The 2017 LA Art Show opens this Wednesday, January 11, at the LA Convention center and runs through the 15th. In anticipation of this LA cultural tradition, we sat down with LA Art Show Partner/Producer Kim Martindale to discuss what we can expect from this year’s event.
PBS SoCal: Tell us a bit about the history of the LA Art Show.
KM: I started the show in 1994 with 14 galleries exhibiting in Historic Regionalism to address the cultural interests of Angelenos. We had 250 attendees at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium. Every year since then the show has grown and evolved into the best attended art fair on the West Coast; 2nd highest attended in the US for Modern & Contemporary art. For its 22nd edition, at the 2017 show, we are expecting more than 70,000 attendees and have more than 100 galleries from over 18 countries participating.
There really isn’t anything like the LA Art Show that attracts international gallerists, acclaimed artists, esteemed curators and discerning collectors from around the globe to Los Angeles. Our continued success in drawing an enthusiastic art crowd reinforces our position as a world-class, international destination for the art-buying public. This success also reconfirms the ambitions and commitment of LA’s collector base to continue to grow and further define the city of Los Angeles as an important global art-hub.
PBS SoCal: What makes it so special?
KM: This year we have active engagement with the cities most prestigious art institutions, including The Broad, the Getty, LACMA, MOCA, MOLAA, Anaheim’s Muzeo and UCLA Chicano Studies Research Center. The programming, which establishes a public platform to present the city’s world-class art and cultural initiatives, comprises special exhibitions, installations, performances with a thematic focus on Latin American art, and a series of high-level conversations with prominent museum leaders, internationally recognized curators and artists. We have a broad International representation of galleries exhibiting important and influential artists. The diversity represented in our curated areas “Littletopia”, “Roots”, “Works on Paper” and “Project Space” provides something for every discriminating collector.
PBS SoCal: What in particular can we expect to see at this year’s show?
KM: We have our most international list of exhibitors and programming to date — as mentioned more than 100 galleries from over 18 countries including China, Czechoslovakia, France, Japan, Mexico, South Korea, Spain and the United Kingdom — and a larger group of corporate and media partners, including the China Cultural Media Group. Plus the LA Art Show 2017 is expanding its international reach across all platforms with an exciting roster of new exhibitions and programs curated by major local and international museums and arts organizations.
This year we will also place a special focus on Latin American and Latino art to coincide with The Getty’s Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA, the follow-up to the institution’s city-wide 2011-2012 initiative, whose focus will also be to place those same regional and ethnic art communities in dialogue with various cultural institutions across Southern California in 2017-18.
As our partnerships with international galleries and LA’s most prestigious art institutions grow, the fair’s expanded, international curatorial team is addressing emerging art market trends while bringing a new audience to the fair and the city of Los Angeles.
PBS SoCal: Any artists or exhibits you’re especially looking forward to?
KM: We have so much to be excited about this year. We will feature our broadest International program to date, with a focus on Latin American and Latino art. We also have robust presentations from Europe, China, Cuba, Japan and South Korea. Below are a few highlights:
*A Conversation on Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA, a Dialogs LA panel conversation organized with the Getty that will address its upcoming initiative Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA. *Behind The Wall: Detrás del Muro, a talk about the socio-cultural and democratic project addressing notions of freedom, conceived during the 2015 Havana Biennial, with a presentation of new artist projects for the 2018 edition.
*Dansaekhwa III: Formation and Recurrence, an exhibition curated by Seoul’s SM Fine Art Gallery, which will feature the most iconic works from two of the genre’s minimalist masters: the multilayered monochromes of Kim Tae-Ho and the iconic water drop paintings of Kim Tschang-Yeul, who has been painting this fluid life force for more than four decades. This year we are honored to have our special guest, artist Kim Tae-Ho, host several walking dialogues on the art form.
*Contemporary Ink Art is featured at the Show by a multitude of partners, speaking to its current popularity. The Mood of Ink, a curated exhibition presented by the private Beijing museum East Art Center, features a group of emerging and established Chinese artists including, Bian Hong, Chen Honghan, Fan Peng, Li Hongzhi and Yuan Fuguo, whose work focuses on the abstract expression of ink art; Cospace will present Water & Wind, an exhibition of Hai Pai paintings from Shanghai School featuring artists Chen Jiu, Qiu Deshu; and the Chinese Cultural Media Group presents a group exhibition of ink paintings including leading artists Li Gang and Wang Fei, as part of the National Exhibition of China, a joint endeavor organized by CCMG (Beijing) and National Base for International Cultural Trade (Shanghai).
*In My Floating World, an installation by Dominican-born artist Scherezade Garcia curated by Tatiana Flores and presented at the Show by the Museum of Latin American Art (MOLAA). *Cauce/Riverbed, a performance piece by Cuban performance artist Carlos Martiel, that exposes the nature of undocumented immigration and shows how it impacts the lives of some eleven million individuals and their families.
*Violent Times, a staged performance by LA-based artist Melanie Pullen exploring the ceremonial aspect of violence and how we dress for war.
* Norton Maza will unveil Deep Impact, a world map highlighting the planet’s immigration borders that are currently subject to the toughest surveillance controls and regulations. The installation will be closely guarded to reflect the impenetrable borders confronting millions of refugees, employing Maza’s method of placing the viewer in an inconvenient position that forces immersion in his scenes and evokes inward reflection rather than reaction. (Updated from original release)
* Talking Head Transmitters by Eugenia Vargas-Pereira, part of Deconstructing Liberty: A Destiny Manifested, a survey exhibition at Anaheim’s Muzeo Museum and Cultural Center curated by Marisa Caichiolo examining different aspects as patriotism, community, citizenship, the pursuit of happiness, freedom, equal rights and activism via installations, videos, paintings, photography and performances by Latin artists from Brazil to Cuba.
PBS SoCal: What makes this art show unique to LA and allowed it to grow?
KM: Through the years the show has evolved, as Los Angeles has fast become an international hub for contemporary art across all mediums. With these exciting changes collectors’ interests have changed, so we’ve listened and have refined our vision with a new focus on modern and contemporary work. Paying attention to the market demands has allowed us to adapt and grow in all aspects including attendance, international gallery participation and museum engagement. Many shows come and go here in Los Angeles, but we believe the LA Art Show is reflective of Angelenos tastes and our guests from all over the world who fly in for the show.