Art Fairs in Los Angeles
These are fairs that art galleries exhibit in. Like Art Basel Miami Beach, but smaller. Each exhibiting gallery shows selected works by its artists.
The Los Angeles Art Show
I visited the Los Angeles Art Show on Friday, when crowds were delightfully light. Of the 120-ish galleries exhibiting, some showed very traditional work (realism, landscapes, still-lifes, etc), some showed Impressionist work, and some showed contemporary work. More than a few showed work by dead artists, some of it by the biggest names (Picasso, Chagall, Miro, and Matisse, among others). Some of the work was highly abstract. Some was a little too conceptual for me, but I could still appreciate the skill and craftsmanship. I saw some lovely abstract encaustic work, which I’m always strongly attracted to, as well as layered works in resin, which has a similar effect on me. Lots of Early California work, which is always interesting to see. I even got to see one or two Pointillist works. But of course, I’m always happiest looking at work by living artists, and there was plenty of that too.
Here’s a wall of work by various artists from the George Billis Gallery, Los Angeles:
I particularly liked the freeway piece. Didn’t write down the artist’s name, sorry.
The showstopper for me was an abstract piece by elderly but still living artist Frank Taira, exhibited by the Sullivan-Goss Gallery (Santa Barbara, CA). The painting dates, I believe, from 1960. The complexity of the edges and shapes revealed by the myriad colorful brushstrokes kept me coming back, and finally I requested permission to photograph the piece. It’s about 5 feet wide:
I think you can see why I was so intrigued with this painting, given my penchant for bright colors, pointillism, and abstraction. This painting alone made the trip worth my while.
On Saturday I visited ArtLA. I was very disappointed.
Heavy crowds of twig-thin Hollywood-wannabees clogged the narrow aisles and obscured the art from those of us trying to look at the work. Loud noises were blasting through the echoing space, no doubt someone’s idea of an atmospheric soundscape, but it unfortunately sounded like an athsmatic wheezing into a microphone. I persevered. I was there to see the art, not “see and be seen”.
Unfortunately my perseverance was not paid off. Most of the art on display was very low-skill stuff. It looked like a bunch of last minute late-night art school projects. I’m sure it was meant to be highly conceptual, but mostly it came off as excruciatingly self-absorbed and/or very poorly executed. (Do I care which U.S. states some art-school graduate traveled to in the last 3 years? Are badly drawn cartoons of the presidential candidates necessary? Are goofy masks placed on the seats of childrens’ bicycles really that meaningful?)
One exception, and it really stood out for me, was Jonathon Runcio’s sculptural work exhibited by a San Francisco gallery called Ratio 3. This work really belonged over at the other show. It was well executed, balanced, intriguing, and an unusual use of materials. Oh, and colorful too. I always enjoy that.
This photo fails to show the 3-dimensionality of the work and its fascinating light-capturing qualities, but at least you can see the colors. Photo stolen shamelessly from the ArtLA catalog. I couldn’t bring myself to take photos at the actual event.