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
Launch Party May 18th, 2019
@ The Pit
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
Launch Party February 2019
Frieze Los Angeles, ALAC,
Spring Break Art Fair, Felix
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
Launch Party November 18, 2018
at Odd Ark L.A.
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
Launch Party August 18, 2018
At Praz-Delavallade
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
Launch Party May 19, 2018
at Karma International
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
Launch Party
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.)
Launch Party November 18, 2017
at the Landing
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
Launch Party August 19th at Blum and Poe
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
Launch Party May 13, 2017
at Commonwealth and Council
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
Launch Party February 18, 2017
at Shulamit Nazarian
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
Launch Party Carla Issue 6
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
Launch Party Carla Issue 5
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
Launch Party Carla Issue 4
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
Launch Party Carla Issue 3
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
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
Launch Party Carla Issue 1
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
Cirrus Gallery
Château Shatto
Elevator Mondays
The Geffen Contemporary 
Ghebaly Gallery
Mistake Room
MOCA Grand Avenue
Monte Vista Projects
Night Gallery
The Box
Wilding Cran Gallery
Boyle Heights/ Chinatown
A.G. Geiger
Charlie James
Good Luck Gallery
Human Resources
Ibid Gallery
Parrasch Heijnen Gallery
Nicodim Gallery

Odd Ark LA
Oof Books
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
Laband Art Gallery at LMU
team (bungalow)
Pasadena/ Glendale/ Valley
The Armory Center for the Arts
The Pit
Los Angeles Valley College
1301 PE
Big Pictures Los Angeles
California African American Museum
E.C. Liná
Commonwealth & Council
David Kordansky Gallery
Hunter Shaw Fine Art
Kayne Griffin Corcoran
Lowell Ryan Projects
ltd Los Angeles
Marciano Art Foundation
Ochi Projects
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
Luis De Jesus
Philip Martin Gallery
Roberts Projects
Susanne Vielmetter
Diane Rosenstein
East Hollywood Fine Art
Family Books
Nino Mier Gallery
Moskowitz Bayse
Noysky Projects
Regen Projects
Shulamit Nazarian
Steve Turner
Tanya Bonakdar Gallery
Various Small Fires
Gas Gallery
Elsewhere in CA
CLOACA (San Fransisco)
Curatorial Research Bureau @ the YBCA (San Fransisco)
Et al. (San Francisco)
Ever Gold [Projects] (San Francisco)
fused space (San Francisco)
Gym Standard (San Diego)
Interface Gallery (Oakland)
Jessica Silverman (San Francisco)
Left Field (San Luis Obispo)
Minnesota Street Projects (San Fransisco)
San Diego Art Institute (San Diego)
Verge Center for the Arts (Sacramento)
Wattis Institute for Contemporary Art (San Francisco)
Wolfman Books (Oakland)
Non CA
Artbook @ MoMA PS1 (Long Island City, NY)
Nationale (Portland, OR)
McNally Jackson (New York)
Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture (Skowhegan, ME)
Small Editions (Brooklyn, NY)
Space 42 (Jacksonville, FL)
Spoonbill & Sugartown (Brooklyn, NY)
Ulises (Philadelphia, PA)
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)
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)
Pepperdine University (Malibu, CA)
Point Loma Nazarene University (San Diego, CA)
School of the Art Institute of Chicago, John M. Flaxman Library (Chicago, IL)
Scholes Library, NYS College of Ceramics at Alfred University (Alfred, NY)
Skowhegan Archives (New York, NY)
Sotheby’s Institute of Art (New York, NY)
Telfair Museum (Savannah, GA)
University of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia, PA)
USC Fisher Museum of Art (Los Angeles, CA)
University of San Diego (San Diego, CA)
Walker Art Center (Minneapolis, MN)
Whitney Museum of American Art, Frances Mulhall Achilles Library (New York, NY)
Yale University Library (New Haven, CT)

On Eclipses: Where Language and Photography Fail

Leonardo Katz, Lunar Typewriter (1977-1978). Image courtesy of The Getty Museum and of Henrique Faria Fine Art.

On August 21, the earth, moon, and sun’s celestial postures aligned in performance of the perfect spectral mirage: the moon appeared to slip from its orbit, and like an unknown body blotting out the light at the end of a narrow tunnel, briefly obscured the violent, ultraviolet orb of the sun.

In Los Angeles, outside the slender path of totality that threaded across the contiguous United States, the sun remained as a sliver, a toenail, or a fractured oval; the drop in air temperature was only marginally perceptible. A naked glance upwards would be rewarded with a crescent-shaped scar seared into the retina.

Elsewhere, those situated within the path of totality would be seized by a lunar tempest: a disc of shadow would defiantly cloak the sun and assail the terrestrial plane below, moving at an upward speed of nearly 3,000 miles per hour.1 At the moment of total eclipse, twilight would emerge, the sun’s corona would careen into view, and the visible color spectrum would appear to lilt and shift. While this rapturous solar void has been lyrically imparted as “a forsaking”2 (Anne Carson), a fatal “defeat”3 (Virginia Woolf), and “a slug of anaesthetic up your arm”4  (Annie Dillard), by all accounts, the corporeal experience of this phenomenon is truly invulnerable to being shaped by language. Existing in what Sarah Charlesworth describes as a liminal state of “All Light & No Light,”5 an eclipse also magnificently defies photographic representation. Capturing an eclipse’s image or recounting it through language is akin to fleshing out an imperishable portrait of a fleeting ghost.

While a total solar eclipse predictably occurs somewhere on the planet approximately once every 18 months, the August 21, 2017 eclipse was the first to align above the United States in 38 years, with the last occurring on February 26, 1979.6 Recognizing the uncanny qualities of this celestial affair, both Sarah Charlesworth and Annie Dillard employed the 1979 eclipse as subject matter for two distinct works that mined its respective photographic and poetic properties.

In Dillard’s classic essay, “Total Eclipse,” the author intimately recounts her personal experience of the eclipse, narrating the ways in which language becomes unmoored from the actual somatic experience of being consumed by the moon’s shadow (“Language can give no sense of this sort of speed”7). Pondering the limits of language, Dillard frequently turns to the language of photography, excavating the points at which image and prose meet: “The sky snapped over the sun like a lens cover. The hatch in the brain slammed.”8

As she continues to navigate an array of complex visual metaphors, she ultimately asserts that, as language crumples in the aftermath of totality, so does its photographic brethren. “You have seen photographs of the sun taken during a total eclipse. The corona fills the print… The lenses of telescopes and cameras can no more cover the breadth and scale of the visual array than language can cover the breadth and simultaneity of internal experience.”9

Here, the problem of memorializing the eclipse emerges. Dillard suggests that both poetry and photography function as mediators of a primal experience, and as such exhibit tragic flaws when tasked to quantify the visual and emotional contours of a total eclipse. While Dillard’s linguistic focus is largely internal, intimate, and personal, Sarah Charlesworth’s The Arc of Total Eclipse, February 26, 1979 (1979, currently on view at LACMA), dissects the problem of photographic representation by focusing on the wider point of public dissemination. Visually tracing the geographic arc of the 1979 eclipse, Charlesworth photographically reproduces the front pages of 29 newspapers headlining the eclipse, all from communities within the path of totality. Stripped of all accompanying text and image aside from the publications’ mastheads and photographs of the eclipse, the work presents the phenomenon as a compositional abstraction that threads through a series of nearly empty frames.

Interestingly, despite hailing from diverse geographic points along the eclipse’s trajectory, many of the newspapers use identical images of the cosmological occurrence,10 undermining the unspoken insinuation that each offers unique, firsthand reportage of a newsworthy event. As duplicates of reproductions of already mediated images, the photographs in question function as viral facsimiles, visual surrogates incapable of truly “reporting” the moment for which they stand. By erasing the remaining content of the newspapers’ covers, Charlesworth further contextually dilutes a moment that is already more hallucinogenic than it is concrete.

Charlesworth deploys photographic processes to point to the medium’s own blindspot, unearthing a beguiling riddle: despite inherently embodying the physical and optical interplay of light, shadow, and object that the mechanism of photography employs, a total eclipse fundamentally eludes the parameters of photographic representation. An eclipse is an optical lacuna: an oblique, fugitive state marked by the dual presence and absence of light, which renders it metaphorically (and in most cases, physically11) unphotographable. Only the most advanced telescopic lenses can capture an eclipse in any detail, and the resulting physical image is a beautifully tidy abstraction—a finite yet disembodied emblem of an already abstract occurrence. Immense, uncapturable, and uncategorizable, an eclipse ultimately untethers the visual world from its verbal reference point.

If the 1979 total solar eclipse confounded modes of conceptual and optical representation, the 2017 eclipse exponentially compounded these representational dilemmas. On the morning of August 21, as the needs of my newborn forbade me from venturing outside, I tacitly watched the crescent-shaped projections of a partially eclipsed sun emerge from the dappled light filtering through my window. While simultaneously scrolling through my friends’ geographically scattered posts and hashtags, I streamed NASA’s live video feed of the moment of totality. Every major news channel boasted dedicated coverage of the eclipse, revealing disquietingly large throngs of people congregating in fields and stadiums, gazing skywards as if anticipating the unfurling of the apocalypse (and by Dillard’s reading, perhaps they were).

In fact, over 200 million people viewed or experienced the eclipse.12 Exacerbating the dilemma of photography set forth by Dillard and Charlesworth, most of these spectators witnessed the eclipse, as I did, through varying degrees of photographic mediation: through a live feed or on social media, through filtered lenses, or through the irregular shadows cast by found or handmade projectors. If the eclipse itself embodied the mechanics of photography, so did attempts at viewing it—our eyes became lenses protected by filters, our iPhones became surrogates for our eyes, and our bodies bore the apparatus of homemade camera obscuras.13 And, on the fringes of totality, lest there be millions of newly forged retinal scars, we turned our backs to the light en masse in a postmodern performance of Plato’s philosophical parable.

In an inadvertent rendition of Charlesworth’s Arc, most networks aired live video footage of the moment of totality as it rhythmically unfolded above the various communities along its geographic path. As the sun and moon appeared to collide, a moment of rapt silence was punctuated by a chorus of screams—a spectacle of primal rapture performed for the mediated vantage points of news cameras and social media.14 This peculiar primitive phenomenon, also recounted by Dillard, marks the precise moment that language begins to disintegrate. “From all the hills came screams.” Then suddenly, “[t]here was no sound. The eyes dried, the arteries drained, the lungs hushed. There was no world.”15 This void—of light, darkness, language, sound, and reason—represents the experiential dialectic of the eclipse: How can language possibly annotate its own evacuation? How can photography, through the mechanics of light, possibly illuminate light’s own jarring retreat? Both become the modes through which our internal experience of external phenomena are mediated.

Like an object in a viewfinder slipping from focus, like our eclipse-battered senses “receding the way galaxies recede to the rim of space,”16 the moon methodically recedes from the earth each year at a glacial pace. In 600 million years, as the moon’s synchronous orbit finally surrenders its ability to veil the sun, the last total solar eclipse will align above the terrestrial horizon.17 In a fitting end to this metaphor, like an unfixed image that dissipates in the sun, or a momentary mincing of words, an eclipse is a fleeting, mercurial anomaly—it evades all forms of permanence, just as it evades all modes of representation.

Sarah Charlesworth, The Arc of Total Eclipse, February 26 (1979) (detail). 29 Fuji Crystal Archive prints, each 22 × 16 inches. Image courtesy of the University of California, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive.

Sarah Charlesworth, The Arc of Total Eclipse, February 26 (1979) (detail). 29 Fuji Crystal Archive prints, each 22 × 16 inches. Image courtesy of the University of California, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive.

Sarah Charlesworth, The Arc of Total Eclipse, February 26 (1979) (detail). 29 Fuji Crystal Archive prints, each 22 × 16 inches. Image courtesy of the University of California, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive.

Originally published in Carla issue 10.

  1. Elizabeth Zubritsky, “The Moon is Front and Center During a Total Solar Eclipse,”, July 21, 2017, is-front-and-center-during-a-total-solar-eclipse.
  2.  Anne Carson, “Totality: The Color of Eclipse,” Cabinet, Issue 12: The Enemy (Fall/Winter 2013),
  3.  Ibid., as quoted.
  4.  Annie Dillard, “Total Eclipse,” The Abundance: Narrative Essays Old and New (New York: HarperCollins, 2016), 21.
  5. Rochelle Steiner, “Tools and Magic Wands,” Sarah Charlesworth (New York: Prestel, 2017), 15.
  6. See NASA’s online database of maps of solar eclipses in North America:
  7. Dillard, 21.
  8. Dillard, 11.
  9. Dillard, 14.
  10. Mark Godfrey, “Modern History,” Sarah Charlesworth (New York: Prestel, 2017), 138.
  11. See instructions for and the limitations of photographing the eclipse:
  12. Mike Wall, “Great American Solar Eclipse Viewership Dwarfed Superbowl Audience,”, September 28, 2017,
  13. In reference to the proliferation of DIY instructions for wearable / mask-like eclipse viewers, modeled after the mechanics of the pinhole camera or camera obscura.
  14. This was also noted in primetime news broadcasts of the 1979 eclipse. See “A look back at the 1979 total solar eclipse,” ABC News, August 19, 2017,
  15. Dillard, 11.
  16. Ibid., 10.
  17. Zubritsky.