Articles by Catherine Wagley

Caitlin Berrigan, "Teeth in the Wrong Places", 2004.

Flash Points

Freewaves: Video Between Their Toes

Flash Points

Freewaves: Video Between Their Toes

Freewaves turned 20 this year. The grassroots new media organization that began in 1989 with a gaping, loosely defined mission to show Los Angeles to itself celebrated its birthday on …

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Flash Points

Looking at Los Angeles

One Day Only De Maria

Flash Points

Looking at Los Angeles

One Day Only De Maria

In 1969, when Lee Lozano began her Dialogue Piece, a project for which she simply invited artists and others to talk with her, she called Walter De Maria twice, once …

Kathryn Andrews, "Gaylen Gerber," 2010. Installation view. Courtesy Thomas Solomon Gallery.

Looking at Los Angeles

Support Group

Looking at Los Angeles

Support Group

If you type the phrase “I need support” into Google, the first hit is a letter addressed to “Dear Sugar.” Sugar is the advice columnist for the Pop Sugar spin-off …

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(UC Crisis) Post 3: Try Not to Do This Again

(UC Crisis) Post 3: Try Not to Do This Again

In a series of special posts, guest blogger alum Marc Herbst and regular contributor Catherine Wagley chronicle the University of California education crisis. Following is Wagley’s take. — Ed. When …

Louise Bourgeois at the Académie de la Grande-Chaumiére, Paris, 1937. Courtesy Louise Bourgeois Archive.

Louise Bourgeois Left Nothing to be Desired

Louise Bourgeois Left Nothing to be Desired

When I heard that Louise Bourgeois (Season 1) passed away on the morning of May 31, I was genuinely surprised. It seemed only natural that she would live into a …

Liz Larner, 2010. Courtesy Regen Projects.

Looking at Los Angeles

Wholeheartedly Real

Looking at Los Angeles

Wholeheartedly Real

Judith Butler, the always agile theorist responsible for Gender Trouble, often says diplomatically dense things like, “a lesbian is what I have been being since college.” She would not say, …

Nathan Mabry, Installation Shot, 2008. Courtesy Chery and Martin Gallery.

Flash Points

Flash Points Wrap-Up: Art For Life

Flash Points

Flash Points Wrap-Up: Art For Life

A friend of mine dated a composer once. He was a good composer. People found his music “inventive” and “ubiquitous” (in a good way). All of his friends were musicians, …

From "Torture of Women" by Nancy Spero, Siglio Press (c) 2010 / photos courtesy National Gallery of Canada

Flash Points

Nancy Spero’s Torture of Women

Flash Points

Nancy Spero’s Torture of Women

“In our day, [when] we came back from war,” said Seymour Hersh to Bill O’Reilly in 2004, “We would take our pictures and hide them behind the socks in the drawer and …

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Looking at Los Angeles

The Ring Festival and the Confined Deep

Looking at Los Angeles

The Ring Festival and the Confined Deep

All my windows look into windows of other apartments and, on warm days like those we’ve had lately, I’m set up for delicious eavesdropping. I like it best when my …

Mel Bochner, "No," Oil on canvas, 60 x 45 inches, 2009. Courtesy Marc Selywn Fine Art.

Looking at Los Angeles

Mel Bochner’s Burnt Tongue

Looking at Los Angeles

Mel Bochner’s Burnt Tongue

Los Angeles galleries are brimming with minimal, kind-of-conceptual abstraction at the moment — Paul Davis’s successions of hinges and wood and Joe Fyfe’s felt and muslin Motherwell spin-offs at ACME; …

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Looking at Los Angeles

I Am Not Neda

Looking at Los Angeles

I Am Not Neda

I drove into a Westwood parking garage late on Monday and saw that the attendant had been crying. After an uneasy moment–I wasn’t sure where compassion and polite distance met …

Jeff Koons, "Girl with Dolphin and Monkey (The Whitney Museum of American Art 75th Anniversary Photography Portfolio), 2006. Courtesy Whitney Museum

Flash Points

The Puppy Wars

Flash Points

The Puppy Wars

The eerily small, closely watched world of New York art criticism experienced some infighting earlier this month, following the publication of February’s The Brooklyn Rail. “I think that there are …

Hollis Frampton, "Nostalgia," film still, 1971.

Looking at Los Angeles

Hollis Frampton Revival

Looking at Los Angeles

Hollis Frampton Revival

Last November, I attended a panel discussion, held at LACMA, on photographs of man-altered landscape. The images in question—coolly composed prints by Stephen Shore, Lewis Baltz, and Robert Adams, among …

Jeff Koons, "Puppy," steel, soil, plants, June 6 - September 5, 2000, at Rockefeller Center

Looking at Los Angeles

Looking At Los Angeles: Against The Deluge

Looking at Los Angeles

Looking At Los Angeles: Against The Deluge

Looking back before moving forward is such an endearing habit—like brushing your teeth before breakfast—that it’s hard to resent the sweeping, often grandiloquent judgments that accompany the end of each …

William Christenberry, Kudzu with Storm Cloud, near Akron, Alabama, 1981.

Flash Points

When Nature Takes Over

Flash Points

When Nature Takes Over

“It is the common mission of the entire mankind to curb global warming and save our planet.” So said China’s Prime Minister, Wen Jiabao, addressing the Copenhagen Summit on December …

Tareq and Michaele Salahi with Joe Biden.

Looking at Los Angeles

Guts Get Out of Hand

Looking at Los Angeles

Guts Get Out of Hand

On 7 AM on Thanksgiving morning, I was sitting on my aunt’s couch in Atlanta, watching news coverage about the “uninvited, well dressed Virginia couple” that had crashed Obama’s dinner …

Bernd and Hilla Becher. "Harry E. Colliery Coal Breaker, Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania," 1974. 8 Gelatin Silver Prints, 16 x 12 in. each. Courtesy Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

Flash Points

Landscape Revisited

Flash Points

Landscape Revisited

“Life is boring,” said Matthew Coolidge, talking about how most of us live in the uneventful “periods between the monuments.” Coolidge, the director of the Center for Land Use Interpretation, …

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Looking at Los Angeles

Public Art, Private Viewing

Looking at Los Angeles

Public Art, Private Viewing

When I heard that Marilyn Minter’s video, Green Pink Caviar, would be showing on the Mezzanine of The Standard Hotel, I imagined something exquisite: maybe the projection would appear on …

Days before the Berlin Wall is torn down, Germans gather at the wall, 1989. Photographer unknown.

Looking at Los Angeles

Looking at Los Angeles: Berlin Wall Falls in L.A.

Looking at Los Angeles

Looking at Los Angeles: Berlin Wall Falls in L.A.

Tuesday night, former U.S. Ambassador Richard Barkley called East Berlin a “profoundly boring place,” drab and depressing compared to other places he’d been. His callous observation loosely framed a panel …

Florian Maier-Aichen, "Above June Lake," 2005, C-print.

Flash Points

Professionalized Fantasy

Flash Points

Professionalized Fantasy

If I were to name art’s King and Queen of sleek professionalism, Florian Maier-Aichen and Marilyn Minter would take the crowns. They compliment each other, Maier-Aichen bringing out Minter’s reliance …

Doris Salcedo, "Shibboleth," 2007. Photo: Tate Modern.

Flash Points

Understanding Pain

Flash Points

Understanding Pain

A friend of mine told me how she first learned of rape: rape happens when someone forces all your clothes off, her brother explained. My friend was, of course, horrified. …

White Magic and Xanadu, Maya Lujan, Wight Biennial Installation shot, 2008

Flash Points

Crying Wolf

Flash Points

Crying Wolf

Here’s one of the biggest problem with controversy in contemporary art: once it sparks, people stop really looking. I didn’t see UCLA’s Wight Biennial this year. LA Times critic Christopher …

Bill Viola,  Chott el-Djerid (A Portrait of Light and Heat), 1979  Videotape, color, mono sound (28 minutes). Courtesy of Pitzer College Galleries.

Global Video Part 3

Global Video Part 3

“Part of your preparation is to have as many strings in your hand, just not to knot them,” said Cate Blanchett, explaining her approach to acting.  “You don’t want to sort …

Regina José Galindo, "Quien Puede Borrar Las Huellas?", 2003, Single-channel digital video. Courtesy of the artist.

Global Video Part 2

Global Video Part 2

Regina José Galindo dips her feet into a white basin of human blood, takes a string of steps, then dips her feet again. She is walking through Guatemala City, her red footprints …

Mark Boulos,  "All That Is Solid Melts Into Air," Two-channel digital video installation (14:20 minutes), 2008.  Courtesy of Pitzer Galleries.

Reframing Global Video

Reframing Global Video

I am always dubious when the word “global” begins an exhibition title. Trying to gauge some sort of global cultural pulse seems absurdly ambitious. But yesterday, when I went to see Narrowcast: Reframing Global Video …

Installation view of Index: Conceptualism in California from the Permanent Collection at The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA, 2008. Photo by Brian Forrest

Making Art Effable

Making Art Effable

For the exhibition Index: Conceptualism in California,  MOCA invited four Los Angeles poets to respond to artists’ work. Though the scope of the exhibition–Index  ambitiously explores the ways in which California artists …

"Essential Current Affairs", Dan Acostioaei, DVD PAL, 2002. Courtesy of Kontainer Gallery.

The Uncanny at Kontainer Gallery

The Uncanny at Kontainer Gallery

Few things make me happier than a lyrical, perpetually unresolved video exhibition. Not Figments of a Madman’s Imagination: The Uncanny in Contemporary Romanian Video Art, currently on view at Kontainer Gallery in …

"Don't cry on my shoulder," Yrsa Roca Fannber, 2008. Courtesy of the artist.

Art and Sport in L.A.

Art and Sport in L.A.

A few artists I’ve met recently have considered quitting the art game. They don’t want to play in a sphere that’s all about self-perpetuation; they don’t want to court galleries, …