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
Buy the Issue In our Online Shop

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
Buy the Issue In Our Online Shop

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

Buy the Issue In Our Online Shop

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
Buy the Issue In Our Online Shop

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
Buy the Issue In our Online Shop

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
Buy the Issue In Our Online Shop

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
Buy the Issue In Our Online Shop

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
Buy the Issue In Our Online Shop

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
Buy the Issue In Our Online Shop

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.)
Buy the Issue In Our Online Shop

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
Buy the Issue In Our Online Shop

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
Buy the Issue In Our Online Shop

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
Buy the Issue In Our Online Shop

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.)
Buy the Issue In Our Online Shop

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.)
Buy the Issue In Our Online Shop

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.)
Buy the Issue In Our Online Shop

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
Buy the Issue In Our Online Shop

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
Buy the Issue In Our Online Shop

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
Hamzianpour & Kia
Hannah Hoffman Gallery
Harper's Gallery
Hashimoto Contemporary
Heavy Manners Library
Helen J Gallery
Human Resources
Hunter Shaw Fine Art
in lieu
LaPau Gallery
Lisson Gallery
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)
Walker Art Center (Minneapolis, MN)
Whitney Museum of American Art (New York, NY)
Yale University Library (New Haven, CT)

Poetic Energies
and Radical

Senga Nengudi. Performance Piece (1978). Black and white photographs. Framed: 32.5 x 41 x 1.75 inches. Courtesy of the artist; Thomas Erben Gallery, New York; and Lévy Gorvy, New York, London. Photo: Harmon Outlaw.

“But in dance, there is only so much time to perform; with art, you can seemingly go on forever.”1
–Senga Nengudi

Senga Nengudi and Maren Hassinger have maintained a connection since they participated in the loosely knit art collective Studio Z in the 1970s. Even when they’re not working together, they respond to each other through their individual work, sometimes with deliberate gestures and other times with implicit dialogue around subjects to which both artists continually return. Both experiment with ritual and dematerialization, and their artworks eschew explicit invocation of social unrest, politics, and racial tensions—deep-seated themes which were (and continue to be) invoked by many of their African American contemporaries, such as David Hammons and Adrian Piper. In light of the artists’ friendship and decades-long collaboration, it seems fitting that both had overdue recent exhibitions at L.A. institutions. Hassinger’s signature twisted wire rope sculptures and braided newspaper feature in Art + Practice’s galleries, while Nengudi’s stretched and distended pantyhose sculptures dominated her just-closed show at the USC Fisher Museum of Art. Both exhibitions also celebrated historic work from the two artists’ 40-plus-year practices, though it was the lesser known video works in these exhibitions that offered the greatest new insights into the two artist’s connective dialogue.

The artists met around 1977 in the Professional Artists Employment Program, a federally-funded workshop organized by Brockman Gallery Productions in Leimert Park. Both were part of a generation of postwar L.A. artists responding to the effects of the Watts Riots and the Women’s Movement whose artmaking also relied on community-based participation. Hassinger and Nengudi’s mutual background in dance and commitment to feminist exploration of the body in sculpture and performance evinced an early shared ethos. The rotating cast of Studio Z artists performed spontaneous actions in the studio’s old dance hall rooms, on the street, and in other alternative spaces. In 1978, Hassinger participated in Nengudi’s seminal Ceremony for Freeway Fets, a ritualistic public performance and urban installation that took place under a Pico Boulevard freeway overpass. Nengudi’s improvisational scheme incorporated music, dance, and ritual costumes made of pantyhose and other found objects. For this work, Hassinger enacted the role of a female spirit. As an ephemeral, poetically energetic performance using elements of assemblage and spontaneity, this piece incorporated both artists’ shared aesthetics and themes. The social orientation of their practices and the breadth of their overlapping interests in improvisation and intimacy is demonstrated by the magnitude of their collaborative performances, which include R.S.V.P. (1977), Kiss (1980), Flying (1982), Duet (2005), among countless other works.

Ceremony for Freeway Fets (1978). Pico Blvd., Los Angeles. Collaborators: Maren Hassinger, David Hammons, Kenneth Severin, Roho, Joe Ray, and Franklin Parker. Image courtesy of the artists. Photo: Roderick “Quaku” Young.

Ceremony for Freeway Fets (1978). Pico Blvd., Los Angeles. Collaborators: Maren Hassinger, David Hammons, Kenneth Severin, Roho, Joe Ray, and Franklin Parker. Image courtesy of the artists. Photo: Roderick “Quaku” Young.

While Hassinger’s video practice started in 1991 and Nengudi’s began later in 2006, many of their video works employ footage and photographs from earlier collaborative performances from the 1970s. The video works expose the similarities in their approach to artmaking and help us understand their relationship to each other, as well as their shared exploration of gesture, representation, and identity. Through video, Hassinger and Nengudi lay bare their intersecting politics and motives, highlighting their eclectic approaches to issues of ancestry, feminism, and memory.

Hassinger has remarked that she uses the camera, quite simply, to “describe (her) surroundings,”2 but these filmed accounts manifest more broadly as nuanced and spiritual investigations. Wind (2013), which screened in a darkened room at Art + Practice, is a visually striking film that Hassinger created with her daughter, Ava Hassinger, under their collaborative moniker Matriarch. Using spliced together video and blurry Super 8 footage, the film shows mother and daughter wrapped in layers of white cloth, as they dance against an East Hampton shoreline, making wide, gallant, interpretive movements as their costumes flap in the breeze. Later, as the women walk in a procession, their long, draped textiles undulate wildly, the cloth’s vigor offsetting the slowness of their peregrination. Reminiscent of a 19th century petticoat, the layered costumes nod to historical regalia and the sense of fantasy that imbues the Hassingers’ dreamlike performance. Whose history, however, do these ethereal guises claim to invoke? The fabric shrouding the dancers’ faces and bodies also serves as a mask, countering the beauty and joy of their movements.

Hassinger’s short video Daily Mask (1997–2004), delves into more charged spaces of cultural identity and representation. Here, she applies black lines and curves to her face, filling in the contours and patterns until her face is completely black. She hones in on the process of application, presenting herself reflected in multiple mirrors as the sound of upbeat, climactic drumming animates the action; the artist is like a warrior slowly preparing for a fight. Once she completely applies her blackface, the artist opens her eyes and smiles, so that the white of her teeth and eyes appears bright in contrast to the shiny black makeup. This work compellingly alludes to what scholar Darby English terms “black representational space.” He writes, “It is an unfortunate fact that in this country, black artists’ work is endlessly summoned to provide its representativeness (or defend its lack of same) and contracted to show-and-tell on behalf of an abstract and unchanging ‘culture of origin.’”3

Maren Hassinger, Daily Mask (1997–2004). 16mm film transferred to video (color, sound), 3:32 minutes. Image courtesy of the artist. Photo: Joshua White.

While Hassinger references the aesthetics of African sculpture by the patterns she draws on her face, this video is powerful for its rejection of staid, racist signifiers, in favor of a triumphant embrace of the color black. Daily Mask reimagines this oft-questionable portrayal as a self-inflicted performative act. The artist manipulates the theatrical potential enabled by video’s narrative structure to expose masking as a process.

Birthright (2005) gives a glimpse into an intimate, biographical inquiry, as we see the artist mining for commonality within her own familial line. A camera follows Hassinger as she meets her aging uncle for the first time to learn about her ancestry. In a matter-of-fact tone, he recounts painful stories of estrangement, incest, and suicide, disclosing details about Hassinger’s Native American, white, and African American roots. In voiceover, Hassinger meditates on the economic legacy of slavery in the United States, considering how the injustices of the past reverberate in the United States’ global position today. Her camera person also zooms in on close-up shots of her hands as she takes notes on her uncle’s memories, committing oral recollection to paper. In other scenes, her hands twist and loop together strips of newspaper, a signature of her performance work exemplified by coiled newspaper sculptures in the exhibition. Here, video serves as a diaristic entry point into her exploration of self and surroundings. Hassinger’s films consider issues of identity in relation to social context, yet, like Nengudi’s own videos, these works are always grounded in relation to her figurative and performance-based practice.

Senga Nengudi’s initial use of video was as a mode of performance documentation, and the temporality of performance informed her video work at the USC Fisher. Side by Side (2006) compiles photographs and footage of performance collaborations with Hassinger from 1977–2005 that both archive and illuminate the magnitude of their collaboration. Nengudi and Hassinger appear in grainy scenes with artist Ulysses Jenkins and other collaborators, executing improvisational, repetitive, and exaggerated movements, or making kissing sounds and reciting monologues about imagined objects. The same poetic energy is palpable as the film cuts to more recent footage of the artists, now older, responding to each other decades after their initial collaboration; they encircle one another in a choreographed duet and stomp on gravel to leave an imprint of their feet.

Movement is central to Nengudi’s practice. Video works demonstrate this, more than the stationary nylon pantyhose sculptures for which she is best known. Art historian Kellie Jones notes of Nengudi’s sculptures, “They were supposed to be interacted with: caressed, fondled, and stroked by the artist as well as viewers. It was through participatory three-dimensional works that movement and finally performance (re)entered her work as an important creative force.”4 The shapes and materiality of those sculptures, omnipresent in this exhibition, mimic the female body’s stretched and contorted organic form—yet moored to the gallery walls and no longer touchable (save for a closing day performance), they appear static.

Senga Nengudi. Studio performance with R.S.V.P. (1976). Black and white photograph. Framed: 30.5 x 40.5 x 1.74 inches. Image courtesy of the artist; Thomas Erben Gallery, New York; and Lévy Gorvy, New York, London.

Perhaps to contrast this, in the video work The Threader (2007), Nengudi shows the moving body actively engaged with sculptural material. Produced from a residency at The Fabric Mills Workshop and Museum in Philadelphia, this film follows the movements of a worker carefully striding across the factory floor with a collection of threaded spools. His gestures, practiced movements used in his daily work, are as seamless as a choreographed dance. She cuts to close ups of his fingers delicately tying thread to a hook and of the swaying metal machinery. Like much of Hassinger’s video, the artistry of this work relies on the medium of the moving image to build narrative by cutting to discrete moments, or exploring the space of the factory itself.

By studying Hassinger and Nengudi’s video work in relation to each other, viewers may come to understand these artists’ simultaneous appeal to futurism and their spirited insistence on looking forward. Both artists challenge our awareness of how bodies exist in the realm of the social and the historical. This affinity is rooted in an inextricably linked past and shared intellectual kinship. Video enables each artist to explore their relationships to ritualistic practice, choreographed movement, and collaboration, illuminating the varying ways their spirited and inquisitive celebrations continue on. The medium allows a plurality of approaches to representation, providing sites not simply for self-reflection, but for self-remaking. Using a distinct visual vernacular, Nengudi and Hassinger reimagine gendered objects, sacred spaces, and the very construction of selfhood. Renewed attention to their work is timely, though perhaps more palpable is the strength found in their parallel practices. The moving image works in these exhibitions demonstrate the ways in which the two dance to the same metered rhythm, treading the same stage, two figures linked in intense synchronicity.

This essay was originally published in Carla issue 12. 

Ceremony for Freeway Fets (1978). Pico Blvd., Los Angeles. Collaborators: Maren Hassinger, David Hammons, Kenneth Severin, Roho, Joe Ray, and Franklin Parker. Image courtesy of the artists. Photo: Roderick “Quaku” Young.

Flying (1982). Digital Prints. Collaborators: Maren Hassinger, Ulysses Jenkins, and Franklin Parker. Barnsdall Park, Los Angeles, in conjunction with the exhibition Afro-American Abstraction, Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery. Image courtesy of the artists.

Maren Hassinger, High Noon (1976). One of four black and white photographs. Image courtesy of the artist. Photo: Adam Avila.

Maren Hassinger, Diaries (1978). Six black and white photographs. Six framed horizontal images, 12.25 x 15.25 x 1.25 inches. Image courtesy of the artist. Photo: Adam Avila.

Ulysses Jenkins, Adams Be Doggereal (1981) (performance still). Photo: Bruce W. Talon.

Cake Walk (1983) (video still). Color video with sound, 26:28. Performance by Houston Conwill. Video and editing by Ulysses Jenkins.

Senga Nengudi, Performance Piece (1978). Black and white photographs. Framed: 32.5 x 41 x 1.75 inches. Image courtesy of the artist; Thomas Erben Gallery, New York; and Lévy Gorvy, New York, London. Photo: Harmon Outlaw.

Maren Hassinger, The Spirit of Things at Art + Practice, Los Angeles (installation view). Photo by Joshua White.

Maren Hassinger, Twelve Trees #1 (1978). Four black and white photographs. Three framed horizontal images: 12 ¼ x 15 ¼ x 1 ¼ inches and one framed vertical image: 15 ¼ x 12 ¼ x 1 ¼ inches. Courtesy of the artist and Brockman Gallery Productions. Photo: Adam Avila.

  1.  Paige K. Bradley, “500 Words: Senga Nengudi,”, April 3, 2014,
  2.  Maren Hassinger, “Reflections on Art as a Verb: Twenty Years Later, in the New Millennium Interview with Maren Hassinger, Senga Nengudi, and Howardena Pindell,” in Cinema Remixed and Reloaded: Black Women Artists and the Moving Image Since 1970, ed. Andrea Barnwell Brownlee and Valerie Cassel Oliver (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2008), 19.
  3.  Darby English, How to See a Work of Art in Total Darkness (Cambridge: MIT Press 2007), 7.
  4.  Kellie Jones, New Thoughts on the Black Arts Movement (New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 2006), 62.

Simone Krug is a writer, educator, and independent curator based in Los Angeles. Her writing has appeared in Artforum, Art in America, and frieze, among other publications.

More by Simone Krug