Artist-run group shows pop up in LA as pandemic eases

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LA art galleries are reopening, but some artists aren’t waiting for a Gogosian or a Hauser and Wirth gallery to offer their walls and floor space. They’re putting on their own group shows that celebrate the ability to gather safely after a year apart.

“An artist-run exhibition is going to be more focused on the art, artists, community, and there's less of that drive for the sale as the main focus,” says Lindsay Preston Zappas, the founder and editor-in-chief of Contemporary Art Review Los Angeles (CARLA). “There's just a different energy in their urge to curate or put on a show.”

She recommends checking out Hot Concrete: L.A. Arrangement, a group show at Sow and Tailor, a new gallery run by husband and wife artists Greg Ito and Karen Galloway. The show includes artists like Peter Shire, Sayre Gomez, and Tidawhitney Lek.

Inspired by the methodologies of Ikebana, the traditional Japanese art of flower arranging, the exhibition at Sow and Tailor features LA-based artists and will be on view until May 30. Photo courtesy of Greg Ito.

Your Presence is Encouraged is another group show held in a private backyard in Highland Park. Curated by artist Isabel Yellin, it features sculptures basking in the LA sun, all created by women. Although this show is by appointment only, Yellin plans to bring it to Various Small Fires Gallery in June.

Amanda Ross-Ho, Untitled Backyard Memory (Strawberry Sandbox), 2021, Redwood, latex paint, acrylic, roofing nails, colored sand, resin replica strawberries, carabiners and rings, scale mail, aluminum chain, jump rings. Photo credit: Jeff McLane

“I do think we're going to see more experimental artist-run pop-up exhibitions as we enter back into public space and it's safe to gather and bring [the] community together,” says Preston Zappas.