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 Taylor Renee Aldridge

Leer en Español


The recent exhibition curated by Taylor Renee Aldridge at the California African American Museum (CAAM), Enunciated Life, was the first museum show I’d seen since lockdown. I was self-conscious about getting too close to people, but slowly, I eased into the space as the themes of baptism, embodiment, and spirituality began to wash over me. The 13 artists on view—working across video, audio, photography, and sculpture—felt clearly and purposefully woven together by Aldridge’s curatorial vision. Together, the works highlighted Black spirituality both in and outside of a church setting, touching on questions of embodiment, communion, and exaltation, and inviting the viewer to become fully enveloped. 

Although the exhibition opened in March 2021, Aldridge traces its origins to a 2018 visit to Trinidad for the New Waves! Dance & Performance Institute; she attended at the invitation of her then-collaborator, Jennifer Harge, to learn more about dance histories and to write about Harge’s work by way of ancestral legacies and African American folklore history. During the trip, Aldridge visited an Orisha shrine, and recalls noticing her body “immediately guard[ing] itself” in the spiritually charged space.1 She wondered about this self-protective impulse, especially since her Detroit childhood was steeped in the practices of the Baptist church, where congregants regularly experience spiritual possession. Around the time of her trip to Trinidad, Aldridge was engaging in close, creative exchanges with dancers, exploring sound and movement exercises guided by the writings of Ashon T. Crawley, particularly his views on breath in the context of Black Pentecostalism and how the breath is used to declare the spaciousness of life—a clear through line in Enunciated Life. Amidst the pandemic, as we guarded the air around us, adjusting to life with face masks, Aldridge presented a poignant exhibition that focused largely on breath. 

The writer, critic, curator, and co-founder of ARTS.BLACK—an online arts journal created in 2014 that centers on criticism from Black perspectives—recently connected with me over Zoom to talk about her work, her recent move to Los Angeles from Detroit, and how she thinks through themes of pleasure and embodiment. 

Eva Recinos: I know your interactions with Cameron Shaw, the executive director at CAAM, led to your curatorial position. What else prompted you to move to a new city? 

Taylor Renee Aldridge: Since my youth, I knew I had an interest in art-making, curatorial, and museum work. I discovered this more acutely when I was an undergrad at Howard University and I decided to switch my major to art history from business. But I never really had a concretized arc, five-year plan, 10-year plan. And I still don’t, quite frankly. I realize that I do what tends to feel good in my body and sort of lead with these intuitive impulses, whether it be from ancestors or otherwise.

I had moved back to Detroit in 2014 and worked there for five, six years throughout a myriad of roles—writer, critic, curator, gallery worker. And Detroit’s art scene is very particular, but also just very small… A couple of years ago, I started feeling an inkling that I would either have to move if I wanted to continue doing museum work and curatorial work and grow as a curator, or I was going to have to switch professions, and maybe lean into being a writer and publisher more exclusively. I’m a person who thinks pragmatically. I was tired of winters in Detroit, tired of cold weather, and realized that those cold, dark months in Detroit were just not generative for my health and my productivity.

I started manifesting an opportunity in a warmer place a couple of years ago… I was really interested in those initial conversations I had with Cameron about what their vision was at CAAM at the time, and what it continues to be currently—particularly this call to reimagine what institutions can do for us in this moment. Not just Black institutions, but institutions in this country, as we’re reckoning with pervasive and visible anti-Blackness [and] this unprecedented pandemic. 

ER: You’ve been active in addressing those imbalances personally, too, in your work with ARTS.BLACK. Do you think that a lot has changed in terms of visibility and making art writing and dialogue more accessible? 

TRA: I co-founded ARTS.BLACK with the critic and writer Jessica Lynne. She and I were good friends, colleagues—I call her my art wife. We birthed this baby together, and it’s felt very generative and organic since its inception. But she and I have never lived in the same city while leading this publishing endeavor. Because of that, we’ve been particularly interested in figuring out how to remark about the local through a global lens… we continue to insist on this. [The project] is a diasporic [one] that tends to rely on the local experience within art communities. ARTS.BLACK is constantly encouraging our readers to also think about how these locales exist within the broader diasporic of Black art writing and Black criticism. That mission is very much still relevant and still very much top of mind and urgent for us.

ER: I was rereading a Vanity Fair article by Kimberly Drew from September of last year. You talked about how non-Black museum workers need to find ways to educate themselves about race and anti-Blackness without relying on their Black colleagues. Have you seen changes in museums since then?

TRA: I can’t say, because I feel like this type of learning takes a lot of time and we probably won’t see the effects of certain changes for at least five to 10 years from now—at least like a genuine, earnest effort. I think there are obviously ways that museums are responding more immediately to prove that they are in study and prove that they are doing the work of learning how to be anti-racist. But [achieving] anti-Blackness—especially within art museums in this country, which have very deep colonial roots—it’s just going to take time. 

ER: It does seem like some responses were more reactionary. There’s way more to be done.

TRA: And that work, too, is really private and should be private, more times than not. Anti-racist work involves individual self-assessment that’s required before even showing up to these spaces and trying to figure out how to enact anti-racism through the institution. It requires going home and doing a lot of self-reflection, and I just can’t say if I’ve witnessed that or if that’s even something any of us will be able to witness and track so quickly.

ER: [In a 2018 conversation with Jessica Lynne in Canadian Art], you talked about pleasure and about how prioritizing pleasure is in many ways revolutionary for you as a queer Black woman. How has that idea evolved in your practice?

TRA: My curatorial practice is unique in that I lean into subjectivity and personal experience as opposed to the traditional way that curatorial work is done, where we’re encouraged to be objective. That’s important to name, because it’s taken me some time to get here and be confident in that. But I do think there’s some nuance there, in implicating myself and my own personal narrative in some of the exhibitions that I produce.

That interview with Canadian Art was done during my Saturn return. And in my Saturn return, I learned that I didn’t quite know how to be in my body and I didn’t know how to fully receive or attend to pleasure or freedom in my person. 

Around that time, I was surrounded by dancers and embodied practitioners, such as Jennifer Harge and Billy Mark (who is in [Enunciated Life]), and they led with embodiment first and foremost. As a person who is super cerebral and constantly thinking [about] theory, it was so refreshing to read Ashon T. Crawley’s Blackpentecostal Breath (2016) with them as movement practitioners… [thinking] less about theory—which can be generative, absolutely—but [more] about how the words, and how the experiences that Crawley was remarking about in his book, might prompt us to move and might prompt us to receive an encounter with pleasure, freedom, and submission.

I was really interested in figuring out how to bring those experiences into a museum context, in troubling how people engage with museum exhibitions and how it might remind them of their body and encourage them to be present in their body. Enunciated Life uses these organized religions as points of departure.

ER: Another big theme in the show is Black breath, and the ways it has endured despite anti-Blackness. The exhibition coincided with the pandemic. How did that change the lens through which you were seeing it and thinking about breath—something that was on everyone’s minds?

TRA: The etymology of [the word] spirit is breath, is breathing, is enunciating a breath. Initially, I was very upset that [the] pandemic was happening while I was preparing to present these shows. It was first supposed to have a smaller introduction at Red Bull [Arts] Detroit last summer. And then it was supposed to open in September at CAAM. I was upset because this show has been the first show where I’ve had full creative autonomy and the space in the room to think capaciously about certain themes in an exhibition context and actually have them come to fruition.

But then, somewhere around late summer, I realized [that the show’s timing] was a blessing. This really interesting confluence was happening where we were constantly having to police our bodies and restrict them from touch. Our breath was blocked by this mask and I thought, oh, this show could function in a really productive and generative way, because we’re being cut off from these sensations, and these abilities for touch. Specifically, [it’s an opportunity for] thinking about the virus and how it undermines the breath. Systemically, when there is a crisis in this country, Black and Brown people are compromised the most, and also called to work the most to care for [others] and to get us through these moments. What does the breath mean in this context? What does spirit mean, specifically, in that context? The exhibition became even more urgent.

ER: Looking forward, where do you see CAAM’s exhibition programming going? Do you think this idea of embodiment and spirituality is something that you’d like to continue?

TRA: CAAM has been an institution that I obviously watched from afar, and especially so after Naima Keith came on board in the leadership. I appreciated how the institution was able to maintain a nuance in remarking about Blackness and allowing it to not be defined as static or as a monolith… I really admired that because I think in Black institutions, people can think of it as limiting just because it is ethnic-focused. CAAM has articulated the ways in which we can get very particular and very expansive and elastic in how we’re thinking through Blackness and its many forms—because it is something that is elusive and probably will forever be elusive. I’m looking forward to extending that legacy.

Eva Recinos is a writer and editor based in Los Angeles. Her arts and culture journalism has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, The Guardian, Hyperallergic, Artsy, Art21, and more. Her creative non-fiction writing can be found in Electric Literature, PANK, Blood Orange Review and more. She is currently working on a memoir in essays.

Curator and writer Taylor Renee Aldridge joined the California African American Museum (CAAM) in 2020. Aldridge has organized acclaimed exhibitions with the Detroit Institute of Arts, Detroit Artists Market, Cranbrook Art Museum, and The Luminary (St. Louis). In 2015, she co-founded ARTS.BLACK, an influential journal of art criticism for Black perspectives. She is a recipient of the Creative Capital | Andy Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Grant (2016) and Rabkin Foundation Award for Art Journalism (2019). She holds an MLA from Harvard University and a BA from Howard University.

This interview was originally published in Carla issue 25.

Marianetta Porter, Life is a mist (installation view) (2003). Paper and wood. Image courtesy of the artist and the California African American Museum.

Enunciated Life (installation view) (2021). Image courtesy of the artists and the California African American Museum.

FLY | DROWN (performance view) (2019). Image courtesy of the artists and Harge Dance Stories. Photo: Devin Drake.

FLY | DROWN (performance view) (2019). Image courtesy of the artists and Harge Dance Stories. Photo: Justin Milhouse.

  1. Eric Newman and Medaya Ocher, “From ‘The Break’ to ‘Bridgerton’ with Taylor Renee Aldridge and Patricia A. Matthew,” February 5, 2021, in The LARB Radio Hour produced by the Los Angeles Review of Books, podcast, MP3 audio, 0:04:52,

Eva Recinos is a writer and editor based in Los Angeles. Her arts and culture journalism has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, The Guardian, Hyperallergic, Artsy, Art21, and more. Her creative non-fiction writing can be found in Electric Literature, PANK, Blood Orange Review, and more. She is currently working on a memoir in essays.

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