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)

New Images
of Man

New Images of Man (installation view). September 30, 1959–November 29, 1959. The Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY, U.S.A. Image © The Museum of Modern Art/Licensed by SCALA / Art Resource, NY. Photo: Soichi Sunami.

It was late, and five of us were on a Zoom happy hour call that had already lasted over four hours—a length of time that would not have seemed excessive if we were all together in a living room, but now, in this quarantine era of endless screen time, felt indulgent. We were questioning our work in the arts when one friend passionately asserted that art was “the most important thing right now.” Art is about human experience, introspection, and empathy, she said, all things we need. We had all been drinking, but the rest of us were still too sober to lean into her optimism: yes, there is always a need for refection and expression, yet even performance artists are making face masks for health workers right now while curators are hounding city council about eviction protections. The human condition itself seems, currently, more urgent than anything art can say about it, which is why it is especially challenging, in this moment, to make sense of New Images of Man, a just-closed exhibition at Blum & Poe that strove to explore humanist struggle.

Curated by Alison M. Gingeras, New Images of Man reimagined a former, now-iconic, though never broadly liked exhibition: 1959’s New Images of Man, organized by longtime MoMA curator Peter Selz. Selz’s show included 23 artists, all of them white and from the U.S. or Western or Central Europe. Twenty-two of them were male. According to what he said at the time, Selz wanted to demonstrate the many ways in which postwar artists were taking “the human predicament” into consideration, a goal that was very much as unspecific as it sounds. In deliberate contrast, Gingeras pulled together a more international, intergenerational, and diverse group of 43 artists, bringing some from the original show into conversation with artists who could have been. In addition, she looped in artists living and working now—who are both still concerned with “the human predicament” and also aesthetically influenced by the original show’s artists. Her vision, according to the gallery press release, was to expand the range and “thus more acutely [enact] the original curator’s vision.”1 In other words, by correcting Selz’s tunnel vision, the show could present a much more alive and openminded exhibition about the human condition in art. As historical revisionism, (new) New Images succeeded in showing how much more the original could have done if the art establishment, and Selz as its agent, looked beyond its own circle. But as a look into how art speaks to human trials and tribulations from today’s vantage, it still felt limited by the shadow of Selz’s show, once again leaning on the art establishment— which is certainly more diverse than it was in 1959, but still not diverse enough.

Peter Selz died in summer 2019 at age 100. His daughter Gabrielle, interviewed for his New York Times obituary, observed, “He would say that everything—a somber painting by Rothko or a Rodin sculpture—was about the human condition. My dad responded to emotion.”2 This indiscriminant interest in art as a window into humanity nicely explains the wide net cast by the first New Images. In his 1959 catalogue essay, Selz explained that the art in his show expressed “wounds of existence,” and revealed “sometimes a new dignity, sometimes despair, but always the uniqueness of man.” The work also asserted the “personal identity” of individual artists who were working in a time that, according to the Selz, was bogged down by “stereotypes and standardizations which have affected not only life in general but also many of our contemporary art exhibitions.”3 This read as a not-too-subtle jab at the dominance of Abstract Expressionism, and its associated ideologies, in the post-war New York art world.

Niki de Saint Phalle, Marilyn (1964). Mixed media (objects, paint, wool, fabric, mesh), 32.5 × 50.5 × 19.25 inches. © 2020 Niki Charitable Art Foundation. All rights reserved / ARS, NY / ADAGP, Paris. Image courtesy of the Foundation, Blum & Poe, Los Angeles/New York/Tokyo and Galerie GP & N Vallois. Photo: Marten Elder.
New Images of Man (installation view) (2020). Image courtesy of the artists and Blum & Poe, Los Angeles. Photo: Makenzie Goodman.

However, given how much of the work in the original New Images belonged to or was inspired by Abstract Expressionism and Art Informel, it is difficult to understand just how effectively Selz sidestepped “stereotypes and standardizations.” Certainly, the exhibition rebuffed any false sense that abstraction was still the newest, most dominant or progressive development in art of the time. The language of anguish and intense emotion that Selz attached to the work in his show also may have defied stereotypes and standards, but many of the same artists had been described in more subdued terms elsewhere. For instance, Jean Dubuffet, who contributed to New Images violent and rough, textured portraits that were childishly rudimentary in their approach to anatomy, was described by critic Clement Greenberg as having “intensity” and “concentration”4 —whereas Selz said his work questioned existence itself. Rico LeBrun, then one of the main internationally-known painters based in Los Angeles, contributed loose charcoal and oil figures with heads vaguely resembling skeletons, and the then-young New Yorker Leon Golub showed a painting of a sometimes-limbless and out-of-proportion figure—Selz described both artists’ works as “frightening in their anguish.” He also found these artists “courageous” in their depiction of human hardship, hyperbole that now, looking back at the economic and social disparities of the 20th century, feels embarrassing.5 Critics at the time thought so too; Manny Farber wrote in Artnews that “the Museum’s monster show is confusion with wishful thinking buried under its sentimental hide.”6

Despite its curator’s aforementioned attempt to defy standardization, the original show’s homogeneity remains its most frustrating element. There were no artists of color (though some, like Selz himself, were Jewish), and while Germaine Richier, the one woman included, worked in many veins throughout her life (she died the summer before New Images opened), Selz chose to include works of hers that closely resembled those of her contemporary, Giacometti. This indirectly supported the inaccurate assumption that the latter influenced her (the type of sad, faceless figures depicted by Giacometti, whose work was featured on the exhibition catalogue’s cover, were clearly Selz’s preference). Selz did try to improve his gender parity record when he resurrected the show at Alphonse Berber gallery in 2009, including a few more women and revising the title to New Images of Man and Woman.

While (new) New Images of Man at Blum & Poe featured art by the original show’s old guard in multiple galleries, it was at its best when demonstrating how different the original could have been, by including works like Marilyn (1964) by Niki de Saint Phalle, an artist whom Selz made a habit of excluding from exhibitions (while championing her husband and collaborator, Jean Tinguely). Perched sphinxlike on a plinth, the almost-life-size figurative assemblage has burlap skin, lush raffia hair, large blue eyes, and smeared lipstick. Plastic baby dolls, toothy skulls, animal figurines, and fake flowers emerge from her body. The “wounds of existence” this sculpture speaks to—gender stereotypes, consumerism’s abuses—are far more local than existential. Beyond Saint Phalle, Gingeras included a number of female artists who were living and working back in 1959, and could have easily been included in the original MoMA exhibition: Yuki Katsura, Alina Szapocznikow, Lee Lozano, Carol Rama. They would have brought the levity and razor sharp wit that Selz’s self-serious dive into messy, painterly post-war figuration lacked. (The woman, used to being excluded, didn’t really give a damn about conveying epic emotion. Being artists who expressed any emotion at all was rebellious enough.)

In some ways, however, despite its inspired revisionism, the Blum & Poe show remained bogged down by its predecessor. For instance, Dave Muller, an artist on Blum & Poe’s roster who often reproduces vintage record and book covers in his work, made two massive paintings based on photographs of the original New Images of Man catalogue. In one, the larger-than-life image of the cover sports a yellow $5.00 Strand Books price sticker next to the mummy-like Giacometti, and in the other, Gingeras and Muller together annotated the blown-up rendering of the catalogue’s pages about Dubuffet. They circled scare quotes and questioned verbs (“‘emergence’ is a repetitive trope…as if figures ‘develop’ …organically or subconsciously”). They also installed small works by three artists—one female, and all self-taught—on top of this annotated spread. The intimately-scaled untitled 1944 watercolor by Italian artist Carol Rama, which features the same nude, ethereal and impudent woman Rama painted many times (this time with a floral crown and tongue hanging long over her chin), floated above Dubuffet’s bio. A mystical 1960 painting by mid-century American outsider artist Eugene Von Bruenchenhein and small, threadbare figurines that French artist Michel Nedjar made in the 1980s and ’90s interrupted a page about Dubuffet’s interest in masks and graffiti. Rama, Von Bruenchenhein, and Nedjar certainly complicated the narrative, but it was still Selz’s words that loomed largest.

New Images of Man (installation view) (2020). Image courtesy of the artists and Blum & Poe, Los Angeles. Photo: Makenzie Goodman.
New Images of Man (installation view) (2020). Image courtesy of the artists and Blum & Poe, Los Angeles. Photo: Makenzie Goodman.

Most galleries included at least one reference to a prominent old guard artist—in fact, in the catalogue, the show’s different galleries are labeled “after Giacometti,” “after Dubuffet,” “after de Kooning,” “after Bacon,” and “after Westermann,” though this organization isn’t specified in the press release. A floor piece in one gallery, described on the image list as an “interpretation of Willem de Kooning,” was a pastel drawing mimicking one of the same woman paintings that de Kooning contributed to the 1959 exhibition. The vital difference was that the Blum & Poe version was made by un-credited contractors hired by the gallery and laid underneath plexiglass for gallery-goers to walk on top of. While the difficulty of obtaining a de Kooning woman painting perhaps led to this improvisation, a greater significance was hard to pin down. Was the point just that we, in the 21st century, have become less reverent, better at appropriation and manipulation? And what does it mean that the maker went uncredited in a show about the human condition, staged at a time when thousands of art world laborers have been unionizing in an effort to make their voices heard (and now, in the wake of the pandemic, many of these same workers have been let go)?

In another gallery, work by Francis Bacon—also an old guard New Images artist—hung on a wall, except not in the way you’d expect. Again, sidestepping inclusion of an actual Bacon work, the gallery sourced an army of maroon Centre Pompidou tote bags with Bacon’s Seated Figure (1974) printed alongside the museum’s logo. The bags were repeated again and again across the wall, forming a type of wallpaper. Hovering over these totes was a painting by Henry Taylor, Untitled (ethiopian pharmacist) (2016), much larger than the miniature Bacon images, but ultimately quieter. While Bacon’s commercially reproduced figure writhes, Taylor’s sits calmly, working with a mortar and pestle, a cross on the wall beside him. Taylor, who depicts people he knows in addition to anonymous or historical figures, portrays a more class conscious world than Bacon ever did, one in which there is at least as much, if not more, cause for anguish and despair but less palpable interest in it. Though the use of the totes sits a bit uneasily—many artists in the show, including younger ones, have become ubiquitous in art world marketing, and it wasn’t clear if the totes were there to acknowledge or poke at this—the contrasting energy of these two artists was compelling. Such juxtapositions were a strength of Gingeras’ curation.

Elsewhere in the show, Sarah Lucas’ loopy, bodily, flesh-colored bronze (Elf Warrior, 2018) aped a 1965 bronze by Alina Szapocznikow, both of them weirder and more anatomically defiant than a nearby towering bronze female figure by César (another old guard male artist). César cut off his figure at the chest (she has no shoulders, arms, or head), and while Szapocznikow’s and Lucas’ figures have unnatural numbers of twisting limbs, they still seem more alive. The sheer number of artists in (new) New Images made room for many charming pairings, the best of which was the pairing of photographers Deana Lawson, active since the mid-2000s, and Zofa Rydet, who died in 1997 after spending the last 20 years of her life trying to document the interior of every home in her native Poland for a project she called Sociological Record. The two were paired in an installation in Blum & Poe’s lobby that was essentially a show inside a show—an homage to another influential “human condition” MoMA show often discussed alongside New Images: 1955’s The Family of Man. This felt less confusing in person than in writing, as the two photographers’ images were the first and last works viewers saw when walking through the exhibition— Rydet’s a compelling attempt to convey people’s economic realities alongside the care they put into their personal environments, and Lawson’s opulently staged in collaboration with her subjects, who pose in their own cared-for but imperfect homes.

While this pairing beautifully traversed class and opportunity divides, the majority of the artists represented in (new) New Images now have art world and art market credentials. Granted, there are a few exceptions: Luis Flores’ career is still young, and others, like the late Yuki Katsura, still don’t have the museum presence they deserve. But even once obscure outsider artists like Von Bruenchenhein have become market darlings; others, both late and living, have had their share of major museum shows and are represented by established galleries. Whatever progress it has made since 1959, the art world is still not known for its democracy and inclusivity. Being a gallery-represented artist is not accessible to all humans who make art, and situations like the one we are in now— where young artists lose the part-time museum jobs keeping them afloat and others realize that art school is not something they can afford—further reduce that access. For all (new) New Images did to upend a problematic, yet iconic, moment in art history, its lingering complicity with art world hierarchies ultimately lessened its resonance.

This essay was originally published in Carla issue 20.

New Images of Man (installation view) (2020). Image courtesy of the artists and Blum & Poe, Los Angeles. Photo: Makenzie Goodman.
New Images of Man (installation view) (2020). Image courtesy of the artists and Blum & Poe, Los Angeles. Photo: Makenzie Goodman.
New Images of Man (installation view) (2020). Image courtesy of the artists and Blum & Poe, Los Angeles. Photo: Makenzie Goodman.
New Images of Man (installation view) (2020). Image courtesy of the artists and Blum & Poe, Los Angeles. Photo: Makenzie Goodman.
  1. “New Images of Man,” Blum & Poe, 2020, https://www.
  2. Gingeras also quotes this telling morsel in her New Images catalogue essay. Richard Sandomir, “Peter Selz, an Art Museum Force on Two Costs, Dies at 100,” The New York Times, June 28, 2019.
  3. Peter Selz, “Introduction,” New Images of Man (New York: Museum of Modern Art, 1959), 11.
  4. Clement Greenberg, “Review of Exhibitions of Jean Dubuffet and Jackson Pollock,” The Nation, February 1, 1947.
  5. For instance, in 2000, historian David Hopkins griped that Selz “made figuration look complicit with America’s neutralized political status quo.” Hopkins, After Modern Art (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000).
  6. Manny Farber, “New Images of (ugh) Man,” Artnews, October 1959.

Catherine Wagley writes about art and visual culture in Los Angeles.

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