By Catherine Wagley
By Channing Sargent
By L.A. Weekly critics
By Amanda Lewis
By Catherine Wagley
By Carol Cheh
By Keegan Hamilton
By Bill Raden
The last time I touched base with the ECF Art Center, the prognosis was not good. It had missed the boat on the high-profile community integration and Art World penetration exemplified by Creative Growth (and San Francisco’s similarly savvy Creativity Explored); its onetime corporate exhibition partnerships had evaporated; and its longtime facility on MLK Boulevard was about to be sold out from under the center. Rumor was, ECF would discontinue its presence here altogether, folding the L.A. center into its San Pedro operations.
A little more than a year had passed, when I heard that not only was the studio going strong, but the agency was sponsoring a bona fide white-cube showroom downtown, which would present the work of ECF clients on equal footing with emerging artists of a more conventional background. ECF’s downtown gallery, which opened its doors in November, is the brainchild of new program manager Allen Terrell.
Given the current market conditions, it might seem like the worst timing ever, yet the opening show did very well in terms of sales (which aren’t even really that big an issue, since ECF and similar programs are underwritten by the state). The consumer public has been slower to respond to Pearsall, whose closing reception is scheduled to coincide with the February 12 Downtown Art Walk (though the show will be on view through February 26).
“Larry’s work isn’t so mainstream,” notes Terrell. “When I came on, I saw Larry’s work and I said, ‘This is the one. This is the art star.’ And people thought I was nuts. I think there’s a group that would eat it up, but we haven’t had the ability to find that group. That’s my goal for our clients, to give them opportunities outside the scope of the [ECF] art center.”
What more could you want from a dealer? I’m not convinced that stooping to the level of The Art World pays the proper homage to the unbridled creativity at play in the ECF studios, but Pearsall’s work speaks for itself loud and clear. And until the rest of the world starts painting as if God were holding a gun to its head, that’ll have to do.