Art Fairs Here, There, Everywhere!

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Tonight, Art Platform, an art fair run by Adam Gross, opens in Barker Hanger, Santa Monica. There is a vernissage this evening from 5 to 9pm and the fair is open from 11am to 6pm, September 28-30. The architectural firm of Frederick Fisher has been commissioned to make the industrial space more aesthetically suitable for galleries who have brought their wares from Europe, New York and especially many parts of Los Angeles.

There are tours of private collections, museums and panel discussions. I am moderating one on the effects of last year's Pacific Standard Time and what the Getty might be planning for the future with the Getty's Andrew Perchuk and Joan Weinstein with Thomas Lawson of Cal Arts on Friday, September 28 at 3pm.

Of course, there are lots of parties.


Why? Because art fairs now account for a huge percentage of sales for many galleries and even reluctant art dealers find that participation at art fairs has become indispensable. It is not hard to figure out this popularity. These four day fairs have nothing to do with the institutional restraint that the public often feels in museums or galleries. Music plays, people are drinking and chatting. There are events and performances extending well into the evening hours. The friendly atmosphere of a bazaar prevails, which is attractive to both the experienced and inexperienced. VIP access to Art Platform can provide access to art collector's homes, visits to artist studios or fundraising events for Haiti or for L.A. Nomadic Division. A private jet company, XOJET has commissioned Steve Roden to create a sound installation for the interior of Challenger 300 at the VIP opening.

Art Platform has attacted Praz-Delavallade from Paris, Fred Torres from New York and Whitestone from Japan. Yet, most of the Art Platform galleries are from L.A., just as a good percentage of the galleries at Frieze New York are based in New York. It isn't that people couldn't visit these galleries in situ but that the whole scene provides a concentrated viewing opportunity along with the general camaraderie of the contemporary art world.

Photo by Graham Carlos/Frieze

It is a slightly different story at Frieze, London, opening at Regents Park on October 10. Frieze began, and lives on, as a magazine so it makes sense that directors Matthew Slotover and Amanda Sharp call this year's art fair their 10th edition. The main event, with close to 200 galleries, is housed in a temporary structure designed by the architecture firm of Carmody Groarke. Considered one of the most successful and exciting of art fairs, it attracts a world wide roster of art galleries including Marc Foxx, International Art Objects and David Kordansky from L.A. while The Box will be in the Frame section of the fair. Sculpture is presented throughout Regent's Park and a temporary structure designed by Selldorf Architects houses the debut of Frieze Masters, galleries presenting "pre-21st century art" that underscores links between past and present. L.A.'s Blum and Poe will be there.

A visit to Frieze makes it apparent how internationally meshed the contemporary art world has become. This is born out in London's galleries. Thomas Dane Gallery shows L.A. artist Lari Pittman this month but also shows Walead Beshty while David Zwirner is opening a London gallery on Grafton Street and shows L.A. artists Doug Wheeler, Diana Thater, James Welling and Raymond Pettibon. Hauser & Wirth shows L.A. sculptor Thomas Houseago.


In this peripatetic art world, art fairs have become meeting places for collectors, curators and dealers and the merely curious. Plenty will head straight on to Paris where the next art fair, FIAC, opens in the Grand Palais on October 17. Cherry and Martin gallery and Regen Projects will be there showing L.A. talent to an international audience. In fact, at the conclusion of FIAC, on October 20, L.A. artist Doug Aitkin, who shows with Regen, has worked with composer Terry Riley and the Luma Foundation on what promises to be an extraordinary event in Arles, where Frank Gehry has designed a new building.

Between the Internet and the art fairs, regionalism is an antiquated notion and L.A., so long disregarded out of ignorance or bias, now has a reputation for three generations of exceptional contemporary artists, a reputation promulgated in part through art fairs such as these. For more information about Art Platform, go to

Banner image: (L) Sherin Guirguis, Untitled (wadi II), 2012; Mixed media on hand-cut paper, 48" x 48"; photo by Gallery Wendi Norris and Sherin Guirguis. (C) Agniet Snoep, Still life serie-Prawn photo, 2011; 11.8 x 17.6, Amstel gallery. (R) Frederick Hammersley, In Two, 1977, Oil on linen, 32" x 32"