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Afterall Journal

Issue 13

Spring/Summer 2006

Editors: Charles Esche, Thomas Lawson, Mark Lewis, Pablo Lafuente.

Founding editors: Charles Esche, Mark Lewis.

Table of contents


Contextual Essays

  • Moelyono and the Endurance of Arts for Society – Nuraini Juliastuti
  • Interrupting Perpetual Flight: a Local Practice of Locational Identification – Jon Bywater


The Center for Land Use Interpretation

  • The Administrative Sublime, or The Center for Land Use Interpretation – Michael Ned Holte
  • Walking the Land – Christy Lange

Sora Kim

  • Sora Kim’s Karmic Practice of Art – Doryun Chong & Doryun Chong
  • CapitalPlus – Hou Hanru

Yayoi Kusama

  • The Spell to Re-integrate the Self: Yayoi Kusama – Yuko Hasegawa
  • Flying Deeper and Farther: Kusama in 2005 – Lynn Zelevansky

Aïda Ruilova

  • Aïda Ruilova: and Again… – Ingrid Chu
  • Vampire Video: Time in the Art of Aïda Ruilova – Barry Schwabsky

Taro Shinoda

  • Taro Shinoda: 120% Art Machine – Tobias Berger
  • Migrant Gardener – Yukie Kamiya


Written by Thomas Lawson

As we take this issue to press the Centre Pompidou in Paris opens a large survey of Los Angeles art from 1955 to 1985, billed as the first exhibition to investigate an as yet undiscovered artistic milieu…

As we take this issue to press the Centre Pompidou in Paris opens a large survey of Los Angeles art from 1955 to 1985, billed as the first exhibition to investigate an as yet undiscovered artistic milieu. The exhibition performs the valuable service of laying out a rudimentary art history of a region at some distance from, and at conceptual odds with what can be described as the mainstream. The flaw in the project lies in the notion of ‘discovery’, the unconscious slip into the language of colonialism as the curators attempt to place everything within the frame of a trans-Atlantic understanding of modernism. John Cage’s openness to the I Ching, the odd nativist avant-gardism of Harry Partch and Harry Smith, the Zen mysticism of the Beats – all this untidy West Coast, Pacific-facing background noise is missing from a show that announces itself with a face-off between Ed Ruscha’s 20th-Century Fox and Jack Goldstein’sMetro-Goldwyn-Mayer, between the flatness of modern painting and the inscrutable illusionism of film. The view offered is accurate, as is the view through a telescope. It just doesn’t tell the whole story.

I found the pomp surrounding the opening more instructive than the show itself, revealing a certain condescension to my adopted home. I was there as a member of an official delegation from the City of Los Angeles, a group lead by a politician and accorded some of the courtesies of a minor State visit. A reception at the palatial residence of the US Ambassador one evening was followed by another at the even grander Ministère des Affaires étrangères the next. At these, and at a two-hour press conference in between, speeches flowed, honours and thanks were bestowed, trite gifts of officialdom exchanged. We learned of the indivisible bonds between the two cities, now revealed with greater clarity than before. We learned of shared sympathies and shared hopes, especially a shared dream to see more tourists visit each city; particularly those highly valued ‘cultural tourists’ who are thought to spend more money when they travel. The representatives of Los Angeles were given ample time to boast of their many new museums and concert hall, while the French spokesman merely pointed out that the room we stood in at the Ministère had witnessed the ratification of the League of Nations.


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