Best Gallery at an Art Store - 2011
Downtown's Raw Materials, purveyor of art supplies and provider of ancillary production and presentation services, takes a unique approach to the art of window-dressing. It's not unusual for an art store to put pictures on its walls, be they framed posters or original work by loyal customers. And it makes sense that Raw Materials' owners would know a lot of local artists, being in the business they're in and being neighborhood residents themselves, so it also makes sense they'd get into the exhibition game. But what sets Raw Materials apart is the unusually high caliber of the art the gallery is hanging. Its WindowBox Gallery is just what it sounds like — an exhibition space visible from the street — dedicated to solo exhibitions by top-notch artists, most with roots in downtown L.A. Among the inaugural shows were Pascual Sisto's conceptualist neon sculpture (particularly arresting viewed from the outside at night), Hugh Holland's breezy photographs of a bygone time when skaters ruled (for which the store also hosted a book signing), and Lucas Jackson's intense photographs of that unpronounceable Icelandic volcano that blew up. What the WindowBox lacks in floor and wall space, it makes up for in oomph — adding creative inspiration to the growing list of services Raw Materials offers. 436 S. Main St., dwntwn. (213) 627-7223, rawmaterialsla.com.
—Shana Nys Dambrot