Issue 23

Issue 22

Issue 21

Issue 20

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
Buy the Issue In our Online Shop
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

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
Buy the Issue In Our Online Shop
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

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
Buy the Issue In Our Online Shop
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

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
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

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
Buy the Issue In our Online Shop
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

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
Buy the Issue In Our Online Shop
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

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
Buy the Issue In Our Online Shop
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

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
Buy the Issue In Our Online Shop
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

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
Buy the Issue In Our Online Shop
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

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
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
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

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
Letter to the Editor Lady Parts, Lady Arts
Buy the Issue In Our Online Shop
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

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
Letter to the Editor
Buy the Issue In Our Online Shop
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

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
Buy the Issue In Our Online Shop
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

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
Buy the Issue In Our Online Shop
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.)

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
Buy the Issue In Our Online Shop
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.)

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
Buy the Issue In Our Online Shop
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.)

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
Buy the Issue In Our Online Shop
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

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
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
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

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
Buy the Issue In Our Online Shop
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.)
Distribution
Downtown
Artbook @ Hauser & Wirth
Baert Gallery
Cirrus Gallery
Château Shatto
GAVLAK
François Ghebaly
ICA LA
in lieu
JOAN
MOCA Grand Avenue
Monte Vista Projects
Murmurs
Nicodim Gallery
Night Gallery
OOF Books
Over the Influence
Royale Projects
Sow & Tailor
The Box
Vielmetter Los Angeles
Wilding Cran Gallery
Boyle Heights/ Chinatown
Bel Ami
Charlie James
LACA
Parrasch Heijnen Gallery
Stanley's
Tierra del Sol Gallery
Eastside
BOZOMAG
Odd Ark LA
Marta
Smart Objects
Tyler Park Presents
Westside
18th Street Arts
Ben Maltz Gallery at Otis
Five Car Garage
L.A. Louver
Laband Art Gallery at LMU
Marshall Contemporary
Pasadena/ Glendale/ Valley
The Pit
Junior High
Mid-City
1301 PE
Anat Ebgi
as-is.la
Chris Sharp Gallery
Commonwealth & Council
Craft Contemporary
David Kordansky Gallery
Hammer Museum
Hannah Hoffman
Hunter Shaw Fine Art
Kayne Griffin
Lowell Ryan Projects
Ochi Projects
O-Town House
Park View / Paul Soto
Praz-Delavallade
Real Pain
Shoot the Lobster
Simchowitz
the Landing
Thinkspace Projects
USC Fisher Museum of Art
Culver City
Anat Ebgi
Arcana Books
Blum & Poe
Philip Martin Gallery
Roberts Projects
The Wende Museum
Hollywood
Bridge Projects
Diane Rosenstein
Family Books
LACE
LAXART
M+B
Matthew Brown Los Angeles
Moskowitz Bayse
Nonaka-Hill
Shulamit Nazarian
STARS
Steve Turner
Tanya Bonakdar Gallery
The LODGE
UTA Artist Space
Various Small Fires
Non-L.A.
Best Practice (San Diego, CA)
Et al. (San Francisco, CA)
Left Field (Los Osos, CA)
McNally Jackson (New York, NY)
Minnesota Street Project (San Francisco, CA)
Printed Matter (New York, NY)
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)
Whitney Museum Shop (New York, NY)
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)
The 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)
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)
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)

Richard Tuttle at David Kordansky Gallery; Stanley Whitney at Matthew Marks Gallery

Leer en Español

Richard Tuttle, Unlikely Head (2020). Plywood, spray paint, wood glue, and nails, 25 × 18.5 × 2 inches. Image courtesy of the artist and David Kordansky Gallery, Los Angeles. Photo: Jeff McLane.

A certain enigma surrounds work produced by canonical artists in the latter decades of their lives. When referring to this distinct period in an artist’s creative evolution, art historians commonly invoke the German term altersstil, which in English translates to “old-age style.”1 A shift in tone, either bold or subtle, often characterizes this stylistic maturation. It can also be more elusive, amounting to a newfound gestural confidence, for example, rather than a complete overhaul in form and technique. 

Prominent examples of a blossoming altersstil include the late paintings of Titian, the virtuoso of the Venetian Renaissance, as well as those of the revered abstractionist Willem de Kooning. Critics have spoken of each artist as having reached a moment of “painterly transcendence,” an almost spiritualized pinnacle of gestural dexterity forged by an intimate familiarity with the medium. Upon observing such a feat in Titian’s work, Goethe reportedly remarked that the artist “in his old age depicted only in abstracto those materials which he had rendered before concretely: so, for instance, only the idea of velvet not the material itself.”2

Now, centuries later at David Kordansky and Matthew Marks, concurrent yet unrelated solo exhibitions of recent work by Richard Tuttle and Stanley Whitney breathe life into the notion of an expressively cohesive altersstil, or old-age style. While Tuttle’s intimately crafted objects diverge, both materially and conceptually, from Whitney’s large-scale gridded paintings, both artists are in their seventies and have achieved canonical recognition over their decades-long careers. Both exhibitions include works solely made in 2020, and given the distressing disquietude of the year, the two presentations serve not only as intriguing examples of the creative renaissance that can accompany aging, but also as unique indicators of the ways in which each artist has responded to the unorthodox crises (Covid-19, et al.) of our moment. As such, both exhibitions uniquely center abstraction’s ability to fluidly shift in meaning and significance depending contextual conditions—a slippery trait that makes it an uncanny bedfellow for uncertain times.

In Nine Stepping Stones, Richard Tuttle’s exhibition at David Kordansky Gallery, a suite of 28 sculptural assemblages, which the artist has metaphorically and titularly anointed as “heads,” line the walls of the gallery’s two rooms. Each work is consistent in scale and rests roughly at the height of a viewer’s head, suggesting a mimetic relationship between the topology of the object and the uppermost region of the body. Constructed from two layered planes of idiosyncratically-shaped plywood, each irregular polygon sculpture initiates a rambling procession of angular, sinuous, and yet somehow minimal forms. Wisps of spray paint add expressionistic tenor to these tangled abstractions, all of which Tuttle created while recovering from Covid-19. While the poetic eccentricities of this new work align with Tuttle’s larger oeuvre, the exhibition’s intimate autobiographical context is somewhat unusual for the artist. Here, with illness and isolation infiltrating his lexicon, Tuttle’s panoply of heads acquires a heightened symbolism, suggesting a visceral preoccupation with an object that binds the physical experience of the body with the cerebral machinations of the mind. 

A bifurcated, wing-like shape with sharp, splintered curves and jutting angles overlays a larger and more amorphously shaped plywood base in Unlikely Head. Several step-like formations of plywood intersect and bridge these upper and lower layers, conjoining them like tiny staircases rising between floors. Humbly fastened with nails and glue, Unlikely Head suggests a deconstructed artist’s palette, a cubist visage, or a geometric, baroque ceremonial mask stained with colors ranging from minty pastel to bloody rouge. With its charming imperfections (splayed plywood shards mingle with rough, mottled surfaces), the work draws a connection between the utility of artistic matter and the utility of the body, both of which are susceptible to fraying. This “head” recalls our own uncanny state of being: collectively and singularly isolated, vulnerable and threadbare at the seams.

Meanwhile, Stanley Whitney’s exhibition at Matthew Marks Gallery, How Black is That Blue, registers as a mesmerizing, perceptual force. The show similarly revels in the pliability of non-representation but accomplishes it on a more monumental scale. The exhibition includes nine paintings (ranging in size from moderate to immense), and two works on paper, all of which depict rhythmic, geometric color fields composed of vibrantly-hued rectangular blocks. Ranging in tone from velvety-soft to intensely irradiant, Whitney’s pigmented grids possess a symphonic quality that lays bare the gestural cadence of the artist’s hand. Eschewing standard genres, these grids defy minimality while simultaneously embracing minimalism’s most identifiable motif. While not necessarily a drastic departure from the artist’s earlier work (his improvisational grids have been a signature compositional structure for decades), these abstractions signal a confidence of gesture—a much-practiced adroitness analogous to the fluent mastery of a language. As with Tuttle, this material familiarity born of experience creates a deceptive veil of ease and simplicity—a quality observed in Titian’s late work as well, described by historian David Rosand as “the ability of his art to hide art.”3

That said, while Whitney’s monumental work Twenty twenty certainly epitomizes these qualities, it also presents as a relatively strong stylistic aberration: the horizontally-oriented painting is, according to the gallery, one of only three non-square canvases that the artist has created in over 25 years. In this painting, rectangular nodes of color form an almost imperceptibly sloping grid, as if its axis were poised to imminently slip and tumble. Linear bands of black, brick, and azure attempt to buttress its form. Throughout, errant smears and droplets infringe upon the interstitial space between colors, amplifying rhythmic perceptions of touch and collision. (These encounters recall the landscape of our vigilant, Covid-era movements, where spontaneous gestural contact becomes a high-stakes event). While Twenty twenty’s overall chromatic vibrancy contradicts the muddled bleakness of its eponymous year, Whitney’s attention to space and shape transcends didactic illustrations, instead alluding to something more philosophically complex. Recalling Tuttle’s evocative use of anthropomorphic forms, Whitney similarly imbues his two-dimensional brushstrokes with epistemological meaning. His squares, lines, and edges suggest corners, corridors, and hallways; here, the artist offers a philosophical rumination on the poetics of space and what it means to exist within it. 

Buoyant and unflinching, both Tuttle’s and Whitney’s recent work embodies what literary critic Barbara Herrnstein Smith has referred to as “the senile sublime”4—a transcendent, unburdened late-age command of gesture, material, and form. While some critics have associated altersstil with the solitary nature of old age and the peril of mortality, these mindscapes—isolation and its attendant arousal of mortal anxieties—are familiar to artists. In the first sentence of James Baldwin’s 1962 essay, “The Creative Process,” he notes that “the primary distinction of the artist is that he must actively cultivate that state which most men, necessarily, must avoid; the state of being alone.”5 Artists command this “vast forest”6 of isolation, the intensity of which has been compounded by the pandemic, and for Tuttle, by infection itself. This perhaps explains why here, abstraction ultimately functions as an intimate, philosophical grappling with an elusive, epistemological truth.

Jessica Simmons is an artist and writer based in Los Angeles. Her work and writing navigate the haptic, oblique space that exists between the language of abstraction and the abstraction of language.

Stanley Whitney, Stay Song 78 (2020). Oil on linen, 40 × 40 inches. © Stanley Whitney. Image courtesy of the artist and Matthew Marks Gallery.

Stanley Whitney, How Black is That Blue (installation view) (2021). Image courtesy of the artist and Matthew Marks Gallery.

Stanley Whitney, How Black is That Blue (installation view) (2021). Image courtesy of the artist and Matthew Marks Gallery.

Richard Tuttle, Nine Stepping Stones (installation view) (2021). Image courtesy of the artist and David Kordansky Gallery, Los Angeles. Photo: Jeff McLane.

Richard Tuttle, Nine Stepping Stones (installation view) (2021). Image courtesy of the artist and David Kordansky Gallery, Los Angeles. Photo: Jeff McLane.


This review was originally published in Carla issue 24.

  1. Julius S. Held, “Commentary,” Art Journal, Vol. 46, No. 2 (Summer 1987), p. 127. JSTOR, https://www.jstor.org/stable/ 776890?refreqid=excelsior%3Aaace751e402edeaf9a5113b84ca13f22&seq=1.
  2. Ibid.
  3. David Rosand, “Style and the Aging Artist,” Art Journal, Vol. 46, No. 2 (Summer 1987), p. 92. JSTOR, https://www.jstor.org/stable/776885?origin=crossref&seq=1.
  4. David Rosand, “Art View: The Challenge of Titian’s ‘Senile Sublime,’” The New York Times, October 8, 1990, https://www.nytimes.com/1990/10/28/arts/art-view-the-challenge-of-titian-s-senile-sublime.html.
  5. James Baldwin, “The Creative Process,” Creative America, Ridge Press, 1962: https://openspaceofdemocracy.files.wordpress.com/2017/01/baldwin-creative-process.pdf.
  6. Ibid.