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PRINT October 2009

books

Words Without Pictures

Screenshot, Words Without Pictures website, 2009.

IT IS AN ENDURING CLICHÉ that Los Angeles is anti-intellectual—too spread out, too traffic choked, and too privatized to sustain public debates. And it’s true that, compared with New York, museums here seem to do relatively little public programming. Everyone complains that no one will drive across town to go to events. Yet when there’s something genuinely interesting, like Benjamin H. D. Buchloh’s 2007 talk about Michael Asher’s Santa Monica Museum installation, it is jammed. Indeed, under the surface, a million conversations about art are going on—a hidden public sphere just waiting to crystallize.

The recently published print-on-demand book Words Without Pictures documents the kind of lively, free-form debate LA’s art world can generate. Austerely designed by Dexter Sinister’s David Reinfurt, the publication records a series of events and online discussions, also called

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