Artists Habitat

L.A. Habitat: Samara Golden


Samara Golden in her Boyle Heights studio.


L.A. Habitat is a weekly series that visits with 16 artists in their workspaces around the city.

This week’s studio: Samara Golden; Boyle Heights, Los Angeles. When I visited Samara Golden’s Boyle Heights studio in December, she was preparing a commission for the Yerba Buena Arts Center in San Francisco. Her current workspace adjoins her boyfriend’s studio, which is located inside a warehouse. “Right now, I’m a one-person operation and a workaholic, which in L.A. equals isolation,” Golden told me. Golden is known for her immersive installations that explore what she refers to as “the sixth dimension,” where a multitude of pasts, presents, and futures exist simultaneously.

“I spend a lot of time in my studio by myself,” Golden said. “A lot of that time is spent on the computer, emailing. For me, the Internet provides a sort of connection/disconnection paradox.” Golden lived in New York before she moved west, and she said she hasn’t fully adjusted to being an Angeleno. “In New York, no matter how hard you’re working, you always run into friends,” she said. “You feel like you’re a part of things. It was initially hard for me to adjust to how sprawling L.A. is. I often wondered where everyone was. L.A. seems like it’s changed a lot in the last five years. There is a lot going on all the time, but you need to make a real effort to be involved here. It’s not a place where you can wander into things, and I guess I’m a wanderer, so the two ways of living are at odds.”

Her show at Yerba Buena touches on some of these feelings. “One element of the show concerns the strange space that is created when you’re in communication with people, but don’t have physical access to them. I’m not against the Internet, but I sometimes wonder if it enables us to fall deeper into seclusion, solitude, or alienation. I’m sure the invention of the telephone and television made people feel the same way. Maybe we have a subconscious fear that soon we won’t need to be around each other anymore? All this said, I think it’s been good for my work to be out here. I truly enjoy the privacy and solitude, at least most of the time.”

A Trap in Soft Division” is on view until May 29 at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, and Golden’s book, Samara Golden: The Flat Side of the Knife, was recently published by MoMA PS1.

Below, a look around Golden’s Boyle Heights studio.


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