The 2014 Los Angeles Art Show
Every January for the past 19 years, art galleries from all over the world have schlepped selected works of art to Los Angeles for the LA Art Show. Other large art fairs here seem to come and go, but the venerable (19 years is venerable in L.A., trust me) LA Art Show keeps going strong.
I think it was even bigger and better this year.
Sadly, we seem to have lost the Affordable Art Fair which ran concurrently with the LA Art Show a couple years ago. It was easy to walk to it from the LA Art Show, but it’s nowhere to be seen again this year. I guess Los Angeles just can’t handle that much art. Still, I’m excited to see the LA Art Show doing so well. We need more people in this city taking an interest in and collecting art. The money is here, it’s just a question of education and taste. (Always a bit questionable in Tinseltown, admittedly.) This is the kind of show to draw them in.
I finally remembered to take an establishing shot of the exterior this time! It only took me 7 years. This is the LA Convention Center, where the LA Art Show has been held since 2009:
The show ran Thursday through Sunday, January 16-19, 2014. I went on Friday, and like the last couple years I took public transportation to avoid Los Angeles’ infamous traffic. It’s no faster than driving, but it is easier and safer. Plus, this year I discovered there was a whopping 50% discount on show admission if you showed your Metro (“Tap”) card, so I happily claimed my discount. I’d prefer free, but half off ain’t bad.
Weekdays at this show are pretty quiet, which is great for me (I want to see art, not crowds). It’s less good for the exhibitors who sit around twiddling their thumbs for two days. It does seem to pick up in the evenings, but the daylight hours on weekdays are somewhat wasted for the exhibitors. Sorry guys! I like it like this:
I found myself skimming through the traditional section pretty quickly, and didn’t really stop for pictures. One gallery I wanted to take photos in didn’t allow it (I always ask first), and the others didn’t have anything that grabbed me enough to stop. But I did see some good art by dead artists; it’s worth going to this show if you’re into that. There’s always a lot of early-California Impressionism here; I saw several Edgar Payne paintings.
Of the more contemporary work, which made up the bulk of the show, there were some real standouts for me this year.
My favorite was Leslie Smith Gallery. This was their first year in the LA Art Show, and they really started with a bang. They must have paid dearly for their prime location and extra-large booth space, but it sure looked good. As soon as I entered the hall I was drawn to this huge Australian Aboriginal painting on the outside of their booth:
Tjawina Porter Nampitjinpa (b. 1950), untitled, acrylic on canvas, 96 x 192 inches, price on request from Leslie Smith Gallery. Really, this painting should be in a museum.
detail (click to enlarge):
Inside the booth was more Aboriginal art, which they specialize in (along with other contemporary art). I enjoyed all the work they showed but since Aboriginal art is a passion of mine I just took pictures of that.
Emily Kame Kngwarreye (1910-1996), “Grass Seed Blue” and “Grass Seed Red,” acrylic on canvas, 73 x 35 inches each, $125,000 each at Leslie Smith Gallery.
Lorna Ward Napanangka (b. 1961), “Marrapinti,” acrylic on canvas, 60 x 48 inches, $17,500 at Leslie Smith Gallery.
Sarrita King (b. 1988), “Earth Circles,” acrylic on canvas, 59 x 17 inches, $4500 at Leslie Smith Gallery.
Barbara Weir (b. 1945), “Grass Seeds,” acrylic on canvas, 47 x 35 inches, $12,500 at Leslie Smith Gallery.
Proceeding around the hall (and around the globe) we now stop in Japan where I admired some painterly textile art:
Some more work I found interesting:
LA Roc (Angel Ortiz), several pieces; the largest: “Yellow Cat,” oil and marker on canvas, 36 x 36 inches, 2013, $14,500 at Lawrence Fine Art, East Hampton, New York. (Puzzlingly, this gallery also had numerous traditional old-school landscape paintings displayed in their booth. They admitted they don’t usually show such disparate work side-by-side in their gallery. I found it quite jarring.) LA Roc apparently worked closely with Keith Haring as a youngster and now his work so closely resembles Haring’s that the gallery feels compelled to introduce him as “not Keith Haring.” (wince)
For more horror vacui, we travel all the way to China:
Li Ying, “Happy,” acrylic on canvas, 79 x 55 inches, 2013, $28,000 shown in the group show “Hues of China.” Can I possibly express how much I love this person’s work? Here, take a closer look (words! heraldry! figures! stuff!):
Finally, let’s return to where we started, at that large open space between my two favorite booths in the show. Across from the fantastic display of Aboriginal art at Leslie Smith was the fun and intriguing display by ACE Gallery of Los Angeles. What I loved best about it was the experience of threading my way through the mazelike booth, turning a corner to discover yet another delightful vignette of odd and intriguing works. A couple of standouts for me were these:
Brian Wills, untitled, rayon thread and enamel on wood, 36 x 36 inches, no price indicated, shown by ACE Gallery, Los Angeles. Those colored lines are threads (of the ordinary sewing sort), stretched across the piece and affixed only to the sides of the board. They weave under and over each other near the center to make that translucent effect. Mesmerizing up close, graphic from a distance. My kind of stuff.
Two views of the same piece (which exhibited an exciting color shift as you moved around it): Gilsela Colon, “Rectangle Torque Glo-Pod (Iridescent Hot Red/Pink),” blow-molded acrylic, 31h x 65w x 12d inches, 2013, no price indicated, shown by ACE Gallery. It looks a lot deeper than 12 inches, doesn’t it? Strange and mysterious but oddly compelling.
Thank you, LA Art Show. Good show this year!