Not So Quiet on the Western Front: A conversation with Art Los Angeles Contemporary director, Tim Fleming
What is fair in Los Angeles, but the amalgam of worlds and communities that thrive and crash histories under almost perfect weather? We interviewed Tim Fleming, director of Art Los Angeles Contemporary art fair, who talks about the fair’s fourth year.
What is your take on the move of other fairs installing programming west in the past two years, including Paris Photo inaugurating later this year in April?
I really don’t have any comment on the other fairs, except that we are really excited about Paris Photo coming to Los Angeles. I think it really demonstrates that Los Angeles (I mean, we've known this) is a destination for art and the supportive artistic community that thrives here. We work (ALAC) really hard to partner with the local art community and at the same time, we’re constantly working on attracting international influence and people into the city for the weekend of our fair.
Since you are the only fair in Los Angeles that chooses to reinforce the local art community, how did your focus come about?
For a new art fair to be successful, it really needs to be a reflection of the participant and having lived in LA for not that long, I thought this would be an interesting process to have a closer relationship with the city’s art and culture. With the abundance of content in Los Angeles, it certainly has been an interesting few years.
Matthew Brandt, Big Bear, CA A3, chromogenic print soaked in Big Bear Lake water, 72 x 105 inches, 2012, unique; © Matthew Brandt and courtesy of M+B.
That brings me to my next question...: What are you doing to attract out of town collectors to the fair and introducing them to the local art scene?
In my belief, we put together a good roster of programming and performances to introduce some of the artistic landscape of the city to out of town collectors who are interested in the vibrant artistic community of Los Angeles. This year, we are working with the New York-based “The Rema Hort Mann Foundation”, who for the very first time will grant eight Los Angeles-based artists grants of $10,000 who will be announced during the fair.
Not to steam up another west vs. east debate, but since your fair promises a strong focus on the local art scene why host your fair in Santa Monica when most of the artists live on the east side? Is that just where the collectors live?
Certainly collectors live on the east and west side. It’s about the venue: how wonderful it is to work there; it's very customizable and accessible, as far as working with the space; and Santa Monica is an iconic destination. However, eastside would be interesting; if you find a venue, let me know!.
In another note, I think it’s great that Printed Matter’s LA Art Book Fair is going to be held at the MoCA Geffen.
Ryan Perez, Grey Bottoms #1, Archival print, 50.5 x 40.5 in, Edition of 3 + 2AP, 2013 ; Courtesy of Yautepec.
With Eugenio Lopez as a member of your host committee, how familiar are you with the contemporary art scene in Mexico?
Eugenio has been really supportive. In terms with our connection to Mexico, I would say it’s something we have been working on, for sure. I’m really excited to have two galleries from Mexico this year—Yautepec who is coming back and Curro y Poncho from Guadalajara. It’s a subject where we are developing future relationships—an ongoing process.
Now for some cheesy, but lighter questions.... How did you get into art?
I attended SAIC and it was there in Chicago, post art school and all the alternative art spaces that were happening at the time, early 2000’s. A lot of amazing artists came out of that era, like Sterling Ruby. I don’t consider myself “getting into art”, it was just always there.
Any last work of art that you've bought or already own in your collection that stands out?
There’s an artwork I bought at “The Stray Show”, an alternative art fair back in Chicago, a couple of years ago of the artist Ben Stone that hangs from the ceiling in my office.
Jon Pylypchuk, “It’s not you, it’s me, I will always love you dear”; courtesy Art Los Angeles Contemporary.
Is there anything that you would like to add?
We are really excited for our fourth year! The special installation at the entrance of artist Jon Pylypchuk and our other programming partnerships are helping us to make a great fourth year.
(Image on top: Johannes Girardoni, The (Dis)appearance of Everything, 2011, Resin, LEDs, Spectro-Sonic Refrequencer (V.2.0) / Installation view at the Palazzo Bembo, exhibition PERSONAL STRUCTURES, 54th Venice Biennale; © Photo: Johannes Girardoni ; courtesy of Nye + Brown.)