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

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 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
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 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
at NAVEL
–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
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 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
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 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

Home
at LACMA

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.
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 February 2017

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 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
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 August 2016

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 May 2016

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 February 2016

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 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
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.)
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Distribution
Downtown
Ace Hotel DTLA
Artbook @ Hauser & Wirth
Baert Gallery
Château Shatto
Cirrus Gallery
François Ghebaly
GAVLAK
ICA LA
in lieu
JOAN
Luis De Jesus Los Angeles
MOCA Grand Avenue
Monte Vista Projects
Murmurs
Nicodim Gallery
Night Gallery
Over the Influence
Royale Projects
The Box
Track 16
Vielmetter Los Angeles
Wilding Cran Gallery
Chinatown/Boyle Heights
Bel Ami
Charlie James
Human Resources
LACA
NOON Projects
Parrasch Heijnen Gallery
Sebastian Gladstone
Tierra del Sol Gallery
The Fulcrum
Wönzimer Gallery
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Anat Ebgi
Arcana Books
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Hashimoto Contemporary
Philip Martin Gallery
Roberts Projects
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the Landing
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la BEAST gallery
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Matthew Brown Los Angeles
Meliksetian | Briggs
Moskowitz Bayse
Nino Mier Gallery
Nonaka-Hill
Rele Gallery LA
Shulamit Nazarian
Simchowitz
STARS
Steve Turner
Tanya Bonakdar Gallery
The Hole
The LODGE
Various Small Fires
MacArthur Park/Pico-Union
as-is.la
Commonwealth & Council
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O-Town House
Mid-City
Chris Sharp Gallery
Harkawik
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OCHI
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r d f a
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Mid-Wilshire
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SPRÜTH MAGERS
Pasadena/Glendale
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The Pit
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Marta
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Smart Objects
Tyler Park Presents
Umico Printing and Framing
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Five Car Garage
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L E  M A X I M U M
Laband Art Gallery at LMU
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Paradise Framing
Von Lintel
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CLEARING
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Non-L.A.
Angels Gate Cultural Center (San Pedro, CA)
BEST PRACTICE (San Diego, CA)
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DOCUMENT (Chicago, IL)
Et al. (San Francisco, CA)
Left Field (Los Osos, CA)
Minnesota Street Project (San Francisco, CA)
Mrs. (Queens, NY)
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Office Space (Salt Lake City, UT)
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South Gate Museum and Art Gallery (South Gate, CA)
University Art Galleries, UC Irvine (Irvine, CA)
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)
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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)

Soul of a Nation:
Art in the Age
of Black Power,
1963-1983

at The Broad

Barkley Hendricks, What’s Going On (1974). Oil and acrylic on canvas, 66 × 84 inches. Artwork courtesy of Megan and Hunter Gray. Image courtesy of the artists and The Broad. Photo: Pablo Enriquez.

In a June 1967 letter inviting artists to a meeting of the Organization of Black American Culture,1 Chicago-based artist Jeff Donaldson posed a series of questions, the first of which was: “Do you consider yourself a Black visual artist, an American visual artist, or an artist, period?” It is a question that the 60 or so artists included in Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power, 1963–1983 can be seen grappling with in vastly different ways, presenting a heterogeneous portrait of Black American art reflecting the radical social, cultural, and racial upheaval of the period.

The exhibition begins in New York, with the Spiral Group, who formed in 1963 and mounted only one exhibition, featuring work pared down to a black and white color palette. Stylistic variance greets the group’s collective query—“Is there a Negro Image?”2—from Romare Bearden’s collaged images of African-American life, to Norman Lewis’ Abstract Expressionist canvas America The Beautiful (1960). Look closer, and Lewis’ seemingly abstract jagged white forms scattered across the black canvas become a procession of cross-bearing Klansmen in hoods.

Befitting the show’s title, there is an abundance of defiantly radical, even revolutionary, work included in the exhibition. Emory Douglas’ bold graphics for The Black Panther newspaper attack the “pigs” while also calling for solidarity with other dispossessed people around the globe. Fred Hampton’s Door 2 (1975) by Dana C. Chandler references the 1969 murder of Fred Hampton, a Black Panther leader shot to death in his sleep by police. Painted red and green, colors of the Black Liberation Flag, the door is riddled with small holes as if from a shotgun blast. A red and green U.S. map by Faith Ringgold titled United States of Attica (1972)—after the 1971 prison uprising—lists scores of incidents of American violence beginning with slavery and the Native American genocide. Inviting viewers to “write in whatever you find lacking,” she presents these not as historical moments of the past but as a continuum of injustice that extends to the present day. These range from the Battle of Little Bighorn in 1876 to a 1712 slave revolt in New York City, that resulted in 38 deaths.

Dana C. Chandler, Fred Hampton’s Door II (1974). Acrylic paint on wood, 80 x 30.25 inches (door), .75 x 48 x 23.25 inches (base). Image courtesy of the artist and The Broad. Photo: Pablo Enriquez.

A particularly engaging section is devoted to the Chicago-based group AfriCOBRA, or the African Commune of Bad Relevant Artists, of which Donaldson was a founding member in 1968. Using vibrant colors, repeated bits of text, and an almost decorative approach to form, their paintings emanated a frantic funk- infused energy, incorporating both celebration and protest.

In Los Angeles, assemblage artists like Noah Purifoy and John Outterbridge picked through the rubble of the 1965 Watts rebellion, using the charred ephemera of racial unrest as their raw material. A few examples of their work are on view here alongside Daniel LaRue Johnson and Betye Saar, who gets her own gallery at the show’s close. Although it is mentioned in wall text, a section devoted to the Brockman Gallery is unfortunately lacking in Soul of a Nation. The legendary Leimert Park gallery that championed several artists included in the show, specifically black Angelenos, would have been a meaningful addition, especially to The Broad’s staging.

The exhibition then diverges from these geographic groupings to arrange works thematically. The inclusion of artists dealing with portraiture suggests that even the representation of the black body can be seen as a radical act (considering the historical dominance of white subjects in Western Art). David Hammons takes a more literal approach, incorporating prints of his own body into his works as in Black First, American Second (1970). The title offers a straightforward response to Donaldson’s inquiry. In his realistic, life- size portraits, Barkley Hendricks confers a cool dignity to his black subjects.

On the other end of the representational spectrum are artists who engage with abstraction and minimalism, including color field painter Sam Gilliam and performative sculptor Senga Nengudi, who still maintain a reflection of African-American identity. Painter Frank Bowling— represented here by luminous, large-scale abstractions onto which he has stenciled ghostly outlines of the continents—felt that black artists were able to “reroute fashion and current art convention to ‘signify’ some- thing different to someone who grew up in Watts.”3 Jack Whitten’s Homage to Malcolm (1970) might reflect Bowling’s sentiment. On the black triangular canvas, which exhibits a play of effects and paint handling, he used an Afro comb to striate a central triangle, revealing layers of red and green underneath. Here, geometric abstraction becomes a symbol of black liberation. In Melvin Edwards’ Curtain (for William and Peter) (1969–70), strings of barbed wire hang, united by a length of dangling chain that weighs them down at the bottom, melding strands of minimalism and seriality with the brutality and violence of everyday life as lived by African Americans.

Soul of a Nation is not an encyclopedic take on black art of the era, nor should it be. Rather, it provides just enough insight into each locus of activity to inspire further exploration. Originating at the Tate before travelling to the Brooklyn Museum and Crystal Bridges, the installation at The Broad is solid and well-organized by curator Sarah Loyer, who beefed up sections on Los Angeles artists. Still, the question lingers: why here? The Broad was founded to showcase the collection of mega-collectors and philanthropists Edythe and Eli Broad. Of the 2,000 works by 200 artists in their collection, none were included in Soul of a Nation, pointing to a larger issue of artists of color being largely absent from this blue-chip collection, aside from contemporary art stars like Mark Bradford, Kerry James Marshall, and Kara Walker. Although L.A.’s California African American Museum’s galleries may not have been able to accommodate an exhibition of this size, it’s worth noting that CAAM was the single biggest lender to Soul of a Nation, contributing seven loans.

This is not to say that The Broad should not be recognized for making the work available to the thousands of visitors that flock to the museum from around the world, in addition to organizing a substantial programming series. However, hosting a traveling show is not the same as acquiring works for their collection—one supports artists of color in a sustainable way, while the other could be seen as a superficial display of inclusion. According to a 2018 study by In Other Words and artnet News, only 2.3% of all acquisitions and gifts at 30 prominent U.S. museums since 2008 have been of work by African-American artists.4 Real change means adding these works to permanent collections, making an institutional commitment, so they can be seen and valued alongside the Koonses and Kusamas long after Soul of a Nation has closed.

Matthew Stromberg is a freelance arts writer based in Los Angeles. In addition to Carla, he has contributed to The Los Angeles Times, The Guardian, KCET Artbound, Hyperallergic, Artsy, Frieze, Terremoto, and Daily Serving.

Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power 1968–1983 (2019) (installation view). Image courtesy of the artists and The Broad. Photo: Pablo Enriquez.

Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power 1968–1983 (2019) (installation view). Image courtesy of the artists and The Broad. Photo: Pablo Enriquez.

Lewis Norman. America the Beautiful (1960). Oil on canvas, 60.25 x 74.5 x 2.75 inches. Artwork courtesy of Tonya Lewis Lee and Spike Lee. Image courtesy of the artist and The Broad. Photo: Pablo Enriquez.

David Hammons, Black First, America Second (1970). Body print and screenprint on paper, 41.25 x 31.25 x .5 inches. Artwork courtesy of the Tilton Family Collection. Image courtesy of the artist and The Broad. Photo: Pablo Enriquez. © David Hammons

Martin Puryear, Self (1978). Stain on red color and mahogany, 69 x 48 x 25 inches. Artwork courtesy of Joslyn Art Museum, Omaha, Nebraska. Image courtesy of the artist and The Broad. Photo: Pablo Enriquez.

Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power 1968–1983 (2019) (installation view). Image courtesy of the artists and The Broad. Photo: Pablo Enriquez.

Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power 1968–1983 (2019) (installation view). Image courtesy of the artists and The Broad. Photo: Pablo Enriquez.

Faith Ringgold, United States of Attica (1971–72). Offset lithograph on paper, 30.5 x 36.25 x .5 inches. Artwork courtesy of ACA Galleries, New York. Image courtesy of the artist and The Broad. Photo: Pablo Enriquez.

Roy DeCarava, Mississippi freedom marcher, Washington, DC, 1963 (1963). Gelatin silver print on paper, 11 x 14 inches. Artwork courtesy of the Estate of Roy DeCarava, Sherry DeCarava, and David Zwirner. Image courtesy of the artist and The Broad. Photo: Pablo Enriquez. © Roy DeCarava



This review was originally published in Carla issue 16.

  1. Jeff Donaldson, letter to unidentified recipient, June 1967 (Jeff Donaldson papers, 1918-2005, bulk 1960s-2005. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution).
  2. Jeanne Siegel, “Why Spiral?,” ARTNews, September 1966, http://www.artnews.com/2015/12/12/ september-1966-norman-lewis-romare-bearden/.
  3. Frank Bowling, “It’s Not Enough to Say ‘Black Is Beautiful’, ” ARTNews, April 1971, http://www.artnews. com/2017/07/21/from-the-archives- frank-bowling-on-why-its-not- enough-to-say-black-is-beautiful- in-1971/.
  4. Charlotte Burns and Julia Halperin, “Museums, Acquisitions and Artists of Color: Why Now is the Time for Change,” Sotheby’s Magazine, Jan. 11, 2019, https://www.sothebys.com/en/ articles/museums-acquisitions-and- artists-of-color-why-now-is-the-time- for-change?locale=en.

Matt Stromberg is a freelance arts writer based in Los Angeles. In addition to Carla, his work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, The Guardian, The Art NewspaperHyperallergicTeremotoKCET ArtboundArtsyfrieze, and Daily Serving.

More by Matt Stromberg