Perennially famous for its opening-night shindigs, but sometimes struggling over the past 18 years to achieve the cutting edge in its exhibited offerings, the L.A. Art Show 2013 returns to the Convention Center downtown under new management and with a new commitment to eclecticism. In addition to an expanded international modern and contemporary section, and the strategic separation of the fine-print fair from the potentially less dynamic historic and traditional contemporary section, organizers have saliently curated the panel talks and beefed up the special on-site, noncommercial exhibitions. Highlights of these include discussions on what it's really like to be an artist working, but not always showing, in L.A.; another on the current state of the city's volatile mural policy; and exhibitions highlighting contemporary painting (Launch L.A. and L.A. Art Association), emerging Chinese talents (China Fusion), high-profile Latin American artists (ADC) and an expansive installation curated by Jack Rutberg exploring the particular history of text in visual art as it pertains to L.A. culture of the past five decades. But getting back to the party Ñ Wednesday night's gala opening benefits the Art of Elysium and the Getty Museum's education programs, all in the name of cultivating future generations of fairgoers. L.A. Convention Center, 1201 S. Figueroa St., dwtnwn.; gala Wed., Jan. 23, 8-11 p.m.; $125. Thurs., Jan. 24-Sat., Jan. 26, 11 a.m.-7 p.m..; Sun., Jan. 27, 11 a.m.-5 p.m.; $20, $40 weekend. (310) 822-9145, ÑShana Nys Dambrot

Wed., Jan. 23, 8-11 p.m.; Jan. 24-26, 11 a.m.-7 p.m.; Sun., Jan. 27, 11 a.m.-5 p.m., 2013

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