Hauser Wirth & Schimmel, the art supergroup composed of two parts international mega-gallery Hauser & Wirth and one part former MOCA chief curator Paul Schimmel, announced on Friday their new location in Los Angeles’ arts district, according to the Los Angeles Times. Schimmel’s merger with Hauser & Wirth was announced last May, almost a year after his controversial departure from MOCA after 22 years as curator there.
Located at 901 E. 3rd street, the massive, 100,000-square-foot complex of seven buildings includes a 19th century former flour mill and a 20,000-square-foot interior courtyard. It will open in January of next year with a group exhibition of L.A. gallery artists before closing for a yearlong overhaul. When it re-opens in 2016, it will offer “a new paradigm for the 21st century art gallery,” according to the organizers’ rather majestic statement, and will include spaces for both commercial and non-commercial exhibitions, artist studios, a bookstore, restaurant and bar.
As more commercial galleries branch out into “museum-type” shows, the lines between dealers and curators (and museum directors) become more fluid. This raises interesting ethical quandaries when, for instance, the non-profit wing of a for-profit gallery mounts an exhibition of one of their stable of artists, conferring upon them institutional acceptance and financial viability. Although always intertwined to some extent, this “new paradigm” aligns the twin poles of commerce and scholarship in a potentially problematic relationship. Throw a bookstore and a bar into this mix, and all you need is an ice rink and you’ve got yourself an arty shopping mall. (No word yet on when the Rick Owens store will go in.)
The gallery will join a handful of other art spaces in L.A.’s newest burgeoning gallery cluster, stretching from the arts district south along the L.A. River. Neighbors will include relative old-timers like The Box and more recent additions 356 Mission Road and art bookstore Ooga Booga’s second location. A couple of miles to the south, young upstarts Night Gallery, and The Mistake Room, as well as Culver City mainstay François Ghebaly’s sprawling new location make this area, full of warehouse spaces perfect for monumental work, a destination to watch.