The woman who’s bringing LA to the world’s most influential art fair

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Curator Elizabeta Betinski at KCRW

More evidence of the influence and importance of Los Angeles as far as the fine art world: Meet the Venice (California)-based Elizabeta Betinski, known affectionately to some artists around town as “Boom Boom.”  She’s the force behind an upcoming show, featuring the work of 20 LA-based artists, that’ll hang adjacent to the Venice (Italy) Biennale. This is just one of three exhibitions that have been chosen as so-called “collateral” entries to the prestigious, six-month art fair. It’s an incredible opportunity for artists individually, and for the city at large.

Betinski says she looks at curating as a form of storytelling. The story she wants to convey, she told us on a recent visit to KCRW, is one of the creativity and diversity of work emanating from LA. “Why do we create?  What drives artists to keep at it, even despite how hard it is?” she asks.

Betinski said the title she gave the show comes from a line in a poem by the late Jack Gilbert titled “A Brief for the Defense.” “It’s a poem that touches me whenever I read it,” she said. “The poet calls on humanity to risk delight, to fight for joy.”

As you might imagine, shipping 20 works of art to and from a tricky-to-reach place like Venice isn’t cheap. Betinski has been slowly but steadily raising the $250,000 to make this happen, both from private donors and a corporate sponsor.

A sampling of the work to be included in the May opening of the show follows, as does a complete list of the participating artists.

Carol Silverstein, A reservoir of moonstone, courtesy the artist
Frank Ryan, 2nd Street Tunnel II
Frank Ryan, 2nd Street Tunnel II, photo by Brian Forrest
Sherin Guirguis, Untitled
Sherin Guirguis, Untitled, courtesy the artist
Stas Orlovski, Chimera, photo by Don Millici

The artists included in “We Must Risk Delight” are: Brandy Eve Allen, Tanya Batura, Jamison Carter, Carolyn Castaño, Robbie Conal, Kenturah Davis, Amir H. Fallah, Alexandra Grant, Margaret Griffith, Sherin Guirguis, Ben Jackel, Mark Licari, Rebecca Niederlander, Stas Orlovski, Natasa Prosenc Stearns, Tony de los Reyes, Frank Ryan, Shizu Saldamando, Carole Silverstein, Alexis Zoto.

We Must Risk Delight: 20 Artists from Los Angeles On display from May 9-November 22 at Magazzino del Sale No.3, Dorsoduro 264, Venezia, Italy. For more information, contact