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
Buy the Issue In our Online Shop
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
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
Buy the Issue In Our Online Shop
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
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
Buy the Issue In Our Online Shop
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

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
Buy the Issue In Our Online Shop
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
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
Buy the Issue In our Online Shop
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
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
Buy the Issue In Our Online Shop
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
Buy the Issue In Our Online Shop
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
Buy the Issue In Our Online Shop
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
Buy the Issue In Our Online Shop
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.)
Buy the Issue In Our Online Shop
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
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
Buy the Issue In Our Online Shop
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 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
Letter to the Editor
Buy the Issue In Our Online Shop
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
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
Buy the Issue In Our Online Shop
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
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
Buy the Issue In Our Online Shop
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.)
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
Buy the Issue In Our Online Shop
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.)
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
Buy the Issue In Our Online Shop
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.)
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
Buy the Issue In Our Online Shop
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
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
Buy the Issue In Our Online Shop
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
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
Buy the Issue In Our Online Shop
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.)
A+D Museum
Artbook @ Hauser & Wirth
Baert Gallery
Central Park
Cirrus Gallery
Château Shatto
Elevator Mondays
The Geffen Contemporary 
OOF Books @ Warehouse
François Ghebaly
The Mistake Room
MOCA Grand Avenue
Monte Vista Projects
Nicodim Gallery
Night Gallery
Royale Projects
The Box
Vielmetter Los Angeles
Wilding Cran Gallery
Boyle Heights/ Chinatown
A.G. Geiger
Bel Ami
Charlie James
Good Luck Gallery
Human Resources
Parrasch Heijnen Gallery
Folding Days @ Eightfold Coffee
Odd Ark LA
River Gallery
Smart Objects
Women's Center for Creative Work
18th Street Arts
Ben Maltz Gallery at Otis
Crap Eyewear
DXIX Projects
Five Car Garage
LA Louver
Laband Art Gallery at LMU
Pasadena/ Glendale/ Valley
The Armory Center for the Arts
The Pit
Los Angeles Valley College
1301 PE
As-Is Gallery
California African American Museum
Chimento Contemporary
Commonwealth & Council
David Kordansky Gallery
Hammer Museum
Hunter Shaw Fine Art
Kayne Griffin Corcoran
Lowell Ryan Projects
ltd Los Angeles
Ochi Projects
Park View / Paul Soto
the Landing
Shoot the Lobster
The Underground Museum
USC Fisher Museum of Art
Visitor Welcome Center
Culver City
Anat Ebgi
Arcana Books
Blum & Poe
Honor Fraser
Klowden Mann
Philip Martin Gallery
Roberts Projects
Bridge Projects
Diane Rosenstein
Family Books
Nino Mier Gallery
Moskowitz Bayse
Noysky Projects
Regen Projects
Shulamit Nazarian
Steve Turner
Tanya Bonakdar Gallery
Various Small Fires
Gas Gallery
CLOACA (San Francisco, CA)
Et al. (San Francisco, CA)
Ever Gold [Projects] (San Francisco, CA)
fused space (San Francisco, CA)
Interface Gallery (Oakland, CA)
Jessica Silverman (San Francisco, CA)
Left Field (Los Osos, CA)
McNally Jackson (New York, NY)
Minnesota Street Projects (San Francisco, CA)
San Diego Art Institute (San Diego, CA)
Santa Barbara City College (Santa Barbara, CA)
Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture (Skowhegan, ME)
Ulises (Philadelphia, PA)
Verge Center for the Arts (Sacramento, CA)
Wattis Institute for Contemporary Art (San Francisco, CA)
Whitney Museum Shop (New York, NY)
Wolfman Books (Oakland, CA)
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)
The 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)
NYS College of Ceramics at Alfred University, Scholes Library (Alfred, NY)
Pepperdine University (Malibu, CA)
Point Loma Nazarene University (San Diego, CA)
School of the Art Institute of Chicago, John M. Flaxman Library (Chicago, IL)
Skowhegan Archives (New York, NY)
Sotheby’s Institute of Art (New York, NY)
Telfair Museum (Savannah, GA)
University of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia, PA)
University of San Diego (San Diego, CA)
USC Fisher Museum of Art (Los Angeles, 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
Donna Huanca

Donna Huanca & Przemek Pyszcek, MUSCLE MEMORY (installation view) (2015). Image courtesy of the artists and Peres Projects, Berlin. Photo: Trevor Good.

Amidst an alien landscape of white sand and labdanum-scented air, clear plastic crinkles over braided hair caked with clay. Breasts are sheathed beneath armor-like chest molds, and feet track lines through the sand, dragging slowly with trance-like precision. The ambient soundtrack that emanates from behind large swaths of fabric heightens the drama, and locates the scene somewhere moodily futuristic.

On Saturdays at the Marciano Art Foundation, Berlin-based Donna Huanca’s largescale installation, OBSIDIAN LADDER, is overtaken by her army of performers, each costumed and painted head-to-toe by the artist. Huanca costumes her performers with an uncanny mix of natural and synthetic materials— the gentle egg washes and clay pigments she cakes into her model’s hair and uses to ornament their skin contrasts long synthetic braids antiseptically wrapped in clear plastic packaging—creating a fantastical vision. Her models walk amongst and position themselves within or against sculptural works that simultaneously mimic their bodily ornamentation and act as backdrops for their movements. Large paintings hanging on the back wall serve as abstract backdrops to the built environment. Huanca begins her works on canvas with the painted body: she photographs her festooned performers, and uses those images as underpaintings.

Though Huanca’s process of styling her models may echo the fashion and beauty industries (still too often defined by damaging beauty standards and non-inclusive marketing campaigns), the artist insists that a progressive politic underlies the work. While utilizing living people as an art medium is perhaps not a new phenomenon (think tableau vivant), it’s certainly one that introduces a host of logistical concerns—from compensation to bathroom breaks—as well as several conceptual ones. Huanca cultivates relationships with her models, attempting to build a safe autonomous space for their performances to occur. She also donates the proceeds from editioned art objects to local trans and LGBTQ community groups (organizations that she says serve the communities her models belong to).

Though Huanca contends that her work breaks from the tradition of using the female nude to elicit the male gaze, her audience may not always be up to the task. “There’s always some idiot man in every city that asks: how much do they cost?” she told The Guardian in 2016.1

I caught up with Huanca in between international flights and post-show travel, and asked her about her dedicated relationship with her performers, the ephemerality of the figure, and how she sees her work in relation to feminism’s progression and the ever-present male gaze.

Lindsay Preston Zappas: Your work includes intricately painted and costumed figures, but the paintings on your figures ultimately get washed off in the shower.

Donna Huanca: I am interested in the practice of detachment and letting things go. Since absolutely everything is temporary, I find it freeing that the body paintings are ephemeral.

LPZ: Do you pre-plan your body painting in any way (e.g., sketches or drawings), or is applying the body paint an intuitive process?

DH: The process of creating the body paintings is very intuitive for me, responding to and working with the models. I draw much of my inspiration from the natural world, from geological formations and patterns. I find it much more freeing than standing in front of a canvas, which can feel static and permanent. The inherent ephemerality in working with the models and on bodies feels more true and instinctual to me, which is why in my paintings [on canvas] I do a mixture of both— printing images from the body paintings onto the canvas and then layering over top of that painting and scratching [paint] with my hands.

LPZ: In your body paint and costuming, do you have specific moves that you repeat that act as constants?

DH: I think of my work as self-referential— my process involves a lot of layering and experimentation. Because of this, there are definitely certain things that recur between pieces. For example, I use a lot of hair in my work—braided hair that hangs from the sculptures and is also attached to the models. We hold memory and trauma in every strand of our hair— I am interested in this metaphor.

LPZ: I read that you have your performers write about their experience after each performance. What have those texts revealed to you, and how do you take that on board as you are conceptualizing a new piece?

DH: I value my relationships with the models extremely highly, and want to honor the different forms of expression and temporality that communication can take. I think of the texts as an extension of the experience of the performances, which is itself very meditative and self-reflexive. A lot of the models I collaborate with are artists in their own right, and the responses are often moving and are very important to me. It gives me the opportunity to encounter my work through their experience of it.

LPZ: I attended one of your shows in the past, and I saw you whispering to a performer who you ultimately led out of the gallery (maybe she wasn’t feeling well or had to use the restroom?), and I remember thinking about how humane that interaction felt.

DH: All my models have complete agency when performing—they are free to move when they choose and leave the stage as they feel. For my work, what is absolutely crucial is the creation of a space that is safe for the models to have a meditative, transcendent experience.

Donna Huanca, OBSIDIAN LADDER (installation view) (2019). Image courtesy of the artist, Marciano Art Foundation, Los Angeles, and Peres Projects, Berlin. Photo: Joshua White.

LPZ: How does that safety translate to live performance, where the audience is involved in looking?

DH: I’m trying to distort and refract the gaze. Not just in the live performances, but for me what is crucial to this destabilization of the male gaze is in the relationship of care and trust that I cultivate with the models. I give them very little instruction, and they are completely agential in creating their own experiences.

LPZ: Are you imagining a futuristic landscape?

DH: [I think a lot] about art history, but I actually think that the future (and the near future) is the important horizon to keep in our vision. In my work, I try to project a future, to experiment with visions of what a feminized future would look like, what it would value. For me, that looks like care, trust, community, the natural world, and the interconnectedness and dependence of bodies with the natural world.

LPZ: In your vision of a feminized future, are men precluded? Or do you envision a shift in power dynamics towards women?

DH: I’m not interested in exclusion. What I’m more interested in is new constellations of being and of relating to each other that supplant our current understandings of the masculine and the feminine. The feminine is powerful. I am trying to demonstrate that power as it already exists.

LPZ: How do you see your work fitting within the lineage of feminist art?

DH: The canon of feminist work has often excluded certain identities and bodies. I see myself as elongating (and certainly being indebted to) but also breaking with that history.

LPZ: You mentioned the gaze earlier. There are aspects of your work that mimic artists that had questionable body politics (the body prints of Yves Klein, performances of Vanessa Beecroft).

DH: My work has nothing to do with these mentioned artists.

LPZ: Your work diverges conceptually, but for instance, your show involves body prints (which Klein did with nude female models) and uses a particular Yves Klein blue.

DH: You could make that aesthetic connection, but that would be up to you  to do the intellectual work of connecting my performances with the work of Yves Klein and making some sort of explanation or meaning from that. You could also compare my work to Ana Mendieta’s performances or to Carolee Schneemann’s films, or GWAR, or any other artist who uses the color blue. But for me, all I can say is that I have never made work consciously thinking about or reacting to Yves Klein.

LPZ: Is fashion a source of inspiration for you, or something that you are pushing up against?

DH: Self-decoration and aesthetic is a primal urge that we all have for communicating and signaling and community building, and I am interested in that aspect of “fashion.” But the fashion world includes violences that I am repelled by: the fetishization of the body, the massive waste that comes with the incredibly fast, trend-based consumerism.

LPZ: Can you discuss how your work avoids fetishization of the body?

DH: Sure. I think first of all, I want to make clear that fetishization is often conflated with nakedness, and this is reductive and not true. Fetishization in fashion advertisements and other such media is the cutting up of bodies and evacuation of subjectivity or agency from those bodies, which is necessary to feed the erotics of the male gaze. My work is in direct conflict with this; it is all about the agency of the models, and the whole performance is set up to accommodate not only their safety but also to facilitate a meditative experience for them. The fashion industry is also so [dependent on] social media which I feel my work provides an antidote for. I hope that people enter my exhibitions and feel a sense of presence and groundedness that is so often stolen away by our phones.

LPZ: What do you mean by that? How is your work providing an antidote to social media?

DH: By allowing the audience to have presence in the space and to enter a space where time is elongated.

LPZ: As tech becomes more integrated into our lives, do you think it is something we need to resist or rethink our relationship to?

DH: We have to surrender to it.

LPZ: Performers inhabit the space at the Marciano just once a week on Saturdays. If viewers see the work without the performers, are they having an incomplete experience?

DH: I’m interested in the practice of femme mark making, the echoes and traces of the bodies in the space when they aren’t present, how the space holds and retains that energy. When the models are not present, you can still trace their bodies through their footprints left in the sand and the rubbings that they’ve left on the wall from their bodies. All the works in the exhibition are interconnected and rely on one another; the paintings would never exist without the performances, the sculptures emerge from the paintings, etcetera.

Lindsay Preston Zappas is the founder and editor-in-chief of Carla.

Donna Huanca, born in Chicago in 1980, studied painting at the St.delschule in Frankfurt am Main, the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in Maine, and the University of Houston in Texas. She has previously had museum exhibitions at the Zabludowicz Collection in London (2016) and the Yuz Museum in Shanghai (2018). Huanca lives and works in Berlin.

Donna Huanca & Przemek Pyszcek, MUSCLE MEMORY (installation view) (2015). Image courtesy of the artist and Peres Projects, Berlin. Photo: Trevor Good.

Donna Huanca, OBSIDIAN LADDER (installation view) (2019). Image courtesy of the artist, Marciano Art Foundation, Los Angeles, and Peres Projects, Berlin. Photo: Joshua White.

Donna Huanca, OBSIDIAN LADDER (installation view) (2019). Image courtesy of the artist, Marciano Art Foundation, Los Angeles, and Peres Projects, Berlin. Photo: Joshua White.

Donna Huanca, LENGUA LLORONA (detail) (2019). Image courtesy of the artist and Peres Projects, Berlin. Photo: Elsa Kostic.

Donna Huanca, OBSIDIAN LADDER (installation view) (2019). Image courtesy of the artist, Marciano Art Foundation, Los Angeles, and Peres Projects, Berlin. Photo: Joshua White.

This interview was originally published in Carla issue 17.

  1. Hettie Judah, “Ayahuasca and anal beads: the hallucinogenic art of Donna Huanca,” The Guardian, Sept. 28, 2016, https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2016/sep/28/ayahuasca-and-anal-beadsthe-hallucinogenic-art- of-donna-huanca.