Obviously art fairs are nothing new especially in a city the size of Los Angeles, but Art Platform this weekend was truly something unique. As we entered the fair space, I was struck by the differences between this fair and many others I have attended in the city, including Contemporary Art LA, Art LA, and Photo LA. First of all, the show felt more manageable than some others, it seemed more contained and more clearly laid out. Art fair booths are always a maze, but something about the larger size of the booths and the flow of the spaces was much more welcoming here. Usually, the spaces are laid out in little cubes that are filled with each gallery’s most well-known artists, in this case the walls merged into one another at times, and although it was clear which galleries were representing which artists, the gallery was not the first nor most prominent impression.
I was truly impressed by the breadth and beauty of the offerings by each of the galleries, they were shown clearly and the galleries seemed to have kept their offerings concise and limited to one or two artists. By doing so, viewers were given greater space, mental and physical, to consume each image. I do realize, of course, that art fairs are not meant for viewers, but rather for buyers. I am not in the business of art, but this show truly appealed to my viewing personality and I believe it was also successful for many of the galleries who participated in terms of their sales. It of course helped that these seemed all to be legitimate and well-established galleries already!
In the end, it seemed like the aspect that made this show imminently viewable was the fact that it was de-facto “curated” by its role as part and patron of Pacific Standard Time. Each gallery seemed to make a point of playing to that general theme of California artists both from the time period focused on in the larger initiative of 1945 to 1980, and those artists who have been influenced by the artists who are part of PST. A few exhibitions around town have given us a grand view of the city’s art history during that time, especially those at the Getty and MOCA’s “Under the Big Black Sun,” but this art fair added that element of what came next. If you read this blog, you will remember that that was an aspect I particularly appreciated about the inclusion of Heather Cassils’ piece at the LACE show earlier last week (her performance/video “Cuts” evoked the work of Lynda Beglis and Eleanor Antin in a modern voice). The history and trajectory of the time period 1945-1980 is absolutely fascinating and has been eye-opening for me as a scholar and artist, but I also love seeing how that period and those artists continued and influenced the next generation. I’m just sorry that this show lasted only a weekend!
I can’t wait to see if participants in Contemporary Art LA, at Barker Hanger in January, follow suit with this kind of focus to their offerings.
Some real highlights included gorgeous photographs by Jim Cambell illuminated and animated by LED lights that added an eerie dimensionality that I have never seen before, presented by Bryce Wolkowitz, New York. I also always love Doug & Mike Starns whose collaged images have matured so much in theme and material through their careers, presented by Hackelbury Fine art, London.