It poured Thursday for the gala opening of ART LA, the New Los Angeles International Contemporary Art Fair at the Civic Auditorium in Santa Monica (that’s a mouth full…). Truly a downpour. So it was puddle jumping in high heels and running for cover from the torrent that marked the start of the fair.
ART LA has been slow to peak; in fact, the Los Angeles art community has been pushing it up the mountain for a while. And yet – by all accounts – this year is a breakthrough. Light can be seen and kudos should go to Director, Tim Fleming, this year’s advisory committee, the Hammer, and lots of others as well as…
Last evening, Friday night, was the Chinatown float. Parties and openings and performances and red paper lanterns holding sway. A night of art buzz and art looking. Despite the broil of the campaigners, and the roil of the market, the art crowd was out in the crisp night – seeing and seen.
At The Happy Lion, the dark fantasies of Christof Mascher caught a lot of attention. Coming from Hannover, Germany, this is Mascher's first show in the US. From his exquisite small drawings to the large fantastical night scapes of mountains and mayhem, Mascher brings a Wagnerian touch to the Chinatown scene (with Tristan und Isolde and The Ring coming to LA's opera, Wagner seems to be setting the tone for at least part of our cultural experience.)
A few doors down at Peres Projects, Amie Dicke's installation, "Infinitely suffering thing," had a big crowd. Where Mascher's work suggests, Dicke's forces. I found myself wanting to turn away from the pig's legs and bagged woman but the impulse was overidden by the force of Dicke's imagery. Tthe empty chair with the trailing sugar cubes and the just-stepped-out-of black heels was with me this morning - haunting.
I moved with the crowd down the alley to Chung King Project. François Ghebaly's new space is corner-perfect, and the Dan Bayles work that has been on view since December 1 has been well recevied.
Across the way at Mary Goldman Gallery, I ran into Amir Fallah, whose camo-fort of Love and Prickly Tenderness, radiates against the back wall of the gallery. Welcome to the love healing center - we can all use a little of that.
And speaking of love, I experienced a strange mechanical kind of love (or at least a groping towards connection) with Meridith Pingree's sculptures at Fringe Exhibitions. Comprised of many motion sensors, these objects clumsily but delicately shift and reform in reaction to motion around them. A subtle kind of "you move me..."
From there, I wandered to Fifth Floor (a new gallery-boutique next to Fringe that was swamped on its first night ever...good luck to Robert!) Then I stopped in at Bonelli Contemporary, which has taken up new digs on Hill, took the tour of the Urquhart show at Jack Hanley, and gazed in at Mountain Bar. Last stop was David Salow Gallery, where I got this lovely pic of David's gallery glowing in the Chinatown float.
(Photos from top to bottom: The Happy Lion gallery through the windows; François Ghebaly in his office at Chung King Project; Amir Fallah at Mary GoldmanGallery; Meridith Pingree at Fringe Exhibitions; David Salow Gallery.)