No Moon LA

Christina Catherine Martinez Eleanor


Christina Catherine Martinez Eleanor

October 14th – November 12th, 2023

Opening Saturday October 14th 6 – 9 PM

Born: Bellflower, CA
December 18, 1984 12:05 pm

Sun: Sagittarius 27° 06’
Moon: Scorpio 9° 17’
Venus: Aquarius 25° 48′

A car used to shake you into its leather like dice when you turned it on, preparing to roll. ‘Where to?’ With each advancement, technology leaves sound and sensation behind. Each new version becomes quieter and more still, so that getting into a modern vehicle is the same experience as entering a different room and shutting the door. ‘Do you hear that?’ ‘Hear what?’ ‘Exactly.’ 


A car once included you in its operation, lending you its skin, its horsepower, its torque. In 1964 Marshall McLuhan wrote, “The car has become an article of dress without which we feel uncertain, unclad, and incomplete in the urban compound.” At times this past is still present, as Eleanor, Christina Catherine Martinez’s red convertible coupe, reminds us. 


Martinez’s Driving series began in 2020, but it by no means ended there. Eleanor offered a way out of isolation and Martinez extended that invitation to others by posting short clips of their travels on Instagram. In these vignettes, Martinez and Eleanor can be seen in different parts of L.A., sometimes with recognizable or iconic backgrounds, sometimes with only flashes of street lights streaming by. The soundtrack is whatever they were listening to at the time—music or talk radio. It’s just the two of them, save the occasional hand or slim profile of a passenger who remains off screen. Martinez collected these clips in two Highlights on her Instagram: Driving and Driving II. In the first Driving series Martinez largely ignores the camera. In Driving II however, there are occasional glances and even a few moments when she smiles directly into the camera, acknowledging the audience hidden there. The videos gradually built-up a following, people looking for open windows, a way out of their cloister. Martinez’s convertible became a getaway car. 


When Martinez was born, Mars, in many ways the gas pedal of the natal chart, was in ‘mutual reception’ with Saturn, the brake. The two planets were passengers in each other’s cars—Mars was in Saturn’s sign and Saturn in Mars’s sign. There is, in much of Martinez’s work, a silent acknowledgment of the vulnerability of the passenger. Even when she pokes at her audience in a performance, or the artists whose work she critiques, she never seems to forget the tenderness of their position under her gaze. In an LA Times piece from December of 2021, where Martinez details the depths of her affection for Eleanor, she writes, “I always kept a spare baseball cap in the glove box for my passenger.”

In Eleanor, the photo show named for the beloved vehicle, the audience is once again a passenger, moving through a succession of still cinematic images; captured moments of Martinez and Eleanor’s urban odyssey. In this silent progression of images there is life, a vibrancy that is easy to recall. You can almost hear a song snaking through the photographs, a breeze blowing over the paper they’re printed on. Martinez invites the viewer in again: ‘Where to?’

Christina Catherine Martinez has completed video and performance commissions for The Los Angeles County Museum of Art, The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA, REDCAT Center for the Performing Arts, Art Toronto, and the SXSW Comedy Festival. Her criticism has been published in The Los Angeles Times, Artforum, e-flux Criticism, Texte Zur Kunst, Aperture, and DOCUMENT Journal. She is a recipient of the Andy Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Grant and is the author of the essay collection Aesthetical Relations, published by Hesse Press. She is represented by Aaron Brown at Avalon and Ethan More at Innovative Artists.

Christina Catherine Martinez Eleanor
Christina Catherine Martinez Eleanor
Christina Catherine Martinez Eleanor
Christina Catherine Martinez Eleanor
Christina Catherine Martinez Eleanor
Christina Catherine Martinez Eleanor
Christina Catherine Martinez Eleanor
Christina Catherine Martinez Eleanor
Christina Catherine Martinez Eleanor
Christina Catherine Martinez Eleanor
Christina Catherine Martinez Eleanor
Christina Catherine Martinez Eleanor
Christina Catherine Martinez Eleanor
Christina Catherine Martinez Eleanor
Christina Catherine Martinez Eleanor
Christina Catherine Martinez Eleanor
Christina Catherine Martinez Eleanor
Christina Catherine Martinez Eleanor
Christina Catherine Martinez Eleanor
Christina Catherine Martinez Eleanor

Install Photographs: Josh Schaedel