Los Angeles in January is as pleasant as it gets. The forecast for tomorrow is 85 degrees and sunny. The aesthetic forecast for the next couple of weeks is an artistic tsunami of art fairs spanning quite a range of quality and quantity. Here then a shoot from the hip synopsis of the pop up art malls in our future for the next two weeks.
LA Art Show
Held at the convention center, this is a giant fair. As is often the case, larger doesn’t necessarily mean better. What you get when you attend this fair is a smattering of everything that can be considered art. Yes, there are horrendous examples of kitsch and unfathomably bad stuff like giant fortune cookies in garish colors. But here’s what boggles the mind: there’s always something really, I mean really really good. Paul Thiebaud from San Francisco brings a delicious Diebenkorn work on paper and your day is made. Or you discover a painter using street art style stencils to create tromp d’oille building facades on metal and you go into a mini rapture.
You gotta dig long and hard but if you have the stamina, this is a good show.
LA Art Show, January 15th-19th 2014, LA Convention Center/South Hall J and K
The 29th Annual IFPDA Los Angeles Fine Print Fair
Several years back the International Fine Print Dealer Association held their own fair on the third floor of the old May Company Building adjacent to LACMA. With ten or twelve participants it was glorious and most of all intimate. Several years ago the IFPDA threw in with the LA art show and now have a section in the greater caverns of the convention center. Last year I found an amazing dry point selfie by Max Beckmann. And the year before a super embossed litho by Hundertwasser. These print dealers know their stuff and have a connoisseurship that’s mostly wasted on the fair goers. Great material and prices that are often shockingly reasonable.
The 29th Annual IFPDA Los Angeles Fine Print Fair, LA Convention Center/South Hall J and K, January 16th through 19th, 2014
Photo LA has moved downtown. Now located in the LA Mart, Photo LA is best considered a lens based show with videos and digital now saturating the “photo” landscape of fine art. The fair is the oldest of the ones mentioned in this article. There’s a lot of gee wiz wizardry on display that resonate like a Henny Youngman joke, that is to say they don’t. But the best moments are when you stumble on a Ruth Bernhard print of two nude women, one black and one white. You pause a moment and you realize that this is radical because it was, and for that matter, still is, feminist, racially charged and lesbian…and this from 1962. A moment like this makes a lot of the current work seem sophomoric at best, infantile at worst.
Photo LA, January 16th-19th, 2014, L.A. Mart
Classic Photography Fair
Several years ago, a number of classic Photography dealers left their expected perch of Photo LA and formed a splinter fair now called Classic Photography fair. In isolation, the amazing work is wonderful to behold but strangely stodgy. Maybe seeing the historically relevant images of yesteryear in context of contemporary work makes for a livier dialogue. But quality is abundant and these dealers are passionate, intelligent and sophisticated. Visit Tom Gitterman for a first rate selection and a great chat on a host of topics.
Classic Photography Fair, January 18th and 19th, Bonham’s Auction house
Printed Matter’s LA Art Book Fair
Now in its second year, Printed Matter’s LA Art Book Fair is like comic com for the truly art fanatic. Rare monographs rub elbows with self-published zines of all manner of visuals. You can find manifestos and satire. Held at the Geffen annex of MOCA this fair requires time and patience. The more you look the more you’ll find.
Printed Matter’s LA Art Book Fair, January 31st through February 2nd, 2014, The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA
Art Los Angeles Contemporary
Art Los Angeles Contemporary, now in its fifth year, is what many believe to be the most Avant-garde of the fairs. It certainly is one of the most pretentious. The word Pretentious has at its root pretend and there are all manner of posers both in the booths and the aisles. But then again where would the art world be without the affected air of importance and competition. Angles, Marc Selwyn, Various Small Fires, 1301PE, Christopher Grimes and M+B are all local LA galleries that mount wonderful selections at this fair. Quint Contemporary and Luis de Jesus are regrettably absent this year. It’s fun and while inconsistent, it strives to be relevant and harder edge than anything else in this lineup. Then again hard edge isn’t always pleasant.
Art Los Angeles Contemporary, Jan 30th-Feb 2nd, 2014, Barker Hanger
Pace yourselves. Drink plenty of water. Art Fairs are not for the faint of heart.
-Mario M. Muller, Los Angeles, January 14th, 2014
also by Mario M. Muller
- Mid-Century Modern at LAMA Auction House, Van Nuys - February 20th, 2014
- Robert Therrien at Gagosian, Beverly Hills - January 22nd, 2014
- Roy Dowell at Various Small Fires - October 14th, 2013
- Leon Benn at Carter & Citizen - September 13th, 2013
- Five Exhibitions to anticipate in the up coming season - September 4th, 2013