By CuratorLove Los Angeles | Feb 2, 2015
Los Angeles is quickly becoming an unstoppable art force; a city in which art has a life of its own, ever-present and in a constant state of flux. Somewhere along the hundreds of galleries alternative art spaces and myriads of museums, lives an ever growing aesthetic producing force that nurtures thousands of art professionals at its very core.
In the last couple of weeks Los Angeles has been host to a myriad of art fairs that take over the city rain or shine. Starting with Photo LA at the Reef and looking forward to the LA Art Book Fair which is to take place at MOCA-Geffen come Valentines weekend. This model of our city to expand the fair scene over an entire month can be sharply contrasted to say Basel Miami in which the art scene explodes over a couple of days and goes back to staying dormant or silent as soon as the madness is over. But does the Los Angeles model actually work? Or are the fairs just dragging their feet over a period of weeks to try and surprise/underwhelm their attendees.
As an art professional currently working out of the city of Los Angeles, I make it my point to visit every significant art space in the city. In a city as wide ranging as Los Angeles this means heading to different museums, galleries, spaces, and fairs on a constant basis. For the past couple of weeks this has meant attending every fair the city has decided to throw my way.
Is a different kind of art fair, this was my second year in attendance and aside from some minor glitches it did not disappoint; located in the Reef on Broadway and overtaking its entire second floor, gave for an interesting set of challenges and a couple of intriguing possibilities. Surrounded by a highly specialized set of attendees (professional art photographers), alongside the general populous it was interesting to see what the medium has achieved, mid curatorial chooses that ranged from museum type labels directly above security building signage and placing artwork salon style a little too close to the ceiling. But aside from the typical artist gallivanting along upset about the placement of their work inside the booth, or the gallery that dragged their entire selection straight from the walls of a current exhibit at a museum twenty minutes west, it was business as usual.
In what has been whispered to be the latest and last iteration of this particular convergence, aside from the weather and a deflating butt-plug managed to be as free spirited as we have loved it to be out there in Agoura Hills; decked out in art that is both confusing and intriguing while managing to be incredibly selfie worthy. Paramount I suppose was the fair where one could bring a puppy and strollers, it will be missed but certainly not forgotten. However, this year it managed to almost entirely achieve the general consensus amongst my colleagues; that in a city in which we get a choice of fairs within a single day, this was the one to skip. Which might go along with explaining why they are retiring.
Was a breath of fresh air this past weekend, because even with the weather playing horrid tricks on them (rain in Los Angeles is almost a myth at this point, yet it rained) it managed to be outstanding. Galleries from all over the world and a couple of great contenders from the city, united and brought about the only fair worthy of actual leisure time; whereas the others where all business this was a pleasant encounter (even in spite of the two galleries who decided to have the same piece within feet away from each other). The artworks, tents, guest, volunteers and booths where exactly what I am accustomed to encounter after having visited Untitled in Miami or Art Central in Hong Kong. Give me more of this, other fairs please learn.
LA Art Show
Was almost an exact replica of their 2015 version give or take a couple of great street artist and one or two murals not for sale. Hosted in the Convention Center, far away from an art space of relevance in the city and sharing a venue with a bridal convention. Dali and Warhol turned into a Frida, the lollipops got bigger and the galleries brought with them the art I had seen in Miami last month. The local galleries who where in attendance for the first time did sprinkle a hint of spice, but nothing that is not locally available all year long. So in a way I felt sadly like I had already seen it all, its not like the blue chip galleries even bother to come to this fair so is it really as big as the city makes it out to be?
In a location non to be disclosed by advertising gave way to the typical celebrity-filled, off the obvious art spaces, is this art even for sale and if so who is selling it? Type of event that turned into a party where there was not enough alcohol for the trendy art goers. So it did its own thing, but I’m not sure what that was exactly.
As an Angelino art fanatic I’m hopeful that the Art Book Fair, and maybe even Paris Photo in a couple of months will come to vindicate the art fair scene of the city. Because as far as the last couple of weeks go I am sadly disappointed (aside from ALAC). I don’t want to see again art that I witnessed last year; give me something new. This is Los Angeles; we have hundreds of art convergences every day. They cannot all be stagnant. If however this is going to be a recurring trend in the city and all art fairs will continue to underwhelm their attendees and I suggest we bunch them together in a single weekend, so we can at least rip them off like a band aid and get it over and done with quickly.