Though Luis de Jesus and Tarrah Von Lintel share an address in the Culver City gallery district, their operations are independent of each other. However, this month neighboring exhibitions from Paul Anthony Smith, Klea McKenna and Michael Waugh are very much in conversation.
This past weekend saw the seventh edition of Expo Chicago return to the iconic, picturesque lakefront festival hall Navy Pier. The event offered the finest stock of modern and contemporary art from 135 galleries representing 63 cities in 27 countries, including the United States, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, Colombia, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Japan, Korea, Luxembourg, Mexico, Russia, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the Netherlands, United Kingdom, United Arab Emirates, Uruguay and Zimbabwe — but our entirely biased view is that the extensive L.A. gallery contingent won the day.
But you don’t have to take just our hometown-booster word for it — Los Angeles painter Amir H. Fallah (represented by Shulamit Nazarian Gallery) is the 2018 winner of the Northern Trust Purchase Prize and thus his exquisite painting “Calling on the Past,” part of his series of pattern- and detail-festooned, likeness-free portraiture, has been acquired for the Smart Museum at the University of Chicago's permanent collection.
Other unique approaches to L.A. gallery presentations included Ojai-based painter Ruth Pastine, who designed her solo presentation for the Edward Cella Art + Architecture booth as a site-specific chromatic gradient; Royale Projects and Charlie James Gallery joining forces to present a compelling group show drawn from both their programs in one of the fair’s most exciting and salient presentations; and Philip Martin Gallery co-presenting a show of paintings by Tomory Dodge along with the artist’s New York Gallery, Miles McEnery.
A special section of large-scale sculptural installations called "In/Situ" was curated by Pablo de la Barra; it featured a massive, diaphanous house sculpture by Carmen Argote and a series of text-based lightboxes by Sam Durant, who also showed with L.A.’s Praz-Delavallade Gallery. 1301PE artist Diana Thater was a featured part of concurrent but unrelated off-site program Art on theMART, in which a months-long program of projected digital media lights up the nights across the impossibly vast riverfront facade of this Chicago landmark.
EXPO also included a robust series of panels, talks and presentations, most notably an interview with the three curators of the next edition of Desert X, which returns to the Coachella Valley from February through April of 2019. A lively conversation with the team of Neville Wakefield, Amanda Hunt and Matthew Schum was moderated by critic Christian Viveros-Faune, touching on topics from land art to community engagement, social practice and systems culture, and the challenges and inspirations facing the project in its return. Described by Hunt as “more like a paradox the deeper we go into it,” and by Wakefield as a program to “seek freedom and create enclosures with it,” their approach to liminal and occupied places will be informed by an acknowledgement of indigeneity, with a leader of the Agua Caliente tribe seated on the Desert X Board.
This weekend’s Pop Art Photo Show intends to stake out some new territory within the crowded field of art fairs and public-engagement art environments. Along the lines of the “Museum of…” cultural phenomenon, but with the weekend-only structure of an art fair, an opening-night benefit party gives way to three days of bright, bold photography and mixed-media exhibitions and special installations, with a schedule of talks and programs along the way. And because it’s L.A., expect to find a slate of celebrity, film, fashion and music homages and appearances, too.
Exhibitions range from classic pop culture artifacts such as impressive movie poster and cinema art collections focusing on Hollywood’s Golden Age, 50 years of James Bond, and the entirety of the Star Wars franchise universe; plus eclectic music icons like Dennis Morris’ Bob Marley photo archive, legends of jazz and rock, and a whole suite dedicated to the 1977 Sex Pistols.
The chic and stylish exhibition “Mad to Mod” chronicles the fashion world of the 1950s and ’60s; celebrity portraitists and editorial photographers from Milton H. Greene to Glen Wexler and Stephen Stickler (whose new book is being released at the fair as well) all get their due as the gods they are in the pantheon of pop culture; and photographer Connie Conway gives the city of Los Angeles itself center stage, in a series of urban landscapes taking in the particular beauty of “L.A. After Sunset.”
The show also debuts some intriguing new mixed-media art, such as the raw, emotional, boldly hued paintings by Mike Shinoda, best known for his work in the band Linkin Park. Aside from an installation of his original work, Shinoda will create a site-specific work on-site, which viewers are invited to complete throughout the run of the show. The weekend also unveils a striking new series in a fresh collaboration between TAZ and RISK, two of L.A.’s most exciting street-art champions.
Pop Art Photo Show, Barker Hangar at Santa Monica Airport, 3021 Airport Ave., Santa Monica; opening-night benefit party: Thu., Sept. 27, 6-10 p.m.; $125. Fair hours: Fri., Sept. 28, 3-9 p.m.; Sat., Sept. 29, 11 a.m.-8 p.m.; Sun., Sept. 30, 11 a.m.-5 p.m.; $30 per day; $50 three-day pass; $175 for opening night and all weekend.
Santa Monica Auctions is known for sourcing and acquiring important and interesting works of art for its legendary sales, especially in the realm of West Coast art. Often the provenance of the works is as valuable and unique as the work itself. But even among the compendium of quirky histories, one lot always seems to stand out for its even more offbeat backstory. In the upcoming Oct. 7 sale, it’s all about Marilyn Monroe.
An elegant collection of classic sartorial photography, “The Fashion Show” is on view now through Oct. 20 at Peter Fetterman Gallery in Bergamot Station, bringing together a smashing array of vintage photography from couture's heyday of the last 80 years.
Curated by the artist-practitioners of the Venice Institute of Contemporary Art (VICA), “Out in the Street” includes some 30 artists, presenting their work in the context of the medium’s oldest popular activity — documenting what other people are up to out there.