The 2015 LA Art Show was, to say the least, overwhelming. There was so much to take in that I actually needed four of the five event days just to make sure I seen everything in the show. And of course, I didn’t. I did however see some of the newest contemporary creations from artists I’ve never heard of, prompting me to expand my knowledge of the world’s artists. Over 120 galleries filled the Convention Center this year with works on a variety of mediums with each booth constantly working to display the crown jewels of their respective exhibits.
Opening night was as exciting as it was confusing. With such a huge space it was almost impossible to find a starting point and if you separated from your party that you arrived with, you pretty much had no luck locating them because the service was shot to shit! (May have been just me, I do have sprint.. smh)
I found myself hopping from booth to booth with a severe case of ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder). I could barely focus on the pieces directly in my view because there was a competing piece fighting for attention in my peripheral. It got to a point where I had to step into one of the “dead spots” in the convention center just so my brain could get back to normal, reminiscent of the coffee grinds used to normalize your sense of smell when you shop for perfumes or cologne.
Art Fairs have traditionally been a place where the galleries could get a one on one trade show experience with the collector, but with the immediate access via social media and other quick hit platforms, many art lovers can’t help but feel they’ve seen it all before.
The fair had a variety of pieces to choose from. Prices varied from $500 for the early collector just establishing their collection to the renegades purchasing back to back six figure pieces for local museums and corporations. The sheer size of some of the artwork was incredible. There were a few pieces by Retna and Johan Andersson that it needed its own wall space for display.
There were also a few pieces that blew my mind with the way the artist manipulated mediums and surfaces to create a visually stimulating reality. Artist Victoria Kovalenchikova of VK Gallery displayed two amazing representations of our world. These pieces were made of liquid oils and combined with other enhancements, such as epoxy, to deliver a breathtaking result.
As you can see from the video, Victoria translates her life of travel and environmental care into her canvas. Placing a camera in an artist’s face, and letting them provide an interpretation can sometime enhance your view of what you’re absorbing. I believe listening to Victoria speak about her work in such detail gave the pieces more meaning. This wasn’t a commission feel, it had a “mission” feel and that’s what made her work special to me.
One of the biggest things taken for granted in the art world I like to believe is the use of time. Most collectors and art lovers do not understand the concept of time as it pertains to art. The work of Narine Isajanyan embodies the concept of time and how it changes the canvas as well as human beings. She explains that her work literally “takes years to make the concept” as she creates rust as part of the initial canvas.
I was immediately intrigued once she talked about how the process is just as important as the final product as most artists today take more pride in the finished work rather than what they’ve learned about their craft along the creation process. I believe contemporary art that has character, meaning and a deeper understanding of a global issue can really bring attention to something otherwise neglected in our society. I think Narine’s play on process and time it takes to “develop” makes this piece timeless. I wonder how this piece will evolve over the years and if it disintegrates, is that part of the artistic process? Hmmm.. Questions to put in an email. 🙂
We were also blown away by the courage and creativity of the artists presented by Paula Tin Nyo with Yone Arts. Tin-Nyo, a Myanmar exile, discovered the creativity of these artists while traveling back to the country. The pain, separation of freedom of speech and environmental issues take center stage in the work by these artists. Paula has dedicated her time and efforts to present to the world not only the struggle, but the triumph happening in her native country. One of the artists, Sandar Khine, was featured in the New York Times for her amazing piece. Listen to Paula explain:
Overall, we loved the LA Art Show. It gave a wide variety of choices to love or hate, which, honestly, is all you want from an art show these days. They gave you a few pieces to be pissed about, a few to Instagram, a few to take home and a few to wish you could afford, and by you I really mean me (sigh). This was definitely a great follow up to Art Basel for us. A lot more learned and that’s always a win in this business. We also got the feature three of the galleries that we were really excited about in a art episode to kick off our new series of this new booming culture. Check it out below and also over 400 pictures from the event!
Badir McCleary Editor in Chief
Badir McCleary is an independent consultant. He holds a M.A. in Arts Business from Sotheby’s Institute of Art (Los Angeles/London) where he focused on creating art markets and with an undergraduate degree in Internet Computing from Cabrini University focusing on e-commerce and digital trends. Badir enjoys working with artists and consider them crucial to informing his practice.
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