On Western Ave., between Maplewood and Melrose, around the intersection of Western and Santa Monica Blvd., and with a quick dip over to Fountain Ave., a new, buzzed-about gallery district has sprouted—and you didn’t even know you needed it. “Melrose Hill,” proclaims those fetching, fancy-folksy, blue and white post signs; and it’s on Google Maps now too, so it must be real, right? Media coverage about the block has ramped up in recent weeks, and both local and national art world people regard this Chelsea-fication process with a mix of surprise and curiosity about how it all happened, genuine excitement tinged with wariness as to the influx of east coast galleries to this neighborhood specifically and the city in general, and empathy for the area’s working class residents.

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Brittany Fanning at The Lodge

But when it comes to the art actually on view in Melrose Hill, you can expect a hefty and fairly eclectic array of first-rate programs, distributed across now-open renovated spaces and a still-in-progress massive new build by international mega-gallery David Zwirner; the tucked away intimacy of long-standing area enterprise The Lodge; the gorgeously appointed airy white boxes of L.A.-based Morán Morán, Sebastian Gladstone, and Anat Ebgi and of easterly arrivals Harkawik, James Fuentes, Clearing, SHRINE, and Sargent’s Daughters; and the lofty, long-established three-story HQ of unmissable independent art and elevated design emporium UNREPD.

Sargents Daughters August Alex Anderson

Alex Anderson at Sargent’s Daughters

Heads up before you visit, the East Coast contingent has largely brought along its rather appealing custom of going on summer break in August, so a few of these spaces are closed until their early/mid-September exhibitions—but most remain open, and there’s plenty to see right now, from lively group shows to thoughtful solo presentations. Here’s a quick breakdown of where to go and what’s on—though with more galleries sure to pop up this year and next, it seems like it’ll be a long time before we’re over the Melrose Hill.

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Self Portrait On Bed, by Tatyana Fazlalizadeh, installation view at UNREPD / Pop Up Home (Photo: Sophie Andreassend, Creative Director Maddy Pease)


624 N. Western Ave.

UNREPD and its partner Pop Up Home have a unique approach to showing contemporary art and design, with new visual artists’ works in painting, photography, ceramics, and mixed media rotating into the lofty space, as well as full-scale solo shows both there and at their downtown satellite at Frank Gehry’s 100 Grand Ave. Across the intersecting home objects and fine art spheres, UNREPD proceeds with a deep commitment to, as Co-Founder Sarah Mantilla Griffin tells L.A. Weekly, “creating an artistic community and celebrating truly incredible, rarely-before-seen events. We are happy to serve as a platform for emerging artists doing museum-quality work.”

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Sarah Mantilla Griffin and Tricia Benitez Beanum with Corey Pemberton’s “Next lifetime” at UNREPD / Pop Up Home (Photo: Tricia Beanum)

The curatorial rotations see new work arriving and vignettes with furniture and design objects being created week to week. For example recent collections from painter Leonard Maiden, printmaker Karen J. Revis, and painter Mozart Bautista have just taken their place among perennially fresh work by UNREPD’s best-selling artists, like Corey Pemberton, Edwin Marcelin, Bryce Batts, K’era Morgan, and Sachiko Bradley. “Next month we’ll add work by sculptor Sandra Lapage to the showroom,” says Griffin.

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Sandra Lapage, Heliacal 2 at UNREPD

“We first moved to Melrose Hill because we fell in love with the 1920s architecture of the buildings and felt that the juxtaposition with our contemporary art and postmodern furniture was perfect for the story we wanted to tell,” Griffin says. “Additionally, the neighborhood felt like New York, a city that [Co-Founder and owner of Pop Up Home] Tricia [Benitez Beanum] and I both love. When we first looked at the space, they were playing around with the name and had just landed on Melrose Hill.” The only gallery on their block at that time was Morán Morán, with The Lodge a bit further up by Santa Monica Blvd.

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Mozart Bautista at UNREPD

“We had a huge opening party for Corey Pemberton’s first West Coast solo show (Hollywood Reporter covered it) in August of 2021, which brought 800 tastemakers to the block and really set the tone for what was to come,” Griffin continues. “It was an incredibly diverse crowd, including celebrities, high-profile collectors, artists, designers, and other creatives and enthusiasts of all ages, genders, and ethnic backgrounds. We finished renovations on our flagship showroom and opened in May 2023 with another well-attended opening celebration. We’re glad Melrose Hill has hit a lot more radars this year and are grateful to have been a core piece of the initial project.”

NEXT: two more solo exhibitions at their downtown space this year: Valincy-Jean Patelli in September, and Moncho 1929 in November. They are also planning three new solo shows for the Melrose Hill space in 2024. unrepd.com

Moran Moran cameron clayborn Granny Big Shot Jessie 2023 burlap dyed fabric dyed wax faux pearl plaster resin wire 69 1 2 x 49 1 4 x 6 1 4 inches

cameron clayborn: Granny (Big Shot, Jessie), 2023, burlap, dyed fabric, dyed wax, faux pearl, plaster, resin, wire, 69.5 x 49.25 x 6.25 inches (Courtesy Morán Morán)

Morán Morán

641 N. Western Ave.

NOW: cameron clayborn: Private Property is on view through August 25. Sculptural works with an expansive sense of materials and an evocation of renovation in their arrayment, come together across hard, soft, organic, and industrial in assemblage work excavating memories of a lost family home. A brick wall built by the artist’s grandfather’s hands becomes a physical motif and conceptual armature for works of sewn photography, symbolic reliquaries, and half-remembered family lore, augmented with dye, wax, and artifacts of identity and studio process.

Moran Moran Robin F. Williams Stepford Carrie 2023 Pastel and colored pencil on paper 36 x 42 inches 91.4 x 106.7 cm Courtesy of Robin F. Williams and P·P·O·W New York Photo JSP Art Photography

Robin F. Williams: Stepford Carrie, 2023, Pastel and colored pencil on paper 36 x 42 inches (Courtesy of Robin F. Williams and P·P·O·W, New York, Photo: JSP Art Photography. At Morán Morán)

NEXT: This American Life opens September 9 – October 28. A group exhibition featuring work by a stellar line-up of artists still being finalized, geared to form a mediation on stories, “how they are conjured, how they are communicated, and how they relate to lived experience. These accounts are freighted in race, in gender, and in sexuality. It is also about the relationship between contemporary art and its reframing of the imagery of American popular culture. While negotiating the skewed protocols of media, the loops and networks of distribution, this constellation of artworks insist upon the intimacy and proliferation of artistic experimentation.” moranmorangallery.com.

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Rose Wylie: Spindle and Cover Girl, 2022. (Photo by Jack Hems. Courtesy of David Zwirner Gallery)

David Zwirner

612 N. Western Ave.

NEXT: Rose Wylie: CLOSE, not too close, September 8 – October 14. A group of new large-scale paintings and related drawings by the venerable British artist, featuring her 17th-century home and beloved garden, and other elements drawn from her daily life and surroundings— forming an unconventional self-portrait. Known for her uniquely recognizable, colorful, and exuberant compositions that appear simplistic, but are full of wittily observed and subtly sophisticated meditations on the nature of visual representation itself. Working in both single- and multi-panel formats, she regularly juxtaposes apparently disparate imagery, creating visual rhymes and resonances that coalesce into a unified composition. davidzwirner.com

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Terri Friedman Sargent’s Daughters

Sargent’s Daughters

538 N. Western Ave.

NOW: The group show Lover’s Eye is on view through August 19. Historically, the Lover’s Eye was just what it purports—a miniature painting of an eye, presented as a secret token of affection, in a gesture of high romance that was not at all as creepy as it sounds. For this group show, ten artists working in painting, textile, sculpture, and inventive mixed media all channel the energy of ornaments of whispered desire, from the overtly sexual and erotic to the more abstract and yearning, humorous and bold. Many works are replete with tiny details that require a close approach to perceive—turning the question around between artist and viewer as to who is the lover and whose is the eye that sees them.

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Lauren Dare at Sargent’s Daughters

NEXT: Lauren Dare opens on September 8. Filling the page to the edge with high viscosity ink, Dare layers dense, sweeping collections of lines in a new body of work made at Creative Growth—the oldest and largest organization worldwide dedicated to advancing the inclusion of artists with developmental disabilities in contemporary art. For Dare, color is a driving force. While some compositions are muted, with subtle gradations between hues, others vibrate with contrast between highly saturated tones.  The sculptural works advance this play of colors into three dimensions, allowing Dare to modulate her colors in real space, where they are also transformed by light and shadow. Taken as a whole, Dare’s practice offers an innovative immersion into her gestural, kaleidoscopic worldview. sargentsdaughters.com.

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Ross Simonini: The Mays, 2023, milk paint and graphite on muslin in walnut frame, 35 x 35 in (Courtesy of SHRINE)


538 N. Western Ave.

NOW: Ross Simonini: Tales is on view through August 19. ​​Simonini creates a lively cognitive dissonance in large-scale paintings. While he depicts cartoonish characters and image/objects—spirits, trees, animals, water, people, phones, buildings, food—with a disarming and elusively guileless presence and an animistic sense of soul, he does so with a painstaking and almost performative relationship to process and material. He uses milk paint, an ancient organic medium made with olive oil, sea shells, pine resin, flax oil, beeswax, raw pigments, and salt to create his atmospheric postmodern quasi-frescos—with results that bend the arc of art history by injecting deep meaning into whimsical aesthetics. A special artist talk and musical performance happens Wednesday, August 16, 6-8pm.

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Derek Aylward: The Council, 2023. Acrylic on canvas, 48 x 60 in (Courtesy of SHRINE)

NEXT: Derek Aylward: Good Morning Sunshine opens September 8 – October 2. Aylward’s first show in Los Angeles features self-reflective and empathetic paintings in which his characters seem caught somewhere between worry and jubilation. Aylward’s works are highly layered, so while the final images may look expressive and quickly rendered, they actually result from many rounds of painting, covering, and resurfacing. These complexified textures bear witness to a rich history of individual and creative battles against time and other constraints of living, in compositions juxtaposing multiple figures coming apart and reforming within the sadness and isolation of modern times. shrine.nyc.

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Shota Nakamura: Untitled (Walker), 2023. Oil on linen. 47 1/2 x 35 1/2 in (Courtesy of Clearing)


530 N. Western Ave.

NEXT: Shota Nakamura opens in September. The Japanese-born, Berlin-based artist is known for his radiant interiors and natural landscapes often inhabited by a single figure standing, resting or reading. Challenging assumptions about the male gaze as both an art historical and social construct, even as style brings to mind French modernist masters, Nakamura’s enriched palette and fraught brushwork convey emotion as well as critique. c-l-e-a-r-i-n-g.com.

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James Fuentes: Juanita McNeely: Moving Through, 1975. Signed recto on panel no. 9. Oil on canvas (Courtesy of James Fuentes)

James Fuentes

5015 Melrose Ave.

NEXT: Juanita McNeely: Moving Through opens September 8 – October 14. The exhibition will present three major multi-panel pieces by McNeely from the mid ’70s. The monumental multi-panel piece Moving Through (1975) will span the full length of the gallery’s longest wall, enjoying the regal presence that this pioneer of feminist art and thought deserves. With exuberant palettes and fleshy, stylized figures, her unflinchingly candid and visceral juxtapositional compositions fought hard to center the female (nude) body beyond objecthood, exploring it as a site of pain, trauma, nature, and power in a way many were unprepared to accept early in her career—which did not stop her from being a huge historical influence and an acclaimed voice who remains more than ready to meet the current moment head-on. jamesfuentes.com.

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Joey Cocciardi at The Lodge

The Lodge

1024 N. Western Ave.

NOW: Joey Cocciardi: It’s Getting Dark is open now through August 12. In topographically textured and unexpectedly radiant abstract paintings, Cocciardi marries traditional fresco with casting and printmaking techniques to examine the residue of effort that trails the act of creation. Resembling fireworks or and exploding stars, the intimately-scaled mixed media works capture and give form to bursts of inspiration—ideas emerging like light from out of the murky darkness, acting as both metaphor for and proof of the artist’s labor.

The Lodge September California Grizzly

Brittany Fanning at The Lodge

NEXT: Brittany Fanning: Getting Away With Murder opens September 16 – October 14. Feeling frustrated and overwhelmed by American society, Fanning has removed human figures from her paintings and begun focusing on contrived garden scenes, chock filled remnants of human life like half-eaten cakes, wines, luxury goods, and excavated (robbed?) graves. Amongst the opulence of the gardens and the litter of nefarious human activities, exotic creatures roam and reclaim the depopulated places. Fanning is essentially creating 21st-century vanitas paintings through a lush, decadent, and playful subject matter and palette examining mortality and morality. Recently Fanning began to render her studies for new paintings with India ink on Arches paper, creating drawings that are more free with their fanciful fictions and emotional in a poetic way by contrast with the emotional power punches of her canvases. thelodge.la.

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Obi Agwam: My dawgs have always been around me, 2023. Oil on canvas, 30 x 40 in (Courtesy of Harkawik)


5538 Santa Monica Blvd.

NOW: Daydreaming pressed against a fence is on view now through September 11. The inaugural show at the new location is a group exhibition focused on “translation, reconstitution, and reimagination as it relates to the creative process. Artists frequently re-make works, beginning in one medium and moving to another, creating process-oriented constructions and responding to their peculiarly handmade qualities, or taking already-made artworks and using them as baseline, found object or raw material—adding, removing, rebuilding them in different ways.” Within this metaphorical and practical framework, the gallery and its cohort of artists and their extended creative family have engineered a sprawling, looping cartography of what it means to transplant, to reinvent, and to be exceedingly conscious of occupying the threshold of a new era.

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Stephanie H. Shih: Twinkies, 2023. Ceramic, 5 x 8 1/2 x 3 in (Courtesy of Harkawik)

NEXT: Stephanie H. Shih: American Gothic opens September 16. Shih’s artistic practice explores objects that blur the line between foreign and domestic, emphasizing the layered identities of immigrants and their children. By depicting extremely ordinary, even ephemeral objects from both mainstream American and traditional Chinese habits—food, household products, restaurants, and ceremonial events—with an attentive, inescapable, and materially affirmative solidity—Shih reminds us that cross-cultural influence is a central aspect of the diasporic experience. Confronted with the realities of colonialism, displacement, assimilation, and heritage, the artist rejects the flattened identity politics that often dominate these conversations. Instead, Shih advocates for a more nuanced perspective, proposing how this discourse can be pursued in the realm of popular culture. harkawik.com

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David Roesing: Team Meeting Behind the Scenes, 2022. Marker on Whiteboard 36 x 46 3/4 in (Courtesy of Sebastian Gladstone)

Sebastian Gladstone

NOW: David Roesing: Do Now or Do Later is on view through August 25. If you are looking for paintings that counteract the eye- and brain-addling effects of scrolling through the internet, these are not going to help. In fact, the madcap nonstop simultaneity of information layering is the artist’s inspiration. Flickering between and among scenarios of futurism and atavistic instincts, science and emotion, work and play, food and sex, drugs and possibly aliens, all playing out within the cognitive state of constantly being advertised upon, these psychotically intricate fields of information address the modern condition head on with expert mimicry and dark humor that both makes it feel both more dire and more like a party.

Sebastian Gladstone September G.V. Rodriguez Fellow Feeling 2022 23 mixed media on sewn canvas and linen 50 1 4 H x 48 3 16 W

G.V. Rodriguez: Fellow Feeling, 2022-23, mixed media on sewn canvas and linen, 50 1/4 x 48 3/16 in (Courtesy of Sebastian Gladstone)

NEXT: Timo Fahler and G.V. Rodriguez exhibitions open September 16. A solo exhibition by gallery artist Timo Fahler will present never before seen stained-glass works built within found materials from around the Los Angeles area. In the project room will be the first solo exhibition by the L.A.-based artist G.V. Rodriguez—a self-taught artist who developed a practice of cutting and sewing monoprints together to create tableaux of his dreams and memories. These exhibitions are evidence of what the gallery tells us is, “a focus for the fall programming on artists with dynamic material practices from around the Los Angeles area.” sebastiangladstone.com

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Cosmo Whyte installation view at Anat Ebgi

Anat Ebgi

4859 Fountain Ave.

NOW: Cosmo Whyte: Hush Now, Don’t Explain is on view through September 9. Build a life, construct a memory, erect a monument. An archive is both a place and its contents, and to archive means to engage deeply, meticulously with the past—a slippery, shadowy thing built of fallible memories and hidden agendas—in ways that hold deep sway over the present. As an artist, Whyte’s interests in the energy, legacy, and conceptual framework, but also the literal actions of “the archive” have inspired him to explore myriad facets that intersect across his personal history and geopolitical circumstances. In this exhibition he gives that dynamic form, imbuing wall and sculptural works with aesthetic and material manifestations of all the physical and psychological revelation and erosion of a never-ending search for truth and clarity.

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Ming Ying: Warm Tides, 2023, detail (Courtesy of Anat Ebgi)

NEXT: Ming Ying opens September 23 – October 4. The U.S. debut of the Chinese-born, London-based painter will explore her evolving techniques with heavy impasto oil paint, to create romantic and psychedelic scenes of desire. Her vivid compositions of small groups or individual portraits veer into the realm of the abstract, psychological, and emotional. The anonymity of her subjects contrasts with their theatrical dress and dream-like environments, expressing a tension between feelings of enjoyment, longing, and detachment. anatebgi.com.

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Ming Ying: Warm Tides, 2023 (Courtesy of Anat Ebgi)

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Derek Aylward: Tuesday, 2023, acrylic on canvas, 24 x 30 in (Courtesy of SHRINE)

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David Hollowell: Charles and Andrew, 2005, Oil on panel, 24 x 18 (Courtesy of Harkawik)

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Hannah Greely: Rascal, 2022. Bronze, paint, 35 x 32 x 13 in (Courtesy of Harkawik)

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