Issue 35 February 2024

Issue 34 November 2023

Issue 33 August 2023

Issue 32 June 2023

Issue 31 February 2023

Issue 30 November 2022

Issue 29 August 2022

Issue 28 May 2022

Issue 27 February 2022

Issue 26 November 2021

Issue 25 August 2021

Issue 24 May 2021

Issue 23 February 2021

Issue 22 November 2020

Issue 21 August 2020

Issue 20 May 2020

Issue 19 February 2020

Letter from the Editor –Lindsay Preston Zappas
Parasites in Love –Travis Diehl
To Crush Absolute On Patrick Staff and
Destroying the Institution
–Jonathan Griffin
Victoria Fu:
Camera Obscured
–Cat Kron
Resurgence of Resistance How Pattern & Decoration's Popularity
Can Help Reshape the Canon
–Catherine Wagley
Trace, Place, Politics Julie Mehretu's Coded Abstractions
–Jessica Simmons
Exquisite L.A.: Featuring: Friedrich Kunath,
Tristan Unrau, and Nevine Mahmoud
–Claressinka Anderson & Joe Pugliese
Reviews April Street
at Vielmetter Los Angeles
–Aaron Horst

Chiraag Bhakta
at Human Resources
–Julie Weitz

Don’t Think: Tom, Joe
and Rick Potts

–Matt Stromberg

Sarah McMenimen
at Garden
–Michael Wright

The Medea Insurrection
at the Wende Museum
–Jennifer Remenchik

(L.A. in N.Y.)
Mike Kelley
at Hauser & Wirth
–Angella d’Avignon
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Issue 18 November 2019

Letter from the Editor –Lindsay Preston Zappas
The Briar and the Tar Nayland Blake at the ICA LA
and Matthew Marks Gallery
–Travis Diehl
Putting Aesthetics
to Hope
Tracking Photography’s Role
in Feminist Communities
– Catherine Wagley
Instagram STARtists
and Bad Painting
– Anna Elise Johnson
Interview with Jamillah James – Lindsay Preston Zappas
Working Artists Featuring Catherine Fairbanks,
Paul Pescador, and Rachel Mason
Text: Lindsay Preston Zappas
Photos: Jeff McLane
Reviews Children of the Sun
– Jessica Simmons

Derek Paul Jack Boyle
–Aaron Horst

Karl Holmqvist
at House of Gaga, Los Angeles
–Lee Purvey

Katja Seib
at Château Shatto
–Ashton Cooper

Jeanette Mundt
at Overduin & Co.
–Matt Stromberg
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Issue 17 August 2019

Letter From the Editor Lindsay Preston Zappas
Green Chip David Hammons
at Hauser & Wirth
–Travis Diehl
Whatever Gets You
Through the Night
The Artists of Dilexi
and Wartime Trauma
–Jonathan Griffin
Generous Collectors How the Grinsteins
Supported Artists
–Catherine Wagley
Interview with
Donna Huanca
–Lindsy Preston Zappas
Working Artist Featuring Ragen Moss, Justen LeRoy,
and Bari Ziperstein
Text: Lindsay Preston Zappas
Photos: Jeff McLane
Reviews Sarah Lucas
at the Hammer Museum
–Yxta Maya Murray

George Herms and Terence Koh
at Morán Morán
–Matt Stromberg

Hannah Hur
at Bel Ami
–Michael Wright

Sebastian Hernandez
–Julie Weitz

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

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Issue 16 May 2019

Trulee Hall's Untamed Magic Catherine Wagley
Ingredients for a Braver Art Scene Ceci Moss
I Shit on Your Graves Travis Diehl
Interview with Ruby Neri Jonathan Griffin
Carolee Schneemann and the Art of Saying Yes! Chelsea Beck
Exquisite L.A. Claressinka Anderson
Joe Pugliese
Reviews Ry Rocklen
at Honor Fraser
–Cat Kron

Rob Thom
at M+B
–Lindsay Preston Zappas

Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age
of Black Power, 1963-1983
at The Broad
–Matt Stromberg

Anna Sew Hoy & Diedrick Brackens
at Various Small Fires
–Aaron Horst

Julia Haft-Candell & Suzan Frecon
at Parrasch Heijnen
–Jessica Simmons

(L.A. in N.Y.)
Shahryar Nashat
at Swiss Institute
–Christie Hayden
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Issue 15 February 2019

Letter From the Editor Lindsay Preston Zappas
Letter to the Editor
Men on Women
Geena Brown
Eyes Without a Voice
Julian Rosefeldt's Manifesto
Christina Catherine Martinez
Seven Minute Dream Machine
Jordan Wolfson's (Female figure)
Travis Diehl
Laughing in Private
Vanessa Place's Rape Jokes
Catherine Wagley
Interview with
Rosha Yaghmai
Laura Brown
Exquisite L.A.
Featuring: Patrick Martinez,
Ramiro Gomez, and John Valadez
Claressinka Anderson
Joe Pugliese
Reviews Outliers and American
Vanguard Art at LACMA
–Jonathan Griffin

Sperm Cult
–Matt Stromberg

Kahlil Joseph
–Jessica Simmons

Ingrid Luche
at Ghebaly Gallery
–Lindsay Preston Zappas

Matt Paweski
at Park View / Paul Soto
–John Zane Zappas

Trenton Doyle Hancock
at Shulamit Nazarian
–Colony Little

(L.A. in N.Y.)
Catherine Opie
at Lehmann Maupin
–Angella d'Avignon
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Issue 14 November 2018

Letter From the Editor Lindsay Preston Zappas
Celeste Dupuy-Spencer and Figurative Religion Catherine Wagley
Lynch in Traffic Travis Diehl
The Remixed Symbology of Nina Chanel Abney Lindsay Preston Zappas
Interview with Kulapat Yantrasast Christie Hayden
Exquisite L.A.
Featuring: Sandra de la Loza, Gloria Galvez, and Steve Wong
Claressinka Anderson
Photos: Joe Pugliese
Reviews Raúl de Nieves
at Freedman Fitzpatrick
-Aaron Horst

Gertrud Parker
at Parker Gallery
-Ashton Cooper

Robert Yarber
at Nicodim Gallery
-Jonathan Griffin

Nikita Gale
at Commonwealth & Council
-Simone Krug

Lari Pittman
at Regen Projects
-Matt Stromberg

(L.A. in N.Y.)
Eckhaus Latta
at the Whitney Museum
of American Art
-Angella d'Avignon
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Issue 13 August 2018

Letter From the Editor Lindsay Preston Zappas
Letter to the Editor Julie Weitz with Angella d'Avignon
Don't Make
Everything Boring
Catherine Wagley
The Collaborative Art
World of Norm Laich
Matt Stromberg
Oddly Satisfying Art Travis Diehl
Made in L.A. 2018 Reviews Claire de Dobay Rifelj
Jennifer Remenchik
Aaron Horst
Exquisite L.A.
Featuring: Anna Sew Hoy, Guadalupe Rosales, and Shizu Saldamando
Claressinka Anderson
Photos: Joe Pugliese
Reviews It's Snowing in LA
at AA|LA
–Matthew Lax

Fiona Conner
at the MAK Center
–Thomas Duncan

Show 2
at The Gallery @ Michael's
–Simone Krug

Deborah Roberts
at Luis De Jesus Los Angeles
–Ikechukwu Casmir Onyewuenyi

Mimi Lauter
at Blum & Poe
–Jessica Simmons

(L.A. in N.Y.)
Math Bass
at Mary Boone
–Ashton Cooper

(L.A. in N.Y.)
Condo New York
–Laura Brown
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Issue 12 May 2018

Poetic Energies and
Radical Celebrations:
Senga Nengudi and Maren Hassinger
Simone Krug
Interior States of the Art Travis Diehl
Perennial Bloom:
Florals in Feminism
and Across L.A.
Angella d'Avignon
The Mess We're In Catherine Wagley
Interview with Christina Quarles Ashton Cooper
Object Project
Featuring Suné Woods, Michelle Dizon,
and Yong Soon Min
Lindsay Preston Zappas
Photos: Jeff McLane
Reviews Meleko Mokgosi
at The Fowler Museum at UCLA
-Jessica Simmons

Chris Kraus
at Chateau Shatto
- Aaron Horst

Ben Sanders
at Ochi Projects
- Matt Stromberg

iris yirei hsu
at the Women's Center
for Creative Work
- Hana Cohn

Harald Szeemann
at the Getty Research Institute
- Olivian Cha

Ali Prosch
at Bed and Breakfast
- Jennifer Remenchik

Reena Spaulings
at Matthew Marks
- Thomas Duncan
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Issue 11 February 2018

Letter from the Editor Lindsay Preston Zappas
Museum as Selfie Station Matt Stromberg
Accessible as Humanly as Possible Catherine Wagley
On Laura Owens on Laura Owens Travis Diehl
Interview with Puppies Puppies Jonathan Griffin
Object Project Lindsay Preston Zappas, Jeff McLane
Reviews Dulce Dientes
at Rainbow in Spanish
- Aaron Horst

Adrián Villas Rojas
at The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA
- Lindsay Preston Zappas

Nevine Mahmoud
at M+B
- Angella D'Avignon

Radical Women: Latin American Art, 1960- 1985
at the Hammer Museum
- Thomas Duncan

Hannah Greely and William T. Wiley
at Parker Gallery
- Keith J. Varadi

David Hockney
at The Metropolitan Museum of Art (L.A. in N.Y.)
- Ashton Cooper

Edgar Arceneaux
at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (L.A. in S.F.)
- Hana Cohn
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Issue 10 November 2017

Letter from the Editor Lindsay Preston Zappas
Barely Living with Art:
The Labor of Domestic
Spaces in Los Angeles
Eli Diner
She Wanted Adventure:
Dwan, Butler, Mizuno, Copley
Catherine Wagley
The Languages of
All-Women Exhibitions
Lindsay Preston Zappas
L.A. Povera Travis Diehl
On Eclipses:
When Language
and Photography Fail
Jessica Simmons
Interview with
Hamza Walker
Julie Wietz
Object Project
Featuring: Rosha Yaghmai,
Dianna Molzan, and Patrick Jackson
Lindsay Preston Zappas
Photos by Jeff McLane
Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA
Regen Projects
Ibid Gallery
One National Gay & Lesbian Archives and MOCA PDC
The Mistake Room
Luis De Jesus Gallery
the University Art Gallery at CSULB
the Autry Museum
Reviews Cheyenne Julien
at Smart Objects

Paul Mpagi Sepuya
at team bungalow

Ravi Jackson
at Richard Telles

Tactility of Line
at Elevator Mondays

Trigger: Gender as a Tool as a Weapon
at the New Museum
(L.A. in N.Y.)
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Issue 9 August 2017

Letter from the Editor Lindsay Preston Zappas
Women on the Plinth Catherine Wagley
Us & Them, Now & Then:
Reconstituting Group Material
Travis Diehl
The Offerings of EJ Hill
Ikechukwu Casmir Onyewuenyi
Interview with Jenni Sorkin Carmen Winant
Object Project
Featuring: Rebecca Morris,
Linda Stark, Alex Olson
Lindsay Preston Zappas
Photos by Jeff McClane
Reviews Mark Bradford
at the Venice Biennale

Broken Language
at Shulamit Nazarian

Artists of Color
at the Underground Museum

Anthony Lepore & Michael Henry Hayden
at Del Vaz Projects


Analia Saban at
Sprueth Magers
Letter to the Editor Lady Parts, Lady Arts
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Issue 8 May 2017

Letter from the Editor Lindsay Preston Zappas
Kanye Westworld Travis Diehl
@richardhawkins01 Thomas Duncan
Support Structures:
Alice Könitz and LAMOA
Catherine Wagley
Interview with
Penny Slinger
Eliza Swann
Exquisite L.A.
taisha paggett
Ashley Hunt
Young Chung
Intro by Claressinka Anderson
Portraits by Joe Pugliese
Reviews Alessandro Pessoli
at Marc Foxx

Jennie Jieun Lee
at The Pit

Trisha Baga
at 356 Mission

Jimmie Durham
at The Hammer

Parallel City
at Ms. Barbers

Jason Rhodes
at Hauser & Wirth
Letter to the Editor
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Issue 7 February 2017

Letter from the Editor Lindsay Preston Zappas
Catherine Wagley
Put on a Happy Face:
On Dynasty Handbag
Travis Diehl
The Limits of Animality:
Simone Forti at ISCP
(L.A. in N.Y.)
Ikechukwu Casmir Onyewuenyi
More Wound Than Ruin:
Evaluating the
"Human Condition"
Jessica Simmons
Exquisite L.A.
Brenna Youngblood
Todd Gray
Rafa Esparza
Intro by Claressinka Anderson
Portraits by Joe Pugliese
Reviews Creature
at The Broad

Sam Pulitzer & Peter Wachtler
at House of Gaga // Reena Spaulings Fine Art

Karl Haendel
at Susanne Vielmetter

Wolfgang Tillmans
at Regen Projects

at Chateau Shatto

The Rat Bastard Protective Association
at the Landing
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Issue 6 November 2016

Letter from the Editor Lindsay Preston Zappas
Kenneth Tam
's Basement
Travis Diehl
The Female
Cool School
Catherine Wagley
The Rise
of the L.A.
Art Witch
Amanda Yates Garcia
Interview with
Mernet Larsen
Julie Weitz
Agnes Martin
Jessica Simmons
Exquisite L.A.
Analia Saban
Ry Rocklen
Sarah Cain
Intro by Claressinka Anderson
Portraits by Joe Pugliese
Made in L.A. 2016
at The Hammer Museum

Doug Aitken
at The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA

at Tif Sigfrids

Jean-Pascal Flavian and Mika Tajima
at Kayne Griffin Corcoran

Mark A. Rodruigez
at Park View

The Weeping Line
Organized by Alter Space
at Four Six One Nine
(S.F. in L.A.)
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Issue 5 August 2016

Letter form the Editor Lindsay Preston Zappas
at The Underground Museum
Catherine Wagley
The Art of Birth Carmen Winant
Escape from Bunker Hill
John Knight
Travis Diehl
Ed Boreal Speaks Benjamin Lord
Art Advice (from Men) Sarah Weber
Routine Pleasures
at the MAK Center
Jonathan Griffin
Exquisite L.A.
Fay Ray
John Baldessari
Claire Kennedy
Intro by Claressinka Anderson
Portraits by Joe Pugliese
Reviews Revolution in the Making
at Hauser Wirth & Schimmel

Carl Cheng
at Cherry and Martin

Joan Snyder
at Parrasch Heijnen Gallery

Elanor Antin
at Diane Rosenstein

Performing the Grid
at Ben Maltz Gallery
at Otis College of Art & Design

Laura Owens
at The Wattis Institute
(L.A. in S.F.)
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Issue 4 May 2016

Letter from the Editor Lindsay Preston Zappas
Moon, laub, and Love Catherine Wagley
Walk Artisanal Jonathan Griffin
Marva Marrow's
Inside the L.A. Artist
Anthony Pearson
Mystery Science Thater:
Diana Thater
Aaron Horst
Informal Feminisms Federica Bueti and Jan Verwoert
Marva Marrow Photographs
Lita Albuquerque
Interiors and Interiority:
Njideka Akunyili Crosby
Char Jansen
Reviews L.A. Art Fairs

Material Art Fair, Mexico City

Rain Room

Evan Holloway
at David Kordansky Gallery

Histories of a Vanishing Present: A Prologue
at The Mistake Room

Carter Mull
at fused space
(L.A. in S.F.)

Awol Erizku
at FLAG Art Foundation
(L.A. in N.Y.)
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Issue 3 February 2016

Letter from the Editor Lindsay Preston Zappas
Le Louvre, Las Vegas Evan Moffitt
iPhones, Flesh,
and the Word:
at Arturo Bandini
Lindsay Preston Zappas
Women Talking About Barney Catherine Wagley
Lingua Ignota:
Faith Wilding
at The Armory Center
for the Arts
Benjamin Lord
A Conversation
with Amalia Ulman
Char Jansen
How We Practice Carmen Winant
Share Your Piece
of the Puzzle
Federica Bueti
Amanda Ross-Ho Photographs
Erik Frydenborg
Reviews Honeydew
at Michael Thibault

Fred Tomaselli
at California State University, Fullerton

Trisha Donnelly
at Matthew Marks Gallery

Bradford Kessler
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Issue 2 November 2015

Letter from the Editor Lindsay Preston Zappas
Hot Tears Carmen Winant
Slow View:
Molly Larkey
Anna Breininger and Kate Whitlock
Americanicity's Paintings:
Orion Martin
at Favorite Goods
Tracy Jeanne Rosenthal
Layers of Leimert Park Catherine Wagley
Junkspace Junk Food:
Parker Ito
at Kaldi, Smart Objects,
White Cube, and
Château Shatto
Evan Moffitt
Melrose Hustle Keith Vaughn
Max Maslansky Photographs
Monica Majoli
at the Tom of Finland Foundation
White Lee, Black Lee:
William Pope.L’s "Reenactor"
Travis Diehl
Dora Budor Interview Char Jensen
Reviews Mary Ried Kelley
at The Hammer Museum

Tongues Untied
at MOCA Pacific Design Center

No Joke
at Tanya Leighton
(L.A. in Berlin)
Snap Reviews Martin Basher at Anat Ebgi
Body Parts I-V at ASHES ASHES
Eve Fowler at Mier Gallery
Matt Siegle at Park View
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Issue 1 August 2015

Letter from the Editor Lindsay Preston Zappas
Metaphysical L.A.
Travis Diehl
Art for Art’s Sake:
L.A. in the 1990s
Anthony Pearson
A Dialogue in Two
Synchronous Atmospheres
Erik Morse
with Alexandra Grant
at François Ghebaly
Jonathan Griffin
#studio #visit
with #devin #kenny
Mateo Tannatt
Jibade-Khalil Huffman
Slow View:
Discussion on One Work
Anna Breininger
with Julian Rogers
Reviews Pierre Huyghe

Mernet Larsen
at Various Small Fires

John Currin
at Gagosian, Beverly Hills

Pat O'Niell
at Cherry and Martin

A New Rhythm
at Park View

Unwatchable Scenes and
Other Unreliable Images...
at Public Fiction

Charles Gaines
at The Hammer Museum

Henry Taylor
at Blum & Poe/ Untitled
(L.A. in N.Y.)
Buy the Issue In Our Online Shop
1301 PE
Anat Ebgi (La Cienega)
Anat Ebgi (Wilshire)
Arcana Books
Artbook @ Hauser & Wirth
Babst Gallery
Baert Gallery
Bel Ami
Canary Test
Carlye Packer
Charlie James Gallery
Château Shatto
Chris Sharp Gallery
Cirrus Gallery
Clay ca
Commonwealth & Council
Craft Contemporary
D2 Art (Inglewood)
D2 Art (Westwood)
David Kordansky Gallery
David Zwirner
Diane Rosenstein
François Ghebaly
Gana Art Los Angeles
George Billis Gallery
Giovanni's Room
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)

She Wanted Adventure: Dwan, Copley, Butler, Mizuno.

Edward Kienholz, model, Eugenia Butler, and Rudy Gernreich at Eugenia Butler Gallery. Image © Malcolm Lubliner Photography.

“Everyone wanted to show at Riko Mizuno,” artist Jack Goldstein recounted, reminiscing in 2003 about the early Los Angeles scene. But he found the collective reverence for Mizuno somewhat baffling—he “could never figure her out[…] She never did anything; she just sat in the back and drank coffee.” 1 That she “never did anything” seems highly unlikely: she stayed in the business from 1966 into the 1980s, hosted performances that resulted in arrests (Chris Burden), and helped artists cut holes in her walls and ceilings (Ed Moses, Larry Bell, Robert Irwin).

More plausibly, Goldstein doesn’t remember what she did, just as most official histories don’t account for it. The legacies of Mizuno, along with three other risk-welcoming female gallerists at the time— Eugenia Butler, Claire Copley, and, until recently, their predecessor Virginia Dwan—have largely been preserved by comments like these, dredged up from oral histories, the evidence of their influence more anecdotal than formal.

The catalogue for the Getty’s 2011 Pacific Standard Time: Art in L.A. 1945–1980 showcase of noteworthy SoCal art mentions Ferus and its operations 68 times, compared to 20 mentions for Dwan, Copley, Mizuno, and Butler combined. One of the problems with this is that it deprives those looking now for more experimental, nurturing kinds of art worlds or models—such worlds have existed, if fleetingly, but how could one be expected to know?

Artist Maxwell Hendler, who showed with Eugenia Butler Gallery in 1969, has theories about why Ferus Gallery outstripped the others at the time in terms of its presence in the historical record: Ferus front man, Irving Blum, “is probably the greatest marketer of art the world has ever seen” and Ferus artists were the first in L.A. to treat art making “as a career.” 2 It helped, too, that when Artforum began, it shared Ferus’ building, and its initial editor, Philip Leider, championed the gallery (“it seemed every month we had a Ferus guy on the cover,” said Leider in the 1990s). 3 If history is written by winner publicists, Blum won. And then his model took off, becoming its own streamlined monster, in which hype and calculation are paramount.

When Virginia Dwan opened her gallery in Westwood in 1959, “it was very scary,” said Blum, in a 1977 interview. 4 “But I simply held my ground and didn’t permit her any excess…” He worried she might steal away his artists as well as the few collectors buying contemporary art at the time—the art fairs and over-text-message sales that now liberate certain local spaces from such fears were still far away.

In contrast to Blum, Dwan has rarely given interviews since she absented herself from the gallery business in the 1970s. She talks about art, not usually herself, when she does talk. When she spoke on the stage at LACMA in March of this year, she said, “I have a real distaste for talking about art. I like the gestalt of the work, the whole experience of the thing.” 5 Since history, and herstory, is a narrative, bowing out of the talking part can mean bowing out of the whole thing. Women were working “in the shadow of men,” said the poet Aya Tarlow of 1950s and 1960s Los Angeles, adding that certain ambitious women emulated men in an effort to emerge from said shadows. Those who didn’t were less likely to succeed, their behavior too at odds with extant formulas. 6

Dwan used her portion of her grandfather’s manufacturing fortune to open her space. The first show was of paintings by lesser-known abstractionist Shim Grudin, but by 1961, her gallery had become an incubator of sorts—she brought French artist Yves Klein to Los Angeles in 1961, where he explored Malibu and experimented with torches as painting tools on the beach. He had just had a show of only his IKB (International Yves Klein Blue) monochromes at Leo Castelli Gallery in New York. Dwan pushed him to exhibit everything: monochromes, fire paintings, body prints, performance documentation. 7 She seemed disinterested in streamlined products.

Niki de Saint Phalle and Jean Tinguely used illustrated postcards to plot the work they would do upon arrival in Los Angeles from Paris in 1963. “I will make you lots of beautiful [monsters] for the show,” wrote  Saint Phalle, on a delicate drawing of a T-Rex. 8 Then, when they arrived, Dwan found them a warehouse in which to work and accompanied them to scrap yards. Besides Dwan’s swimming pool, Saint Phalle installed a wall she’d made in the Malibu hills, in the way she made all her walls: covering an assemblage of found objects with paint-filled balloons, then shooting at the balloons with a rifle. Tinguely chained a cannon he’d built to Saint Phalle’s wall, and, in Dwan’s words, once “gleefully” fired it into the sea. “For me, it was a grand adventure,” Dwan wrote in 1990. “I did not approach this art as a movement.” 9

Since she did not approach art as a movement, she didn’t promote it as such. She commissioned an essay for her pop art show My Country ’Tis of Thee in 1962, that emphasized historical continuity: “The ‘new patriots of American art’ are not ignoring the poetry and structure of the last hundred years, though they may seem to be,” wrote Gerald Nordland. 10 “Like every generation, they must find their own idiom.” As critic Jessica Dawson pointed out in her 2011 essay, “What- ever Happened to Virginia Dwan?”, Dwan’s peers—specifically Ferus co-directors Irving Blum and Walter Hopps—positioned the pop art they exhibited as a radical break from the past. 11 But downplaying historical hierarchies, as Dwan did, made the playing field seem more lateral and spacious, full of room for experiment with our without advancement.

There’s no recorded proof that Dwan inspired Eugenia Butler to push the gallery-as-laboratory model even further. But Butler, who shared a space with Mizuno before opening her own gallery, certainly did push, and the lives of two of these women taking the most risks as gallerists in the late 1960s significantly overlapped. Butler’s granddaughter, Corazon del Sol, discovered that Butler had worked for Dwan at the beginning of the 1960s when she found in her grandmother’s limited archive a drawing by Tinguely and Saint Phalle. Butler, like Dwan (and unlike others in the city: Ferus, Rolf Nelson, or Nick Wilder), had an international roster from the start. The health department tried to shut down Bulter’s 1970 show of Icelandic artist Dieter Roth, Staple Cheese (A Race), in which cheese transported overseas in suitcases bred flies in the gallery. As part of his 1969 exhibition Shutting up Genie, the itinerate artist James Lee Byars forbid Butler from entering her own gallery for a five-day period.

Larry Rivers, Maquette for Larry Rivers Exhibition at Dwan Gallery, 1961, collage of cut-out text, paint, and tape on gelatin silver photograph, 14 1/8 × 12 1/4 in., collection of Virginia Dwan, © Estate of Larry Rivers/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY, photo: Tricia Zigmund.

When Claire Copley opened in 1973, she planned an ambitious show with Argentinian artist David Lamelas,  but then had to reschedule after her business partner, Francois Lambert, abruptly left the fledgling gallery. Her letters back and forth with Lamelas are about trying to make it work anyway, to fund and produce something beyond her means. 12 Many of her letters to artists are like this, negotiating logistics that push her resources to their limit. As part of his 1977 exhibition, Exchange, Michael Asher proposed that Copley and Morgan Thomas, who also had an eponymous space, switch locations for a month; the two gallerists kept track of and corresponded about their expenses (Copley made some international calls on Thomas’ line). But the cost consciousness felt like a negotiation rather than impediment. Bas Jan Ader exhibited his ambitious In Search of the Miraculous (1975) before he disappeared on his ill-fated voyage across the Atlantic; William Leavitt showed his theatrical tableaux. When Copley closed, unable to continue shoulder-ing the expense, Terry Allen wrote to her, “I Kiss You On Your Perfect Writing Hand,” 13 spreading the few words out across four typed pages. Affection is palpable throughout the correspondence, the gallerist and her artists friends trying together to beat inhospitable economics.

Where Copley’s archive still has formality—letters on letterhead, transactions documented in typed pages—Riko Mizuno’s archives, also at the Getty, consist almost entirely of postcards. “Fucking naked in the sand 10 feet from the water with gin and tonics balanced on our head,” wrote Jud Fine, in a holiday greeting sent from a beach vacation. Vija Celmins also wrote to report on her vacations, and shows in other cities, the weather, or her health. “The gallery was part of life,” said Celmins in 2012. 14 Mizuno, who lived upstairs, famously let Ed Moses remove much of the  exhibition space ceiling, so just the beams remained. Robert Irwin, also an avid writer of postcards to Mizuno, saw the ceiling and offered to build skylights. “Riko had the most pristine, beautiful space anywhere because of all of the artists who contributed to it,” observed Tom Wudl in 2003. 15 That such leniency made the space more perfect is a testament to its owner. “She wanted adventure,” said Ed Moses in a 2012 video in which Mizuno briefly appears but then leaves the room when the flattery makes her uncomfortable. 16 She and her peers remained disinterested in trumpeting their own significance even as artists they’d supported graduated to stardom.

In his posthumously published memoir, Ferus co-founder Walter Hopps recalls the time an artist came to him and suggested he seduce Virginia Dwan. Then they could merge their galleries, and he could use her funds to support his roster. In relaying this story, Hopps fails to mention the specificities of Dwan’s program. 17 The woman, in his telling, is a swayable support figure. Likely notions of this sort fueled the marginalization of Dwan and her successors. But it’s more gratifying to think their exclusion was their own subversive doing: refusal to play the boys’ way left them in a realm that repels the same old storyline. Now it’s for us to hone different narrative tools, to make use of the models that they left us with.

This essay was originally published in Carla issue 10. 

Dwan Gallery, Los Angeles, 1961, photo courtesy Dwan Gallery Archive.

Eugenia Butler and Monty Factor. Image © Malcolm Lubliner Photography.

Claes Oldenburg with Floor Cone (1962) in front of Dwan Gallery, Los Angeles, 1963, © Claes Oldenburg, photo courtesy Oldenburg van Bruggen Studio.

Virginia Dwan at the exhibition Language III, Dwan Gallery, New York, 1969, photograph by Roger Prigent, courtesy of Dwan Gallery Archive.

  1.  Richard Hertz, Jack Goldstein and the CalArts mafia (Ojai: Minneola Press, 2003), 27-28.
  2.  Corazon del Sol and Leila Hamidi, Interview with
    Max Hendler (conducted 2011, unpublished).
  3.  Amy Newman, Challenging art: Artforum
    1962–1974 (New York: Soho, 2004), 118.
  4.  Oral history interview with Irving Blum, May 31–June 23, 1977, Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
  5.  “Virginia Dwan in conversation with James Mayer
    and Stephanie Barron” (lecture, LACMA, Los Angeles, March 16, 2017).
  6. Margaret Haines, Love with Stranger X Coco (Los Angeles: New Byzantium, 2012), 20.
  7.  James Meyer, with Paige Rozanski and Virginia Dwan, Los Angeles to New York: Dwan Gallery, 1959-1971
    (Washington D.C.: National Gallery of Art, 20160).
  8.  Ibid., 134–135.
  9.  Ibid., 246.
  10.  Gerald Nordlund, in My country ’tis of thee exhibition catalog for Dwan Gallery (Los Angeles, 1962, in records of the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution).
  11.  Jessica Dawson, “Whatever Happened to Virginia Dwan?,” X-Tra, 14, no. 2 (Winter 2011).
  12. Letters between Claire Copley and David Lamelas, 1973. The Claire Copley Gallery Records and the Getty Research Institute.
  13.  The Claire Copley Gallery Records and the Getty Research Institute.
  14.  Riko Mizuno, Vija Celmins, and Ed Moses speak about the Mizuno Gallery (2009; Los Angeles: The Getty Research Institute), video.
  15.  Hertz, 45.
  16.  Riko Mizuno, Vija Celmins, and Ed Moses speak about the Mizuno Gallery.
  17.  Walter Hopps, Deborah Treisman, Anne Doran, and Edward Ruscha, The dream colony: a life in art (New York: Bloomsbury USA, 2017), 82.

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

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