I'm back!! It's been a long and eventful summer, and I look forward to the new gallery season here in L.A. Since the beginning of the last year's season, the art world is still feeling the effects of the recession. Some galleries have closed. I am sad that Sea and Space Explorations has closed. Since 2007, the gallery space was a laboratory of new and exciting art from some of the most talented and emerging artist in the L.A. area. In an email announcing the closing, Lara Bank, the former founder and director of Sea and Space Exploration stated "We need more artist defined places in Los Angeles, but all uniquely their own, defined by the needs of individuals. Imagine an equal number of situations like this to commercially driven spaces or museums, developed through independent and non-profits funds. What if we could learn to respect projects based on the quality of work rather than marketability or the degree of celebrity involved. If artists are encouraged to put their money and time (no matter the amount) into projects developing opportunities for others guided by their ideals, then things could change. The competitiveness that defines the contemporary artists' profession could decline. Opportunities could be mutually developed and exchanged. The quality of work that we see publicly would improve."
I hope that Lara's idea leads to more quality and a reinvigorated L.A. art scene. For now, L.A. will have to continue to support the art institutions that are still here. During the last year, China Art Objects moved from Chinatown to Culver City, thus continuing the gallery exodus from Chinatown to Culver City. However, Chinatown has had some new galleries open recently, including Pepin Moore, Human Resources. (Please go see Gustavo Arrellano's solo show at Human Resources, an excellent show.) and Actual Size (go see Katie Herzog's new paintings). Jeffery Deitch was appointed director of the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA). His first show, a retrospective of actor Dennis Hopper's art work, has brought fierce criticism and concern over the potential courtship and entanglement into entertainment. After the showing of actor James Franco's video at Pacific Design Center's MOCA space, one art critic declared that MOCA was dead in her eyes. Although I understand and agree with the criticism of Jeffery Deitch and what he has done so far, I am not ready to write off MOCA yet. I do believe that the jury is still out on MOCA, and I will continue to wait and see what happens. MOCA will be showing their permanent collection of emerging and established Los Angeles artists (LACMA did you hear this).
Meanwhile, LACMA continues to stay strong and show compelling and relevant shows. LACMA has shown the John Baldassari retrospective, a new perspective on the contribution of August Renoir to the modernism of early 20th Century art, and recent projects from Jason Rhodes and Fallen Fruit. My only question of LACMA is when will they show the rest of their collection of contemporary art, including Michael C. McMillen's Prime Meridian. I understand the dominance of Eli Broad, but LACMA needs a revolt and to really make a statement in contemporary art. Contemporary art is more that just Jeff Koons. I am looking forward to seeing the new Resnick Pavillion and the exhibitions that will be showing.
At the Hammer, where MOCA and LACMA left off, the Hammer has filled in the gap with excellent shows. Within the last year the Hammer has shown exhibits by Rachel Whitereaad, Luisa Lambri (a show that originally going to be at MOCA), Jonas Wood, Larry Johnson, and a group show of Los Angeles artist featuring Lynn Foulkes and Charles White. The Hammer will be showing in the next few months shows by My Barbarian, Eva Hesse, and a project by Frances Stark. The Hammer has emerged from a musty, mediocre institution which a critic referred to as "a tomb" to the premiere museum of contemporary art in Los Angeles.
In October, the California Biennial will be opening at the Orange County Museum of Art. I am looking forward to this exhibit. The biennial has never failed to impress me. This blog will be covering the show and doing interviews with artists and updates from the biennial.
2010 -2011 will be another challenging year and in challenging times for the art world here in Los Angeles. I am always amazed at the resiliency and creativity that has made Los Angeles a world class city of culture, especially in the visual arts. I will continue to give you views and insights into the art world here in Los Angeles and the world.