Page 1

CAL

ARTS

MFA


CAL

ARTS

MFA


INTRODUCTION 6–7 By Catherine Taft

GALLERY 10–79 TEXT 82–123

By Jen Hutton, Jon Rutzmoser, Molly Sullivan, Aurora Tang, Travis Diehl, Mia Locks and Lyra Kilston


T A BL E OF C ON T E N T S

MORE TEXT 126–139

By Michelle Dizon, Norman Klein & Tom Leeser and Michael Ned Holte

BACK MATTER 142–146

m m x ii


0 6 / 0 7

MMXII AN INTRODUCTION Catherine Taft May 23, 2012 Value Judgment

Subject to Chance

Appreciate the Process

Post Trope

Theoretically Competent

Hero System

Primary Spectacle

30 Miles North

How Will I Know

Run Don't Walk

Waiting for the Earthquake

I Like What You're Saying

Structurally Yours

Magical Discourse

Please Say Yes

When faced with the task of constructing a collec- of narrative, and one that is probably closer to an tive narrative, even the catchiest of labels can “authentic” picture of the MFA class than any single fail to represent the distinctiveness of a storys phrase could achieve. They are punning and clever, substance. But we nevertheless name things, full of inside jokes and shared anxieties. They are bestowing tidy monikers on our otherwise unwie- discrete chapters to one epic saga. ldy accounts and selective memories. The above But alas, we are hostage to our tidy phrases represent the failed attempts at naming monikers, and a single title for this project was one such narrative: the self-generated, collective eventually agreed upon: MMXII—a simple, elegant chronicle of the 2012 CalArts MFA class. marking of the year, a shared signifier of this Developed entirely by the graduate stu- particular moment, and a reminder of the tidy dent body, these titles (only a partial list) were systems of ancient Rome. Perhaps it is most fitting debated, refined, reviewed, and systematically that this group situates itself, its narrative, in the rejected for failing to sum up the group and its continuum of history. As this volume makes clear, complex characteristics. When the students we are all subject to the social and theoretical reached their first impasse at naming, I was asked processes of time, and the contributors herein to select a title from the list, a choice that was examine this condition from eloquently considered ultimately thrown out. When the students reached perspectives. their second impasse, I was asked to give three Michael Ned Holte offers an earnest alternate choices, which were also shot-down. reflection on the necessity of change, the conAlthough each individual title seemed a failure, struction of institutional identity, and the legacies read together, they construct an alternate sort said identity produces in our shifting recent his-


m tory. He interrogates the importance of “becoming,” survival, and sustaining community. Michelle Dizon takes up the concept of the “altermodern” as it applies to the discourse of art, revealing its ahistorical disregard for capitalism and colonialism. She challenges the catch-22 of political art making and the continuation of modernity as a power structure rather than a demarcation of time. The conversation between Norman Klein and Tom Leeser similarly acknowledges our current socioeconomic problems, centering on the ideas of collapse and failure. But their dialogue also hints at the invention of new structures that might subvert the tyranny of the present. The series of essays by Travis Deihl, Jen Hutton, Lyra Kilston, Mia Locks, Jon Rutzmoser, Molly Sullivan, and Aurora Tang addresses each graduating member of the CalArts 2012 MFA class, contextualizing their work within a range of aesthetic histories, theories and hypotheses. Through their close analyses, the authors identify various threads and through-lines that connect and complicate the practices of the thirty-five MFAs. These central texts will serve as a vital document of their early works, and perhaps help shape some future narrative about their respective personalities or the milieu of CalArts circa 2012. These essays are a valuable service to a group of young artists at the beginning of their careers, and they offer necessary perspective onto the way their gestures are received. Perhaps it is worth noting here that 2012 MFA class has also made several gestures together

through the organization of this project. The process of naming MMXII was one of several group decisions that was spearheaded and executed by the MFAs alone. The students selected this curator and commissioned the dedicated group of authors to represent their work publically. They formed committees to scout exhibition locations, and brokered the final deal with the L.A. Mart downtown. They convinced dealer Susanne Vielmetter to lend her gallery for a fundraiser, and then sold their artwork to pool funds for Grad Show expenses. They served as editors, designers, publicists, and AV technicians, all working to realize the common vision of this project. Needless to say, this was an ambitious undertaking and an invaluable education. So what then is the role of a curator working alongside such self-driven and assiduous artists? After meeting with all thirty-five of them, it became clearly defined: to tease out the dialogues, material connections, and conceptual contradictions at play in everyones work; to shape and sharpen the half-baked big-picture that lingered in each students mind; to serve as a sounding board for new ideas and/or questionable installations; to offer opinions, draw conclusions, and ask ever more questions. But this project nevertheless belongs to the students, and much credit is due to them and their hard work. It is my hope that as these artists begin their new chapters outside of CalArts, they still carry with them the uniquely cooperative experience of producing, constructing, and naming their achievement, MMXII.

Catherine Taft is a critic and curator based in Los Angeles. Her essays on contemporary art and culture appear regularly in publications including Artforum, ArtReview, Modern Painters, Metropolis-M, Mousse, and in exhibition catalogs in the U.S. and abroad. In addition to her writing, Taft is a project specialist in the Department of Architecture and Contemporary Art the Getty Research Institute, where she helped organize the 2008 exhibition, California Video and the 2011 exhibition and research initiative, Pacific Standard Time: Art in Los Angeles 1945-1980. As part of this project, Taft co-authored the Getty exhibition catalog, and is currently co-editing a publication on the Pacific Standard Time Public Art and Performance Art Festival,

m x ii


0 8 / 0 9


m

GALLERY

m x ii


A K I N A C OX

01

01 pebble, 2012. Video, 2:28 mins. Edition of 3. 02 offering basket, 2012. Canvas, linen, cotton, and hot glue. Approx. 15 Ă— 24 in.

03 greater diesis, 2011. Video, 5:36 mins. Edition of 3.


02

03


1 2 / 1

A L E X M E A D OW S

01 Tiki Bacon, 2012. Oil on canvas, 10 × 12 in. 02 Snake, 2012. Oil on canvas, 10 × 12 in.

3 01


m m x ii

02


1 4 / 1 5

A N DR E A F R A N C O

01 Malecón I (Niños), 2012. Archival pigment print, 30 × 30 in. 02 Malecón VI (Familia), 2012. Archival pigment print, 30 × 30 in. 03 Malecón II (Dos chicas), 2012. Archival pigment print, 30 × 30 in. 04 Malecón III (Empleadas), 2012. Archival pigment print, 30 × 30 in. 05–06 Stills from En Ancón, 2012. 16mm film transferred to HD, video still, 27 mins.


m m x ii

01

02

03

04

05

06


1 6 / 1 7

A N I T R A H A E N DE L

My Body Wreaks of Liberation, 2012. Ink and oil on mylar, 42 Ă— 54 in.


1

ARIANE VIELMET TER

8 / 1 9

01

01 Still from Centerpiece, 2012. Video, 6 mins. 02 Handkerchief, 2012. Watercolor and gesso on found paper, 12 Ă— 18 in. 03 Untitled, 2012. Table, gesso, cutting board, mending egg, and baguette, dimensions variable.

02


03


2 0

A S T E R I S M DE R I VA T I V E

01–04 A Point En Route to Itself Series, 2012. Digital C-Prints, 20 × 30 in.

/ 2

01

1

J O H A NN A B RE ID IN G & M A RY R A S M U S S E N


02


03


04


2 4 / 2 5

BE N T ON G


2 6 / 2 7

C H R I S T OPH E R R E Y N OL D S

01 How to Eat Lobster, 2011. HD video still, duration 13 mins. 02 Pleasures of the Table, 2012. Maple butcherblock, mixing bowl, metal, chefs knives, magnetic knife rack, aprons, metal hooks, dimensions variable. 03 Dinner conversation: 2 subjects, salmon sashimi, mushroom miso udon, seasoned seaweed salad, sushi rice, white wine. 03/18/12, 9:13 PM, 19:42 minutes, Los Angeles, CA., 2012. Graphite on paper, 31 Ă— 40 in.

01


m m x ii

02

03


8 / 2 9

DA N E Y S AY L OR

01 Do Fish Ever Get Seasick? 2012. Installation view.

03

2

02 Scraping the Resin from the Bowl, 2012. Archival pigment print, detail of panel 1 (of 5), 16.5 × 21 in. 03 One Million (Not To Put Too Fine A Point On It), 2012. Ink on paper, (50) 11 × 17 in.

01

02


3

DA N I E L A X E

0 / 3 1

The Curvature of the Earth, 2012. Wood, flock, mason jars, string, steel, lecture, dimensions variable.


3 2 / 3

DA N I E L L E DE A N

01 Sisters, 2011. Photo box print. Houston, Texas.

03 Baby Girl, 2012. Digital video still, 12 mins.

02 No Lye, 2012. Digital video still, 10 mins.

3

01


m m x ii

02

03


3 4 / 3 5

01


m

DAV I D G U T I E R R E Z

m x ii

02

03

01 The Domestication of the Monster: Sophie V, 2011. Thread, steel, 10 × 72 in. 02 The Domestication of the Monster: Barbin, 2012. Thread, rubber bands, stainless steel table top, approx. 48 × 72 × 6 in. 03 The Domestication of the Monster, 2012. Installation view.


3 6 / 3

E S T H E R PE A R L WA T S ON

01–02 Fort Beavatron, 2012. Acrylic, glitter, pencil, nails, metal, foam and enamel on panels, dimensions variable. 03 Installation view.

7

01

02

03


3 8 / 3

G R AC I E DE V I T O

01 Kaleidoscope Harmonium, 2012. 02 Upside turning, This yearning, 2012. Installation view. 01

9


m m x ii

02


4 0 / 4 1

G U I YO U N G H WA N G

01 Mapping Untitled, 2012. Printed map, 34 Ă— 23.5 in. 02 Mark the Unmarked, 2012. Installation view. 03 Already Removed (left), and Mark the Unmarked (right), 2012. Diptych video, 8 mins (left), 5:30 mins (right). 04 Already Removed, 2012. Video still.

01


m m x ii

02

03

04


4 2 / 4 3

J A M E S BRU S H


m m x ii


4 4 /

J OE Z OR R I L L A

01 Unfinished Ode to Mud #1, 2012. Steel, dirt, water. 02 Untitled, 2012. Single channel video projection.

4 5

01


m m x ii

02


J ON A T H A N T A K A H A S H I

m

01 Ojichan #2, 2012. Archival inkjet print, 20 × 24 in.

x

02 Cadence, 2012. Wood, brass, screws, 18 × 35 × 2 in.

ii

03 Untitled (After), 2012. Video still, 12:53 mins.

02

03

01

m


4

J ON I N OE

8 / 4 9

01

01 Sometimes it's a Still Life, 2012. Archival pigment print, 15.75 Ă— 11.75 in. 02 Knee to Waist High and Glassy, 2012. Archival pigment print, 27.5 Ă— 19.75 in.


m m x ii

02


5 0 / 5 1

J O S H UA M A R K L O G A N

Drawing Obi-Wan, 2012. Brass tacks, my dad's old colored pencils on paper, 18 Ă— 24 in. each.


m m x ii


5 2 / 5 3

K A R I R E A R D ON

01 Rugged, 2011. Taxidermy bear head, sod, chrome grill, fake diamonds, 96 × 72 × 18 in. 02 Vista, 2012. Wood, aluminum, lights, electronics, arduino, dimensions variable. 03 Siri, 2012. Steel, wood, styrofoam, bondo, fiberglass, satellite dish, cup holder, Tecate, cast silicone wrist brace, glitter, paint, 90 × 72 × 57.6 in.

01


m m x ii

02

03


5 4 /

K R IS TA BU ECK ING

01–02 WE THING, dedicated to the revolutions, 2012. (video still from the installation), looping video, wood, carpet, wipeable vinyl, upholstery foam, paint, paper, whiteboard, tropical standard foliage.

5

01

5


m m x

02

ii


5 6 / 5 7

L A R I S S A BR A N T N E R J A M E S

01 Foot in My Mouth, 2012. Steel, plaster, Infinity pump, plastic tubes, water, wood, paint, 48 × 48 × 54 in. 02–03 In Multiple Dimensions, She Defies Gravity, 2012. Steel, aluminum, plaster, Infinity pump, plastic tubes, water, gravel, pigment, 48 × 48 × 72 in. 04 The Spirit, The Breath, The Flesh, 2012. Steel, plaster, plastic bags, 18 × 18 × 78 in.

01

02

03


m m x ii

04


01 An Aria for the Whale Who BeachedHerself, 2012. Installation view.

02 Ne Ne Ne Ne Nenene (Who Won A Lovely Woman), 2012. HD video still, 1:39 mins. loop.

01

L I Z T O ON K E L


02


6

M A L E N E DA M

Collaboration with Heather M. Oî?“Brien

0 / 6 1

01 Classroom Case Study (Conversation #3), 2012. Wood, chalkboard paint, chalk ink, 48 in. diameter table.

02 Classroom Case Study, 2012. Installation view.


m m x ii

01

02


6 2 / 6

M A RY HILL

01 The Palm At the End of the Mind, 2012. Two-way mirror, sand, brackets. 02–03 There Will Never Be An End to This Droning of the Surf, 2012. Pine-wood coffin, water,

3

01

wood, pew kneelers, silicone, underwater speaker. The sound of the ocean is played through the water in the coffin, via an underwater speaker.


m m x ii

02

03


6 4 / 6

N IC K R ODR IG U E S

01 Rocking Chairs, 2012. Found chairs, saltwater, iPhones, motor, mixed media, 240 × 36 × 48 in. 02 Grand Comfort, 2011-12. Collaboration w/ Dan Rodrigues Steel, foam, vinyl, motor, electronics, 60 × 24 × 26 in.

5

01


m m x ii

02


PA T R IC K F L O OD

01

01 Lobby (The Allegory of the Cave), 2012. Archival inkjet print, 32 Ă— 40 in. 02 Aleph, 2012. Sun City Church of the Nazarene / Le Ronde Shopping Center; Sun City, AZ. Archival inkjet print, 40 Ă— 50 in.


02


6 8 / 6 9

R OBBI E N O C K

01 Untitled, Untitled, Untitled, 2012. Cardboard tube, dust, fan arduino; digital microscope, computer, projector; pvc pipes, pvc connectors, pvc elbows. Installation view. 02 Untitled, (detail) 2012. Digital microscope, computer, projector.

04 Untitled, 2012. Plastic spheres. 05 Untitled, (detail) 2012. Neodymium magnets, compasses. 06 Untitled, 2012. Urethane resin.

03 Untitled, 2012. Digital microscope, computer, projector.

02

01


03

05

04

06


7

R OWA N S M I T H

0 / 7 1

01

02 01 How Meaning Changes Over Time Through the Degradation of Speakers / Ayesaba Amagwala (Dubula Ibunu) Version, 2012. 8" Speakers, speaker wire, paper, wood, amplifier, sound recording 23:15 mins, 193 × 221 × 36 cm. 02 The Official Restaurant of the South African Family, 2012. Installation view of exhibit. Plexi, LEDs and aluminium. 88.9 × 101.6 × 12.7 cm.

03 Untitled (Burn), 2012. Lightjet prints (each), 177.8 × 76.2 cm. Photographer: Johanna Breiding.

03


7

S A R A H PE T E R S E N

2 / 7 3

01

01 Hurry If You Hear Laughter, 2012. Includes pieces Force Field (paint, wall, concave corner, drop cloths, tape) and Nonce Stairs (wood, hardware, wall, convex corner), Installation view. 02 “Debtor” pin, 2011. Cloisonné trading pin, 1.25 × .75 in. From the SWAG for Hard Times collection (www.swagforhardtimes.com), 2009–present.

03 RE SET: Platforms for Distributive Excess, 2011. Steel and polycarbonate stages used in collaborative duets; performance with Shagha Ariannia. 04 RE SET: Platforms for Distributive Excess, 2011. Steel and polycarbonate stages used in collaborative duets.


m m x ii

02

03

04


SEA N C FL AHERT Y

01 Act III A Heart Full of Love: Familiar Parts, 2011. HD video projection, sound, duration 2:47 mins. 02 Gesture Study #3 Raging Bull (detail), 2011. HD video projection, sound, 132 Ă— 234 in., loop, duration 15:22 mins.

01


m m x ii

02


7

S H AG H A A R I A N N I A

6 / 7 7

01

02

01 From one Nationalism to another Nationalism, 2012. Photo-document. 02 Our Future Is the Approaching Past , 2012. Installation view, video, 20 mins.

03–04 But Our Battle Did Not End In Any Death Or Victory, 2012. Surveillance camera, screenshots, 20 mins.


m m x ii

03–04


7 8 / 7 9

T Y L E R M A T T H E W OY E R


8 0 / 8 1


m

TEXT

m x ii


8 2 / 8 3

ECONOMIES OF SCALE Jen Hutton

Discussing the work of:

Daniel Axe Patrick Flood Shagha Ariannia

Jonathan Takahashi Sean C. Flaherty


m There’s an anecdote by a writer you’ve probably never heard of that goes something like this: During a Sunday morning church service, a young boy fished a quarter out of his pocket and dropped it into the collection plate as it passed by him. Seeing this, his father pinched the quarter from the plate and handed it back to the youngster, whispering, “A penny makes just as much noise.” 1 I’m charmed by this story, regardless of its provenance (or authenticity, for that matter) and I want to use this anecdote as an opening gambit to address economies of scale, a term that I appropriate from microeconomics to highlight a common strategy in the work of five artists. More than a difference of twentyfour cents, I’m interested in how a penny is equally if not more valuable than a quarter, but also that its “clink” in the collection plate can shrewdly fulfill a societal role with greater efficiency. Susan Stewart’s oft-cited book On Longing discusses the symbolic power of scale at its two extremes: “Whereas the miniature represents closure, interiority, the domestic, and the overly cultural, the gigantic represents infinity, exteriority, the public, and the overly natural.” 2 She asserts that our primary understanding of the very big and the quite small stems from our observation of or being within a relative frame: the miniature is defined by the gigantic space that contains it, such as a tiny doll in the palm of a human hand or a body in the middle of a vast meadow. If Stewart’s paradigm of “the miniature as contained and the gigantic as container” 3 persists only for objects in the physical realm, then I would propose that the opposite is possible for conceptual expressions of the gigantic—including the inconceivably large, but also the wondrous and the epic—within the small, as an index (or shrunken version) of their content but with equal volume. The emphatic presence of the small—the model, the isolated gesture, the domestic ritual—has an unlikely capacity for power and effect. Though these five artists engage in divergent practices and address unique concerns, what they do share is their proclivity to deliver grand gestures (to borrow yet another term, but from 18th century painting) on tiny scales: condensing the visible via actual or implied miniaturization, or by compressing heroic or lofty themes into smaller bites to chew on. Daniel Regenstreif Axe’s sculptures seem to illustrate both principles. Working primarily with models, he present s a l legor ies woven f rom esoteric paradigms—with their roots in geology, astronomy, and history— which he compresses into not quite a single frame but rather pushes to an unexpected maximum. For example, Daniel Axe, Model for an Object Someone Dreamt I Made, 2011. Wood, steel, 288 × 6 × 48 in. See pp. 30–31. Model for an Object Someone Dreamt I 1 T he anecdote is attributed to Andrew Lytle (1902–1995), a novelist and essayist identified with the Southern Agrarian movement. The story was pulled from his Wikipedia page (retrieved 26 April 2012).

2 S  usan Stewart, On Longing (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1993) 70. 3 Ibid., 71.

m x ii


8 4 / 8 5

Made, 2011, is a model of an unusually long, uniform building that resembles a barracks or line of rowhouses. Made from repeating and interlocking sections laser cut from birch ply and set on rails, the sculpture implies that it could potentially repeat infinitely. (It is interesting to note that Regenstreif Axe initially studied architecture and abandoned the discipline when he decided he was more interested in designing buildings that would never be built.) The title of another sculpture, The Allegory of the Irresistible Force Confronts the Metaphor for the Immovable Object, 2012, refers to the twinned paradoxical constants used in logic and physics problems, but recast here as hundreds of tiny, polymer clay squirrels—preternaturally inquisitive creatures whose cuteness can’t be denied—converging on a relatively large rock formation in the middle of a hundred-foot-long cross-section of a rutted landscape. Regenstreif Axe’s work seems to seek the incomprehensible weight of wonder in a world measured by science, and, in facing science’s shortcomings or unexplained holes, he rebuilds the world in labored sections, filling it in with fantasy. Patrick Flood’s landscape and documentary photographs invoke the impression of miniatures through his use of a tilt-shift lens, a camera trick that warps the lens’s depth of field to push landscape into sharp focus, making it appear as a model or toy in the final image. He uses this technique exclusively in the overarching series American Theater, 2010-12, itself an umbrella for several thematic groupings of subjects: various airport interiors, the Baldwin Hills oilfield in South Los Angeles, and a mock Middle Eastern village at Fort Irwin, a combat training center for Patrick Flood, Aleph, 2012. Sun City Church of the Nazarene / Le Ronde Shopping Center; Sun City, AZ. Archival inkjet print, U.S. troops in the Mojave Desert. Flood oblique- 40 × 50 in. See pp. 66–67. ly points his camera at these examples of the “Holy Trinity” of the American landscape from raised platforms or a helicopter’s cabin. As Susan Stewart describes, the miniature can emphasize a subject’s inner psychology, but Flood’s perspectives-from-above seem to suggest a pervading omniscience. (Coincidentally or not, his aerial views of retirement communities in Sun City, Arizona, from the series Otium Sanctum (Praxis), 2012, naturally achieve miniaturization through distance, but also point out that at the center of these consistently circular or target-like arrangements are places of worship.) But his photographs present a disjuncture when one confirms that these images do not depict toy soldiers or the world of make believe: American Theater is a taxonomy of sites that have been determined as key concerns of U.S. foreign policy—border control, oil production, and protection of U.S. interests overseas.


E C O N O MIE S

J E N H U T T ON

Additionally, Flood front-loads his images with titles that allude to epics like Nietzsche’s Thus Spoke Zarathustra, Plato’s Republic, and certain stories from Judeo-Christian myth, a strategy that furthers and complicates his critique of the mythological foundations of these initiatives. Though not exclusively, Shagha Ariannia’s videos and photographs also initiate a (more pointed) critique of U.S. foreign policy, but her work insists that personal and political domains are inextricably linked. Her work negotiates t he physica l and cu lt ura l gaps between her native Iran and her current home in the U.S. (where she has lived for almost eleven years)—a distance of space and time that she measures with small, nuanced gestures. In her video installation Your Tuesday, Shagha Ariannia, Our Future Is the Approaching Past, 2012. Installation view, video, 20 mins. See pp. 76–77. My Wednesday, 2011, we hear a recording of a nonchalant phone conversation between the artist and an unidentified male caller. Switching between English and Farsi, they reminisce about favorite foods, and allude to a reunion that is not likely given the costs of travel and hassle of obtaining visas. The d i st a nce bet ween t hem—Teh r a n to L os A ngeles i s ex ac t ly h a l f a world , or twelve hours, away—is illustrated by looping clips of the sun rising and setting on two monitors placed back to back. Rather than nailing specifics, Your Tuesday is more of a penned love letter to a universal “you”—an unnamed partner, country, or generation. This bittersweet longing is echoed in the two-channel video installation Our future is the approaching past, 2012. One video is comprised of footage from a web-enabled surveillance camera in her grandparents’ home in Iran, a device installed by Arianna’s mother so that she may check on them from time to time from the U.S. The other video documents the artist sharing a large slab cake, decked out with goopy icing and an edible photo transfer, with her parents in the family home. The confection resembles another they shared ten years prior to celebrate the family’s one-year anniversary in the U.S., but instead of using a portrait of the family to adorn the top, like the original, the present cake is decorated with a photo of Ariannia and a friend protesting the U.S. sanctions against Iran with a large signs over their faces. Heard over both screens is audio from an old cassette tape that the artist found in her parents’ home; an aural palimpsest of home recordings, such as her mother teaching her brother English, and Iranian revolutionary songs, a component that highlights the complexity of her past and her place in the present. Relatedly, Jonathan Takahashi regards various palimpsests as prime records to investigate his identity and inherited past as a Yonsei (fourth-gener-

m m x ii


8 6 / 8 7

ation Japanese American) via his relationship with his maternal grandfather. Takahashi traces their cross-generational link through his mother with six sequential portraits (Mago #1, #2, #3, and Oji-chan #1, #2, #3, all 2012), which are visual palimpsests he created by projecting his portrait onto his mother’s face, photographing the resulting hybrid portrait, and projecting it on his grandfather’s face for a third. He then repeated the same process in reverse for an additional three portraits. The artist’s interest in Japanese American culture and values continues in his research of Los Angeles’s J-Town (Little Tokyo), a district that persists despite many instances of erasure and reinscription, and remains close to his family given his grandfather’s continued involvement in his business and rental properties there. Takahashi’s projJonathan Takahashi, Ojichan #2, 2012. Archival inkjet print, ect consists of tracing the past and present 20 × 24 in. See pp. 46–47. meaning of the sixteen permanent outdoor sculptures in J-Town—monuments that inscribe particular symbolic values of Japanese culture—but defining them through the collective memory of the community they serve. He conducted a public survey with residents and business owners, requesting them to respond to the sculptures in writing, and produce a paper sculpture—in the spirit of origami—that interpreted one of the works. The resulting contributions were incorporated into Ori, 2012, a map of J-Town that Takahashi “traces” on the floor using mochiko—a rice starch powder used to make and coat mochi treats. This ephemeral “drawing”, a “non-site” marked by small and fragile paper sculptures made by a multitude of contributors, seems to upend the real sculptures’ permanence in J-Town, and their continued relevance in a shifting community. Sean C. Flaherty has also worked closely with family members in his videos, but only as foils for interrogating the theatricality of gender—how it is acted out or upon. His earlier videos are comprised of straightforward documentation of ordinary “performances” normally associated with masculinity, such as shaving alongside his father and grandfather (Shaving, 2010), or learning how to take apart and clean the latter’s rifle (M1, 2009)—actions that on screen appear uncannily ritualized. For his 2011 video trilogy featuring lip synced performances of songs from Les Misérables—an epic and favorite musical with a motley cast of rebels that nonetheless share familial ties—Flaherty reassigns


E C O N O MIE S

J E N H U T T ON

the male and female roles to family members or different iterations of himself, regardless of gender. More recently, a group of three related video projections reframed iconic male roles through appropriated and edited footage from silent film versions of Faust and The Phantom of the Opera, and from Martin Scorsese’s Raging Bull. All three films feature fallen and tormented male characters that affirm the archetype of the melodramatic male lead, but Flaherty’s deliberate edits isolate their body language to heighten their vulnerability. For example, Gesture Study #3 Raging Bull, 2011, takes a clip of Jake and Vicky LaMotta (played Sean C. Flaherty, Gesture Study #3 Raging Bull, (detail), 2011. HD video projection, sound, 132 × 234 in., loop, duration 15:22 mins. by Robert DeNiro and Cathy Moriarty) engagSee pp. 74–75. ing in an intimate embrace, and slows it down to a glacial pace. Projected to close to cinematic scale, the LaMottas’ are larger than life, but Flaherty’s extreme slo-mo effect pulls out the nuances of a small gesture—the gentleness of Vicky’s hand, Jake’s docility in her presence, and a possible whisper—that might normally be considered inconsequential.

Originally from Toronto, Jen Hutton is an artist and writer currently working towards her MFA in Writing at the California Institute of the Arts. Her writing and reviews have appeared in C Magazine, Canadian Art, Border Crossings, Ciel Variable, and on Artforum.com.

m m x ii


8 8 / 8 9

ST(R)UCK: DRIVE, SIMULTANEITY, & AIM IN ART Jon Rutzmoser

Discussing the work of:

Nick Rodriquez Kari Reardon Josh Logan

Esther Pearl Watson Alex Meadows


m Like a 6th grader, circa 1997, who finds opportunity when the librarian is not looking, running hastily around to all of the computers, intently poking at each keyboard. With just two index fingers the student manages to type the same URL in every URL bar on every computer screen in the school. www.whitehouse. com. It’s not not political; it’s not not funny; and, it’s certainly not not serious. In The Parallax View, Slavoj Žižek states, “we become ‘humans’ when we get caught into a closed, self-propelling loop of repeating the same gesture and finding satisfaction in it.” 1 Rather than desire’s propulsion towards the void of the thing, knowable only through metonymic substitutions, Žižek here is referring to the pleasure of a drive. The drive as fixation itself, never towards the void of a thing but rather, surrounding a specific object, creating a hole to circulate indefinitely. Here Žižek shadows Jacques-Alain Miller’s distinction between lack and hole, equating them respectively to desire and drive. “Lack is spatial, [...] a void within a space,” whereas, “hole is more radical, it designates the point at which this spatial order itself breaks down (as in the ‘black hole’ in physics).” 2 What Žižek touches on but never explicitly states is that there is a necessary correlation between this human satisfaction and what we consider to be humorous. He uses an example of a dancer jumping and spinning in the air. Defying gravity ever so slightly in order to spin circles around him- or her-self. Our satisfaction is not rooted in some form of surprise or shock in the dancer’s ability to resist (or appear to resist) normal gravitational forces, but rather, our pleasure is the precise Nick Rodriquez, My Grandfather Used to Pick Me Up By My Belt Loop. See pp. 64–65. shattering of order itself. That is to say, our pleasure is the same exact (not shared and not substituted) pleasure that the dancer experiences as s/he simultaneously does and does not exist. Within this example of “drive at its most elementary,” we find an opportunity to re-consider the aim of today’s artists. 3 Nick Rodrigues’s work is perhaps the most explicit example of how mechanistic drives replace any linear and therefore teleological goals. Rodrigues’s work is literally all about the loop. For his thesis exhibition, Cathexis Report, Rodrigues utilizes the Freudian notion of Cathexis—or the libido’s charge of energy 4 directed towards a person, object, or idea. However, through several incarnations of failed cathexing, we understand cathexis not as a force towards an object but rather an enveloping of an object. The artist revisits the installation often to fix any mechanical “glitches” and log his procedures. Turning failure into triumph, Rodrigues literalizes and therefore 1Ž  ižek, Slavoj. The Parallax View. Cambridge, MA: MIT, 2006. Print. p63 2 Ibid p60–61. 3 Ibid Zizek says, “As Lacan put it, “the true aim of a drive is not to reach its goal, but to circulate endlessly around it.” (italics added for emphasis) p63

4h  ttp://www.cla.purdue.edu/english/theory/ psychoanalysis/psychterms.html Accessed on 5/5/2012

m x ii


9 0 / 9 1

shatters the metaphoric significance of the loop in order to reveal the sheer pleasure of a continual process-based (drive) practice. In My Grandfather used to pick me up by my belt loop, a sequence of six color photographs on a single sheet of photographic paper, Rodrigues depicts himself first surveying, then approaching, and finally attaching himself via his back belt loop to an industrial strength clamp system. In the final shot he dangles horizontally, ass with full wedgie facing the camera, inches above the ground. Like Žižek’s dancer, Rodrigues ruptures physical order, here with absurdity, and does so not by simply performing himself as a child, or substituting the metal support structure for his grandfather, but rather by becoming his former self, existing as both artist now and child then. We watch, wondering if the loop will ever break. It doesn’t. In a similar move, Kari Reardon’s work establishes a context in which we are invited to laugh and take pleasure in self-propulsion. In The Psychology of Winning: Volume 1 of 10, a “self-help video,” she explains to the camera, her head floating above a sea of clouds, “winners expect to win in advance.” It’s easy to read this first installment as satire, either a mere one-liner poking fun at Charlie Sheen’s ubiquitous words or a cynical thumbing of the nose at the lucrative self-help industry. Yet her Kari Reardon, Vista, 2012. Wood, aluminum, lights, electronics, work is far more complicated, and, in fact, it is arduino, dimensions variable. See pp. 52–53. actually motivational (and she has made her tapes available for purchase), exploiting circular logic in order to structure a doubled (over) subject. In Inside Out we see a long elliptical mirror hanging on a wall. A thick braided rope woven from multiple fake leather braided gold belts, jets out from the mirror’s center. Picking up the rope may point towards the tug-of-war game we have with ourselves when faced with our reflection, but this metaphor is too linear. What both The Psychology of Winning: Volume 1 of 10 and Inside Out call for is not a battling of and victory over the self within the self, but rather an infinite doubling over. A literal fissuring of space/time by way of over-fixation on an object. This is also precisely what we get in Vista, in which the seven large white blinking letters W-I-N-N-I-N-G are strewn about the gallery. Occupying both the floor and the wall space, and everything between, the letters are programmed to blink sequentially. In doing so, the artist invites us to move beyond the linguistic meaning (both synchronic and diachronic) of the word, and to instead playfully orbit its objectness. Using a combination of personal anecdotes and popular culture references, Josh Logan’s work builds a practice based on failed echo location—literally a process of continual wading through references and objects, or fixating


S T(R) U C K

J ON RU T Z MO S E R

on them, in order to “find” himself. He is obsessed with continual failure and the humor that accompanies it. Yet—and this goes for all of the artists examined here— Logan’s goal is not simply to be funny but rather to pay sincere tribute to his aesthetic and personal idols. He paints a portrait of his mentor Charles Gaines and titles it, Charles Gaines, A Portrait: My Conceptual Papa: Please tell me you like it. He throws an 80th birthday party for John Baldessari, sculpting a cake for him that reads, “Honest Kid I’m not Santa.” Despite several e-vites sent to jbaldessari@gmail/yahoo/hotmail/aol. com, Baldessari is a no-show. Surprise, surprise. In Are You A Wizard, Logan uses colored pencils that once belonged to his father to draw intricately-detailed portraits of four figures. Displayed on one wall, one single drawing of his father hangs. On the opposite wall are precise hand-drawn renderings of Gandalf, Obi-Wan, Joshua Mark Logan, Drawing My Dad, 2012. Brass tacks, and Dumbledore, respectively. The title suggests that my dad's old colored pencils on paper, 18 × 24 in. See pp. 50–51. the answer is always already no, yet Logan’s desire to continue drawing them, an act of tedious reproduction, suggests that he’ll never stop asking. And we experience this exact torque: continual longing. Not longing for an answer, or for a mentor’s approval, but for longing itself. That is to say, the intense pleasure in Logan’s work comes not just from a silly gesture towards something that he knows isn’t there, which I admit can be intensely funny, but rather his continual gesture towards failure itself. 5 Esther Pearl Watson’s work is like an episode of the X-files rewritten over and over again by Daniel Johnston. She paints extremely stylized flat landscapes, mostly involving flying saucers, abandoned cars, and the visual interjection of star-lit outer space. Her work is in some ways autobiographical. She grew up in Texas and her father obsessively built myriad flying saucers in their back yard. Her show, Fort Beavatron, is a sculptural fort constructed by bolting several of her earlier paintings together. The structure amounts to a simultaneity of her personal experiences— from life alongside her father, to life with her young daughter—and aims to question the notion of authentic viewing. Watson reveals, of course, that there is no one way to read a painting. Yet she exploits the viewer’s desire Esther Pearl Watson, Fort Beavatron, 2012. Acrylic, glitter, pencil, nails, metal, foam and enamel on panels. See pp. 36–37. for such revelation, and ultimately leaves us 5 W  ould the Myth of Sisyphus be any different if he were condemned to a treadmill?

m m x ii


9 2 / 9 3

with many different depictions of what may turn out to be the same painting. In fact, one could say that Watson has been making the same exact painting for years, taking after her father. And it is hers and her father’s and our own compulsion that we experience in every flying saucer, in every pop out piece of empty space, that both eclipse and are part of a painting. In every turn we make around Fort Beavatron, we become closer and closer to the hilarious revelation that a painting is a spaceship is a rock, and that we simply aim to empty ourselves out and orbit. In what may be the ultimate example of one’s attempt to empty one’s self, Alex Meadows voluntarily puts himself in altered states through meditation and sensory deprivation in order to paint his images. Meadows imagines simultaneity to its max by focusing on the concept of the image in order to eventually get to an image that he can reproduce. His show Snakes & Bacon is a series of twelve oil paintings and one marker drawing. At first look, his paintings are all very disparate. They draw the viewer in individually, creating a relationship with the present that is both impressive and awkward, instantaneous and infinite. We are not used to such an intense relationship to paintings. This materiality allows space for interpretation and meaningmaking; however, this process seems secondary and never wholly justified. For instance, Alex Meadows, Snake, 2012. Oil on Canvas, 10 × 12 in. in Tiki Bacon, a strip of bacon is paradoxically See pp. 12–13. depicted as both itself and a Tiki. Combined with the several open-mouthed fang-exposed snake mouth paintings, we understand the show as being in conversation with Deleuze’s analysis of Francis Bacon’s paintings. 6 In fact, Meadows’s work does possess a similar formal intensity to Bacon’s work. We see in Fragile Panther (Collapse of the wave function) Meadows’s disintegrating time altogether. Our smiles—laughter frozen—are byproducts of a shared desynchronization, not out of synch but rather out of time. In a sense, similar to Watson, Meadows continues to create the same painting. And as we navigate the space, we experience—for a moment’s eternity—the hysterical nature of drive. We return now to the 6th grader. When asked why there is pornography on every computer monitor in the school, the student announces the death of conceptual art 7, again, and again. 8 And thus, we might consider the 6 For further reading on this, Gilles Deleuze, “Body, Meat, and Spirit, Becoming-Animal” Francis Bacon: the logic of sensation, trans. Daniel W. Smith (New York: Continuum, 2004). 7 The Stuckists did this in 2002 by leaving a coffin outside the White Cube gallery, marked “The Death of Conceptual Art.” http://www. stuckism.com/Tate/WhiteCube.html Accessed on 5/5/12

8 Although Kenneth Goldsmith is particularly

concerned with poetry, it seems to me the same argument; it is not not relevant that Vito Acconci was trained formally as a poet, and Kenneth Goldsmith was trained formally as a visual artist. http://www.poetryfoundation.org/harriet/2012/04/poetry-is-dead-ikilled-it/ Accessed on 5/5/2012


S T(R) U C K

J ON RU T Z MO S E R

significance of the shared function of keys on a keyboard: Enter/Return. We might consider the touch, square pegs in round holes. And we consider the certain point, the event horizon, when an object—even a white cube—falling into a black hole would appear to an outside observer to simply slow down and eventually stop moving altogether.

m m x ii

Jon Rutzmoser is an artist, writer, and educator living in Los Angeles. He holds an MFA in Creative Writing and Integrated Media from CalArts. He has performed at venues such as LACE, Redcat, NEXUS, and Workspace 2601. His recent writing appears or is forthcoming in Joyland, DrunkenBoat, Prism of Reality, and X-TRA. He runs an experimental theater space with his partner in their Echo Park apartment.


9 4 / 9 5

NOTIONS OF LINE(S) Molly Sullivan

Discussing the work of:

Andrea Franco Ben Tong Akina Cox

Anitra Haendel Joni Noe


m When I meet Peruvian f ilmmaker/photographer Andrea Franco in her subterranean studio at CalArts, she offers me a seat on the single chair in the modestly sized space, clears her own spot atop an IKEA side table and sits facing me. Her space, once a blank slate, a white cube (more precisely a white rectangular prism), is now teeming with a pile of large-format archival pigment prints, vintage movie posters (framed) and a desk (at which I sit) that holds her MacBook Pro. She directs me to some of her photographs—images she will include in her show, En Ancón.1 The square-format full-body candid portraits depict individuals or groups of people paused on the boardwalk Andrea Franco, Malecón II (Dos chicas), 2012. Archival pigment print, in the costal Ancón district with the horizon 30 × 30 in. See pp. 14–15. line falling just below the center of the image. Franco explains that there are rigid boundary lines (visible and invisible) along the beach busy at work highlighting public versus private (space) and white versus indigenous. Though the artists in this text exhibit overlapping traits in their research methodologies and in the ways they create, I focus here on their use of line: boundary lines to distinguish two disparate groups (or to illustrate how these distinctions are problematic); horizon lines; spoken lines or physical lines (to make marks or distinguish edges); and how they work toward an economy of line. In reviewing my notes I find a little map I drew of the shoreline of Ancón. The boardwalk or seawall comprises the bottom third of the illustration and is marked “democratic” space. The middle third, the beach, is split vertically through the center by a dotted line. On one side of the dotted line the word “public” is written, and on the other side, “private.” The top third of the sketch represents the water and is also demarcated “democratic.” Franco complicates the relationship of these spaces by first acknowledging their existence and then editing together her observational footage documenting the stark inequalities in the use of space along the shore. Ben Tong’s The Parrot Lecture—the focal piece in his exhibition (titled no/longer/present)—is an original text/lecture the artist performs against the backdrop of a slideshow of still images and video. The piece uses the parrot to discourse on speaking and learning as well as the absence and presence of voice. Tong has constructed a podium to stand behind, but he moves freely while addressing his seated crowd of listeners (split by an aisle bisecting the gallery). 1A  ncón, a district in the Lima Province of Peru, is the name of the beach where the artist summered throughout her childhood.

m x ii


9 6 / 9 7

The lecture is composed of narratives, musings and factual information. When Tong performs the following excerpt from The Parrot Lecture, his speech is accompanied by (what appears to be) stock footage of an oceanfront sunset with billowing clouds on the horizon, looping for the duration of the anecdote: “This all reminds me of another story, or more precisely an allegory. In 1518 Hernán Cortés arrived near the shores of a new empire. It is said that the Aztec scouts Ben Tong, The Parrot Lecture, 2012. See pp. 24–25. looking towards the horizon saw a growing mountain. Not ever before seeing a ship with sails and multiple towering masts, this is what they saw. A mountain. Another version of the story has it that the Aztecs looking upon the horizon did not see anything. Perhaps they were too early. That distant line on the ocean’s horizon, since primordial time, has always remained constant. Such a perception—a giant floating object on that distant line—never before seen in the history of perceptions. This scenario, I gotta say, is almost impossible for us to imagine. Perhaps we have arrived too late.” 2 Tong likens this encounter between two civilizations (colonizer and colonized) to the encounter between two species (human and bird), acknowledging that the voice of one in each pairing dominates and dictates an “official” history. The artist’s work 11 cruise ships on the horizon, utilizes imagery similar— but contemporary in comparison—to that described above. In this piece, a series of looping images of the titular cruise ships is projected onto an eye-level wood and MDF billboard structure. Unlike Franco’s use of the horizon that posits the water as an egalitarian space, Tong illustrates cruise ships (a contemporary equivalent to colonial ships) looming in the distance. In Tong’s work the bird is not only a stand-in for something outside of the human narrative, but an animal with a unique anatomy that allows it to mimic sounds and speech. During the lecture, Tong explains that parrots do not have vocal chords—they instead create sound by expelling air across their malleable bifurcated trachea. To illustrate, Tong clicks through simplistic threepronged line drawings of a variety of possible (and some impossible) shapes of the parrot trachea. A wooden, inverted version of one of these shapes leans against the gallery wall (behind the billboard) while the artist delivers his lecture. The line drawing (albeit in a different medium) is repeated and repeated like the limited and learned vocabulary of a parrot. 2 From The Parrot Lecture, 2012


NOTIONS

MOL LY S U L L I VAN

Akina Cox’s studio and her exhibition Ticket to Heaven are both littered with line drawings. The intentionally placed marks in Cox’s line paintings adorn the studio walls and floor. Cox tells me of her research on the relationship between music theory and color theory. She directs my attention to a floor painting, a semicircular tonal chart based on a Pythagorean drawing of harmonics in music. The illustration, a series of arched lines radiating from a fixed point along the studio wall, uses planetary orbits as a reference. The piece is an early iteration of what becomes tonal harmony, astral beings (from the exhibit Ticket to Heaven). At some point, I mention that one of the line paintings on the studio wall looks as if it could be an exploded view of an empty musical staff reappropriated into this branch-like painting. Cox doesn’t deny this, but I gather that the drawings can be interpreted in various ways and that preconceived notions on the part of the audience are welcome. We spend some time poring over the miniature mock-up of Ticket to Heaven and Cox points out that the layout of the exhibition was said to be church-like by one of her instructors. The gallery is dissected by an invisible aisle that encourages viewers to proceed toward the large-scale stop-motion animation video, pebble, like parishioners lining up to receive communion. The video consists of two curved shapes made dimensional through the application of small red marks over a warmAkina Cox, pebble, 2012. Video, 2:28 mins. Edition of 3. See pp. 10–11. er red-orange surface and four white jagged shapes atop a makeshift black background. An audible narrative coincides with the manipulation of the shapes and promotes the illusion of a mouth speaking to us. The ultra-low, lulling voice speaks from the perspective of a pebble following the listener home from the beach, embedding itself in the listener’s carpet, declaring, “When you think you are alone and nobody is thinking of you, it is because you don’t realize I have been looking for you all this time and have finally found you. I forgive you.” In the exhibition, Cox interrupts the straight path (mentioned above) by placing her work offering basket, an overturned woven fabric basket, over the top of when i tell you, a pile of small 3 risograph staple-bound 60-pg paper books, in the center of the gallery. Some viewers did not notice the books. Others timidly approach the piece(s), carefully read the text, and return the books to their presumed home—under the basket. The candor of her (first-person narrative) text is refreshing and the 51 pages of brief 4 “truths” flow from one page to the next. The text addresses the artist’s various experiences within the Unification Church and solidifies the exhibition as a surreal somewhat ecclesiastical space. 3 T he footprint of the book is 3.375” square 4 One to three sentences in length

m m x ii


9 8 / 9 9

Anitra Haendel, a painter, is decisive in her mark making. She likes to examine how a work is painted and is well versed in and admittedly influenced by painting’s history. Her stylistic leanings and use of line gives the viewer just enough content to get an impression of what they’re looking at. Her material choices (alternate sizes of semi-transparent Mylar or vellum adorned with a medley of acr ylic paint, oi l paint, acr ylic in k, paint palettes, glue, screen printing ink, plastic film, and in one instance bits of a yoga mat) create a rich illusionistic space that is simultaneously flat and three-dimensional. The imagery depicted in Haendel’s Anitra Haendel, Pick up you End, 2012. Ink and oil on mylar, work consists of nude figures crouched, bent 20 × 24 in. See pp. 16–17. and contorted in various distinct positions— cleaning. The posturing is informed by staged activities of the artist—sweeping with a Swiffer, completing housework, washing and wiping the landscape or oneself. In both of Haendel’s works, Cleaning My Own Head and Sticky Fingers (Pelican), a figure (in slightly varied stances) is repeated throughout the work (in one instance a multitude of times and in the other, three). Haendel illustrates these figures with such uniformity that they appear to be clones of one another working synonymously, or as if we are privy to a time-lapsed rendering of one (figure) over time. Read psychologically, the works seek to blur the line of the self/other binary—and allow for the possibility to see one’s self in another’s image. The artist states that the work in her show Nature Reloaded is transitional. It is an opportunity to define a landscape and experiment with figure placement. I had the opportunity to view Haendel’s towering scroll pieces (100” tall Mylar panels displayed alone or as a diptych or triptych) in the exhibition and now reference her work online. Experiencing the paintings from either vantage, the wholly immersive environment the artist creates is evident. The lines created by the gaps between the Mylar panels serve as a frame in some instances (Retreat, Reload) and in others (Swiffing) as an extension of the Mylar “canvas.” Looking at flat depictions of the work (online) it becomes difficult to determine what is the foreground and what is the background; are the panels built up on the surface or developed out from both sides? Are we perhaps looking through windows into an environment wholly different than the one we inhabit and how will that space evolve when Haendel’s figures find their place within that environment?


NOTIONS

MOL LY S U L L I VAN

Joni Noe’s vertically stacked archival pigment prints, Bookshelf Stack of Six, serve as the visual anchor of her exhibition Inset Photograph. The work depicts a tightly cropped and slightly larger-than-life profile of a bookshelf holding vintage nature books. The six (19.75 × 27.5 in.) narrow frames are assembled adjacently top to bottom, and meet the vertical limit of the gallery wall. Noe’s use of both the straight edge of the gallery corner and the uniform placement of the narrow frames Joni Noe, Sometimes it's a Still Life, 2012. Archival pigment print, creates a n aut hent ic w indow into a rea l 15.75 × 11.75 in. See pp. 48–49. domestic space. The artist references classical still life in her imagery, but instead of illuminating subjects placed against a vague muddy background she pays close attention to the whole image. She uses patterns and tabletop surfaces in a manner that flattens her subjects so that the background becomes a more dominant and engaging part of the whole. Noe’s use of pliable everyday objects (tactile fabrics, paper towels, dinnerware, fruit, water) highlights the duality within her imagery: soft vs. hard, interior vs. exterior, wet vs. dry, tacky vs. tasteful. In Clouds in Spill on Dots, a single image containing a sharp edge caused by stark natural light also holds a reflective water spill, interrupting the uniformity of the surface on which the water sits. Cool Sofa and Warm Slipcover, a digital collage and image with an inset photograph, incorporates a picture of a disheveled un-styled sofa. The couch in the cool tinted background holds un-fluffed pillows and a newspaper. The smaller inset image, created by photographing the same subject from an angle identical to the first, is a tidy slipcovered portrayal of the couch. This image draws focus to the triangular-shaped gap between the seat cushions below the couch back and is colored in a warmer tone. The surfaces Noe photographs seem inherently sensual and her images denote the approval or denial of sexuality in domesticity. Her use of line and framing creates, however incidentally, the depth of meaning found in her work.

Molly Sullivan is a cultural practitioner (i.e. artist, curator, designer, editor, educator, musician, performer, researcher and writer based in Los Angeles. Sullivan received her Masters in Public Art Studies at the University of Southern California and holds a BFA in Painting from the University of Illinois (Urbana-Champaign).

m m x ii


1 0 0 / 1 0 1

MAPPING THE PERSONAL Aurora Tang

At the very least, maps are graphic spatial representations. Maps articulate connections. They help guide us through the unfamiliar and the complex. They help us remember; perhaps the first maps emerged from a desire to remember, in the face of our vulnerable human memory. Featuring something on a map inherently suggests its significance, its worthiness of record and representation. Cartography, historically viewed as a neutral science, understands the map to possess authority, truth, power, and permanence (or at least existence). Yet maps are far from objective. Though the map functions as a record, it does not necessarily document an objective or universal truth but rather an attempt to understand and preserve a certain point of view at a certain place and position in time. Mapping can operate as a mode of personal discovery—a very specific and individual interpretation of the world. In the work of the following five artists, mapping is used to help us understand the world’s complexities and break down existing structures and hierarchies.

Discussing the work of:

Christopher Reynolds James Brush Krista Buecking

Guiyoung Hwang Malene Dam


m Chr istopher Rey nolds maps t he intimate experience of the meal, diagramming the exchanges that occur between himself and his dining companions. Reynolds’s Conversation Maps meticulously record the details of his dinners. At the center of each graphite drawing is the table, the site of consumption and of conversation, engulfed by a flurry of arrows and indicators. An accompanying key decodes each arrow as question, answer, apology, compliment, interception, or sarcasm. Dinner Conversation: 2 subjects, Pasta Primavera Christopher Reynolds, Dinner conversation: 2 subjects, salmon with White Wine. 05/09/2011, 9:40pm, 27:17 Minsashimi, mushroom miso udon, seasoned seaweed salad, sushi rice, white wine. 03/18/12, 9:13PM, 19:42 minutes, Los Angeles, CA, 2012. utes, Los Angeles, CA, one such conversation Graphite on paper, 31 × 40 in. See pp. 26–27. map, spatially renders Reynolds’s interpretation of social relations that occurred during an Italian dinner with his wife, inviting the viewer to enter this personal moment (which the map suggests was peppered with laughs aplenty). For the mapmaker, the process of mapping can help make sense of a situation, and the resultant map can serve as a record of a significant moment. Although Reynolds provides viewers with his detailed account of his pasta dinner, the map renders this highly personal real-time experience once removed, and for the outsider, these details may overwhelm rather than elucidate. The Conversation Map may be viewed as an attempt to translate the subjective, unscripted, and casual personal exchange into a functionalist and formal material rendering, but when the intricacies of language are indexed, is the intimacy of the private moment lost? As with Reynolds’s Conversation Maps, James Brush’s drawings and poems systematize the recording of subjective experience. Personal moments from Brush’s life, many drawn from experiences at CalArts, are deconstructed and translated, informed by his background in computer programming, graphic design, and physics. A self-described “communication problem-solver,” Brush designs interfaces as a way to better understand the complexities of human social interaction and lived experience. The interface, which he defines as “a construcJames Brush, Interested in You, 2012. Photographic illustration, 12.25 × 9.25 in. See pp. 42–43. tor that maps a set of inherited functions onto

m x ii


1 0 2 / 1 0 3

any set of given data to allow for impulse, action, and potential cognition,” may take the form of a code poem, drawing, diagram, or a series of these compositions compiled in book form. A collection of code poems serves as a guide or journal to Brush’s daily activities. As a regular exercise, Brush writes twenty lines of code each day. Using ActionScript, an object-oriented computer language used to construct Flash programs, this code then generates a narrative. The script includes variables such as reading, understanding, introduction, first paragraph, second paragraph, and so forth, which are prompted by signs indicating the reader’s comprehension. Brush then draws the code by hand. Each iteration of Brush’s daily activity—as experienced firsthand, and then coded, and then handwritten—deviates from the “original” and is an interpretation of the prior. In WE THING, Krista Buecking considers what factors determine our individual perceptions of reality. She explores how our personal understanding of the world depend on our cultural experiences and the psychosocial str uctures that we consciously and unconsciously participate in. She investigates the idea that the systems and models we use for understanding and structuring the world, Krista Buecking, WE THING, dedicated to the revolutions, 2012. (video such as early childhood development, behav- still from the installation), looping video, wood, carpet, wipeable vinyl, upholstery foam, paint, paper, whiteboard, tropical standard ioral psycholog y, and therapeutic models, foliage. See pp. 54–55. assume a capitalist agenda—one that informs much of what we experience as reality. Buecking adopts tropes from corporate trade shows, children’s television, personal development seminars, and the mall-scape. Her installation (which includes stuffed vinyl wedges, carpeted presentation stages, off ice plants, whiteboard displays, an oversized Gap shopping bag, and a television displaying economic riddles) points to the ridiculousness of these psycho-social models in an attempt to unravel these complex and often irrational structures we turn to to seek meaning in the world. In Insulation Test (Valencia), GuiYoung Hwang, car-less, explores sprawling Southern California suburbia on foot while wearing a reflective emergency blanket. As part of her field work, she photographs herself in various settings along her dérive—idyllic tree-lined sidewalks, neighborhoods, and immaculate domestic interiors—her face and body hidGuiYoung Hwang, Already Removed, 2012. Video still. den beneath the blanket’s shiny surface. The See pp. 40–41.


M A PPIN G

AU R OR A TA N G

mirrored insulation material conceals Hwang and creates a physical barrier between herself and the outside environment, but in doing so, also turns her body into a literal reflection of her surroundings. Through this gesture, Hwang (who is Korean) navigates the conflict between retaining her cultural identity and assimilating to a new physical and social environment. In Mark the Unmarked, Hwang engages in a different type of field work, this time researching graffiti and graffiti removal efforts throughout Southern California. What makes one mark vandalism, and another beautification? Donning a reflective vest and equipped with a paint roller, Hwang adopts the gear of a city worker. However, instead of painting over existing graffiti, she creates her own tags around Los Angeles by painting off-white rectangles akin to those used to conceal markings recognized as illicit. Hwang records each of her “tag” sites on a map representing her itinerary. She labels each site as “Untitled” on her map; each mark can be read as vandalism or art, depending on the context and reader. Malene Dam entered the library of the KVINFO, the Danish Center for Information on Gender, Equality, and Ethnicity, unsure of exactly what she was searching for. Tucked away in a back storage room was an old pinewood cabinet, containing boxes of 8 × 5 inch archival cards and prints that constituted the Danish Women’s Photo Archive. What she uncovered was a secret, a curious break in the system set up by the archive. Accompanying the archival card for a Malene Dam, Classroom Case Study (Conversation #3), 2012. Wood, chalkboard paint, chalk ink, 48 in. diameter table, See pp. 60–61. female class photograph from The Natalie Zahle’s School Collection (photographer unknown, 1893) were several photographic enlargements zooming in on intimate gestures and details—hands held, arms entangled, subtle embraces. Like a treasure map, discovered through rather accidental circumstances, these enlargements guided Dam to imagine a network of desires—the desires the schoolgirls felt for one another, the archivist’s hidden desires, and Dam’s own desires.  The excitement that I had felt was an excitement that went beyond just simply noticing something in the pictures; it was also a desire for something I privately find desirable. It was the feeling of being pointed to see something, something hidden in the images.

Her piece I want to see what I want to see explores the dynamics of desire, real or imagined, by reproducing, reframing, and recontextualizing the archivist’s

m m x ii


1 0 4 / 1 0 5

interpretations of the photograph and displaying them in the gallery, adding yet another interpretive layer. Dam contributes a new dimension to the “historical” narrative of the Natalie Zahle’s School. In Classroom Case Study, a collaboration with Heather M. O’Brien, Dam considers the ways in which new archives are formed and histories are written. Dam and O’Brien organized a series of conversations at CalArts around ideas of what it means to be educated, to facilitate, to listen, and to learn. Each conversation took place in a controlled environment that included a round table painted with chalkboard paint. Participants were encouraged to record their thoughts and notes on the tabletops, which were subsequently removed and displayed in the gallery context. The tabletops serve as maps guiding the viewer through the conversations. Dam and O’Brien will also transcribe the Classroom Case Study talks and compile them in a publication, constructing a new archive of possibilities for what education means today. The construction of an archive, like the mapping, is one of thinking, of deconstructing and reconstructing in order to understand existing structures and our place within them.  Maps, like archives, are often image/text hybrids that can be both looked at and read. They are references, narratives that can be viewed as non-fiction, but also as fiction. While the process of mapping can help us understand the endless complexities of the world, the map itself relays just one version of reality. All mapping is personal. All maps are subjective. In mapping, we break things down and put them back together, with the hope of gaining a clearer understanding of the many realities of the world we live in, and of ourselves.


M A PPIN G

AU R OR A TA N G

m m x ii

Aurora Tang is a creative researcher based in Los Angeles. She is also a program manager at the Center for Land Use Interpretation and managing director of High Desert Test Sites. Aurora holds a masters degree in Art and Curatorial Practices in the Public Sphere and a bachelors degree in Art History from the University of Southern California.


1 0 6 / 1 0 7

SELFPORTRAIT AS PLASTINATED COCK Travis Diehl

“I would suck Lou Reed's cock, because I would also kiss the feet of them that drafted the Magna Carta. I leave you to judge that statement as you will, because it is not to Lou Reed but to you that I surrender myself…” —Lester Bangs, Untitled Notes on Lou Reed, 1980

Discussing the work of:

Mary Hill Rowan Smith Ariane Vielmetter

Danielle Dean David Gutierrez


m Stuffing wet towels under the kitchen doors and thrusting her head deep in the oven, Sylvia Plath tried her best to emancipate herself—from her body, from her poetry—these two perhaps inextricably linked and unbearable. But Plath survived, kept cruelly alive as myth, her face scarred into a crusty loaf: the mask of the suicided, the reanimated, the automaton. The old Frankensteinian poet fled into the forest to form her memoirs into a terse video dispatch (Ariane Vielmetter’s centerpiece). Plath gums at raw honey, pomegranates, a still-life; her bread mask joins the nature mort, consuming itself, in accordance with some pleasurable arrangement. Failing to decompose, the body composes. Here is one entrance in a bundle of trajectories, the work of five artists, writhing into a thought organism—an aesthetic humanoid yearning to escape itself through the clean realm of metaphor. Vielmetter transforms the domestic into something grotesquely handmade and non-utilitarian; Rowan Smith dislocates the body from the front line of politics; David Gutierrez abstracts corporeality into ambiguous stand-ins; Mary Hill turns furniture into pathos-laden, mortified sculpture; Danielle Dean records an emphatic superficiality—and here alone are the bodies visible, though empty: a consummation of the abstract organism. Impaled on a line of flight from embodiment into various surrogates, somehow polished, cleaned of flesh, the animated corpse is something fantastic which we nonetheless recognize as human. Of Mary Hill’s sometimes violent, often entropic sculptures—a cascade of smashed windshields in the headlight of a projector, a pine coffin filled with water and the sound of waves—none is more corporeal than Fear Is The Great Mover In The End, a second-hand glass curio cabinet, sallowly lit, bound with ratchet straps. Its flimsy back is made of flaking masonite and its rickety panes and mirrors frame (coffin-like) the image of the viewer’s body: an ultimate vanity. One sees oneself in the cabinet in a blunt and literal way, but also reflected in the pathetic earthliness of cheaply constructed luxury goods, representing in their degraded state the washed-up ambitions towards immortality of the lower-middle class. As if the drip of funds, of preciousness, could somehow marbleize our bodies. So much for money, though—what good is it doing Plath, as she strings up her bindle and stalks down an escape-trajectory as plain as railroad tracks...? The Romantic image here leads unexpectedly to abstraction—not in its Mary Hill, Fear Is The Great Mover In The End, 2012. convoluted art-historical sense (non-figuration—though Found display cabinet, mirror, ratchet straps. See pp. 62–63. there is something here too) but meaning apartness,

m x ii


1 0 8 / 1 0 9

isolation: the individual, the subject, taken apart from the social body. The martyr, the suicide, the poet, the outcast, the iconoclast, the revolutionary, the genius, the all-ofthe-above. In this hobo lore, the body is abstracted from worldly need. Vielmetter’s bindle, full of bones from the artist’s compost, is painted white, save a short span of the pole, which hovers between wall-like segments like a relic made of true material. And still the body clings to it. The unpainted portion is a grip. Vielmetter’s hand-papered kitchen and artist tools seem to escape into the decorative, to emphasize the simple durability of iconic forms—only to implicate an invisible instrumentalizing corpse. David Gutierrez takes a more direct approach in Not Otherwise Specified, a series of pictures of surgeons’ or doctors’ latex gloves abstracted from photos displaying abnormal Ariane Vielmetter, Bindle, 2012. Painted paper, composted animal bones, and gesso on branch, genitalia. The gloves f loat there, f ingers pinching and dimensions variable. See pp. 18–19. spreading, seemingly handless, brainless. The body here is endlessly insinuated as an absent defining characteristic, a specificity that would, if present, be painfully vulnerable to the objectifying prods of the gloves. If physiology is the source of difference—what the artist terms the “pathology of the other”—this work slips into the indetermination of inter-sex bodies. Imagine the blank body as: hermaphroditic... spectacular... marble... Or, erupting gums and impacted teeth... rudimentary tail... dissected brain, abstracted in a window of sterile cloth... The silky black braids of Gutierrez’s The Domestication of the Monster: Barbin pour off their low stainless steel plinth like a subject in a painting of an operating theater, escaped from a genderless body. In this abject, sinuous corporeality, painting is never far away. When Vielmetter paints her soiled napkins and paint rags and tromp-l’oeil pomegranate seeds, she registers the idea of painting along with the idea of the body, present through eating, through juices, through waste. Painting, like the body, like beauty, is a thing hung on the wall and politely ignored, discussed implicitly in outline, in silhouette. The body, though, is unavoidable. Hill pours salt into a mound. Because what relationship does Lou Reed’s desiccated cock really have to his music? Through David Gutierrez, The Domestication of the Monster: Barbin, 2012. Thread, rubber bands, stainless steel table top, approx. 48 × 72 × 6 in. it is some proximity to the orgasm, which, See pp. 34–35.


S E LF - P O R T R A I T

T R AV I S DI E H L

heroin-like, opens an oblivion, a caesura, a petit mort, around which in relief is the fact of humanness. By now Rowan Smith’s Untitled (Burn), a flaming wooden tire photographed as it morphs from white wood to black char, could be nothing other than a surrogate (“necklaced”) body. Even as the artist describes Apartheid, its resistance, and the post-colonial condition, in which human rights are the explicit battleground, one wants a hand there to heft Who Took My Stuff / The Promise of Housing / In Advance of Delayed Construction (Geers Repair), a cast glass broken brick; the pile of black speaker cabinets with handmade paper speaker cones in How Meaning Changes Over Time Through the Degradation of Speakers /Ayesaba Amagwala (Dubula Ibunu) Version are clearly revolutionary-body-surrogates, through which pumps a recorded radicalism until the cones rattle apart, martyred by their own vocalizations. In Smith’s work we are furthest from the human form, yet closer than ever to the idea of humanity. Why not name it? Why this “elegance” (which is really squeamishness) when it comes to depicting the subject? Is metaphor stronger than flesh? In the Body Worlds series of expos, masterminded by Rowan Smith, Untitled (Burn), 2012. Lightjet prints, Frankensteinian or Promethean “scientist” and showman 177.8 × 76.2 cm (each). Photographer: Johanna Breiding. See pp. 70–71. Gunther von Hagens, we find the contemporary equivalent of the medical theater genre. Blood and cellular water have been slowly sucked away and replaced with plastic to form one-to-one statues of human tissue. In the great convention centers of the country, von Hagens deploys his skinless mannequins, their muscles flayed out into angel wings or their brains spooling skyward as they hunch over chess boards... Or: paralyzed in ballet or sex positions; Or: astride bulky plastinated warhorses, locked into poses mimicking old-masters paintings—anatomy and art come full circle. Unjustified, disgusting, subjective. Unscientific and untheorizable. The body as apex of art and its mockery. The blank white plastic bottle in Danielle Dean’s Life is better lived together is, emphatically, just a bottle, though it is also just another screen, another armature, a still-life bathed in the light of cycling gels. Elsewhere (Contact) the artist covers a set with marbled contact paper, or (At the Zoo I saw) paints neo-geo abstractions on a mantelpiece. For Dean the body is a kind of overlayer projected onto the subject, the intersection of consumable products: media, advertising, ideas of beauty, race, radicalism: the commerce of images, narrated by ad copy. The characters in her videos speak in lines copped from pop culture. Their abstracted words tug at the specificity of their visible

m m x ii


1 1 0 / 1 1 1

bodies (Sister: “I like bigger breasts.” Sister: “I want smaller breasts.” Father: “I lost my voice; I know I have nothing left to say”). The transparent videography crops in on their hand gestures: a tap on a hair cap, fingers signing “3”—making it all the more eerie (not so much Brechtian as Ackerish) when, in the final two minutes of Baby Girl, smoke fills the spare apartment, a disaster rented from some other film, Danielle Dean, Baby Girl, 2012. Digital video still, 12 mins. See pp. 30–31. some other life, in order to erase the biographical. Humanity here converges around a point in space-time called the Body, where a magazine like Ebony calls subjectivities into being. These projections (the conspirators in Dean’s No Lye, backed by the sounds of appropriated rioting) build faux bombs out of haircare chemicals, as if life or death were a recipe. Another classmate (treated elsewhere in this volume) has painted portraits (head and shoulders only, torsos and genitals implied) of Gandalf, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Charles Gaines—this last with the caption, “My Papa.” Like the bread-monster pulled from the domestic oven, we create or reanimate our own Oedipus. The raw world reemerges from the heat of (discursive, linguistic, olfactory, abject) stimulation as partially digested influence, like a bile-coated pill fished from the guts of Kathy Acker: source of aesthetic hallucinations, homicidal fantasies, to the accompaniment of a gurgling stomach wall. Vielmetter claims some honey is deadly; surely there’s something sickly about the decorative object, as if the purely non-functional and bluntly signifying were a kind of poison. None of these five paints for paint’s sake. You would have to, eventually, paint the body—for which decaying fruit or a blank bottle is a kind of prop, along with the tromp-l’oeil napkin, salt, speakers, set, tapestry, corpse—decoration suffused with death, compiled in a mythological nomadism, masked by the wholesome scratchy strokes of a Norman Rockwell or the bursting seams of a rusty Minimalism. Rendered as art objects, tools are unusable. The face becomes a sculpture or mask; the body becomes a diorama; it is extra-societal, outcast, vagrant. Unnamed. Veritably non-figurative. A painting. Fluid hardening on a ground. Affective mess. The body, sex, violence, the abject—all are formalized in the works of these five artist, formalized in an escape towards abstraction. Their work comprises the contact points in the musical, trans-signifying tissue that connects diverse subjects (perhaps, in a honeycomb or warren of artists’ studios). Via their attempts to escape the fleshiness of signification, we end up


S E LF - P O R T R A I T

T R AV I S DI E H L

in a vast sea, where—as in Hill’s Knowing Nothing—the static on an old radio spills into ocean waves played on bought ad time. The Oceanic promises a final significatory breakdown, an inner fluidity pulled from the body and extrapolated to infinity. Yet a suckling insecurity remains—for while these five artists manage to postpone the corporeal circumstance, they ultimately tunnel deeper into an aestheticized abjection, into stomachs stuffed with obscure, mutilated contents. But while perhaps they too would suck the cock of the proverbial Lou Reed, they will never swallow.

Travis Diehl is an artist and writer from Greensboro, North Carolina. His criticism appears regularly in Artforum; he edits the Los Angeles-based arts journal Prism of Reality.

m m x ii


1 1 2 / 1 1 3

BODIES AND SELVES Mia Locks

Discussing the work of:

Tyler Matthew Oyer Larissa Brantner James Gracie Devito

Liz Toonkel SarahPetersen


m “TMO Live” is a flamboyant character in glitter-drenched clothing and high heels who covers songs by the likes of Shirley Bassey and Beyoncé. Performed by artist Tyler Matthew Oyer, “TMO Live” isn’t really a drag queen or a diva per se, or at least it’s not entirely clear. Oyer doesn’t wear layers of drag makeup and he doesn’t wear a wig, just his natural blond curls and women’s clothing, so the end result is ambiguous. Also the performance, which always takes place in an art context, is less camp, more earnest, less drag, more queer performativity. The gender confusion and racial transgression at play in “TMO Live” is felt through a sense of f luidity, and possibility, suggesting the contingency of identity and a refusal to be easily pinned down. Oyer’s refreshing performance of queerness resists the aggressive normalizing tendency to classify everything and everyone all the time. His show, Staged: Three Crimes in Three Acts (2012), embodies a similarly queer senTyler Matthew Oyer, TMO Live, 2012. See pp. 78–79 sibility but with multiple bodies this time, ten performers in all. A black-box theatrical production that takes place in an ambiguous place and time, Staged tells the tale of two boys, one of whom is played by Oyer, who are being convicted of crimes that seem absurd, trivial, or imaginary (e.g. theft of fashion magazines, public drinking, and “disruption”). The narrative that unfolds in Staged is as important as the way in which it unfolds, which strikes a tone that is simultaneously funny and critical and puzzling. If “TMO Live” embodies a critique of stable or fixed identity, then Staged enacts this critique through multiple bodies, extending beyond just Oyer’s own body and identity, opening up the possibility for viewers to re-imagine themselves. Larissa Brantner James also interrogates the multiple body in her abstract but figurative fountain sculptures, made of cast fragments of her own body. Two fountains were presented as part of her exhibition, Ab ovo, which is Latin for “the origin” or “the egg” or “in the beginning.” The larger of the two, In Multiple Dimensions, She Defies Gravity (2012), is a pyramidal structure comprised of the artist’s forearms and hands, carefully stacked in Larissa Brantner James, In Multiple Dimensions, She Defies Gravity, an alternating pattern of elbow-to-elbow and 2012. Steel, aluminum, plaster, Infinity pump, plastic tubes, water, gravel, pigment, 48 × 48 × 72 in. See pp. 56–57. palm-to-palm, beginning at the corners of the

m x ii


1 1 4 / 1 1 5

square steel base and gradually leaning inward toward the center until they come together at the top. The precariousness of the form is made even more apparent by the reddish brown color of the water that gradually stains the white plaster with what looks like blood or rust. The act of reifying her body is thus countered by the reference to its decline. And the fact that James employs her own body but titles the work in the third person reflects an attempt to remove herself, or at least to refer to other bodies besides her own. The smaller fountain, amusingly titled Foot In My Mouth (2012), is comprised of two casts of the artist’s face, laying on their sides back-to-back on a shiny white pedestal, united by a plumbing pipe extending through what would otherwise be their mouths. The water drips from their eyes, as if they are crying, and is visibly eroding the plaster as it drips. The grotesqueness of these severed heads and the discernible decay becomes a poetic commentary on the fragility and precariousness of life. The Spirit, The Breath, The Flesh (2012), a trio of stacked plaster sacs hovering around six feet tall, also refers to the artist’s body albeit indirectly, as they are made with the leftover plaster from her body casts that she re-purposed to create these totem-like structures that feel similarly precarious, as if they could topple over at any moment. These stacked sacs feel oddly bodily, like organs maybe, and the work’s title hints at a kind of balance among these three aspects of bodily experience. Gracie Devito’s Head below your feet (2012) is similarly invested in upended abstractions of the figure. The piece is a sevenminute video of the artist doing a head stand and a group of thir teen sma ll clay f ig ures doing head stands, echoing the video’s upside-down-ness but with multiple, slightly abstracted bodies. Head below your feet is one of many work s in her poetica l ly tit led exhibition, Upside turning, This yearning, which included work s in a range of media, f rom Gracie Devito, Upside turning, This yearning, 2012. See pp. 38–39. paintings to sculptures to videos and even tumbleweeds, all with titles that reflect different visual perspectives or bodily positions. Take Spiral matter (2012), a trio of large paintings of multi-colored concentric circles with wobbly edges, suspended from the ceiling and positioned so they are leaning or levitating or both. Or The shore above your head (2012), a video projection on a wood panel that is also suspended on a slant, though much higher off the ground so that the video is only visible if you climb the nearby ladder. Eschewing a traditional exhibition checklist for the show, Devito instead wrote lyrics that she performed during the reception, playing the har-


B O D IE S

M I A LOCK S

monium and singing the title of each work. In other words, she performed a song/checklist whose lyrics convey the artist's topsy-turvy world in which right-side-up seems trite or stale or boring, a world in which perpendicularity is overrated and off-kilter planes of perception hold the promise of something different, strange and fun. The dreamy melody matches the theme of the show with gentle, gradual shifts between notes that convey subtle movement. Perhaps not surprisingly, Devito is one of the actors in Staged and has collaborated with Oyer on other projects as well, such as The New Coolidge (2011) for the third annual PERFORM! NOW! Festival in Los Angeles’ Chinatown. Her work shares with his a formal looseness, but is rooted more in the realm of objects and the physicality of the body. Also presenting her body, very much within the staged world of objects, is Liz Toonkel, who has dual MFA’s in art and set design. Toonkel’s exhibition, An Aria for a Whale Who Beached Herself, included three large-scale video projections related to the metaphor of whale beaching. In the first, When I Cross Over It Will Be Beautif ul and I Will Be Free (2012), Toonkel appears from frame right with a small rectangular fish tank that she then fills with ocean water and places in front of the camera on an otherwise empty beach. She adds more water from the ocean until the level in the fish Liz Toonkel, Ne Ne Ne Ne Nenene (Who Won A Lovely Woman), 2012. tank matches the horizon line in the distance, HD video still, 1:39 mins. loop. See pp. 58–59. at which point she dunks her head into it several times with her butt in the air. The first few times she plunges her head with her feet still in the sand, but she eventually lifts her feet from the sand for a climactic “crossing over” from land to sea, in a kind of inverse beaching. In another video, Cheer Up Sleepy Jean (Do You Think Davy Jones Is Still Dancing?) (2012), Toonkel is on the beach again but this time she is wiggling and writhing around in the sand, playfully evoking the movements of a beached whale. In the third, Ne Ne Ne Ne Nenene (Who Won A Lovely Woman) (2012), the artist dons a grey spandex whale costume while lip-synching a version of Beethoven’s aria Weir Ein Holdes Weib Errungen (Who Won a Lovely Woman) that’s been “loosely translated” into sperm whale sounds. The aria is from a scene in the opera Fidelio after it has been revealed that Fidelio is actually Leonore, that the female protagonist disguised herself as a man in order to save her husband, and everyone sings her praises. The parallel here is evidence of Toonkel’s cross-identif ication with the whale, a different species, but also her identification as an intrepid female. The beached whale becomes a metaphor for feeling stranded or trapped in her body or gender, but

m m x ii


1 1 6 / 1 1 7

enacting her own beaching perhaps as a way of getting free, performing her frustrations and ambivalence. Toonkel’s performance of identification is akin to Oyer’s, using the body as a site for interrogating identity. By contrast, Sarah Petersen’s work explores the body as a site of social and political critique, but it retains the same potential for humor that surfaces in Toonkel’s Sarah Petersen, Hurry If You Hear Laughter, 2012. Includes pieces performances. Petersen’s exhibition, Hurry If Force Field (paint, wall, concave corner, drop cloths, tape) and Nonce Stairs (wood, hardware, wall, convex corner), Installation view. You Hear Laughter, was comprised of two dis- See pp. 72–73. tinct but interrelated works installed in the “L-shape” gallery, essentially a wide hallway a long a ninet y-deg ree cor ner. Nonce Stairs (2012) is a humble but sturdy wooden platform with stairs leading up to it from either side of the hallway’s convex corner; Force Field (2012) is a hand-painted text on the wall that reads: “I’LL BE HERE ALL WEEK” in big, bright red block letters, positioned so that it is broken by the concave corner. While Petersen paints the text, which takes about ten hours, passersby can go up on the Nonce Stairs platform and watch the artist at work, painting, laboring. After the paint job is complete, Petersen leaves her drop cloth crumpled on the floor below, with blue painter’s tape still stuck to it, as a material reminder that something happened here and that there was labor involved, that it’s not just about the end result. And yet, despite the serious reference to labor, it’s hard not to see (hear?) the humor in this painted declaration, a routine phrase in the world of stand-up comedians and other entertainers whose gigs get booked weekly. Force Field is stating a fact—all MFA exhibitions at CalArts are mounted for one week only—and also making a joke, uttering its own ephemerality. Or maybe the joke is that the “I” will not be here all week; maybe it’s about the absence of the artist’s body. The drop cloth implies she was here and suggests she might be coming back. Will there be a performance? Did it already happen? Was the painting, her labor, a performance? This mode of deliberate ambiguity is a common thread in the work of all five of these artists. Not only does ambiguity create a space for viewer subjectivity, but it also reflects a shared refusal to be easily summated. It’s refreshing to see that Tyler Matthew Oyer, Larissa Brantner James, Gracie Devito, Liz Toonkel, and Sarah Petersen are all dealing with subjectivity in their work, and that they each address the body in various capacities. In our increasingly hyper-technologized and, for lack of a better word, un-bodily culture, it seems a necessary question for these artists to explore subjectivity in relation to bodies. In their recent MFA exhibitions, Toonkel and Oyer explore the body


B O D IE S

M I A LOCK S

as a site for the performance of identity, emphasizing ambivalence and resistance to conventionally fixed categories; Devito and James position their bodies in unexpected ways to physically reflect a sense of upended-ness, instability, and temporality; and Petersen inserts her body, at least initially, as a kind of social or economic agent in the production of her work, then removes herself so as to leave only a material trace of the artist’s labor. Grouped together, these five artists demonstrate how body politics are still relevant and vital in contemporary art, seen here as a critical space for questioning the formation of subjectivity, with the body as a site in which to address our collective need to continuously re-position ourselves.

Mia Locks is a curator and writer based in Los Angeles

m m x ii


1 1 8 / 1 1 9

WONDER AND WILDERNESS Lyra Kilston

Discussing the work of:

Robbie Nock Daney Saylor Mary Rasmussen

Johanna Breiding Joe Zorilla


m The artists discussed here make artwork that speaks to modern intersections of nature and culture. Robbie Nock, for example, makes sculptures evoking chemical compounds out of mass-produced products, while Joe Zorrilla brings natural elements into the gallery and lets them interact. Our coping processes relating to imbalances in nature are also examined. One such response is confrontation, as in Daney Saylor’s attempt to understand the sudden death of one million fish. Another is escapism and ritual, seen in works by Johanna Breiding and Mary Rasmussen. When these artists respond to “nature” in its multiple forms (idealized, ruined, imagined, real), it is portrayed with homage to its unreachable otherworldliness. Traces of the fathomless and unseen run through certain pieces by Breiding and Rasmussen, like photographs of a shamanic figure in the wilderness, as well as in works by Nock, who incorporates invisible forces like gravity. These mysterious traces act as a counterpoint to the hard data and logical conceptions of our visible world. Despite centuries of our attempts to study, analyze, classify and control nature, there remains a vast territory of wonder. It is here that each of these artists, in their own unique ways, constructs their visions of the world.  “ The wonder is, not that the field of stars is so vast, but that man has measured it” —Anatole France

Daney Saylor spent nearly a year dealing with one news story. Running in the LA Times in March 2011, the headline read, “Millions of dead fish found in King Harbor.” It tells of a “carpet of death” laid upon the surface of the harbor in Redondo Beach that Tuesday morning, a layer of sardines some 18 inches deep. The f ish suffocated because the manmade harbor was too shallow to oxygenate such a sudden influx. This occurred merely a few months after 3,000 red-winged blackbirds fel l f rom t he sk y and 100,000 dead Daney Saylor, Scraping the Resin from the Bowl, 2012. Archival drum fish washed up in Arkansas. Scientific pigment print, detail of panel 1 (of 5) 16.5 × 21 in. See pp. 28–29. explanations based on anecdotal evidence were quickly proffered, assuring readers that mass animal deaths were normal and these events were not anthropogenic in cause. Saylor, however, remained riveted to this story. As a civil engineer, he has spent a decade working on projects involving cleanup of environmental contamination and design of infrastructure and has a keen understanding of how things are built and their subsequent environmental impact.

m x ii


1 2 0 / 1 2 1

His multi-media work doesn’t attempt to offer solutions or further scientif ic analysis, but instead portrays the diff icult process of coming to terms with stories of ecological catastrophe. In their magnitude, these stories become incomprehensible, resembling a fable or biblical plague, and take on fictional dimensions. The number ‘one million’ was the first quasi-fictional aspect of the story Saylor addressed. Realizing that such a large number was something we talk about casually but don’t necessarily grasp, he drew one million neat hash marks by hand on paper. He also identified cities with populations of one million on a world map. “Is there a number of fish equivalent to the value we place on one human life?” he asks, citing Norwegian philosopher Arne Naess’s concept of Deep Ecology, a philosophy whose core belief is that every living entity has in principle the right to live and flourish; so harm we do to our planet is harm to ourselves. Saylor drove to the harbor to see the misfortune for himself. He took photographs and later made a large pencil drawing from a newspaper image, showing the curved, lifeless bodies in the water. Drawing the catastrophe served to make it more real, bringing its details into vivid focus. The news offers similar stories of unfathomable statistics and disaster every day, but they tend to slide quickly into our shallow pools of mental data, fleeting outrage, and amnesia.  The possession of knowledge does not kill the sense of wonder and mystery. There is always more mystery. —Anais Nin

Some of Robbie Nock ’s ar t work s revea l inv isible nat ura l forces that we overlook, exposing a universe of strange colors and textures in a seismic crack in the gallery floor, or a cascade of illuminated dust particles in what looks like empty space. These interventions lend an almost mystical dimension to what seem to be banal environments. One untitled project involves hooking up a digital microscope to move along a crack made by an earthquake in the gallery floor; the projected footage reveals surprising images of the colorful magnified dirt and debris collected in the crevice. For another work, he constructed a cardboard pillar that looks deceptively like part of the gallery itself. Inside, he placed a light and a fan and cut a small opening into the pillar at eye level. When you look inside, a few dust particles float through the air until the fan turns on, transforming them into a flurry of snow or a meteor shower. On the floor of the gallery, a triangle of small com-

Robbie Nock, Untitled (detail), 2012. Digital microscope, computer, projector. See pp. 68–69.


WO ND E R

LY R A K I L S TON

passes responds to magnetic balls suspended above them, repositioning their true north in tiny increments. Interested in systems of global manufacturing and distribution, Nock often works with mass produced items, such as pre-cut lengths of PVC piping or Styrofoam packing pieces. He assembles them to create natural-looking forms that can’t be seen with the naked eye, like a chemical compound or a DNA strand. The result is a surprising hybrid of banal and complex, of materials so common as to be almost invisible and natural elements we may only partially understand. He’s currently exploring the idea of the Geospatialweb, a term for the merging of online data with geographic points in space, like Google Earth and GPS. This global layer of information collected and beamed from space offers a new way to navigate and see the world, going far beyond the capacity of the naked eye. The process of scientific discovery is, in effect, a constant flight from wonder. —Albert Einstein When working in collaboration under the name Asterism Derivative, Mary Rasmussen and Johanna Breiding turn to an idea of magic and mysticism to express the limits of reason. To illustrate this, they made a small silver chart with Science on the Y axis and Magic on the X axis. They are focused on the space between these two axes. Last year they chaperoned t wo volcanic rocks out on a series of “dates.” Absurd, perhaps, but the notion was to question whether such Asterism Derivative (Johanna Breiding & Mary Rasmussen), A Point En ancient objects might contain some kind of Route to Itself Series, 2012. Digital C-Prints, 20 × 30 in. See pp. 20–23. animistic aura. How could something so old not possess some kind of memory? Is it not perhaps an indication of the limits of our own imaginations to presume it can’t? In their exhibition Touch Magic like Smoke and Bone, a ladder broke through the ceiling of the gallery, revealing the hidden layer of insulation and wiring above the ceiling panels and stretching several feet up into the darkness. It suggests not only a breaking down of barriers between two spaces (magic/ science, natural/artificial) but also illustrates a symbolic escape into the unknown. In part of a series of photographs titled A Point en Route to Itself, taken in Yellowstone National Park and at the Salton Sea, a lone figure appears to revel in solitude with nature. The landscape looks both primeval and post-apocalyptic. (These are perhaps the two primary reference points we have for an idea

m m x ii


1 2 2 / 1 2 3

of nature lacking humans.) At the Salton Sea, a taxidermied polar bear cub is photographed posed on a dry wash of desert. These photographs look like they could be digitally fabricated or retouched, but the artists abstain from alterations. Working by hand with tangible materials points to their interest in animism and acts as a grounding ritualistic force for them. For example, this year they made three wooden sculptures hand-carved to resemble books on mysticism, computing, and nature. As they explain, “magic and materiality offer an anchor in fearful times.” The objects are the artists’ talismans, a portal to fantasy away from corrupt systems, like the lack of “authentic” natural places in our Anthropocene era.

I love the way it slows my footsteps, I’m grateful for the detours it makes me take… —Francis Ponge, from the poem Unfinished Ode to Mud (1942)

Joe Zorrilla favors materials such as water, dirt and rocks in his sculptures and videos, but they are selected more for their stark and simple materiality than as symbols of nature. Calling on the legacy of conceptual process art of the 1970s, Zorrilla’s works combine actions with objects over time, implying the presence of his body. In a simple gesture, he placed an aerial print of the San Andreas Fault next to a photograph of his wrinkled bed sheets. The Zorilla, Unfinished Ode to Mud #1, 2012. Steel, dirt, water. messy lines uncannily mirror each other, sug- Joe See pp. 44–45. gesting metaphors of a volatile subconscious and linking the personal to uncontrollable natural forces. In Unfinished Ode to Mud 1, he built a steel ring on the floor with a diameter the same as his height and a lip the length of his hand. One half of the ring was filled with dirt and the other half with water. The initially-neat seam of these two materials blurred into slurries of mud as the exhibition progressed. For Unfinished Ode to Mud 2, he suspended a block of ice above a mound of dirt in a corner. As it dripped it created rivulets of mud and splattered onto the gallery walls. And for his Melt Drawings diptychs, he dabbed a bit of blue watercolor pigment onto two pieces of paper and let two melting ice cubes spread the color into beautiful abstract blobs that, even undergoing the same process, could never look the same. Interested in the difference between presenting and representing objects, Zorrilla seeks materials and actions that are unmediated and incite an awareness of time passing. Or as he puts it, he’s interested in “being in one place at one time.” He recently spent twenty-four hours alone on a beach, recording the sounds of tides, which he then played from speakers in the gallery. He also


WO ND E R

LY R A K I L S TON

made a video showing his hands placing large rocks on a piece of memory foam that, when removed, would leave a slowly transforming imprint in the foam’s surface. An interesting outlier is a video showing his fingers running slowly back and forth across a computer keyboard. The footage is jarring in the context of the rest of his work but it’s not a statement about technology versus nature. He explains it in terms of paying attention and awareness: it points to the many ways we might mentally be elsewhere, drifting away from the immediacy of the present moment.

Lyra Kilston's writing on art, architecture, and design has appeared in publications like Art in America, Artforum, ArtReview, Frieze, Icon, and Time, as well as in museum catalogs. She previously worked as an editor for the website East of Borneo and for Modern Painters magazine. 

m m x ii


1 2 4 / 1 2 5


m

MORE TEXT

m x ii


1 2 6 / 1 2 7

ANOTHER ALTERMODERN Michelle Dizon

Artist, filmmaker, and writer, Michelle Dizon was born and raised in Los Angeles as part of the Philippine diaspora. Her video installations, films, and writing focus on subjectivity as it intersects with the histories of colonialism and its legacies of immigration, diaspora, and globalization. Currently, she is at work on a feature-film and large-scale installation entitled Perpetual Peace that addresses US imperialism, militarization, globalization, and war in the Philippines. She is also revising a book entitled Vision in Ruins that explores visuality in an era of neoliberal globalization..


m Ten years ago, Rasheed Araeen, editor of the pioneering journal on postcolonial visuality, Third Text, proposed the work of diasporic artists as a challenge to modernity and its definitions. Diasporic artists, he suggested, were involved in a struggle of resignification, in and against the legacies of western modernism and Eurocentricism. “It was not just a question of finding a place for oneself within modernism, but redefining the world— through a symbolic practice—which was free from Eurocentric structures.” 1 This struggle for resignification is one that we might understand as both liberatory and decolonial—a reshaping of the world's contours beyond the eyes of the west turned towards itself. Yet, in some more recent discourses, this interface between modernism and postcoloniality has been evacuated of its decolonial dimension, emptied and vacuum-sealed, tamed from its radical root. One example of this is Altermodern, a 2009 exhibition curated by Nicolas Bourriaud for London's Tate Triennial. Bourriaud describes the altermodern as a “synthesis between modernism and post-colonialism,” an encounter that “has allowed the historical counters to be reset to zero.” 2 Intended to describe a “new modernism” that develops out of the old, the altermodern “jolts us out of tradition,” and provides a “cultural exodus,” or an “escape from the confines of nationalism and identity tagging.” 3 He defines the altermodern as “that moment when it became possible for us to produce something that made sense starting from an assumed heterochrony, that is, from a vision of human history as constituted of multiple temporalities, disdaining the nostalgia of any era­—a positive vision of chaos and complexity.” 4 Yet, this return to a zero degree of history and the unleashing of potentiality that ensues from this supposed “synthesis” between modernism and the postcolonial is a vastly reduced and limited conception of either 1 R asheed Araeen, “A New Beginning: Beyond Postcolonial

Cultural Theory,” in Third Text Reader: on Art, Culture, and Theory, New York: Continuum Books, 2002, p. 336 2 N icolas Bourriaud, “Altermodern,” in Altermodern: Tate Triennial, London: Tate Publishing, 2009, p. 12 3 B ourriaud, p.12, The frame around which Bourriaud describes the “us” of modernism is readily apparent in this statement, for the only ‘us’ who could be shocked out of ‘tradition’ is the western subject (the others of ‘us’ were occupied).

the modern or the post colonial—an empty shell of what either term might suggest. In this “will to create a new form of modernism of the twentieth-century” is the vastness of forgetting, an era set forward in mid-air, detached from the material conditions and the challenges that we face planetarily in an era of neoliberal globalization.5 Despite the grand claims made in the name of the underside of history, what Bourriaud actually accomplishes in his ‘altermodern’ is a reproduction of liberal ideology, a territorialization of all that is ‛alter’ in modernity. Liberal ideology is what the political economist Samir Amin has described as the means through which real critique is foreclosed by the types of questions that one can ask. One example of this might be campaigns to feed starving third world children. While the heartstrings are pulled by those sad eyes staring from the other side of the image, the idea that one helps the situation by giving money to this child might obfuscate the historical, economic, and political conditions that underlie such extreme poverty. Liberal ideology produces a fundamentally ahistorical account that promises humanity's salvation while actually undercutting any real humanist action. In liberalism and its attendant ways of thinking, one is called upon to adapt to a system rather than critically reflect on the nature of that system and its consequences. From the perspective of time for example, one is not pressed to question the system that produces its management, but is instead encouraged to manage its strains. “‘Live with your time,’ ‛adapt to it,’ ‘manage each day’—that is, abstain from reflecting on the nature of the system, and particularly from calling into question its choices of the moment.” 6 What Amin brings forward are ways of unthinking in which subjects do not question the way that their lifestyles are part of a hemispheric divide shaped by globalization. “Really-existing 4 Bourriaud, p.13 5 For a discussion of "planetarity" please see Paul Gilroy,

Postcolonial Melancholia, New York: Columbia University Press, 2005. 6 S amir Amin, The Liberal Virus: Permanent War and the Americanization of the World, translated by James M. Membrez, New York: Monthly Review Press, p.20

m x ii


1 2 8 / 1 2 9

globalized liberalism can produce nothing other than an intensification of the inequalities between peoples, an intensification of the inequalities between (an intensified global polarization) and within populations (of the global South and North).” 7 What the discourse of the ‘altermodern’ forgets is that any question concerning modernity is also always a question concerning capitalism and colonialism. Modernity developed at the same time as the formation of each, in Europe, with the rise of the Renaissance to the French Revolution. Under capitalism, Amin suggests that there is an “arbitrary separation” between the management of economy as expressed by private property, free enterprise and competition on the one hand, and the management of state power through political democracy, as expressed by the rights of citizens, and multiparty systems on the other. By marking this separation between economy and the political as arbitrary, Amin develops a potential in the gap. While capitalism may seem to offer freedom for some, it is clear that this always comes at the cost of another—thus the concept of modernity, with its claims to democratic equality, has promised more than it could deliver. In this promise remains an immense and untapped resource, one that political democracy still holds as the potential for progressive action. Amin says: “The goal of political democracy, as limited as it is, bears witness to this possibility. It has given legitimacy to the action of dominated, exploited, and oppressed classes and enabled them progressively to wrest democratic rights from the power of dominant capital—rights that would never have been spontaneously produced by the logic of capitalist expansion and accumulation.” 8 Modernity is double insofar as it both allows for and exceeds the social relations necessary for enterprise, markets, private property, and the emergence of capitalist forms of 7 A  min, p. 29 8 A min, p. 55 9 B ourriaud goes so far to suggest that since 1973, capitalism

has "disconnected from natural resources reorienting itself with technological innovation"(p. 17), a claim that effectively erases the resource-driven multinational territorializations in the global South.

production. On the one hand, it opens a space for democratic struggle and on the other hand, capitalism has found ways to contain the political efficacy of democratic struggle. Liberal ideology has been key to limiting the political efficacy of such spaces of struggle by locating desire within individual freedom rather than social justice. Amin writes, “contemporary peoples are thus confronted with challenges formed by really-existing capitalism and modernity,” a two-fold endeavor in which individual liberty cannot be thought apart from the way that the realization of such freedom is out of reach for most in the capitalist world system. Rethought in light of Amin's proposition, we find that the idea of an ‘altermodern’ might be much more nuanced and materially-based than the free-floating definition that Bourriaud offers.9 Modernity, as the literary scholar and Latin Americanist Walter Mignolo has suggested, is always double-sided, constituted in a dialectical relation to colonialism and composed not in either Europe or the colonies but in the relations of power connecting the two.10 It is this power relation that ultimately becomes eclipsed in Bourriaud's definition of the altermodern, and it is this eclipse that expresses the deep desire within the dominant discourses of art to stage themselves at the frontier of radical politics without recognizing that those frontiers exist not only inside of the discipline, but without, in the boundaries that remove art from the discourses of progress and development that underpin much of the violence occurring globally today. In Bourriaud's conception, the ‘altermodern’ is a production of liberal ideology, a blunting and obfuscation of the true challenges that remain in the discourses of art to conceptualize what the struggle against, within, and apart from Eurocentric thought might look like. It is the expression of 10 S ee Walter Mignolo, The Darker Side of Western Modernity:

Global Futures, Decolonial Options, Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2011. Also see Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri, Commonwealth, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2009, pp. 67-118.


A N O T H E R A LT E R MODE R N

MI C HE LLE D I ZON

m

a dominant liberalism in the discourses of art; its underlying claim is one of individual liberty as expressed in the explosive global conjunctions that art is said to facilitate. Such individual liberty is understood from an open position that anyone anywhere may freely inhabit. It says that, in art, the doors are open: all may enter into this domain of the so-called altermodern and find themselves carried by its visualizations of displacement, migration, exile, refugeeism. In truth, the altermodern comes to paper over the possibility of critique in relation to global processes and forecloses the potential that art might hold to involve itself in the practice of resignification. It reproduces the way that art continues to think individual liberty apart from the violence that keeps such freedom beyond the reach of most. When we consider modernity as a relation of power rather than a time period or a European colonial and capitalist heterotopia, the challenge to the artist might mean to work in the gap in which the alter and the modern can be visualized and to press the invisibilities that fall by the wayside, the lacunae in such imaginings.

toward resistant epistemologies. It seeks an alternative geopolitics of knowledge, one that displaces the continual return to the west and discursively engages other positions emerging out of the colonial encounter, including indigenous ways of being and thinking.

m

In the visuality of liberalism, what can be ‘seen’ is fundamentally bound to capital processes and the visible life of global flows, while what is 'unseen' is all of that which comes at the cost of such processes, the biopolitics and silent deaths borne in the production and reproduction of such processes. Such invisibilities concern not only the precarity of human life, some so much more precarious than others, but also demand a decolonial relation to knowledge and an expanded understanding of life, beyond the provincialism of Europe and the United States and beyond the narrowness of ‘life’ centered on man and his conquests. Decolonial thought moves away from thinking about the world through the centralized positions of Europe and the United States and 11 Bruce Albert. "Native Land: Perspectives from

Other Places," Native Land: Stop Eject, Paris: Actes Sud, Fondation Cartier pour l'arte contemporain, 2009, p. 43, Dennison Berwick, Savages, the Life and Killing of the Yanomami, Create Space, 2011, Pierre Clastres, Archaeology of Violence, translated by Jeanine Herman and Ashle Lebner, Los Angeles: Semiotext(e), 2010, originally published by Editions du Seuil, 1980.

Decolonial thought says that we can learn from the Yanoyami of Brazil for whom all life is endowed with an image-essence. It is this image-essence that bears a material form as breath and as hunger that connects all living things.11 The visible and invisible stand in a constant relation. Along with the visible aspects of this cosmology—the humans, the animals, the forest itself—are the invisible aspects of this cosmology, the spirits who accompany the shaman's journey between spirit and mortal worlds. This wide and expansive understanding of life, as expressed in the Yanoyami's principle of image-essence, can be contrasted with the discourses around global warming as they occurred during the Cancun summit in December 2010.12 Under the REDD program, the very airspace of the world would be quantified and gross polluters who exceed their allotment of carbon emissions could buy the forests of the third world in order offset their excess pollution. The dismal result of this program is not only the quantification and commodification of the air, but also the territorialization of third-world forests by corporate interests and the blatant erasure of indigenous rights to this land. We find ourselves at a moment of crisis, when the world can no longer sustain capital's voracious consumption and it is imperative for us to imagine solutions that do not simply reproduce the logics of infinite expansion, but instead press the frames through which such solutions are being conceived and for whom the benefit of the solution arrives.

12 S ee UN-REDD Program: Reducing Emissions from Defor-

estation and forest Degradation. Available at http://www. unredd.net/index.php?option=com_docman&task=doc_ download&gid=4598&Itemid=53

x ii


1 3 0 / 1 3 1

Programs like REDD show us how the global solutions that are being imagined to remedy this crisis also bear an aesthetic component, a visuality that hinges upon the question of what can and what cannot be seen. The forests, which under the REDD program would be available for corporate purchase, are not virgin land but inhabited by indigenous people, effectively disappeared from the scene by a discourse of global environmental policy.13 The terms of ownership and land rights are not ones to which the indigenous community subscribe, and yet, there is an untranslatability of the indigenous world-view within discourses that supposedly represent their interest in the ‘global.’ In the forest-land of the Yanoyami, the earth is not something that could ever be owned. It is not a setting for human activity, but a body unto itself, with an ‘image-essence’ born of life. The ‘forest-land’ is a space that lives and breathes; it feels pain, bears hunger, and is the scene that humans share with all other forms of life, visible and invisible. In 2009, following the election of Evo Morales as president, Bolivia changed its constitution with a view toward the indigenous spiritual world, in particular the philosophy of the Pachamama (‘Mother Earth’), who, like the image-essence of the Yanoyami of Brazil, understand the natural world as a living being. The Law of Mother Earth, passed into Bolivian law in 2011, grants the earth rights equal to those of humans. The rights of mother earth include the right to live and to exist; the right to continue vital cycles and processes free from human alteration; the right to pure water and clean air; the right to balance; the right not to be polluted; and the right not to have cellular structure modified or genetically altered.14 By shifting the conception of law toward indigenous thought, Bolivia has pointed to a way to rethink the relations that nation-states hold to law and that humans hold both to each other and to the world 13 R  EDD, Cancun Global Warming Summit, 2010 14 " Bolivia enshrines natural world's rights with equal

status for Mother Earth: Law of Mother Earth expected to prompt radical new conservation and social measures in South American nation" by John Vidal, in The Guardian, 10 April 2011, Main section.

that we inhabit. Today, Bolivia's indigenous struggles are intertwined with the exploitation of the mining industry and the environmental problems that such resource-laden places of the third world suffer. From this perspective, the altermodern is not a ‘new modernism’ that floats in the liberal imaginary, but the glaring gap between the discourse of development that drives global finance on the one hand and the radical interdependence and ecology that emerges from indigenous forms of thought on the other.


A N O T HE R ALT E R MODE R N

MI C HE LLE D I ZON

m m x ii


1 3 2 / 1 3 3

A CONVERSATION REGARDING COLLAPSE Norman Klein & Tom Leeser Los Angeles, California April, 2012

Norman Klein is a cultural critic, and both an urban and media historian, as well as a novelist. His books include The History of Forgetting: Los Angeles and the Erasure of Memory, Seven Minutes: The Life and Death of the American Animated Cartoon, and the data/cinematic novel, Bleeding Through: Layers of Los Angeles, 1920-86(DVD-ROM with book). His book The Vatican to Vegas: The History of Special Effects was published in March 2004. Tom Leeser is a digital media artist, educator, curator and writer. He is the Program Director of the Art and Technology Program in the School of Art and the Director of the Center for Integrated Media at the California Institute of the Arts.


m TOM LEESER Collapse by definition infers systemic failure. But there is a precursor to the state of collapse that could be thought of as decay. Collapse is thought of as the defining moment of rupture. However, pinpointing the beginning of decay is somewhat tricky within a constant condition of flux. For the purposes of this discussion, lets frame collapse in terms of culture. Lets also include within the definition of culture political and economic systems. During the 1930s, many people thought that democracy was an obsolete system, unable to address the crisis of their time. Social realism supplanted surrealism as a political form of modernism. Authoritarianism and totalitarianism were embraced by many, along with utopian beliefs in the machine. Centralized control of the economy and governance was thought to be the solution, either through communist, socialist or fascist models. Corporate capitalism failed to deliver a renewed prosperity, and western imperialism could no longer exploit the global resources without competition and conflict. One can articulate an end to this crisis with the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Bolshevik Revolution. Earlier that evening, at the opera, people in the audience assumed that distant cannon fire was somehow an elegant statement in the musical score. Suppose this neutralized version of collapse were us, in some way. Obviously the real price is horrendous. But what if it were absolutely necessary to ignore all that. We must pretend that nothing truly hopeless has taken place. This problem will blow over, market experts tell us; it is part of a cycle. Dont start getting too depressed. Gloomy thinking can lower consumer confidence. Then your credit score goes down. Just stand pat. Dont sell yet. Well tell you when, the way we did last time. The next day, we find ourselves at an event, in someones living room, inside a Buñuel movie. We have to catch up on things. We are picking over a tray of sliders and hand rolls, a sign of budget cutbacks. Someone leans over and whispers to us that the curtains are on fire. Everyone stops. We decide as a collective action to move to the kitchen. An hour later, the house burns down. Then begins an era of recrimination. Someone arrrests the person who told us the curtains were on fire. None of the facts add up, because the facts are assembled by the same ruthless people who brought about the collapse.

Or can we? That is apparently how crazy we are as a civilization, Did America merely resurrect a golem from the myself included. I look at todays headline in New components of the 20th century collapse, an York Times, “Walmart Hushed Up a Vast Mexican aggregate culture of digital modernism, global Bribery Scandal…”: hyper-capitalism, neo-authoritarianism and perpetual conflict? “Confronted with evidence of widespread corruption in Mexico, top Walmart executives focused more on damage control rather than on rooting NORMAN KLEIN How many ways are there for a out wrongdoing…” civilization to collapse without a big bang? That is, to collapse without total war, revolution, or earth- I realize that this is meant (by New York Times) quake. Suppose collapse arrived like a cat during to be an allegory for what is overwhelming our the night. Apparently, in 1917, many Americans at national elections. We are, in effect, Mexico now: the YMCA in Moscow actually slept through the hushed up, or at least in a state of underdevelopment.

m x ii


1 3 4 / 1 3 5

TL In the midst of our inferno, did we ignore the legacy of the 20th century and the natural flow of decay by adopting an infinite “end of history” narrative? Are we left standing amongst the burned-out ruins—an artificial digital 21st century culture that draws upon nostalgia, repetition and a commodified social network? Are we ghosts of underdevelopment haunting a new age of feudalism? NK When did this crisis that led to this collapse—the prologue to the end—actually take place? We need a fiercer sense of our historical genealogy. We clearly have a problem locating a true measure of where we are. The labor statistics are pathetic. Then, after experts announce that they cannot read them precisely—the oatmeal about labor that arrives once a month—when it becomes clear that we, in fact, are ignoring the problem, the next month arrives. After five years of research, I can say with certainty that the crisis began much earlier than I thought. By the early eighties, it was already getting late. However, the problem of “de-industrialization” was widely discussed in 1982—only to be sidetracked somehow by the banking catastrophe of 1986, and the Stock Market Crash of 1987. By 1990, it was surely late. Almost all of the bankers tricks that led to the Crash of 2008 were in play—for example, derivatives. Thus, our collapse has not been sudden; it has been ongoing for thirty years or more. And the prologue to this collapse took place in the seventies, before the arrival of Thatcher and Reagan—with the development of container ships, the end of Fair Use laws, the digitization of the banking industry, the origins of right-wing think tanks. One might even go back earlier than the seventies, to the Janus face of high modernism, to its ruinous aspects in the sixties, its willingness to scrap infrastructure for the sake of urban progress—then give up progress to join the rise of oligarchy. Nothing collapses suddenly; and often, the public has already adapted to living after the collapse long before it formally occurs.

TL If we have “adapted to living after the collapse long before it formally occurs,” then decay presents itself. With each decay, a collapse results, and then its natural to consider an emergence. How does “re-formation” occur and what form does the phoenix take, given a collapse that seems to be a constant “slow burn” decay rather than a cataclysm? How do we pick up the pieces? NK It has often been said that memento mori enriches a culture; a sense of mortality heightens its forms. We must leave a place for how this might be a part of our cultural future, in the midst of these entropic adaptations. We also have challenges unlike any other culture that ever existed, particularly the cross-embedding of one software upon another, the erasure of cultural forms, and criss-crossing of technologies. Most art has evolved grammars through its unique forms, not by endlessly erasing its modes of expression and delivery. A few tools have been developed to collect the footprints, the traces of lost forms, in order to capture the mortality of our civilization. There is a new cultural alliance that has attempted to organize these into art after social networks. But most of all, the nano intuitive quality of software has long since made the inside and the outside of human experience, the public and the intimate, almost impossible to keep separate from each other. TL Memento mori, or “remember you will die,” was a means that culture used to ground itself in a natural cycle of collapse and rebirth. A culture that preceded the ruptures brought about by radio, film, video and computers. If we look at the conditions of collapse and formation, we see that flux is the necessary link. The movement of ideas from obsolescence to emergence can be framed by time and space and compounded by our affair with technology. The telegraph is a good example of a Victorian technology that altered time and space and “collected the footprints, the traces of lost forms.” The recording of sound and image first developed in the 19th century became embedded mechanisms of the following century. These tech-


A C ON V E R SA T I ON ON C OL L AP S E

N O RMA N K LE IN & T O M LE E S E R

nologies have now formed the basis of our current centurys social network. We are now recording, archiving and dissolving at such a rate that latency and reflection can only happen within a real-time tyranny of a commodified present. In many ways we have created a zombie culture from the ashes of our past. Rather than follow the script and continue our affinity with neophilia, we sample, rip and data mosh our way not to “a new tomorrow” but a re-mix of “be here now” that sounds more like “buy here now.” Our only recourse may be found in a line from an Allen Ginsberg poem, ironically from 1984, called “Empire Air.” Ginsberg says in the poem that we should “conquer all space by giving it away, conquer the universe by giving it away.” In other words, embrace the memento mori as a tool to break apart the illusion and liberate the present from tyranny. NK I often talk about slowing down vision, in order to move quickly. What sort of institutions or policies would do that in a polyglot that is so feudalistic? For example, in urban planning, there are terms like “parklets,” microparks that merely take out a few traffic lanes to create a pause for sitting on the street. There is interest in the lost creeks and streams and mini-aquifers of Los Angeles, so many of them blocked off by engineers. Now there are potential plans to “daylight” some of these. These are all laboratory experiments of a kind, to incubate, almost like political seminars, what will be needed on a large scale, through alliances of all kinds. We must invent places and institutions within our depleted infrastructure. These are like firewalls that can become authored places for ludic, shared play, for something more than simply an extension of your privacy. But what? Are they like little medieval carnival feasts? We have to operate on a small scale, in order to engineer a more human scale—and from there, move quickly to address land and water issues, etc. An authored experience that is not simply an extension of yourself.

m m x ii


1 3 6 / 1

STUMBLEBUMMING Michael Ned Holte

3 7

Michael Ned Holte is a member of the art program faculty at the California Insitute of the Arts. His writing frequently appears in print and online publications such as Artforum, East of Borneo, and Kaleidoscope, and an essay on Allan Kaprow and performance reenactment is included inthe forthcoming anthology Live Art in Los Angeles: Performance in Southern California, 1970-1983 (Routledge).


m When I was first approached to provide an essay for this catalogue, my first instinct, for reasons I only vaguely intuited at the outset of the process, was to consider Philip Gustons 1970 solo show at Marlborough Gallery in New York. This, of course, would seem like a pretty unlikely topic for a publication marking the graduation of a group of young artists from CalArts in 2012. Not only was that rather infamous show long before their time, its also before my time. Its untimely. Its untimely and perhaps unlikely, but hardly inappropriate, for reasons Ill try to explain. As a critic, Im accustomed to receiving specific prompts that eventually lead to me writing a text related to said prompt: An essay about the work of artist X, for an catalogue accompanying an exhibition by artist X, for example, or perhaps a survey of some perceived tendency (say, the rise of performance reenactment in contemporary art). The idea of writing an essay that somehow contextualizes the extremely wide-ranging work of approximately 30 graduating MFAs from the programs in art, photography and media, and art and technology, strikes me as a daunting, if not an impossible task. (Though I should also say Id be very excited if somebody tries.) Without such a specific prompt, and without the fortitude to address this class as some kind of a whole, I veered toward a more marginal approach. (A year ago, for the previous classs publication, I wrote about On Kawara and the virtues of waking up in the morning.) Much to the credit of my graduating MFA editors, I was encouraged to write on something related to whatever I was currently working on—a category that usually includes at least a half dozen subjects. But none seemed entirely appropriate to this context. Yet, somehow, Gustons 1970 show did. In 1970, Philip Guston debuted a series of recent paintings that marked his shift (or, really, return) to 1 H ilton Kramer, “A Mandarin Pretending to be a Stumblebum,”

New York Times, October 25,1970.

representational painting after years of abstraction. Not only were most of these 33 paintings figurative, but the figures in them were hooded, and anonymous, but instantly recognizable as members of the Ku Klux Klan—in Dawn, as a duo driving across an entropic landscape with a pile of limbs in the back of the car, or solo, in The Studio, fashioning a self-portrait. At least from the vantage of the present, the “new” paintings were not entirely unlike Gustons “old” paintings: undoubtedly, he was using a similar palette of blood red, dusty pinks, ashy grays, and presumably the same fat brushes. But, as a leading figure in the New York School and American Abstract Expressionism, the shift was indeed perceived as a radical one. While we already know history has redeemed Gustons U-turn, its important to remember how viciously he was attacked for it. Writing from his considerable bully pulpit at the New York Times, Hilton Kramer delivered a withering attack of Guston with a review titled “A Mandarin Pretending to be a Stumblebum.” “If Jackson Pollock was the cowboy of the New York School, all muscle and violence, Mr. Guston was claimed to be its poet, all sensibility and shimmering delicacy,” Kramer sarcastically intimates, in an attempt to dismantle the scaffolding that aff-orded this artist a quasi-mythical stature. The bitter gatekeeper finally argues that the real problem is not so much Gustons shift (or, really, the actual paintings in the show), but that the shift to representation (“attempting to do a Dubuffet”) comes too late! Besides, Kramer tells us, “He has always been a latecomer, and he came to the esthetics of the New York School when it was already well established. He was a colonizer rather than a pioneer.” 1 And hard as it might be to believe in the context of the present, Gustons late “arrival” at stumblebumdom—in his late 50s!—also cost him friendships and good (“mandarin”) standing in the New York

m x ii


1 3 8 / 1 3 9

School. So be it. Its doubtful that Guston would be much more than a footnote in this history if he hadnt abandoned course at some point, leaving purity behind for storytelling, as he portrayed it.

without serious consequences if the official review goes badly. Beyond outlining the curriculum of the school and its four programs, the self-study was intended to account for its “evaluative criteria”—in other words, how we measure success, and how The message here, if there is one, is that changing we make sure our program is actually doing all of course can be a traumatic event for an artist— the things that we claim to be doing in our efforts and perhaps even more so for those around them— to help shape artists successfully (if not into but is an important and sometimes necessary successful artists, though sometimes we do that means of growth and even survival. And it could too). Some of the jargon I heard this semester— happen at any point (or points) in an artists devel- “metrics,” “rubrics,” “a culture of evidence”—gave opment—perhaps even a year or two out of the me goosebumps, and not the good kind. intense, even hyperbolic environment of a serious MFA program where young artists spend two years In writing the self-study, I arrived at the conclusion developing an identity and working methodology, that our students at CalArts ensure the highest while constantly submitting it to the critical diag- level of rigor precisely because of the intensity of nosis of faculty and peers alike. After two years on their creative cohort. Of all the determining factors defense, what happens when the context structure a prospective student considers before entering an of school and the relentless presence of ones MFA program—the programs reputation, its faccohort are suddenly peeled away, leaving one more ulty, its facilities, financial stakes, and so on—the or less to his or her own devices? Gustons recur- least predictable is the exact constituency of the ring representations of the studio and its constitu- incoming group. Yet, this unknown, unpredictable ent parts—a mountain of cigarette butts lit by factor is probably the most important in shaping a the bare, dangling lightbulb; the clock ticking, students experience. While extraordinary care and incessantly—capture this sense of harrowing, consideration is involved in the facultys annual existential solitude. Even if the clichés seem some- review of applications to our MFA programs, there what dated today, whats clear is that membership is only the vaguest sense of what the whole class in the New York School was, at a certain point in will be as a kind of totality. Remarkably, it usually time, not as important as the need to move on, turns out to be a complex, but well-rounded and leave the club, stumblebumming or not. cohesive group—albeit, one for which cohesiveness is hard won over two years of contentiousness Hilton Kramer died on March 27 of this year, and and critique, whether curricular or extracurricular. not coincidentally I read his teardown of Gustons 1970 show in the online archives of the Times a few “Criticality” may be a key word in our glossary: Its days later. (Guston is hardly an isolated victim of a word that our students take to using with his rebuke; Kramer was consistently rabid toward increased frequency, especially in the first semesalmost anything new or genuinely challenging.) ter. As much as I bristled when I heard the phrase And speaking of mandarin tendencies, my belated “culture of evidence,” in a meeting with an outside reading of this review coincided with my participa- evaluator visiting CalArts, I was also aware that we tion in writing a detail-oriented self-study for the foster a “culture of criticality,” one that coalesces CalArts School of Art in the process of reaccredita- in the two years of structured intensity, but surely tion through the National Association of Schools of extends beyond the moment of graduation. Some Art and Design (NASAD), an involved, bureaucratic of my peers might disagree with my idea of what process the school undertakes every ten years—a we teach—and thankfully were a complicated voluntary and largely useful endeavor, but one not group, too—but my point here is that nobody


S T U M BL E B U M M I N G

MIC HA E L NED H O LT E

m

enforces and reinforces this culture more than the students.

It is important to bear in mind that such sad instances occur despite the strength of this logic. I dont mean to be a bummer here, but the very notion of survival remained on my mind throughout this long semester—after Mikes death, through the sometimes lofty, sometimes frighteningly banal rhetoric of accreditation, and onward to graduation. If nothing else, dark clouds serve an important reminder of real stakes when the old question of stakes gets asked. The reality is that the position of the isolated (or heroic) individual artist is not tenable without consideration of some larger logic (to use Millers term) of the group, or the field, or the community. And vice versa. An MFA program, with its emphasis on individual studios and group critique, replicates this larger construct, and exacerbates it.

m

There have been a number of significant classes to emerge from CalArts: The very first graduating class, immortalized by Richard Hertzs 2003 book about Jack Goldstein, and elsewhere, as the “CalArts Mafia,” immediately comes to mind, as does the class of 1978, a group that includes Mike Kelley, Jim Shaw, John Miller, and other well-known artists.2 (As a grad student at Art Center, many of my faculty—Kelley, Tim Martin, Christopher Williams, and Stephen Prina—were together at CalArts in the latter part of the 1970s, and I was clearly aware of them as a cohort.) Sadly, both of the classes Ive mentioned have lost individuals to suicide—Goldstein in 2002; Kelley this year— which strikes me as an incredibly solitary, and desperate act, and I dont mean that in a pejorative sense. There is generally no way to measure the depth of someones sorrow or pain. Its an extreme reminder that most groups, no matter how cohesive or “immortal,” eventually give way to individuals, whether owing to distance in time or space, or the inevitable “creative differences” that emerge in the pursuit of being an artist. “Even now I feel that all explanations and observations must inevitably fall short of the brutal fact that my friend took his own life,” wrote John Miller, in “From My Institution to Yours: A Personal Remembrance,” regarding his classmate and sometime collaborator.  What became increasingly clear, however, as the impact of Mike’s death rippled progressively outward, was the extent of his importance—personally, artistically, culturally—to a sprawling community that cared not only about him, but each other as well. Here, it is important to stress that a community is not simply a loose collection of well-meaning individuals. Rather, it is something

I should end this by saying that my own peer group from graduate school remains important to me, even as some sense of cohesion gradually erodes. My work as a critic developed in large part from a sustained engagement with the work of the artists and other critics I encountered in school—artists and writers who challenged my assumptions about what art is or could be—but to some extent Ive slowly moved on or moved elsewhere, writing about different things, and different artists. Last week I was in New York, and bumped into a few of my classmates—at the Whitney, on the street: Manhattan compresses people in a way southern California doesnt. It gave me a sense of myself, to see some of the old team, and a satisfying sense of where I had come from, not that long ago, but thankfully the fondness came without much nostalgia. I was less curious about the past than the next stop on the itinerary, and I sensed I was mostly free to be my own stumblebum, no questions asked.

with a discrete structure and a logic.3

2 S ee Richard Hertz, Jack Goldstein and the CalArts Mafia,

Ojai: Minneola Press, 2003. Howard Singerman’s writing on MFA programs covers some of this territory as well.

3 John Miller, “From My Institution to Yours: A Personal

Remembrance,” Art Agenda, February 6, 2012, http://www. art-agenda.com/reviews/mike-kelley-1954–2012/, last accessed May 13, 2012.

x ii


1 4 0 / 1 4 1


m

BACK MATTER

m x ii


1

A R T I S T I N DE X

4

Akina Cox www.akinacox.com akina.cox@gmail.com

2

Alex Meadows

/ 1 4 3

Andrea Franco www.andreafranco.org andreafrancob@gmail.com

David Gutierrez davidgutierrezstudio@gmail.com Esther Pearl Watson www.estherpearlwatson.com funchicken@verizon.net Gracie DeVito gdsound.tumblr.com graciedevito@gmail.com

Anitra Haendel www.anitrahaendel.com anitrahaendel@alum.calarts.edu

GuiYoung Hwang guiyoung.hwang@gmail.com

Ariane Vielmetter www.arianevielmetter.com arianevielmetter@gmail.com

James Brush jamesbrush.com james@jamesbrush.com

Benjamin Tong www.ben-tong.com benjamintong@alum.calarts.edu

Joe Zorilla josephzorrilla@alum.calarts.edu

Christopher Reynolds www.christopherreynoldsstudio.com chris@christopherreynoldsstudio.com Daney Saylor daneysaylor@alum.calarts.edu Daniel Regenstreif Axe www.danielaxe.com danraxe@gmail.com Danielle Dean www.danielledean.info danielledean@alum.calarts.edu

Johanna Breiding www.asterismderivative.com, www.johannabreiding.com johannabreiding@gmail.com Jonathan Takahashi www.jonathantakahashi.com jonathankazuhisa@gmail.com Joni Noe www.joninoe.com joninoe@alum.calarts.edu Joshua Mark Logan www.joshuamarklogan.com joshuamarklogan@gmail.com


m Kari Reardon www.karireardon.com Krista Buecking krista.buecking@gmail.com Larissa Brantner James www.larissajames.com larissa@larissajames.com Liz Toonkel www.liztoonkel.com liztoonkel@gmail.com Malene Dam malenedam@gmail.com Mary Hill www.maryhill.us Mary Rasmussen www.faintinbetween.com www.asterismderivative.com maryinsnowboots@gmail.com Nick Rodrigues www.nickrodrigues.com nicksculptor@gmail.com Patrick S. Flood www.patricksflood.com patricksflood@gmail.com Robbie Nock www.robbienock.com robbienock@gmail.com

Rowan Smith www.whatiftheworld.com/ featured-artists/rowan-smith/ rowansmith@alum.calarts.edu Sarah Petersen www.sarahpetersenstudio.com sarahpetersen@alum.calarts.edu Sean C. Flaherty www.flahertystudio.com seancflaherty@me.com Shagha Ariannia www.vimeo.com/shagha shaghaariannia@alum.calarts.edu Tyler Matthew Oyer www.tmostudio.com tyleroyer@gmail.com

m x ii


1

FAC U LT Y & S T A F F

4

Art Karen Atkinson Jessica Bronson Alexandria Carrion Robert Dansby Leslie Dick Sam Durant Charles Gaines Connie Hatch Michael Ned Holte Darcy Huebler Martin Kersels Thomas Lawson John Mandel Chris Peters Shirley Tse Millie Wilson

4 / 1 4 5

Photography and Media Ellen Birrell Natalie Bookchin Kaucyila Brooke Jo Ann Callis Judy Fiskin Andrew Freeman Harry Gamboa, Jr. Ashley Hunt Allan Sekula Darrell Walters Billy Woodberry

Art and Technology Tom Leeser Tom Jennings Visiting Faculty 2010–2012 Audrey Chan Dawn Clements Michelle Dizon Harry Dodge Lecia Dole-Recio Leigh Jerrard Stanya Kahn Keith Rocka Knittel Sandra Peters Jessica Rath Ry Rocklen Jeffrey Vallance Suné Woods Liz Young School of Art Staff Stacey Allan Shari Bond Josette Chiang Bethany Elmer Joann Govlya John Hogan Felicia Tausig Sharon Yeates


m

L EC T URE SERIE S

2011–2012 Paul Brach Visiting Artist Lecture Series Amalia Pica Kembra Pfahler Lucky Dragons José Lerma Ryan McNamara Ken Gonzales-Day Katie Holten Edgar Orlaineta Lisa Anne Auerbach Mindy Shapero Simon Reynolds Nevan Lahart The Otolith Group Julian Hoeber Kaari Upson Yoshua Okón Dynasty Handbag Lee Lynch Kyle Riedel Mathias Poledna Emily Mast Dawn Kasper Alexandro Segade Carlee Fernandez Dawn Clements

m x Allan Sekula Brendan Fowler Cauleen Smith Anthony Lepore Payam Sharifi Thomas Lax Benjamin Thorel Neal Medlyn Wu Tsang Bonnie Collura Kaucyila Brooke Justin Lowe & Jonah Freeman Cathérine Hug Sharon Lockhart Kerry Tribe Anna Sew Hoy Keith Rocka Knittel Megan & Murray McMillan Hirsch Perlman Coordinated by Johanna Breiding, Tyler Matthew Oyer & Rowan Smith

ii


1

C R E DI T S

4

Printed on the occasion of: MMXII 2012 California Institute of the Arts MFA Graduate Exhibition

6

June 1–23, 2012 L.A. Mart Curated by Catherine Taft

/ 1 4 7

Editors: Malene Dam, Tyler Matthew Oyer, Sarah Petersen, Rowan Smith, Esther Pearl Watson, Daney Saylor Copy Editors: Krista Buecking, Chandler McWilliams, Tyler Matthew Oyer, Sarah Petersen, Leslie Dick, Ellen Birrell Design: David Karwan, Scott Massey This book is typeset in Feijoa, National, Arno Pro Printer: The Prolific Group, Winnipeg. Printed in Canada The rights to each work remain the sole property of the artist(s). All texts are printed with permission of the artist(s). All artworks printed with permission of the artist(s). All rights reserved 2012.

The California Institute of the Arts MFA class of 2012 would like to thank the following institutions and individuals for their generous support: Art Platform – Los Angeles, ARTRA Curatorial, Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects, CalArts Dean's Project Award, CalArts Office of Admissions, CalArts President, CalArts Provost Catherine Taft, Tom Leeser, Norman Klein, Michael Ned Holte, Michelle Dizon, Lyra Kilston, Mia Locks, Travis Deihl, Molly Sullivan, Jen Hutton, Jon Rutzmoser, Aurora Tang Amy Ulrich Geary, Andy Freeman, Charlie James, Connie Hatch, Darcy Heubler, Dawn Clements, Eric Ayzenberg, Francie Jain, Frank Masi, Hayley Miner, Leslie Dick, Martha Rich, Rolando Jimenez, Robyn Siegel, Ryan Mennealy, Ryo Tsukioka, Susanne Vielmetter


m m x ii


CAL

ARTS

MFA

mmxii  

Designed on the occasion of: MMXII 2012 California Institute of the Arts MFA Graduate Exhibition (June 1–23, 2012) Curated by Catherine Taft...

Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you