Dissertations, Theses, and Capstone Projects

Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name



Art History


David Joselit

Committee Members

Marta Gutman

Claire Bishop

C. Ondine Chavoya

Subject Categories

American Studies | Art Practice | Arts and Humanities | Chicana/o Studies | Interdisciplinary Arts and Media | Museum Studies | Race, Ethnicity and Post-Colonial Studies | Urban, Community and Regional Planning


Los Angeles, Alternative Spaces, Artist Communities, Performance Art, Muralism, Public Funding


Inevitable Associations: Art, Institution, and Cultural Intersection in Los Angeles, 1973-1988 considers alternative institutions and cultural intersections in bicentennial-era Los Angeles. I look at the spatial, social, and artistic convergence of Los Angeles artists rarely seen as allied, through close examination of alternative cultural infrastructure that came out of a federal jobs program called the Comprehensive Employment and Training Act (CETA) and cohered around a building located at 240 South Broadway in downtown. I use the model of association—alliance through shared purpose—to demonstrate moments of convergence and interconnection. Through an analysis of the formation of Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions (LACE), High Performance magazine, and the Public Spirit: Live Art/LA performance festival, I uncover experimental artistic networks and strategies that flourished in L.A. in the latter decades of the twentieth century. While geographers and cultural historians of this region have often emphasized the disconnectedness engendered by urban sprawl, my dissertation reveals unlikely and provocative overlaps in projects and resources. This is not to say that this one is a rosy history of mutual respect and reciprocity. To the contrary, it is a story inflected by the harsh racial, ethnic, and class stratifications that permeate Los Angeles as well as the privatizing interests pervading downtown redevelopment.