The inaugural Frieze Los Angeles Fair was a big hit. The venue in a tent in the backlot of the Paramount Studios in Hollywood provided an awesome site for the approximate 70 plus galleries. This is about half the number of galleries in previous Frieze art fairs in London and in New York. The layout and spacing of the booths provided easy access to view the art. It was enjoyable to experience a smaller scale art fair. Some of the highlights included Hauser & Wirth’s Mike Kelly’s installation, “Unisex Love Nest” 1999, Salon 94’s Gaetano Pesce’s Pratt chair, Doug Aitken at 303 Gallery, Tino Sehgal at Marian Goodman, Tracey Emin drawings and sculpture at White Cube, Robert Longo at Ropac, Shirazeh Houshiary, Do Ho Suh at Lehman Maupin and Mary Weatherford at Gagosian.
The Felix Art Fair in the Roosevelt Hotel, masterminded by collector Dean Valentine, featured more affordable art works and was free to the public. It ran into a problem with the Fire Marshall on the opening afternoon as they had to limit the number of people going up to the 11th floor.
Ai Wei Wei’s “Life Cycle’s” installation at the Marciano Foundation, founded by Maurice Marciano, the co-founder of Guess was extraordinary. This is Ai Wei Wei’s first project in LA. I first saw it installed in the Turbine Hall at the Tate Modern during the Frieze Art Fair in 2010. It is a sensational work of art and is composed of 49 tons of handmade porcelain sunflower seeds and made by 1,600 artists. Life Cycle is composed of a bamboo boat containing figures with a likeness of the animals of the Chinese Zodiac. This entirely bamboo construction was created using traditional kite-making techniques and is Ai’s response to the global refugee crisis. The collection also included works by California artists: Larry Bell, John Baldessari, Ed Ruscha and Sterling Ruby.
Jeffrey Deitch’s newly opened gallery consisting of 15,000 square feet, designed by Frank Gehry in Hollywood is monumental. The exhibition entitled “People” featured a wide array of sculpture ranging from John Ahearn’s “Noel and Blondie at 100th Street”, Duane Hanson’s “Cheerleader” to Evan Holloway’s “13 Vertical” and Josh Kline’s, “Keep the Change”, Austin Lee’s “Walk”, Kiki Smith’s “Untitled” Nick Cave’s “Soundsuit and David Alrmedj’s “Pyramid”.
Spruth Magers gallery across from LACMA featured an exhibition entitled “Damnation”, featuring Sterling Ruby’s video STATE. It is a single channel video projection of aerial views of 35 adult state prisons in the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. The video footage alternates from unfolding natural landscapes to the fences, yards and buildings of the prison grounds.
Tonya Bonakdar gallery presented the first solo show in LA of Tomas Saraceno, an Argentinian artist, who lives and works in Berlin. This follows his highly acclaimed presentation of “On Air” at Palais de Tokyo in Paris. His “Cloud Cities” project was featured on the rooftop of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 2012. In one of the galleries, there are three spider webs presented in three-dimensions, encased in glass, lit with spots. The fragility of the spider webs reminds the viewer of the delicateness of nature and life.
Downtown LA’s Hauser & Wirth gallery has evolved into a destination cultural hub. The huge outdoor space now boasts a vegetable garden and chicken coop as well as a thriving restaurant, book shop and stores. We were invited to visit the private viewing space where Brazilian furniture, curated by dealer Ulysses de Santi, was arranged amidst works by Larry Bell, Louise Bourgeois and Luchida Hurtado. The giant Calder sculptures added a majestic touch to the courtyard!
David Kordansky gallery hosted a private tour of Fred Eversley’s current exhibition entitled “Chromospheres”, which are his iconic parabolic sculptures. The artist, a native New Yorker, now living in Venice Beach spoke about his fascination with energy, motion, space, time and light.
Ryan Heffington, choreographed a performance at his home, in the former Fred Astaire Dance Studio in the Hollywood Hills. Four dancers performed hosted by “Performance Space New York”. It was an intimate gathering of artists and friends and a totally stunning work of art!
The opening of “Dreamweavers” curated by Nicola Vassell at the UTA Artist Space in Beverly Hills featured artists from the late Josh Roth’s collection, the founder of UTA Artist Space and musician, producer “Swiss Beatz”. Outstanding works included Carrie Mae Weems, Arthur Jafa, Pope. L, Kehinde Wiley, Kerry James Marshall and David Hammons.
Perrotin gallery hosted a cocktail reception at the Eveleigh on Sunset Boulevard for Ivan Argote, a Bogota born artist who is based in Paris. He is participating in the Desert X 2019 Project in the Coachella Valley (CA). His interactive sculpture “A Point of View” is installed at the Salton Sea.
Valentine’s Day ended with Jay Joplin, the Director of White Cube and Andre Balazs’ party at the Chateau Marmont on Sunset Boulevard. It was a fun filled evening with David Hockney in attendance.
Larry Bell’s studio visit in Venice Beach was hosted by Graham Steele, the Director of Hauser & Wirth LA. The artist spoke about his practice, which began in 1959. He was a student of Robert Irwin and emerged from the LA art scene in the 1960’s along with Frank Stella and Donald Judd. His life’s work extends from painting and works on paper to glass sculptures and furniture design. He lives and works in Venice Beach and Taos, New Mexico. He commutes every three weeks in the company of his dog and drives 16 hours between his two studios.
David Hockney’s exhibition at L.A. Louver in Venice “Something New in Painting (and Photography) [and even Printing]…continued, features “mural-sized photographic drawings, large-scale multi-canvas paintings, and portrait drawings on canvas. Using digital composite photography renderings Hockney has created two immersive murals of his studio in Los Angeles complete with friends, studio assistants, and even a self portrait.”