghmai, Miraclegrow (2019) (installation view at the Wattis Institute). Image courtesy of the artist and Kayne Griffin Corcoran, Los Angeles. Photo: Johnna Arnold.

Rosha Yaghmai, Made in L.A. (2018) (installation view). Image courtesy of the artist and Hammer Museum.

Rosha Yaghmai, Optometer, Charm (2017). Steel, rubber, corrective lenses, silicone, eyeshadow, 42 × 23 × 30 inches. Image courtesy of the artist and Kayne Griffin Corcoran.

Rosha Yaghmai, The Courtyard (2019) (installation view). Image courtesy of the artist and Kayne Griffin Corcoran, Los Angeles. Photo: Flying Studio.

Rosha Yaghmai, Gates (iron, aluminum, silver nickel) (2015). Wood, duoMatrix with iron, aluminum, silver nickel, 89 × 48 × 1 inches. Images courtesy of the artist and Kayne Griffin Corcoran, Los Angeles. Photo: Brian Forest.


This essay was originally published in Carla issue 15.