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The buzz around the Los Angeles art scene is ever-growing. Indeed, California can now be considered an international cultural and art market center due, among other factors, to an excess of liquidity generated by the technology sector up North and the Hollywood industry fueling the art world. It’s also thanks to new cultural institutions, like the unmissable Broad or Marciano Foundation. The arrival of Frieze Los Angeles, opening next week, will hopefully solidify this evolution.
Top-tier galleries, among them Hauser & Wirth, Matthew Marks and Sprüth Mager, opened LA branches a few years ago. So did Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, who hired Mary-Leigh Cherry to run its Californian operations starting in September. The latter shared her excitement and enthusiasm to show the cutting-edge program of this New York gallery to the Los Angeles public.
Located in the trendy Downtown neighbourhood, Hauser & Wirth’s huge space shows some historical artists such as Louise Bourgeois or Piero Manzoni but is also supporting L.A.-based artists through Mark Bradford, star of the Venice Biennale in 2017; as well as Larry Bell, one of the figure of the Californian movement Light and Space; the legendary Mike Kelley; and the provocative and influential Paul McCarthy.
The Los Angeles scene is also being promoted outside of California, and abroad. The abstract painter, Mary Corse, member of the Californian Light and Space movement of the ‘60s, is currently on view at The Whitney in New York. Los Angeles can also count on the dynamism of their young generation of curators. Martha Kirzenbaum, French art critic and writer based both in Paris and Los Angeles, appointed curator for the French Pavilion of the 58th Venice Biennale, has developed numerous exchanges and events to exhibit the Californian scene (for instance with the exhibition “La Fin de la Nuit” at the Palais de Tokyo in Paris).
On the commercial side, Gagosian is actively promoting its Californian artists Jennifer Guidi, Alex Israel, Mary Weatherford, and Jonas Wood, especially in Hong Kong, where the Asian public seems to be very receptive.
As a consequence, and considering the strong Asian community in California, more and more Asian collectors or gallerists are being attracted by this city. Budi Tek, a prominent collector, founder of the Yuz Museum in Shanghai, announced in 2018 a landmark collaboration with the LACMA to propose a joint artistic program. Huang Liaoyuan, owner of the well-respected gallery Beijing Art Now in China, collector, and a producer, started the gallery Make Room in Chinatown showing emerging art.
And for artists, the city offers an intense urbanized environment with a wild natural landscape, undeniably a favorable and fruitful context for creativity. The multimedia-artist Brian Bress captures the art world’s attention with his interweaving of painting, drawing, animation, video and performance, all of that being recorded in his shooting space located in East Los Angeles.
From a studio in West Hollywood, David Allan Peters is endlessly carving into layers of acrylic on wood panels. The artist is producing psychedelic, explosive, and colorful works, where nature has been replaced by highways and endless garages.
And remember, in 1966, Ed Ruscha photographing every house on the Sunset Strip while driving down this mythical boulevard. Or in 1978, Lita Albuquerque, the renowned installation and environmental artist, creating the Malibu Line, a trench dug in a Malibu cliff filled with cobalt pigment. This unique natural landscape certainly favored her visual language questioning the place of humanity in the enormity of infinite space.
Five decades of creation, artistic movements, a buoyant art scene, and strong cultural heritage make the City of Stars ready to go completely global.