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New Directions at The Los Angeles Art Show

The LA Art Show reliably heralds the launch of the Los Angeles winter art season – albeit a little earlier than usual this year. Beginning with the VIP preview the evening of Wednesday, January 11, viewers will have the opportunity to partake in a multi-platform program that traverses international art frontiers while embracing the Los Angeles art scene in a holistic way. Representing more than 90 galleries from 18 plus countries, the 2017 fair reflects an ambitious global outlook, with a dedicated focus on Latin American and Latino art as well as presentations from Europe, China, Japan, South Korea and Cuba.

The fair’s Latin American focus is intended to foreshadow and coordinate with the Getty’s 2017 iteration of Pacific Standard Time LA/LA (which will run from September 2017 to January 2018 in various Southern California cultural institutions, with support from the Getty).

In concert with PST’s focus on the artistic connections between Latin American and Latino art, in dialog with Los Angeles, the LA Art Show will present thematically relevant special curated exhibits, installations, performances and programming. One such program is the panel discussion, A Conversation of Pacific Standard Time LA/LA to be moderated by Idurre Alonso, Associate Curator of Latin American Collections at the Getty Research Institute. The program is part of the 4th edition of the LA Art Show’s Dialogs/LA series of talks and panel discussions — featuring prominent artists, collectors, museum directors, curators and internationally renowned art world players — which are geared to proffer cutting edge ideas on issues of importance to the Los Angeles and international art communities.

 

Casting a wide net, this year’s fair involves a host of local cultural institutions in an effort to reflect and engage the diverse and vibrant LA art community. In a far-reaching collaboration, the LA Art Show 2017 features special events and programs produced with The Broad, the Getty Center, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Museum of Latin American Art (Long Beach) Muzeo Museum (Anaheim) and the UCLA Chicano Studies Research Center.

As a precursor to PST LA/LA, LACMA will present a series of special exhibitions featuring artists who will participate in the PST program. Included in the exhibit is the still-life mural work, Cut-Outs, by LA artist Ramiro Gomez. In one of the planned synergistic Dialogs LA discussions, MOCA Director Philippe Vergne joins LA Art Show producer Kim Martindale for a conversation on the production of Jeff Koons’ limited edition Balloon Dog, by the French porcelain company Bernardaud. A newly released Balloon Dog (Orange) edition, along with other colors, will be available for purchase by collectors on site at a satellite MOCA Store.

Other fair highlights will reach beyond the conventional dimensions of visual art, such as the experimental low-frequency radio program Talking Head Transmitters, co-created in 2001 by Chilean artist Eugenia Vargas. Presented by Muzeo Museum and Cultural Center to LA viewers for the first time, the work invites the participation of fair attendees and is intended to demonstrate the expanded reach of performance art through the power of radio. The installation will be part of Deconstructing Liberty: a Destiny Manifested. Organized by LA Art Show and independent curator, Marisa Caichiolo, this group show explores patriotism, community, citizenship, freedom, the pursuit of happiness, equal rights and activism through performance, installation, video, painting and photography. The program showcases the work of artists from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Cuba, Honduras, Mexico and Venezuela.

The broad international emphasis of this year’s fair will reverberate throughout the five-day event, as in the exhibit, a wall, by American artist Louis Hock, presented by the UCLA Chicano Studies Research Center and curated by Chon Noriega. This temporary installation made from recycled paper pulp bricks will extend throughout the LA Convention Center premises, prompting visitors to consider the significance of walls and how they divide, with symbolic reference to borders and immigration. Echoing the borders theme is the talk, Behind The Wall: Detrás del Muro, focusing on the socio-cultural and democratic project addressing notions of freedom, conceived during the 2015 Havana Biennial. Continuing this thread, is Cauce/Riverbed, a performance piece by Cuban performance artist Carlos Martiel, rooted in the issue of undocumented immigration and its impact on families. In the same vein, Deep Blue: Underwater, an immersive installation by Chilean artist Norton Maza, seeks to connect all the waters of the world that people have crossed in search of security and better lives.

The fair also places significant emphasis on contemporary art from China, as in the curated exhibition The Mood of Ink, presented by the private Beijing museum East Art Center, featuring a group of emerging and established Chinese artists. Cospace will present Water & Wind, an exhibition of Hai Pai paintings from the Shanghai School. The Chinese Cultural Media Group is showing a group exhibition of ink paintings as part of the National Exhibition of China, a joint endeavor organized by CCMG (Beijing) and the National Base for International Cultural Trade (Shanghai).

A special exhibit of Korean monochrome paintings will also be presented at the fair. Dansaekhwa III: Formation and Recurrence, curated by SM Fine Art Gallery in Seoul, South Korea and New York, will feature two of the genre’s minimalist masters, Kim Tae-Ho and Kim Tschang-Yeul.

The majority of LA Art Show exhibitors are located in the Modern/Contemporary section, which includes 23 LA galleries. There are also curated areas: Works on Paper. Project Spaces (featuring three LA dealers) and Littletopia, a series of galleries – including three from Los Angeles – curated by LA gallerist Greg Escalante with Noah Antican.

The fair also engages with non-profit art organizations. In one such noteworthy program, the LA Art Show provides a platform for the work of emerging LA artists through the Los Angeles Art Association. The LAAA is a nonprofit art organization that provides opportunities, resources, services and exhibition venues for emerging Los Angeles artists of all media, with a home base at Gallery 825 in West Hollywood. At the fair, LAAA presents Ping Pong 2017. An independent multi-destination, cross-cultural collaborative exhibition, Ping Pong is designed to cultivate exchange among artists from Basel, Miami and Los Angeles.

While it may be more than a year away, the LA Art Show 2018 is already in the planning stages. Looking ahead, next year’s fair will explore the international theme of Africa.

January 11-15, 2017
Los Angeles Convention Center

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Megan Abrahams is a Los Angeles-based writer, artist and contributing art critic for Art Ltd., Fabrik, ArtPulse and WhiteHot magazines. For links to some of her work, and more info, visit her sporadically updated blog: onbeyondwordsandpictures.com

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