There are a million brilliant reasons to love Los Angeles, and everyone has their own. Mine is the art. L.A. is a global center of street art, the birthplace of styles from Light and Space to pop surrealism, the Chicano and Black Art movements, and so much more. L.A. art represents a blend of cultures and ideas from across the Latin, Asian, African, indigenous and European spectrums and along the entire contemporary and art historical continuum. Our art schools are among the best in the world, and is it any wonder those students along with everyone else, arrive here in our little sunshine and noir paradise and never want to leave?
Artists from all over the world are drawn to living, working or at least showing here. There’s no question that the changing economy creates challenges for independent galleries (I’m looking at you, art fairs and Instagram), as well as the pressures of the high cost of living that come with development and population density. At the same time, L.A. remains the place to be as high-profile galleries from around the world move here or open outposts, and fresh new galleries and independent curatorial projects continue to proliferate and pop up all over the city.
Increasingly, our museums — both public and even the more patrician private institutions — reflect engaging and diverse programs and collecting in close dialogue with both the local and international art world. A robust and progressive Cultural Affairs Department, historically strong nonprofit and community arts centers, innovative artists collectives, a vigorous architectural consciousness, an enduring love of dance and performance art, and a regional approach extending to the districts and surrounding counties all contribute to the depth and scope of the art world we love, even when we’re mad at it sometimes.
This issue could not attempt a comprehensive accounting of the myriad ways in which our city embraces the arts. Rather, it is a snapshot of some key places and figures whose work is emblematic of the kind of unique arts energies and experiences the city has to offer right now. At the heart of it all, of course, are the artists themselves, so for the first time we introduce artist profiles into the issue — an exciting set of voices and perspectives from across the visual culture landscape we share. Many thanks for your kind attention and for taking this amazing journey with us. We hope to see you out there soon!