Inka Essenhigh: Party of the Flames and Flowers (Enamel on canvas, 48 x 55 inches, 2017) at Miles McEnery Gallery, New York, ALAC 2018
January 25-28, 2018
In its ninth year, Art Los Angeles Contemporary (ALAC), produced by Tim Fleming’s Fair Ground Associates, sizzled with even more buzz than usual. More than 16,000 visitors attended the four-day fair, attracted by an engaging selection of contemporary art presented by 68 local and international exhibitors. The Barker Hangar venue, with its vaulted roof and airy ambience, seems particularly conducive to staging a fun and inviting event. Particularly strong exhibits – and resulting robust sales – contributed to the upbeat air that pervaded this edition of the fair.
Among the most notable booths was that of Hollywood gallery David Kordansky, which presented a solo tribute to visionary New York ceramicist / sculptor / painter Betty Woodman, who died in January at the age of 87. The artist’s multi-disciplinary pieces were not for sale, but the gallery plans an exhibition of her work this summer.
In the aftermath of the fair, Fabrik followed up with a few Los Angeles dealers in a series of email interviews. Galleries we contacted reported strong sales and a positive experience overall. Hollywood gallery Shulamit Nazarian presented the debut Los Angeles exhibit of Houston-based artist Trenton Doyle Hancock, whose eye-popping mixed media paintings and drawings reflected his 20-year practice as well as more current work. “Trenton painted a colorful large-scale mural that drew people in and created a vibrant environment,” said gallery director Mélanie Faure.
“It was great for local collectors, curators, writers and fellow artists to meet Trenton, and hear him in conversation with Naima Keith, chief curator and deputy director of the California African American Museum,” Faure added. “New works sold to private collections both before and throughout the fair week. We consider the fair a success and look forward to having Trenton return to Los Angeles in the Fall.”
In its first year at ALAC, Culver City gallery Klowden Mann showed recent work by gallery artists Debra Scacco and Rodrigo Valenzuela. Gallery director Deb Klowden Mann said the fair was a great experience. “I have always loved visiting the fair with friends and clients, but this is the first year we exhibited. I have to say that it far exceeded my expectations—I had believed the fair would offer a great opportunity to connect with our existing collector base in Los Angeles, but we placed quite a few works, and all of them were to collections new to the gallery.
“We placed work by both artists into a significant corporate collection for the first time, as well as great private collections. Along with our positive experience commercially, I think the fair is very important to the landscape in LA on a number of levels, and am very grateful that Tim Fleming continues to successfully nurture this fair in a city that has historically been a hard place for one to take root,” she said.
For downtown Los Angeles gallery Club Pro LA, it was the second year exhibiting at ALAC. The gallery presented a selection of work by Mario Ayala, Hayden Dunham, Greg Ito, Alake Shilling and Adam Stamp, with additional works by Marcel Alcalá, Coloured Publishing and Lydia Maria Pfeffer.
Director Carlye Packer said her participation in the fair went very well. “Last year, it was our first ever fair, so it is a good time stamp to measure how we have progressed. More and more people are becoming aware of our program and interested in it. The fair and the crowd seemed to be good indication of a growing interest in Los Angeles-based artists,” she said. “Since the majority of our artists are based in Los Angeles, this is an extremely exciting prospect. Hopefully the density of collectors in Los Angeles, and international collectors with an eye on Los Angeles, will continue to grow,” said Packer.
Emma Gray, director of the Santa Monica gallery, Five Car Garage, showed a selection of abstract and flower paintings by local artist, Max Jansons. “Sales were great and the three paintings we showed were very well received, and as result we had many people over to his studio during the fair,” said Gray. “Mainly we loved the ability to see so many friends, clients, collectors, artists, writers and curators under one roof in a city that spreads her wings far and wide.”