New approaches to writing are everywhere in evidence across the contemporary art world. In Los Angeles, home of East of Borneo, X–TRA, Les Figues Press, MATERIAL, and the Journal of Aesthetics and Protest, to name a few venues where art meets writing, critical and discursive engagement with art and art writing is especially pronounced. We here neither mean to reinscribe the chestnut of “second city” nor traffic in recuperative clichés of palm fronds, sunshine and noir, and pool-studded canyons. We want instead to further a conversation about writing in and about the place where we live, and give intention to the overlapping communities—of production or pedagogy, presentation or distribution—to which we belong. (The “ours” in the title might be deceptive on this count, intended less in a possessive than a nominative key.) Ours is a city of writers who matter a great deal to artists; of artists who are also writers; of writers who are also visual artists, musicians, or dancers; and so many others besides. We take this orientation as the basis for a collaborative project that engages multiple ways of writing and representing. We invited writers and artists to pen short pieces about their work, and the conditions under which they are doing it in, and as, Los Angeles. This means that some claimed Los Angeles as their subject, others their work or the work of friends, and others still, something else altogether.
SUZANNE HUDSON is an art historian and critic who lives in Los Angeles.Simon Leung
SIMON LEUNG is an artist who lives in Brooklyn and Los Angeles.James Nisbet
JAMES NISBET is an art historian and critic who lives in Long Beach, California.