Posts filed under ‘LA 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!
I scaled back this year. I opted to attend only one big January art fair, the LA Art Show (under new management). I decided to skip Art LA Contemporary, held in Santa Monica the same weekend. The third big contender from last year, the Affordable Art Fair, skipped Los Angeles this year after last year’s splashy debut. Which just shows how fluid the art market really is. I wonder if it will come back, or if they’ve given up on Los Angeles altogether.
So, this year’s LA Art Show, held as usual in the downtown convention center, backed off its grandiose “3-in-1” claims from last year and was truly just one big show. There were internal groupings, much as in previous years, but it all flowed together.
As usual, I started in the traditional-art (i.e., dead artists) side of the hall and worked my way to the contemporary side. I snapped fewer shots this year. I’ll show you just a few select favorites.
On the traditional side, not much really grabbed me this year. It looked a lot like previous years. But I did find a few rare Pointillist paintings, a style close to my heart since I too paint with dots. Two Pointillist pieces I particularly liked were by Jac Martin-Ferrieres, shown by Kendall Fine Art from Atlanta, Georgia. Interesting to note that these pieces date from the 1920s, well after Pointillism’s original heyday in the late nineteenth century.
Jac Martin-Ferrieres, “Paris, la Seine, Notre Dame,” ca 1920, oil on canvas, 18×21.5 inches, price not shown (Kendall Fine Art).
Jac Martin-Ferrieres, “La baie de St Tropez,” 1921, oil on canvas, 14×17 inches, price not shown (Kendall Fine Art). This piece shows an appealing merger of the older Pointillism style with a modern 1920s-era aesthetic. I find it fascinating.
As a transition between traditional and contemporary, this large piece struck me as very Matisse-like, and quite appealing:
Damian Elwes, “Marrakesh,” 2001, acrylic on canvas, 48×72 inches, shown by Denenberg Fine Arts of West Hollywood, California. It can be yours for some $300,000 or $400,000. (Sorry, I don’t recall the exact figure posted.)
This brings us fully into the contemporary section. There was lots of Damien Hirst on this side, but I managed to mostly ignore it.
In a mood for simple shapes and large compositions, I found a few pieces I really enjoyed in the contemporary section. I liked the large-scale paintings exhibited by Winterowd Gallery of Santa Fe, NM. Even though the works are all by different artists, I thought they looked good together:
Below left, two pieces by Cecil Touchon caught my eye, “PDP 588” and “PDP 575,” collage on canvas, 66×44 inches each, $18,500 each, shown by Timothy Yarger Fine Art of Beverly Hills:
In a similar vein, here is Caio Fonseca, “Pietrasanta C11.55,” 2011, mixed media on canvas, 34×34 inches, $42,000, offered by Abby M. Taylor Fine Art of Greenwich, CT and New York:
Going even more monochromatic, this painting all in black uses only texture to masterfully create an image of waves:
Karen Gunderson, “Hudson Moment,” 2008, oil on linen, 40×40 inches, $20,000, offered by Waterhouse & Dodd of New York and London.
At the extreme far end of the show were clustered the galleries from Asia: primarily South Korea and China. The work shown here can be pretty varied, but I found a few pieces to like.
This Chinese artist assembles highly photorealistic images of children out of large patches of flat color in a large-scale pixelation or Pointillist approach. Naturally, it appealed to my Pointillist heart. Here’s a closeup:
Li Yueling, “The Future Ahead of Me,” oil on canvas, 120×150 cm, $15,800, offered by Nancy’s Gallery from Shanghai, China. The artist is a fellow from Beijing, according to the gallery representative I spoke with.
One of the biggest showcases of Chinese art was to be “China Fusion,” a large pavilion meant to show the work of several Chinese artists working in an east-meets-west aesthetic. However, when I was there (the first day of the 4-day show) there was little art to be seen in the pavilion, and most of it was on the floor. Clearly something had gone horribly wrong. Instead of “China Fusion” I called it “China Confusion.”
Late in the day I saw people scurrying back and forth, carrying paintings into the pavilion, and one fellow hurriedly hanging the works:
Someone there told me the shipment had gotten hung up in US Customs. “Maybe ship earlier next time,” I suggested brightly. I’m sure they greatly appreciated my sage advice.
One artist’s work, miraculously already hung and even labeled, caught my eye. Another nod to Pointillism:
Bai Hongwei, “Flower and Bird No. 2,” 2012, oil on canvas, 50×60 cm, $7000, shown in the China Fusion pavilion. I liked the subtle colors and the way the bird was picked out in an orderly grid against the looser background. A nice melding of East and West.
My last post covered the Los Angeles Fine Art Show (Jan 19-22, 2012). Now we turn our attention to the LA Art Show, the “other” show held simultaneously in the same location at the Convention Center. Confused? Never mind, it’s all art.
The LA Art Show, the subject of this post, was the modern & contemporary side. That means 20th and 21st century art. Much of it by artists who are still alive, some of them even quite young.
Let’s take a look:
I enjoyed perusing the work in this booth (below), Denis Bloch Fine Art of Beverly Hills. Some famous names in there. Did you spot the Damien Hirst spot painting? They seem to be everywhere these days.
Speaking of spots, I did see quite a few dots this year. Perhaps it’s a trend? You know I’m all about the dots, right? So I do tend to notice them.
Here’s an example from a Korean artist, who overlays accent dots on top of traditional eastern landscape paintings. The twist is that the dots follow the underlying shapes but are intentionally offset a little, like when a printer mis-registers the different colors:
Hyun-Jae Chang, untitled, 2011, mixed media on linen, 50×50 cm, $1,750. Offered by Chung Jark Gallery, Seoul, South Korea. Detail below, showing the offset dots.
I enjoyed this colorful arrangement of dot art by Justina Ko:
Justina Ko monoprints, 15×11 inches each, shown by ECF Art Centers, Los Angeles.
Although I don’t much care for political Chinese art, I succumbed to the allure of Chairman Mao decorated with an overlaid grid of dots (you can see the dots in the detail view below). Reminded me of some of my own paintings where I put a grid of dots over an underpainting (like this one).
Liu Sheng, “Chairman Mao,” 2011, acrylic on linen, 110×90 cm. Shown by Hao Space, Guangzhou, China. Detail below.
Perhaps it’s a stretch, but this next painting struck me as one big dot made up of many little dots (dabs of paint, really, but I’m not picky):
Richard Pousette-Dart, Radiance (untitled), ca 1965-67, oil on canvas, 30×40 inches, $350,000. Detail below.
Continuing with a circular theme, we have these delicate-looking constructions by Korean artist Hee-Kyung Kim:
Hee-Kyung Kim, “Bloom” series, 2011, Korean paper, 60×60 to 90×90 cm, starting at $2,800. Offered by Art Company Misoolsidae, Seoul, South Korea.
What goes with dots? Stripes, of course! There were several flavors of stripes, but I especially liked these big colorful ones:
Tim Bavington, “Susie Q” and “Susie Q (distortion),” 2011, 64×64 inches each, synthetic polymer on canvas, $20,000 each. Offered by Jonathan Novak Contemporary Art, Los Angeles. Is “synthetic polymer” a fancy way to say spraypaint?
From the linearity of stripes we move to rectilinear geometry, created by carving patterns through layers of multi-colored acrylic paint. Most striking (and most easily seen) from an angle:
I’ve seen Peters’ work before and I’m always intrigued by the idea of carving through all those layers, like an archeological dig.
I’ll wrap up with this piece, also rectangular, though it seems just about ready to jump out of its geometric outline:
Next stop: we venture across the street to the new Affordable Art Fair, which made its Los Angeles debut this year.
As I mentioned, this year the LA Art Show expanded. The promo billed it as “1 Weekend, 3 Art Shows!” referring to the LA Art Show, the Los Angeles Fine Art Show, and the LA IFPDA Fine Print Fair. All three were held in one big open area in the Los Angeles Convention Center, with a single entry fee.
I think calling it “3-shows-in-1” is overstating the case, but it certainly is a big show. The “three” shows all ran together, and most visitors had no idea which one they were in. There was some separation between the two big parts (the LA Art Show and the LA Fine Art Show) but it was a pretty subtle distinction. (The third show, the Fine Print Fair, was just a single row of booths. I hardly felt it counted as a whole show.)
The LA Art Show, the largest segment, featured the more contemporary cutting-edge work. The Fine Art Show, about half its size, showcased the more traditional work: old masters, Early California Impressionists (always big here), and contemporary realism. That’s where we’ll start.
Here’s a peek at the Fine Art Show:
I walked this side first.
It wasn’t until after the show was over, while I was looking through my photos, that I realized there was one major difference between the two parts of the show: the Fine Art Show, the more traditional side, was carpeted and had colored walls. The LA Art Show, the bigger and more contemporary side, had polished concrete floors and white walls. I didn’t notice the difference when I was there. Too busy looking at the art, I guess!
Pinkham’s painting really grabbed me as I entered the Fine Art Show (the traditional side). The artist, new to me, apparently lives right here in California, and, unlike most of the other artists shown in the “historic/traditional” side, is still living. I love his work and am quite pleased to learn about him.
Here’s another landscape painting that intrigued me as I walked by:
This artist is apparently the grandson of the famous Camille Pissarro. The gallery specializes in works by all the Pissarro family members. Does artistic talent run in families? They certainly think so!
This long landscape painting (which features an artistic “error” according to the curmudgeon/painter Stapleton Kearns, but which I think is perfectly fine) caught my eye, and pulled me into the booth where I spotted two more by the same artist. I enjoy his blend of eastern and western painting styles. Again, this artist was completely new to me, so I was glad to learn more about him. He led a hard life, trying unsuccessfully to balance earning money with making art, ultimately losing his marriage and taking his own life.
Here are some more landscapes I liked. What, more landscapes? Yes, a pattern emerges. Our intrepid reporter does like the landscapes, indeed she does.
OK, that’s enough landscapes. I take pictures of the paintings I like, without looking for anything specific. Apparently this year the stuff I liked on the traditional side of the show was… landscapes. Never fear, there were very few landscapes on the contemporary side! But that’s another post.
In closing, I owe a big thank-you to these guys:
M. S. Rau Antiques booth (from New Orleans, Louisiana)
They provided an online coupon to get into the show, for which I was most grateful! They also had an amazing booth which I wish I could show you. They were so busy talking to customers that I was unable to get permission to take photographs. They had a lot of beautiful pieces by old masters, including (most thrilling to me) an entire room full of 15th century Italian Renaissance altar paintings (like this one) with madonnas and gold leaf. I love that stuff!
That capped my visit to the Los Angeles Fine Art Show, the historic/traditional side. My next post will bring us firmly back into the 21st century with a look at the contemporary-art side, the LA Art Show.
January in Los Angeles means art fair season. Los Angeles may not be Miami (not even close) but in 2012 suddenly the big international art fairs in Los Angeles grew and multiplied. Are we witnessing a renaissance for art in America’s second-largest city, or a desperate last gasp before the LA art market goes belly-up? Time will tell.
Here’s the lineup:
The LA Art Show, held in the downtown Convention Center, got so big this year that it declared itself “three shows in one.” Overstating the case, but it certainly expanded. Official website.
Art LA Contemporary returns this year to Santa Monica. Too bad there’s no easy way to get between the downtown shows and this one, but it’s worth the trip anyway. Official website.
By the end of this weekend (Jan 19-22, 2012) I’ll have been to all of these shows. I will post about them all, with pictures and commentary.
Note: I am highly biased. I don’t love all art. There are a few genres and styles that I am drawn to, and many more that I don’t care for. My reporting will emphasize what I enjoyed in each show. The good news is every show had something I liked. That is what I’ll be sharing here.
As I post about each show, I’ll put the links here. (Or, you can subscribe to my blog and get the posts automatically! See the right sidebar for subscription options.)
I’ve done this before. You can read about my visits to previous years’ shows here:
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!
This year I once again made my annual pilgrimage to the Los Angeles Art Show. It’s nothing compared with Miami’s annual multi-fair extravaganza, but it’s all we get. Galleries come from near and far (from Los Angeles to as far away as South Korea) to show and sell their art.
It ran Thursday through Sunday, January 20-24, 2010. This was its second year in the cavernous Los Angeles Convention Center in downtown Los Angeles, a space I think works well for the show.
For me, getting downtown is a major trek, upwards of an hour of navigating some of LA’s worst freeways. And this year there was the added complication of rain. Not light rain, not even heavy rain. We’re talking the storm of the century (well, decade anyway): several days of massively-damaging flood-inducing accident-causing downpour. On Friday the weather finally broke a little (at least when I set out) so I toughed it out to get to the show. I am relieved to report that I made it there and back without any untoward incidents, and only a little gnashing of teeth.
Let’s take a look at the show!
My intention was to enjoy the show on a weekday when I could have the place to myself and see all the art unimpeded. I arrived early enough that I could take as long as I wanted, take breaks, and revisit the more interesting booths. I spent about 3 hours at the show. The place was very quiet when I arrived, but by the time I left it was getting busier. Annoying for me, but good news for the galleries.
This year I didn’t see nearly as much Chinese art as last year. The Koreans, however, were still much in evidence.
The layout was better this year than last. There weren’t any pinched corners like I noticed last year. And I really enjoyed the large open “lounge” area placed at the center of the show. It provided ample seating with an interesting assortment of sofas, chairs, benches and oversized ottomans. Even though the crowds were light, the lounge was well-used (mostly, it seemed, by exhibitors taking a break).
There was the usual wide variety of art from traditional to modern to contemporary. I didn’t notice many overarching themes this time, but one I did notice was what I’ll call the “woman-as-sex-object” theme. I don’t remember seeing so many paintings and sculptures of naked or scantily-clad provocatively-posed women in prior years. Maybe I just wasn’t paying attention before. Certainly sex sells, and it always has. It just seemed a little more crass than usual this year.
Only a few pieces really grabbed me this year. The work by Brazilian artist Mauro Soares (the 3 square paintings in the center of the above photo, shown by the Ward-Nasse Gallery from New York) excited me more for its technique than its subject matter. His technique is a variation on Pointillism using thin, angular brushstrokes instead of dots. The effect is shimmering and lush, just the way I like it. Here’s a detail view of the center painting:
Although a lot of abstract works featured stripes this year, I was more taken by paintings with an all-over organic patterned feel, like this one by Ghanaian artist Rikki Wemega-Kwawu (shown by African Encounters Gallery):
and these by Tony Abeyta (shown by Blue Rain Gallery of Santa Fe, NM):
For another opinion about the show, see this article by Christopher Knight of the LA Times. I disagree with him about the “highlights” of the show. I thought the bird-call video was tiresome and ridiculous. (I find most conceptual art tiresome and ridiculous, so that’s not much of a surprise.) However, I will admit to enjoying the silly but fun “galaxy of moss-covered spheres” installation at Gallery 825’s booth. Take note: you don’t often hear me say anything positive about installations!
If you go next year, be sure to dig around on the LA Art Show website for the discount coupon for admission. And be smarter than I was: actually bring the coupon to the show. Oh well, next year.