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
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Issue 18 November 2019

Letter from the Editor –Lindsay Preston Zappas
The Briar and the Tar Nayland Blake at the ICA LA
and Matthew Marks Gallery
–Travis Diehl
Putting Aesthetics
to Hope
Tracking Photography’s Role
in Feminist Communities
– Catherine Wagley
Instagram STARtists
and Bad Painting
– Anna Elise Johnson
Interview with Jamillah James – Lindsay Preston Zappas
Working Artists Featuring Catherine Fairbanks,
Paul Pescador, and Rachel Mason
Text: Lindsay Preston Zappas
Photos: Jeff McLane
Reviews Children of the Sun
– Jessica Simmons

Derek Paul Jack Boyle
–Aaron Horst

Karl Holmqvist
at House of Gaga, Los Angeles
–Lee Purvey

Katja Seib
at Château Shatto
–Ashton Cooper

Jeanette Mundt
at Overduin & Co.
–Matt Stromberg
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Issue 17 August 2019

Letter From the Editor Lindsay Preston Zappas
Green Chip David Hammons
at Hauser & Wirth
–Travis Diehl
Whatever Gets You
Through the Night
The Artists of Dilexi
and Wartime Trauma
–Jonathan Griffin
Generous Collectors How the Grinsteins
Supported Artists
–Catherine Wagley
Interview with
Donna Huanca
–Lindsy Preston Zappas
Working Artist Featuring Ragen Moss, Justen LeRoy,
and Bari Ziperstein
Text: Lindsay Preston Zappas
Photos: Jeff McLane
Reviews Sarah Lucas
at the Hammer Museum
–Yxta Maya Murray

George Herms and Terence Koh
at Morán Morán
–Matt Stromberg

Hannah Hur
at Bel Ami
–Michael Wright

Sebastian Hernandez
–Julie Weitz

(L.A. in N.Y.)
Alex Israel
at Greene Naftali
–Rosa Tyhurst

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Issue 16 May 2019

Trulee Hall's Untamed Magic Catherine Wagley
Ingredients for a Braver Art Scene Ceci Moss
I Shit on Your Graves Travis Diehl
Interview with Ruby Neri Jonathan Griffin
Carolee Schneemann and the Art of Saying Yes! Chelsea Beck
Exquisite L.A. Claressinka Anderson
Joe Pugliese
Reviews Ry Rocklen
at Honor Fraser
–Cat Kron

Rob Thom
at M+B
–Lindsay Preston Zappas

Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age
of Black Power, 1963-1983
at The Broad
–Matt Stromberg

Anna Sew Hoy & Diedrick Brackens
at Various Small Fires
–Aaron Horst

Julia Haft-Candell & Suzan Frecon
at Parrasch Heijnen
–Jessica Simmons

(L.A. in N.Y.)
Shahryar Nashat
at Swiss Institute
–Christie Hayden
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Issue 15 February 2019

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

Sperm Cult
–Matt Stromberg

Kahlil Joseph
–Jessica Simmons

Ingrid Luche
at Ghebaly Gallery
–Lindsay Preston Zappas

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

Trenton Doyle Hancock
at Shulamit Nazarian
–Colony Little

(L.A. in N.Y.)
Catherine Opie
at Lehmann Maupin
–Angella d'Avignon
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Issue 14 November 2018

Letter From the Editor Lindsay Preston Zappas
Celeste Dupuy-Spencer and Figurative Religion Catherine Wagley
Lynch in Traffic Travis Diehl
The Remixed Symbology of Nina Chanel Abney Lindsay Preston Zappas
Interview with Kulapat Yantrasast Christie Hayden
Exquisite L.A.
Featuring: Sandra de la Loza, Gloria Galvez, and Steve Wong
Claressinka Anderson
Photos: Joe Pugliese
Reviews Raúl de Nieves
at Freedman Fitzpatrick
-Aaron Horst

Gertrud Parker
at Parker Gallery
-Ashton Cooper

Robert Yarber
at Nicodim Gallery
-Jonathan Griffin

Nikita Gale
at Commonwealth & Council
-Simone Krug

Lari Pittman
at Regen Projects
-Matt Stromberg

(L.A. in N.Y.)
Eckhaus Latta
at the Whitney Museum
of American Art
-Angella d'Avignon
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Issue 13 August 2018

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

Fiona Conner
at the MAK Center
–Thomas Duncan

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

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

Mimi Lauter
at Blum & Poe
–Jessica Simmons

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

(L.A. in N.Y.)
Condo New York
–Laura Brown
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Issue 12 May 2018

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

Chris Kraus
at Chateau Shatto
- Aaron Horst

Ben Sanders
at Ochi Projects
- Matt Stromberg

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

Harald Szeemann
at the Getty Research Institute
- Olivian Cha

Ali Prosch
at Bed and Breakfast
- Jennifer Remenchik

Reena Spaulings
at Matthew Marks
- Thomas Duncan
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Issue 11 February 2018

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

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

Nevine Mahmoud
at M+B
- Angella D'Avignon

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

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

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

Edgar Arceneaux
at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (L.A. in S.F.)
- Hana Cohn
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Issue 10 November 2017

Letter from the Editor Lindsay Preston Zappas
Barely Living with Art:
The Labor of Domestic
Spaces in Los Angeles
Eli Diner
She Wanted Adventure:
Dwan, Butler, Mizuno, Copley
Catherine Wagley
The Languages of
All-Women Exhibitions
Lindsay Preston Zappas
L.A. Povera Travis Diehl
On Eclipses:
When Language
and Photography Fail
Jessica Simmons
Interview with
Hamza Walker
Julie Wietz
Object Project
Featuring: Rosha Yaghmai,
Dianna Molzan, and Patrick Jackson
Lindsay Preston Zappas
Photos by Jeff McLane
Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA
Regen Projects
Ibid Gallery
One National Gay & Lesbian Archives and MOCA PDC
The Mistake Room
Luis De Jesus Gallery
the University Art Gallery at CSULB
the Autry Museum
Reviews Cheyenne Julien
at Smart Objects

Paul Mpagi Sepuya
at team bungalow

Ravi Jackson
at Richard Telles

Tactility of Line
at Elevator Mondays

Trigger: Gender as a Tool as a Weapon
at the New Museum
(L.A. in N.Y.)
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Issue 9 August 2017

Letter from the Editor Lindsay Preston Zappas
Women on the Plinth Catherine Wagley
Us & Them, Now & Then:
Reconstituting Group Material
Travis Diehl
The Offerings of EJ Hill
Ikechukwu Casmir Onyewuenyi
Interview with Jenni Sorkin Carmen Winant
Object Project
Featuring: Rebecca Morris,
Linda Stark, Alex Olson
Lindsay Preston Zappas
Photos by Jeff McClane
Reviews Mark Bradford
at the Venice Biennale

Broken Language
at Shulamit Nazarian

Artists of Color
at the Underground Museum

Anthony Lepore & Michael Henry Hayden
at Del Vaz Projects


Analia Saban at
Sprueth Magers
Letter to the Editor Lady Parts, Lady Arts
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Issue 8 May 2017

Letter from the Editor Lindsay Preston Zappas
Kanye Westworld Travis Diehl
@richardhawkins01 Thomas Duncan
Support Structures:
Alice Könitz and LAMOA
Catherine Wagley
Interview with
Penny Slinger
Eliza Swann
Exquisite L.A.
taisha paggett
Ashley Hunt
Young Chung
Intro by Claressinka Anderson
Portraits by Joe Pugliese
Reviews Alessandro Pessoli
at Marc Foxx

Jennie Jieun Lee
at The Pit

Trisha Baga
at 356 Mission

Jimmie Durham
at The Hammer

Parallel City
at Ms. Barbers

Jason Rhodes
at Hauser & Wirth
Letter to the Editor
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Issue 7 February 2017

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

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

Karl Haendel
at Susanne Vielmetter

Wolfgang Tillmans
at Regen Projects

at Chateau Shatto

The Rat Bastard Protective Association
at the Landing
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Issue 6 November 2016

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

Doug Aitken
at The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA

at Tif Sigfrids

Jean-Pascal Flavian and Mika Tajima
at Kayne Griffin Corcoran

Mark A. Rodruigez
at Park View

The Weeping Line
Organized by Alter Space
at Four Six One Nine
(S.F. in L.A.)
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Issue 5 August 2016

Letter form the Editor Lindsay Preston Zappas
at The Underground Museum
Catherine Wagley
The Art of Birth Carmen Winant
Escape from Bunker Hill
John Knight
Travis Diehl
Ed Boreal Speaks Benjamin Lord
Art Advice (from Men) Sarah Weber
Routine Pleasures
at the MAK Center
Jonathan Griffin
Exquisite L.A.
Fay Ray
John Baldessari
Claire Kennedy
Intro by Claressinka Anderson
Portraits by Joe Pugliese
Reviews Revolution in the Making
at Hauser Wirth & Schimmel

Carl Cheng
at Cherry and Martin

Joan Snyder
at Parrasch Heijnen Gallery

Elanor Antin
at Diane Rosenstein

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

Laura Owens
at The Wattis Institute
(L.A. in S.F.)
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Issue 4 May 2016

Letter from the Editor Lindsay Preston Zappas
Moon, laub, and Love Catherine Wagley
Walk Artisanal Jonathan Griffin
Marva Marrow's
Inside the L.A. Artist
Anthony Pearson
Mystery Science Thater:
Diana Thater
Aaron Horst
Informal Feminisms Federica Bueti and Jan Verwoert
Marva Marrow Photographs
Lita Albuquerque
Interiors and Interiority:
Njideka Akunyili Crosby
Char Jansen
Reviews L.A. Art Fairs

Material Art Fair, Mexico City

Rain Room

Evan Holloway
at David Kordansky Gallery

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

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

Awol Erizku
at FLAG Art Foundation
(L.A. in N.Y.)
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Issue 3 February 2016

Letter from the Editor Lindsay Preston Zappas
Le Louvre, Las Vegas Evan Moffitt
iPhones, Flesh,
and the Word:
at Arturo Bandini
Lindsay Preston Zappas
Women Talking About Barney Catherine Wagley
Lingua Ignota:
Faith Wilding
at The Armory Center
for the Arts
Benjamin Lord
A Conversation
with Amalia Ulman
Char Jansen
How We Practice Carmen Winant
Share Your Piece
of the Puzzle
Federica Bueti
Amanda Ross-Ho Photographs
Erik Frydenborg
Reviews Honeydew
at Michael Thibault

Fred Tomaselli
at California State University, Fullerton

Trisha Donnelly
at Matthew Marks Gallery

Bradford Kessler
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Issue 2 November 2015

Letter from the Editor Lindsay Preston Zappas
Hot Tears Carmen Winant
Slow View:
Molly Larkey
Anna Breininger and Kate Whitlock
Americanicity's Paintings:
Orion Martin
at Favorite Goods
Tracy Jeanne Rosenthal
Layers of Leimert Park Catherine Wagley
Junkspace Junk Food:
Parker Ito
at Kaldi, Smart Objects,
White Cube, and
Château Shatto
Evan Moffitt
Melrose Hustle Keith Vaughn
Max Maslansky Photographs
Monica Majoli
at the Tom of Finland Foundation
White Lee, Black Lee:
William Pope.L’s "Reenactor"
Travis Diehl
Dora Budor Interview Char Jensen
Reviews Mary Ried Kelley
at The Hammer Museum

Tongues Untied
at MOCA Pacific Design Center

No Joke
at Tanya Leighton
(L.A. in Berlin)
Snap Reviews Martin Basher at Anat Ebgi
Body Parts I-V at ASHES ASHES
Eve Fowler at Mier Gallery
Matt Siegle at Park View
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Issue 1 August 2015

Letter from the Editor Lindsay Preston Zappas
Metaphysical L.A.
Travis Diehl
Art for Art’s Sake:
L.A. in the 1990s
Anthony Pearson
A Dialogue in Two
Synchronous Atmospheres
Erik Morse
with Alexandra Grant
at François Ghebaly
Jonathan Griffin
#studio #visit
with #devin #kenny
Mateo Tannatt
Jibade-Khalil Huffman
Slow View:
Discussion on One Work
Anna Breininger
with Julian Rogers
Reviews Pierre Huyghe

Mernet Larsen
at Various Small Fires

John Currin
at Gagosian, Beverly Hills

Pat O'Niell
at Cherry and Martin

A New Rhythm
at Park View

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

Charles Gaines
at The Hammer Museum

Henry Taylor
at Blum & Poe/ Untitled
(L.A. in N.Y.)
Buy the Issue In Our Online Shop
1301 PE
Anat Ebgi (La Cienega)
Anat Ebgi (Wilshire)
Arcana Books
Artbook @ Hauser & Wirth
Babst Gallery
Baert Gallery
Bel Ami
Canary Test
Carlye Packer
Charlie James Gallery
Château Shatto
Chris Sharp Gallery
Cirrus Gallery
Clay ca
Commonwealth & Council
Craft Contemporary
D2 Art (Inglewood)
D2 Art (Westwood)
David Kordansky Gallery
David Zwirner
Diane Rosenstein
François Ghebaly
Gana Art Los Angeles
George Billis Gallery
Giovanni's Room
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
Ruby Neri

Ruby Neri, Pietà (2019). Ceramic with glaze, 59 × 38 × 30 inches. Image courtesy of the artist and David Kordansky Gallery, Los Angeles. Photo: Jeff McLane.

In the summer of 2016, the cleanly-proportioned space of David Kordansky Gallery was invaded by an unruly horde of artworks that were raucous, excessive, ungainly, and defiantly fun. Slaves and Humans was a body of new work by the Los Angeles-based artist Ruby Neri unlike anything she had done before. Large pots, some over five feet high, were adorned with sprayed images of grinning, naked, yellow-haired women. Often the pots themselves were anthropomorphic, with contours that threw the paintings on their surfaces into three-dimensional relief. The works were unapologetically sexual, though not in the way that popular culture typically sexualizes nude, large-breasted women. It seemed as though Neri was co-opting misogynist depictions of femininity and making them her own. This new body of work had been brewing for years, but it felt like absolutely the right thing for its time and place. This month, Neri follows Slaves and Humans with a new exhibition at the same gallery. At the time of this interview, she was still in the midst of firing the new work, and I spoke to her about what these objects mean to her, how they’ve evolved, and where her arresting visions of femininity spring from.



Jonathan Griffin: This new exhibition at David Kordansky Gallery builds on the body of work begun in 2016 for your previous show there. How has the work developed since then?

Ruby Neri: It’s definitely become more focused. The scale of the work has become much larger. I’ve become more comfortable, I feel, with my imagery. The psychological element has become more focused, definitely. I was sort of searching before, and I feel like I’ve found something in this work. But I now feel like I’m at the beginning of all these other directions that I’m going to take, which is really exciting to me.

JG: Is there a distinction, for you, between a ceramic sculpture, a painted vessel, and a vessel with sculptural, anthropomorphic qualities?

RN: For me, no. I refer to these as pots although they’re quite sculptural. The basis of my art-making practice is in painting and sculpture, not in ceramics, so I use the medium of clay to pursue other ideas and thoughts. I feel like clay doesn’t really get appreciated enough as a sculptural medium. I don’t really like the word “vessel.” I prefer “pot.” There’s not as much weight to the idea of a pot. I actually don’t really like talking about vessels or pots very much, even though I like making them. I find that conversation really uninteresting. I’m much more interested in the scale of what I’m making, in terms of it referring to painting or sculpture. The reference of my body.

JG: Perhaps it’s a bit like a painter being asked to talk about rectangles or squares all the time, rather than what they’re painting!

RN: I came about using clay in such a roundabout way. For me, sculpture is the most freeing of the genres. There is a huge umbrella over what a sculpture can be. Painting always has this really heavy history weighing it down. Ceramics too. I prefer to just talk about object-making. I try to skirt the heavy references, I guess. I’m really into the physicality of materials like paint. Clay is even more tactile, more expressive. I have a strong love of materials, and the physicality of handling them. Clay is really closely tied to body movement. Any kind of physical activity is really appealing to me in my work.

JG: In many of your earlier works, there are areas of bare brown clay that show through—although usually in the negative spaces around the bodies. Why is this?

RN: It’s the richness of the clay body. That goes back to my interest in materiality. It’s also why I don’t use opaque glaze—because I love the actual color of the clay. I didn’t want to cover that up, I wanted it to be a large part of what the piece is. But the new work has trended more towards Pop and my interest in applied color. The color of the clay body is only accessible on the interiors now.

JG: Is clay naturally analogous to flesh?

RN: Maybe. I think of it more as a representation of movement. All my past paintings in oils are really heavy, with the thick paint pushed around. With spray cans, you use your whole body when you’re using them. Clay is very much like that. It’s so intensely physical.

JG: Did the women that you depict on the pots emerge as a response to the medium or the forms, or are they just projections onto forms?

RN: Well, I’ve always made figurative work. I’ve never been an abstract maker. At first I was making smaller clay figures in different parts, but when I got access to a larger kiln in 2015, it gave me the opportunity to create one singular piece. Then all kinds of weird surreal qualities entered the work. Part of my interest in clay is that it is strongly associated with ideas of control—people are always trying to master it. But it’s really out of control. You put this thing in the kiln, in the fire, and what you get out is somewhat unpredictable. I wanted the clay to be what it wanted to be. That gave me some freedom in terms of the compositions, in terms of the figuration, so if the scale was weird—if an arm was too small or a hand was too big—I kind of just let it go, and didn’t really worry about it. I’m working with this pot, this very basic shape, and you can only do so much with it. It also made them more psychological. Unconsciously, the important things rose to the surface without me even really pursuing them, without knowing about what they were.

JG: Who are these women to you?

RN: They’re like elements of my psyche. They’re very self-referential without being self-portraits. They’re very emotional, and personal.

JG: Is it one character who repeats or a cast of characters?

RN: One character, for sure.

JG: How would you describe her?

RN: Well, she kind of represents this larger female emotion. She’s portray- ing all these different feelings— basically, elements of myself. Maybe elements of a larger, even universal, conscience. Aspects of female identity, perhaps. Or facets of being female, put it that way. I say “universal” in that maybe some other women feel that way, too, but I can’t really tell how other people feel. It’s about me being a woman. I don’t want to lay too much claim to it—it’s not entirely me, but it’s definitely how I feel moving about in the world. It’s like an interaction with the world, or society, as a woman.

Ruby Neri, Slaves and Humans (installation view) (2016). Image courtesy of the artist and David Kordansky Gallery, Los Angeles. Photo: Brian Forrest.

JG: How much of your biography or subject position do we need to know to read these works—at the very least, the fact that you’re a woman?

RN: Well, as with all art I hope that someone is taking something from it that they find on their own, that doesn’t necessarily have to be about me.

JG: I have my own thoughts about this, which are that it’s always significant to know who the artist is and where they’re coming from. It’s interesting to me that you’re a mother, for instance. It’s interesting to me that you don’t look anything like these figures. And it’s even more interesting to me that you identify with them still.

RN: It’s a mystery to me too! I feel like they’re coming from a deep well inside me. I feel like after going to art school I was basing my work on formal object-making, from a very removed non-personal perspective. I sort of flipped it around, and I wanted to make something incredibly personal. I made a conscious decision to do that. While it had to do to some extent with hysteria, and came from an anxious place, it was mainly influenced by just day-to-day thoughts. Power struggles, sexuality, having fun, being sexually active, what have you. Struggles in human relationships. It’s very basic.

JG: Do these things belong in a gallery or in a home? I ask that because most gallery spaces are typically cool, businesslike, impersonal environments, and the home is typically a warmer, more relational and subjective setting, perhaps aligned with a more female energy. People describe your sculptures as aggressive—is that because when they see them in galleries they feel they’re aggressive against their environment?

RN: I definitely feel that, yeah. I think they are really important in a gallery space. I think they’re powerful. They came from feeling like, “I’m here, I’m present, my work’s important to me.” But I’ve felt that with all my work. They’re also made for a private space as well. I have work of my own in my home and I love it. I love the scale— they take up a lot of room. They’re so demanding of your physical attention. It’s like having someone else in the room with you.

JG: Can you say a little about what spray paint means to you? You mentioned the immediacy of it, and of course you have a history in graffiti, going back to your time in the Bay Area when you painted murals of horses under the tag Reminisce.

RN: It goes back to my interest in the accessibility of materials. I need to be able to pick things up and use them straight away. I don’t really like a lot of waiting around. That is number one. But then there is definitely some- thing naughty about spray paint that I really love. Destroying things is really incredible—not necessarily destroying private property, but the spray can is a tool of power. With a can of spray- paint you should do whatever you want, be free. It’s very powerful. It’s free speech.

JG: You’ve worked with children in the past. Has a child-like approach to making been influential on you?

RN: I mean, for sure. This goes back to control, or controlling scenarios. There’s something obviously very freeing about children’s work. The way in which they interact with materials is very interesting to me. Kids don’t covet their materials—they waste all sorts of things. And often they’re not precious about the finished objects. With my kid, there is such a strong sense of process when she’s making something. It’s like she’s working something out in her mind, and then she just moves on. That’s really amazing.

JG: That’s something we also often see in Art Brut, especially in the classic trope of the psychologist collecting work by a patient in an institution—the doctor would “save” the work before the artist destroyed it.

RN: All of that art is incredibly interesting and beautiful to me. I’m definitely not a conceptual artist. I enjoy feelings. [laughs] It’s very uncool, but yeah.

This interview was originally featured in Carla issue 16.

Ruby Neri is an artist based in Los Angeles. Born 1970 in Oakland, she was associated with the Bay Area Mission School in the 1990s, before moving to Los Angeles in 1996. Recent exhibitions have included Alicia McCarthy and Ruby Neri / MATRIX 270 at the University of California, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, and People at Jeffrey Deitch, Los Angeles (both 2018).

Ruby Neri, Untitled (Dancing Women) (2018). Ceramic with glaze, 34.5 × 42 × 21 inches. Image courtesy of the artist and David Kordansky Gallery, Los Angeles. Photo: Jeff McLane.

Ruby Neri, Pietà (2019). Ceramic with glaze, 59 × 38 × 30 inches. Image courtesy of the artist and David Kordansky Gallery, Los Angeles. Photo: Jeff McLane.

Ruby Neri, Pietà (2019) (detail). Ceramic with glaze, 59 × 38 × 30 inches. Image courtesy of the artist and David Kordansky Gallery, Los Angeles. Photo: Jeff McLane.

Ruby Neri, Pietà (2019) (detail). Ceramic with glaze, 59 × 38 × 30 inches. Image courtesy of the artist and David Kordansky Gallery, Los Angeles. Photo: Jeff McLane.

Ruby Neri (2019) (installation view). Image courtesy of the artist and David Kordansky Gallery, Los Angeles. Photo: Jeff McLane.

Ruby Neri, Pietà (2019) (detail). Ceramic with glaze, 59 × 38 × 30 inches. Image courtesy of the artist and David Kordansky Gallery, Los Angeles. Photo: Jeff McLane.

Ruby Neri, Pietà (2019) (detail). Ceramic with glaze, 59 × 38 × 30 inches. Image courtesy of the artist and David Kordansky Gallery, Los Angeles. Photo: Jeff McLane.

Jonathan Griffin is an art critic and writer based in Los Angeles. He writes for Frieze, The New York Times, the Financial Times, ArtReview, Apollo, and others.

More by Jonathan Griffin