Everybody who really lived in L.A. was linked into the trance. Everybody knew certain boulders were fake and they knew why. -Eve Babitz, L.A. Woman
Every great place has a great shared derangement to sustain it—the same way the Coyote can run on air until he looks down. In Los Angeles, land of impossible light, we are futilely, tragically addicted to believing. We will entertain all gods, ghosts, conspiracies, and lies. Because we sense our choice to come here, or to stay here, was not entirely ours. Because why not? Because how does anyone else know any better the threads that bind us or the forces that move us? Because isn’t it nicer?
Bodies of a Different Mass, in true Los Angeles form, whips up an uncanny new energy from 11 radically different pairings of East and West. Some artists in this show have never met and never will meet. Some have known each other for years, before they were working artists. Some have known each other in other lives, or will. Shelby Donnelly and Colin Patrick Smith worked together at a photo processing store in a mall in suburban Illinois. Here, they both freeze a fleeting moment into permanence. Mary Henderson’s paintings interrogate solidarity; Jacob Yanes’s sculpture radiates solitude. They were housemates for a long time. Megan Biddle and Janelle Iglesias are forever friends. Their sculptures here are almost like half-sisters, one born from humans and one from the earth.
The boundaries of our bodies reveal themselves to be illusions. People get trapped in dolls. Women lead secret lives. Artists become obsessed with visions, desperate to make them real. We create copies of ourselves. People find each other again and again without looking. A young woman liberates a jade eagle. One piece of a man is drawn, four months after leaving, mysteriously back to California, slinking off to Los Angeles to die.
For what feels to us like a little while, all 22 artists of Bodies of a Different Mass are connected here in this exhibition, at this point in space and time, drawn in by the thing that draws people to Los Angeles even when they think they hate it here. I’ve never met one who wasn’t made a believer eventually.
Adrian Glick Kudler is a writer and editor living in Los Angeles. She has been the West Coast features editor for Curbed and the senior editor for Curbed LA. Her writing has also been published in Los Angeles magazine and Best American Science and Nature Writing.
Michelle Carla Handel
Colin Patrick Smith