A look at the 2011 Los Angeles Art Show
In January, two large commercial* art shows took place in Los Angeles: the LA Art Show and Art Los Angeles Contemporary. I visited both, and will share some of my snapshots and thoughts here. First up: the LA Art Show, the more traditional of the two.
The LA Art Show brings together galleries from all over the world, showing a broad range of visual art from old masters to the work of living artists. This year, Joan Miro was much in evidence, along with Chagall and Picasso (the usual suspects of the “old guard”). There were also plenty of California Impressionists as usual.
More interesting to me was the work of contemporary, living artists. We got to meet one such artist in person: Tony Abeyta. We enjoyed viewing several of his works on display in Blue Rain Gallery’s booth:
Here he is standing in front of one of his paintings:
The painting is “Animal Tamer,” 68×54 inches, priced $16,500 and offered through the Blue Rain Gallery of Santa Fe, New Mexico.
If that’s too much for you, they do offer more modestly priced works of his, like this one:
We visited the show on a weekday, which allowed us to enjoy the art without the crowding typical on the weekend. It also allowed me to snap shots of the show without too many bodies in the way. But it was by no means empty.
There’s an interesting gradient in the art on display from one end of the exhibit hall to the other. At the far left side the galleries show old masters and California Impressionists (collectively I call ’em the “dead artists.” It’s a widely acknowledged fact amongst artists that the best way to increase the price of your art is to die.). To the far right you’ll find excruciatingly avant-garde conceptual works, with a heavy emphasis on contemporary works from China and Korea (most of which tend to be heavily political). Somewhere down the middle is where I’m at my happiest, amongst the works that try neither to shock nor soothe excessively, but which I find visually intriguing and offer nuanced messages.
At the more traditional end, I found some Pointillist pieces that I liked, by artists I’d never heard of. I’m rather fond of Pointillism, since my own paintings draw heavily on that tradition. I’m always excited to learn about other artists who painted in the Pointillist style. (Yes, they’re always dead artists. Sigh.)
Sven Birger Sandzen (1871-1954), “Untitled (Moonrise)” c. 1914, oil on canvas, 12×16 inches. Offered by David Cook Galleries of Denver, Colorado. Price not posted.
Millard Sheets (1907-1989), “Wild Horses” c. 1970, watercolor, 22×24 inches, $28,000 offered by The Redfern Gallery, Laguna Beach, California. As my friend said, “Pointillism and ponies,” a combination guaranteed to grab my attention!
Some of the more contemporary work that I found exciting included angular, geometric paintings by Siddharth Parasnis:
Siddharth Parasnis, “Hometown #25,” 2010, oil on canvas, 48×48 inches, $11,000 offered by Sue Greenwood Fine Art of Laguna Beach, California. (The gallery’s website appears to be down.)
And I enjoyed this intriguing construction of thread and paint, which looks suspiciously like curly black hair (but I was told it’s definitely not hair):
Next up: Art Los Angeles Contemporary.
*I’m calling these shows “commercial” to distinguish between them and the kinds of art shows I typically do where individual artists represent themselves. The two types of shows occupy very different spheres of the art world. You’d be hard pressed to find someone in one of the big commercial shows who even is aware that our little street shows exist!