Although it just launched in January, Venice-based Various Small Fires has already made a big splash in the local art community. In March, a controversial live painting and auction event by New York artists Debo Eilers and Kerstin Brätsch had art followers buzzing when a well-known collector's attempt to buy a large quantity of works, ostensibly for the purpose of flipping, was refused as part of the performance. Since then, founding director Esther Kim Varet has given New York art sensation Liz Magic Laser her first West Coast solo gallery exhibition and engaged in a number of local collaborations, including hosting an afternoon of performances to coincide with the Hammer Museum's Venice Beach Biennial. Expect to see more viral endeavors — performance-based and otherwise — from this promising new venue. 1212 Abbot Kinney Blvd., Venice. (310) 426-8040,

—Carol Cheh

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