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.)
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1301 PE
Ace Hotel DTLA
Anat Ebgi (Wilshire)
Anat Ebgi (La Cienega
Arcana Books
Artbook @ Hauser & Wirth
Baert Gallery
Bel Ami
Blum & Poe
Canary Test
Carlye Packer
Charlie James Gallery
Château Shatto
Chris Sharp Gallery
Cirrus Gallery
Commonwealth & Council
Craft Contemporary
D2 Art
David Kordansky Gallery
Diane Rosenstein
François Ghebaly
George Billis Gallery
Giovanni's Room
Hamzianpour & Kia
Hannah Hoffman Gallery
Harper's Gallery
Hashimoto Contemporary
Heavy Manners Library
Helen J Gallery
Human Resources
Hunter Shaw Fine Art
in lieu
Karma, Los Angeles
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Lowell Ryan Projects
Luis De Jesus Los Angeles
MAK Center for Art and Architecture
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New Low
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Paradise Framing
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Smart Objects
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The Box
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The Hole
the Landing
The Poetic Research Bureau
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Track 16
Tyler Park Presents
USC Fisher Museum of Art
UTA Artist Space
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Libraries/ Collections
Bard College, Center for Curatorial Studies Library (Annandale-on-Hudson, NY)
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Walker Art Center (Minneapolis, MN)
Whitney Museum of American Art, Frances Mulhall Achilles Library (New York, NY)
Yale University Library (New Haven, CT)

Made in L.A. 2020: a version:
Crosstown Traffic

Leer en Español

Made in L.A. 2020: a version (installation view) (2020–21). Image courtesy of the artists and The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens, San Marino. Photo: Joshua White. © The Huntington.

As implied by its name, Made in L.A. 2020: a version, the Hammer’s fifth biennial of Los Angeles artists traffics in duality, multiplicity, doppelgangers, and fracturing. Organized by independent curators Myriam Ben Salah and Lauren Mackler, with Ikechukwu Onyewuenyi, assistant curator of performance at the Hammer, the biennial is split between two venues—the Hammer in Westwood and The Huntington in San Marino—with each setting displaying work by all 30 artists in somewhat mirrored exhibitions. The exhibition catalog, which resembles more of a hip fashion magazine, is billed as yet another “version” of the show. Specific artworks make the most of this conceptual framework, but the choice of venues—the wide physical chasm between them—and the museums’ unsatisfying response to the reality of the pandemic make for an ultimately frustrating duo of exhibitions. Originally slated to open last June, it is still largely unviewable, museums in Los Angeles largely shuttered since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic almost a year ago. For the time being, it exists as a specter, a haunted house frozen in time and off limits to all but a select few members of the media. 

The bifurcation of the show has been described as linking the East and West sides of the city, however, it is a purely geographic conceit connecting upscale Westwood to stately San Marino. The Huntington, which comprises a museum, library, and sprawling gardens, is truly one of greater Los Angeles’ cultural and botanical treasures, but it still represents an old-world style of museum. Founded by a wealthy industrialist, it is located in the ZIP code with the third-highest median income in the county.1 A more meaningful choice to bridge the city’s broad demographic sweep might have been the Eastside’s Vincent Price Art Museum, a free museum located at East Los Angeles College in Monterey Park, an eight-mile drive almost due south of The Huntington. Given the current conversation around classism and white supremacy in the art world, this location would have been a more concrete gesture of inclusion and equity, giving the goal to unite east and west more teeth and purpose.

Providing, at least in part, valuable bridges for the public to engage the exhibition, two artists have their work installed in multiple locations outside the two institutional settings. Kahlil Joseph’s project BLKNWS®, a two-channel film presenting footage culled from current news broadcasts, pop culture, and social media, and focused on realities and representation of Black life, is primarily screening in Black-owned markets, barbershops, and cafés in South L.A. and Echo Park. Larry Johnson’s billboard interventions, enigmatic juxtapositions of text and image, are placed around MacArthur Park. Sadly, these are the only two works currently on public view, but they offer a blueprint for how other works in the show could have migrated beyond museum walls, and how they might in the future. The exhibits at the two main venues may not be viewable in person for some time (if ever), so it would have made sense for alternatives, either safely staged in public or built out online, to have been further developed as part of the exhibition.

While still unseen by the public, dividing the main exhibition across two museum venues does produce some moments of serendipity, where different contexts offer new perspectives on the participating artists. For instance, at the Hammer, Monica Majoli’s woodcut prints depicting male centerfolds from the 1974 gay magazine Blueboy—delicate, ghostly images of desire—are placed alongside Reynaldo Rivera’s wallpapered photographs documenting queer, Latinx nightlife in the Echo Park of the 1980s and ’90s. This proximity enhances Majoli’s melancholy remembrance of underground, queer subcultures. At The Huntington, however, Majoli’s works share space with Aria Dean’s Ironic Ionic Replica (2020), a reproduction of Robert Venturi’s 1977 Ironic Column, playing up the appropriative, referential nature of both works. Some solutions to spreading an artist’s work across two venues are puzzling: Mario Ayala’s gorgeous acrylic and airbrushed canvases, which draw on car culture, tattoo graphics, vernacular signage, and homegrown SoCal Latinx aesthetics are on view at the Hammer, while his collection of underground Chicano magazines, like Teen Angels and Mi Vida Loca—seminal documents of Chicano/a life in the ’80s and ’90s and a major influence on Ayala—are on display at The Huntington, completely isolated from the paintings they informed. This division misses a major opportunity to unify archive and artwork, a move that would have grounded Ayala’s graphic style and iconography in a larger cultural history, itself often overlooked by major art museums.

Although the conceptual mirroring of the show is awkward at times, individual works employ mirrors, fractures, and ghosts to greater success. At the Hammer, Kandis Williams’ vinyl collages on Plexiglas and mirrors feature imagery culled from historical and pop-cultural sources, such as in Cave Before Cocytus (2018). The work references the river of wailing in Greek mythology, pairing ancient Greek statuary with archival photographs of acclaimed Black women. The viewer is reflected in the background, making it hard to view these juxtapositions passively. Aria Dean’s installation King of the Loop (2020) features a substantial, reflective black cube-shaped structure affixed with monitors that playback a performance that took place inside. Like many of the performance works in the show, Dean had to adapt what was supposed to be a multi-person, live show into this single-actor video due to the Covid-19 restrictions.

These two artists, and others in the show, foreground marginalized histories and voices. Umar Rashid’s vibrant faux-historical tableaux reimagine scenes in which Indigenous peoples confront their colonial oppressors. In The Battle of Malibu (2020) triptych, Rashid depicts the maritime exploits of the Tongva and Chumash. Given the richness of the Hammer’s collection of European and American painting, it would have been fruitful to show Rashid’s work alongside examples of Eurocentric hegemony. At The Huntington, however, his two paintings frame a window opening onto the institution’s permanent collection, bringing into question the unitary view of history it proposes.

Figurative works by Brandon D. Landers and Fulton Leroy Washington (MR. WASH) offer further alternatives to historic white subjectivity. Landers’ palette-knife paintings depict expressionistic memories of his childhood in South Central Los Angeles, while Washington’s realistic teardrop-filled portraits convey a pathos that cuts across class and race, featuring figures from politics and entertainment, alongside individuals the artist met while he was incarcerated. Washington began painting in prison after receiving a life sentence for a nonviolent drug offense. Having served 21 years, he was granted clemency by then-President Barack Obama. 

Made in L.A. 2020: a version (installation view) (2020–21). Image courtesy of the artists and The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens, San Marino. Photo: Joshua White. © The Huntington.

Considering that the two halves of the exhibition are staged at museums founded by kings of industry around their personal collections of American and European art, The Huntington does a better job of engaging with the museum’s permanent collection, drawing sometimes uncomfortable, but thoughtful comparisons with the contemporary works. In a gallery alongside Zenobia in Chains, an 1859 sculpture by Harriet Goodhue Hosmer, Patrick Jackson’s two male sculptural figures lie on their backs (Head, Hands and Feet, 2011). Bearded and barefoot, clad in denim with hands folded over their chests as if in death, they stand in stark contrast to the proud, third-century Palmyrene queen who challenged Rome, and whose chains appear more as decoration than bondage.

Inserted into one of the actual galleries of The Huntington Collection is Buck Ellison’s photographic Untitled (Cufflinks) (2020), depicting mundane symbols of high society: fresh tennis balls, prep school gym shorts, and an art book opened to a painting of two fancy lads. Just feet from this work hangs a similar image of charmed youth, John Singleton Copley’s 1783 portrait The Western Brothers, the proximity providing an aesthetic link and a critical bent. 

Aside from the choice to divide the show, which at times frustrates a coherent viewing, the pandemic has limited our ability to experience it at all. In many ways, this is disappointing but unavoidable. Many works by the late Moroccan-born artist, Nicola L. were intended to be interactive, encouraging corporeal playfulness. A reconstruction of La Chambre en Fourrure (1969)—a large, plush, purple room with cavities through which viewers can insert body parts—now sits vacant at the Hammer, a reminder of forbidden touch. 

Another work that emphasizes just how much we are missing by not being able to see these works in person is a literal haunted house created by Sabrina Tarasoff with Twisted Minds Production. Based around the Venice alt-poetry hangout Beyond Baroque, this mini-maze offers a window into a transgressive milieu active from 1976 to 1986 that included writer Dennis Cooper, artists Sheree Rose and Bob Flanagan, musicians John Doe and Exene Cervenka, and writer/artist Benjamin Weissman. A corridor of Cooper’s GIF art, Rose and Flanagan’s BDSM installation (including a robotic phallus emerging from a glory hole), theatrical lighting, and ephemera from the venue swirl together in a phantasmagoric and haunted blur—more experiential trip than local history lesson. 

Performance has largely been relegated to a limbo, neither viewable in person nor, in most cases, online. Ligia Lewis’ deader than dead (2020) was originally intended as a live performance and is now represented at the Hammer with a simple placeholder—a yellow mat in a corner and a QR code that brings up a spellbinding video online. In it, Lewis and her fellow masked dancers and singers ricochet between tragedy and comedy, death and deadpan, recalling the violence that has been enacted upon Black and brown bodies, as well as the embodiments of jubilation and resistance. The Hammer plans to stage a live performance at the end of the show’s run, and hopefully that will be possible, as it is one of the freshest, most vital works included. Curiously, it is the only performance or video work currently represented on the museums’ websites.

Given the reality of the pandemic, and the six months that have elapsed since the intended opening, it is unfortunate that the Hammer has not developed a more robust online experience of the exhibition accessible by the broader public. By contrast, galleries have been quick to adapt, throwing up online viewing rooms days after shutting their doors and adopting virtual walkthrough technologies. While an exhibition of this scope calls for a more nuanced and sophisticated digital presence, it is frustrating, but not surprising, that commerce is often a more effective agent of progress than community engagement.

Los Angeles is an unwieldy city that defies easy definition, and Made in L.A. 2020: a version sets out to capture some of that heterogeneity by disrupting the singular exhibition model. There are certainly thoughtful connections teased out between artists in each version—however, overall, the separation creates more disjuncture than connection, offering versions that feel both incomplete and unnecessarily contrived. The pandemic has put up challenges to be sure, but the virtual space presents an opportunity to create another Covid-safe version of the show. In the wake of the pandemic, alternative forms of display, both online and beyond institutional confines, could go a long way toward capturing contemporary Angeleno multiplicity.

This review was originally published in Carla issue 23.

Made in L.A. 2020: a version (installation view) (2020–21). Image courtesy of the artists and The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens, San Marino. Photo: Joshua White. © The Huntington.

Made in L.A. 2020: a version (installation view) (2020–21). Image courtesy of the artists and The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens, San Marino. Photo: Joshua White. © The Huntington.

Made in L.A. 2020: a version (installation view) (2020–21). Image courtesy of the artists and The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens, San Marino. Photo: Joshua White. © The Huntington.

Made in L.A. 2020: a version (installation view) (2020–21). Image courtesy of the artist and the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles. Photo: Joshua White.

Made in L.A. 2020: a version (installation view) (2020–21). Image courtesy of the artists and the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles. Photo: Joshua White.

  1. Elijah Chiland and Bianca Barragan, “The richest neighborhoods in Los Angeles,” Curbed L.A., updated May 30, 2017,

Matt Stromberg is a freelance arts writer based in Los Angeles. In addition to Carla, his work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, The Guardian, The Art NewspaperHyperallergicTeremotoKCET ArtboundArtsyfrieze, and Daily Serving.

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