It is the Holidays, formerly known as the Christmas season, and I am enjoying it for everything it's worth. I am saving my appetite for all the delicious food my friends will serve in their homes, from the honey-crusted, smoked ham to the lovingly prepared salty-sweet gefilte fish, served with a dollop of horseradish. All that with a swig of chilled Stoli---yummy. Talk about heaven.
At this time of year, one is inclined to think lofty thoughts and to sum up the experiences of the past year. My absolute favorite exhibitions in L.A. were Rembrandt's religious portraits at the Getty, and the deliciously creepy, phantasmagorical sculptures by Tim Hawkinson at LACMA. To my dismay, we also had to endure the embarrassment of the seemingly never-ending revelations of financial, legal and ethical improprieties continuing to unfold at the Getty, under the bleeding leadership of Barry Munitz. And though King Tut II was a commercial success at LACMA, it left a black eye on the museum's reputation.
My recent trip to New York made me aware, in a new way, of the specific differences between the commercial art scene there and here in L.A. With close to 300 galleries in Chelsea all clustered together in a rather small area, New York continues to dominate the international contemporary art market. Spend a day there and you will see all the fashionable art and encounter all the fashionable people who make the news. What you'll also notice after awhile, is that so many galleries, with their slick minimalistic looks, high ceilings and non-smiling, Prada wearing attendants, have a sameness to them, as if they're all Mary Boone wannabes. It all screams money and appears to be a world apart from the bohemian spirit of the messiness and creativity of Soho, with its thousands of walk up studios and funky galleries, which defined the New York art community for so many years. But not any longer. Now it's brutally efficient and industrial in scale, bringing to mind the conveyer belt production lines of Henry Ford's Model T.
Returning to L.A., I realized that our art scene, which continues to drastically expand with each passing year, has luckily retained its welcoming, bohemian spirit. Galleries in China Town, Culver City or in Bergamot Station do not appear to be clones of each other, and their attendants may even acknowledge visitors with a friendly smile. I do believe that for beginners, and even for seasoned collectors, browsing through L.A. galleries---versus New York---proves to be a more adventurous and less exhausting enterprise. Actually, when I was asked by OTIS College of Design last year to teach a course, "The Fine Art of Art Collecting" consisting of numerous visits to artist's studios, galleries, and private collections, I was not sure initially that I'd find enough interesting things to talk about or places to visit. Needless to say, I was wrong. Every second Saturday morning I would get together with this diverse group of 20 students, all professional people wanting to learn more about this city of ours. Like a chef, I was searching for the most interesting and the freshest ingredients I could put together. Until the last moment no one knew where we were going to meet or what we were going to see. We had a blast. So I've decided to form a new group, which will start up in January. Couldn't be a better time, considering that not one but four---let me repeat, four---art fairs will take place in Los Angeles in a space of two weeks. A little bit crazy, but what do you expect from L.A.? If you want to know more about all this, take a look at the text of this program on our website at KCRW.org keyword Art Talk, or contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. Happy Holidays and Merry Everything to all of you!
January 19-22, 2006
Santa Monica Civic Auditorium
1885 Main Street
Los Angeles Art Show
January 25-29, Barker Hangar
Santa Monica Airport
3201 Airport Avenue
January 26-29, 2006
Santa Monica Civic Auditorium
1855 Main St
21st AnnualLos Angeles Fine Print Fair 2006
January 27-29, 2006
Los Angeles County Museum of Art:- LACMA WEST
6067 Wilshire Boulevard
The Fine Art of Art Collecting with Edward Goldman
January 14 - March 25, 2006
There will be six classes, meeting every other Saturday for four hours from 10:00am to 2:00pm. We will go to well-known and emerging artists' studios, visit "behind the scenes" with top galleries and meet prominent art collectors in their homes. Throughout all of these classes we will be discussing the "nuts and bolts" of art collecting. Every participant will have the chance, at least once, to bring a guest. If you cannot attend one of the Saturday meetings, it will be all right to allow a friend to attend in your place. That would make a special gift from a friend to a friend. Email Edward at email@example.com.