Issue 26

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Issue 21

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Issue 19

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

at 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

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
at LADIES’ ROOM
– Jessica Simmons

Derek Paul Jack Boyle
at SMART OBJECTS
–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

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
at NAVEL
–Julie Weitz

(L.A. in N.Y.)
Alex Israel
at Greene Naftali
–Rosa Tyhurst

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Issue 16

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

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
at LAXART
–Matt Stromberg

Kahlil Joseph
at MOCA PDC
–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

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

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

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

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

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
Reviews
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

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

Home
at LACMA

Analia Saban at
Sprueth Magers
Letter to the Editor Lady Parts, Lady Arts
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Issue 8

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.
Featuring:
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

Letter from the Editor Lindsay Preston Zappas
Generous
Structures
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.
Featuring:
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

Ma
at Chateau Shatto

The Rat Bastard Protective Association
at the Landing
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Issue 6

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
at LACMA
Jessica Simmons
Exquisite L.A.
Featuring:
Analia Saban
Ry Rocklen
Sarah Cain
Intro by Claressinka Anderson
Portraits by Joe Pugliese
Reviews
Made in L.A. 2016
at The Hammer Museum

Doug Aitken
at The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA

Mertzbau
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

Letter form the Editor Lindsay Preston Zappas
Non-Fiction
at The Underground Museum
Catherine Wagley
The Art of Birth Carmen Winant
Escape from Bunker Hill
John Knight
at REDCAT
Travis Diehl
Ed Boreal Speaks Benjamin Lord
Art Advice (from Men) Sarah Weber
Routine Pleasures
at the MAK Center
Jonathan Griffin
Exquisite L.A.
Featuring:
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

Letter from the Editor Lindsay Preston Zappas
Moon, laub, and Love Catherine Wagley
Walk Artisanal Jonathan Griffin
Reconsidering
Marva Marrow's
Inside the L.A. Artist
Anthony Pearson
Mystery Science Thater:
Diana Thater
at LACMA
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
at LACMA

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

Letter from the Editor Lindsay Preston Zappas
Le Louvre, Las Vegas Evan Moffitt
iPhones, Flesh,
and the Word:
F.B.I.
at Arturo Bandini
Lindsay Preston Zappas
Women Talking About Barney Catherine Wagley
Lingua Ignota:
Faith Wilding
at The Armory Center
for the Arts
and LOUDHAILER
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
at ASHES/ASHES
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Issue 2

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

Letter from the Editor Lindsay Preston Zappas
MEAT PHYSICS/
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
SOGTFO
at François Ghebaly
Jonathan Griffin
#studio #visit
with #devin #kenny
@barnettcohen
Mateo Tannatt
Photographs
Jibade-Khalil Huffman
Slow View:
Discussion on One Work
Anna Breininger
with Julian Rogers
Reviews Pierre Huyghe
at LACMA

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
Distribution
Downtown
Artbook @ Hauser & Wirth
Baert Gallery
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Cirrus Gallery
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ICA LA
in lieu
JOAN
Luis De Jesus Los Angeles
MOCA Grand Avenue
Monte Vista Projects
Murmurs
Nicodim Gallery
Night Gallery
OOF Books
Over the Influence
Royale Projects
The Box
Track 16
Vielmetter Los Angeles
Wilding Cran Gallery
Wönzimer Gallery
Chinatown/ Boyle Heights
Bel Ami
Charlie James
Human Resources
LACA
Leiminspace
Parrasch Heijnen Gallery
Stanley's
Tierra del Sol Gallery
Culver City/ West Adams
Anat Ebgi
Arcana Books
Blum & Poe
Hashimoto Contemporary
Philip Martin Gallery
Roberts Projects
Shoshana Wayne Gallery
the Landing
The Wende Museum
Thinkspace Projects
Eagle Rock/ Cypress Park
BOZOMAG
Gattopardo
Odd Ark LA
Historic South Central
Sow & Tailor
USC Fisher Museum of Art
Westside
18th Street Arts
Five Car Garage
L.A. Louver
Laband Art Gallery at LMU
Marshall Contemporary
Paradise Framing
Westwood/ Beverly Hills
CLEARING
Hammer Museum
M+B
Simchowitz
UTA Artist Space
Hollywood/ Melrose
Bridge Projects
Diane Rosenstein
Helen J Gallery
LACE
LAXART
Make Room Los Angeles
Matthew Brown Los Angeles
Moskowitz Bayse
Nino Mier Gallery
Nonaka-Hill
Shulamit Nazarian
STARS
Steve Turner
Tanya Bonakdar Gallery
The LODGE
Various Small Fires
MacArthur Park/ Pico-Union
as-is.la
Commonwealth & Council
Hannah Hoffman
O-Town House
Mid-City
1301 PE
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Harkawik
Hunter Shaw Fine Art
Lowell Ryan Projects
Ochi Projects
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r d f a
Shoot the Lobster
Mid-Wilshire
Anat Ebgi
Craft Contemporary
David Kordansky Gallery
Kayne Griffin
One Trick Pony
Praz-Delavallade
SPRÜTH MAGERS
Pasadena/ Glendale
Junior High
The Armory Center for the Arts
The Pit
Silverlake/ Echo Park
Marta
Smart Objects
Tyler Park Presents
Non-L.A.
Angels Gate Cultural Center (San Pedro, CA)
BEST PRACTICE (San Diego, CA)
Beverly's (New York, NY)
Bortolami Gallery (New York, NY)
Buffalo Institute for Contemporary Art (Buffalo, NY)
Et al. (San Francisco, CA)
Left Field (Los Osos, CA)
Minnesota Street Project (San Francisco, CA)
Mrs. (Queens, NY)
Ochi Gallery (Ketchum, ID)
Santa Barbara City College (Santa Barbara, CA)
Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture (Skowhegan, ME)
Verge Center for the Arts (Sacramento, CA)
Wattis Institute for Contemporary Art (San Francisco, CA)
Libraries/ Collections
Bard College, Center for Curatorial Studies Library (Annandale-on-Hudson, NY)
CalArts (Valencia, CA)
Center for the Arts, Wesleyan University (Middletown, CT)
Charlotte Street Foundation (Kansas City, MO)
Cranbrook Academy of Art (Bloomfield Hills, MI)
Fulcrum Press (Los Angeles, CA)
Los Angeles Contemporary Archive (Los Angeles, CA)
Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Research Library (Los Angeles, CA)
Marpha Foundation (Marpha, Nepal)
Maryland Institute College of Art, The Decker Library (Baltimore, MD)
Midway Contemporary Art (Minneapolis, MN)
Museum of Contemporary Art Santa Barbara, Emerging Leaders of Arts (Santa Barbara, CA)
NYS College of Ceramics at Alfred University, Scholes Library (Alfred, NY)
Northwest Nazarene University (Nampa, ID)
NYS College of Ceramics at Alfred University, Scholes Library (Alfred, NY)
Pepperdine University (Malibu, CA)
Point Loma Nazarene University (San Diego, CA)
Room Project (Detroit, MI)
School of the Art Institute of Chicago, John M. Flaxman Library (Chicago, IL)
Skowhegan Archives (New York, NY)
Sotheby’s Institute of Art (New York, NY)
Telfair Museum (Savannah, GA)
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Thomas J. Watson Library (New York, NY)
University of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia, PA)
University of San Diego (San Diego, CA)
USC Fisher Museum of Art (Los Angeles, CA)
Walker Art Center (Minneapolis, MN)
Whitney Museum of American Art, Frances Mulhall Achilles Library (New York, NY)
Yale University Library (New Haven, CT)

Resurgence of Resistance: How Pattern & Decoration Can Help Reshape the Canon

Robert Kushner, Fairies (1980) (detail). Acrylic on cotton, 99 × 135 inches. Image courtesy of the Marieluise Hessel Collection, Hessel Museum of Art, Center for Curatorial Studies, Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, New York. Photo: Chris Kendall.

“Decoration has always been particularly despised in art discourse,” said the late art dealer Holly Solomon decades ago, recalling the time in 1977 she installed a group of “Pattern and Decoration” artists in her booth at Art Basel. “The show was immediately controversial—a bit like the child everyone beats over the head when he’s got nothing better to do.”1 This off-the-cuff remark sounds dramatic, until you read 1970s–’80s criticism calling out P&D—as Pattern and Decoration was often called—as regressive or just vapid.2 At the time, Solomon said, “it seemed that all the art shown in every gallery had to look alike.”3 Minimalism was the institutional darling, but not for Solomon. Once, at her gallery, she hosted a performance by P&D artist Robert Kushner, in which he wore a costume made of tree branches, antique gauze, raffia, and various other materials. Solomon bought the costume for her own collection afterward, and, when Kushner delivered it to her apartment, casually placed it beside a painting by very- much-established Jasper Johns. 

The press material and catalogue for MOCA Los Angeles’ current exhibition, With Pleasure: Pattern and Decoration in American Art 1972–1985, make it deliberately clear that the P&D movement had champions in its time—Solomon, dealer Tibor de Nagy, critic Amy Goldin, and curator John Perreault among them. Yet the show, curated by Anna Katz, makes other claims to exceptionalism. It is “the first full-scale scholarly North American survey of the groundbreaking yet understudied” art movement, according to the press release. Indeed, while the Hudson River Museum put on Pattern and Decoration: An Ideal Vision in American Art in 2007, it included significantly fewer artworks, and the recent Surface/Depth: The Decorative After Miriam Schapiro at the Museum of Arts and Design in New York did not attempt comprehensiveness. Other recent exhibitions, of which there have been a surprising number, have not been in North America: such as the one at MAMCO in Geneva (2018) or the one that traveled from Ludwig Forum in Aachen (2018) to mumok in Vienna and the Ludwig Museum in Budapest. This surge in exhibitions is significant because, from 1986 until the early 2000s, hardly even any minor exhibitions featured P&D as a movement, and 20th century art histories largely fail to mention it. The movement does not even garner footnotes in the widely-used textbooks Art After Modernism, Postmodernism (noteworthy given P&D’s prolific, very Po-Mo appropriation of decorative motifs), or the quite heavy Art in Theory: 1900–2000. Some of the work at MOCA had been in museum storage since it was acquired and other work only sparingly shown, such as Neda Alhilali’s exuberantly layered, textured acrylic- on-paper collage, and Susan Michod’s undulating, comically exuberant expanse of quilt-like shapes made with stamps.

Writing of the 2008 Hudson River show, the New York Times’ Holland Cotter explained that P&D was alienated in part because it defied Minimalism’s dominant foothold in the art world. And certainly, while P&D artists often employed strategies similar to the Minimalists—the grid as important to them as to, say, Carl Andre—these strategies deliberately undermined the reigning trends toward pared-down, non-referential object-making. “Let the art historical record show […] the continuing debt we owe [P&D]” for taking Minimalism down a peg, proclaimed Cotter.4

But how exactly should the record go about showing this? As institutions, critics, and historians continue to acknowledge the art historical canon’s glaring flaws, how do we invite previously marginalized movements and artists into the narrative without downplaying their defiance of the dominant art movements of their time? Further, as formerly under-narrated artists make their way into the bigger, established histories, can this prompt those bigger histories to reshape and become less rigid? 

Exhibitions of underrepresented artists thrill in part because they promise to pull back a curtain of sorts. They prove the existence of troves of work we barely know, made by artists who were working in the shadows of overly- famous figures, suggesting a history that is more varied, potent, and intricate than the one we’ve been taught. The thrill only grows when the art itself breaks rules of its time, like the work in MOCA’s With Pleasure does, with its pattern mashing and funky, seductive materiality. Across the show—which includes painting, sculpture, and textiles, all made between the early 1970s and mid-1980s—imperfections coexist warmly with unapologetic prettiness. Kim MacConnel’s painted furniture is both too brightly colored and too roughly rendered to be conventionally tasteful. Cynthia Carlson titled her floral painted walls Tough Shift for M.I.T. (1981), a knowing reference to her installation’s button-pushing presence at the elite institution for which she first made it. The piece is more idiosyncratic than either a William Morris wallpaper or wall drawings á la Sol LeWitt, and engaged in an unruly conversation with both. Ree Morton’s 1975 celastic sculptures of bows (Beaux Arts she cannily called them) treat frivolous subject matter with a mastery that makes them subliminally about the canon and what can belong there.

The very presence of so much P&D work at a major institution offers an opportunity to reconsider the movement’s art historical narrative, but also the narratives of “resurgences” in art more generally. We are in a moment when rediscoveries happen at an almost alarming rate, for two main, uncomfortably-paired reasons: first, the diversification of the art world has made it glaringly evident how many women, artists of color, and queer artists never got their due; second, the contemporary art market has grown only more insatiable, prompting dealers and collectors to seek out “important” art to acquire. Dealers are sensing an opportunity “to cultivate a new market,” artist Barbara Kruger told the New York Times in 2016, speaking about the increasing interest in underrecognized female artists.5 This coincided with a surge in interest in work by artists of color as well—the paintings of Sam Gilliam, sculptures of Betye Saar, and abstract works by the late Alma Thomas have become in demand by institutions and are also increasingly expensive. There is, of course, nothing wrong with artists from earlier eras making money—assuming the money goes to them or their estates, not auction houses—but the market often does not encourage complicated narratives. For instance, a recent press release for a show of Alma Thomas’ work at Mnuchin Gallery praised her as “a pioneering figure” who worked alongside Color Field peers, but did not elaborate on why Thomas had not had a solo gallery exhibition since 1976. Without acknowledging the reasons for historical exclusions—Thomas’ personal priorities, race, class, health, and gender all played a role—we offer quick fixes without actually expanding and reshaping the canon. 

While P&D has been sidelined, With Pleasure includes a number of artists who have been corralled into other art historical narratives. Al Loving, Howardena Pindell, and Alan Shields were recently shown at LACMA alongside Gee’s Bend quilters; Ree Morton’s work is often shown in a Post-Minimalist context; and Lynda Benglis is often contextualized within Minimalism. A number of women in the exhibition were included in WACK!, the feminist art show hosted by MOCA just over a decade ago. But P&D itself was a movement by design, and deserves to be discussed as such. 

The group officially began with a series of meetings organized by painter Robert Zakanitch in 1975—among the attendees were Kushner, Joyce Kozloff, Miriam Schapiro, and other artists already working with pattern and decorative arts as source material. Most of these artists had already taught or shown together. The group decided to call themselves Pattern & Decoration, unlike so many other art historical movements that were named later at the whims of others (Abstract Expressionism ostensibly named by inaugural MoMA director Alfred Barr; Color Field painting named by critic Clement Greenberg). Some of the artists involved had been Color Field painters or Minimalists before and made a decisive shift in style—a deliberate attempt to address limitations and rigidities in the Modern Art canon. For Zakanitch, this meant a place between abstraction and representation, and for Schapiro, a way to dismantle the historic trivialization of feminine crafts.

Critic Amy Goldin, who taught alongside Schapiro at UC San Diego, also attended the meetings, because she was trying to write critically about folk art, traditional arts, and decoration (“[N]o one had done that,” recalled Kozloff6). In 1975, she wrote a probing essay called “Patterns, Grids, and Paintings,” in which she tried to articulate why pattern-driven works invited derision from art world elites. “[T]he nature of pattern implicitly denies the importance of singularity, purity, and absolute precision,” she wrote.7 She noted that P&D artists, like many Minimalists, employed the grid liberally, though out of interest in repetition’s role in decoration (Valerie Jaudon’s paintings would read as Minimalist exercises if not for their arches, curves, and quilt-like palettes). Later, Jaudon and Kozloff further unpacked prejudices against craft and pattern in their immensely readable, humorous 1978 essay “Art Hysterical Notions of Progress and Culture.” They poked at purity, sarcastically calling it a “newer more subtle way for artists to elevate themselves.”8 By aspiring toward such purity, they argued, artists propelled the “myth that high art is for a select few.” They too were thinking about how to dismantle art historical prejudices.

P&D’s detractors tended to dismiss its questioning of the canon, framing the movement as regressive and too aligned with late Modernism. That P&D artists still employed the language of abstraction contributed to this reading. Artist and critic Thomas Lawson, writing in 1981, grouped P&D in the with “the numerous painting revivals of the latter part of the ’70s,” which “proved to be little more than the last gasps of a long overworked idiom, modernist painting.”9 Critic Donald Kuspit, writing in 1979, argued that, by employing some of the same technical and material strategies of Modernism, P&D feminists curtailed the critical potentials of their own work. He described their work as “a feminism which means to entrench itself, to become as ‘corporate’ and establishment as the masculine ideology it presumably means to overthrow.”10 (Artists who had a political message, he seemed to imply, could not afford to indulge in good composition or material beauty.) Yet, years later, Kuspit changed his tune, admitting that, back in the 1970s, he had found his pleasurable reaction to Robert Kushner’s work in particular discomfiting. He had not known how to theorize it.11

Kuspit did know how to theorize about Pictures Generation artists, such as Sherrie Levine, whose work he saw as “more significant for what it stands for than for what it is in itself”12—identifying a kind of meta, cynical distance that P&D artists almost universally eschewed. Recently, curator and historian Jenni Sorkin posited that part of the reason P&D receded from prominence as the Pictures Generation artists—who also emerged in the 1970s, and also reveled in appropriation, though more wryly—cemented positions in history books was that the latter group had behind them an elite critical apparatus (Kuspit, Douglas Crimp, Benjamin Buchloh, and Craig Owens: all contributors to the high-minded journal October). 13 In contrast, Goldin, a compelling critic who died prematurely of cancer in 1978, may not have cared to aggressively promote the movement’s importance even if she’d lived. (“By all accounts, Goldin had no interest in advancing either herself or her power, or, for that matter, in advancing anyone else,” pointed out a Los Angeles Times feature on her legacy14). Perhaps part of what she, like certain P&D artists, disliked about the art world was how it privileged narratives of invention and advancement. When you are resistant to bravado-fueled narratives of progress, it is hard to guarantee your position in them. It is also hard to guarantee that, if your work does find its way into said narratives, your defiance will accompany it. 

Writing in the New York Review of Books about the renewed interest in spiritual art and early-1900s artist Hilma af Klint in particular, Susan Tallman worried that those inserting af Klint into the mainstream art historical narrative might be misrepresenting the artist’s own interests. “[T]he claim for af Klint as an inventor of abstract art runs into two serious problems,” wrote Tallman. “The first is that it doesn’t seem to match how she thought the work should function. The second is that abstraction was ‘invented’ in the same sense that the Western Hemisphere was ‘discovered.’” Tallman noted that af Klint—whose Guggenheim show was highly attended and widely praised, even though her estate had been unable to give her art away after her 1944 death—considered certain of her paintings vehicles for spiritual channeling, and others were attempts to map spiritual planes. “To what degree does celebrating these things as works of art, and celebrating af Klint as their creator, invalidate everything she was hoping to achieve?” asked Tallman.15

As an exhibition, With Pleasure does not invalidate all that P&D artists hoped to achieve, largely because it does not treat the movement as unimpeachable or purely one thing. The catalogue keeps art historical imperialism under scrutiny, questioning P&D artists’ use of patterns from other cultures (should issues of cultural appropriation have been more forefront?). The inclusion of artists who were not at Zakanitch’s meetings ensures a more diverse story of P&D’s presence in art, and, as its title implies, With Pleasure gives the art space to just be sensually present. None of this work fits snugly into the story we know, because we never actually knew the whole story. If we can remember that we still don’t, we may slowly learn to shape a truer, wider, and weirder narrative. 

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

Correction:

1. An earlier version of this essay was missing an in-text footnote in reference to Joyce Kozloff and Valerie Jaudon’s 1979 text, “Art Hysterical Notions of Progress and Culture,” and has been updated.

This essay was originally published in Carla issue 19.

Ree Morton, One of the Beaux Paintings (1975). Oil on wood and enamel on celastic, 24 × 24 inches. Collection of Linda, Sally, and Scott Morton. Image courtesy Alexander and Bonin, New York. Image: Tony Walsh.
Nancy Graves, Acordia (1982). Bronze with polychrome patina, 92.25 × 48 × 23.5 inches. Marieluise Hessel Collection, Hessel Museum of Art, Center for Curatorial Studies, Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, New York. Nancy Graves: © Nancy Graves Foundation / Licensed by VAGA at Artists Rights Society (ARS), NY. Photo: Chris Kendall.
Robert Zakanitch, Angel Feet (1978). Acrylic on canvas, three parts, overall 94.25 x 172.50 inches. Image courtesy of the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, gift of an anonymous donor. Image © Whitney Museum, NY.
Kim MacConnel, Untitled (1982). Acrylic on upholstered sofa, 31 × 96 × 46 inches. Collection Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego. Gift of The Prop Foundation. Photo: Pablo Mason.
Betty Woodman, Zante (1985). Glazed earthenware, 31 x 21 x 9 inches. Image courtesy of Charles Woodman/Estate of Betty Woodman, David Kordansky Gallery, Los Angeles, and Salon 94, New York. Photo: Thomas Muller.
Barbara Zucker, Blushing Bride (1977). Flocking on steel, 3.5 x 16.25 x 12 inches. Marieluise Hessel Collection, Hessel Museum of Art, Center for Curatorial Studies, Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, New York. Photo: Chris Kendall.
Takako Yamaguchi, Magnificat #6 (1984). Oil, bronze leaf, and glitter on paper, two parts, overall 74 x 107.5 inches. Deutsche Bank Collection. Photo: Liz Ligon.
  1. Laura De Coppet and Alan Jones, “Holly Solomon,”The Art Dealers (New York: C.N. Potter, 1984).
  2. Such as Thomas Lawson and Donald Kuspit, discussed later in this essay, or John Russell Taylor who said “there is too much accent on the seeing side of things and too little on the thinking,” in the London Times on May 13, 1980.
  3. De Coppet and Jones, “Holly Solomon.”
  4. Holland Cotter, “Scaling a Minimalist Wall with Bright Shiny Colors,” The New York Times, Jan. 15, 2008.
  5. Hilarie M. Sheets, “Female Artists Are (Finally) Getting Their Turn,” The New York Times, March 29, 2016.
  6. Joyce Kozloff, Joyce Kozloff: Co+ordinates, ed. Nancy Princenthal, Phillip Earenfight, Joyce Kozloff (Carlisle: The Trout Gallery, 2008), p. 46.
  7. Amy Goldin, “Patterns, Grids and Paintings,” Artforum, September 1975.
  8. Joyce Kozloff and Valerie Jaudon, “Art Hysterical Notions of Progress and Culture,” Heresies, 1979.
  9. Thomas Lawson, “Last Exit Painting,” Artforum, October 1981.
  10. Donald Kuspit, “Betraying the Feminist Intention: the Case Against Feminist Decorative Art” Arts Magazine, 1979.
  11. Donald Kuspit, “Robert Kushner’s Happy Consciousness,” in Robert Kushner (Philadelphia: Institute of Contemporary Art, 1987), p. 21.
  12. Donald Kuspit, “Sherri Levine,” Artforum, December 1987.
  13. Jenni Sorkin, “Patterns and Pictures: strategies of appropriation, 1975–85,” Burlington Contemporary, May 2019.
  14. Malin Wilson-Powell, “Worldly Art Critic’s Work Resurfaces,” Los Angeles Times, Sept. 19, 2003.
  15. Susan Tallman, “Painting the Beyond,” The New York Review of Books, April 4, 2019.

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

More by Catherine Wagley