How much incredible, idea-provoking and avant-garde art can fit into 150,000 square feet? The only answer is "a lot," as seen at the Los Angeles Convention Center where the annual LA Art Show took place from January 12-15. Performances, talks and tours complemented the stroll-around-and-see aspect of the art extravaganza, which placed the emphasis on “modern + contemporary” pieces from several corners of the world. This year, the show hosted more than 100 galleries from 18 countries and boasted 70,000 visitors. And, for the first time, the LA Art Show featured on-site programming from eight SoCal art institutions: the Broad, the Getty, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Museum of Contemporary Art, the Autry Museum of the American West, the Museum of Latin American Art in Long Beach and the Muzeo Museum and Cultural Center in Anaheim, as well as the UCLA Chicano Studies Research Center.
This year, organizers introduced a new focus on modern and contemporary art in contrast to the historic approach of previous years with international project spaces. Below are some highlights from the show:
MODERN & CONTEMPORARY
ASIAN ART WORKS, Beijing, China
Artist: Ran Hwang
Part mural, part sculpture, with elements of tapestry and painting, it’s almost impossible to define the work of Ran Hwang, who uses thousands of components including pins, buttons and beads to create these enormous wall-sized images. The works require numerous repetitive motions, and Hwang compares her process to a monk achieving zen. Via her artist statement: “I create large icons such as a Buddha or a traditional vase, using materials from the fashion industry. The process of building large installations is time-consuming and repetitive and it requires manual effort, which provides a form of self-meditation. I hammer thousands of pins into a wall like a monk who, facing the wall, practices Zen.” For more information on Ran Hwang and Asian Art Works, visit http://www.asianartworks.net/.
Ode to Second Full Moon, 2016
Buttons, Pins, Beads on Wood Panel
47 x 79 inches
SCAA SERGOTT CONTEMPORARY ART ALLIANCE, Santa Fe, NM
Artist: Nina K
Nina K’s work has been described as “explosive," a burst of passion that sweeps over the expanse of
canvas with a sense of color magnetism. Her developed technique of thick layers of oil color is
applied until her vision is achieved in rich textures and dimensions. “Color, combined with my love of design and texture, is what has always inspired me to paint.” she says. This inspiration is drawn from a “kaleidoscope of colors found in nature, vivid blue skies, turquoise oceans and majestic orange sunsets [that] enlighten my expression.” For more information on the SCAA and Nina K, visit http://sergottart.com/.
68 x 54 inches
ARCADIA CONTEMPORARY, Culver City, CA
Artist: Brad Overton
In his richly detailed paintings, Brad Overton explores a mixture of hyperrealism and still life. From the artist: “I have always loved the patina of old toys, wagons, cars. I love the look of time and timelessness. A thing never becomes really beautiful until it is washed by use and attention. It is its usefulness and attractive design that encourages interest and preservation.” His paintings respond to an object’s expressive form, its vitality and graceful design, and with vibrant colors. For more information on the Arcadia Contemporary and Brad Overton, visit http://www.arcadiacontemporary.com/.
Ridin’ the Storm Out, 2016
Oil on Canvas
CMAY GALLERY, West Hollywood, CA
Artist: Yi Hwan Kwon
Yi Hwan Kwon’s series of distorted bronze sculptures are part of a 2016 work titled “Bus Stop.” The sculptures represent the tension that is so dominant in our modern existence. From the artist: “We exist in a kind of self-made limbo between isolation and connection, individual and society, real and virtual, phenomenon and invention, in which everything is flattened, condensed, trapped and made relative.” For more information on the CMAY Gallery and Yi Hwan Kwon, visit http://cmaygallery.com/.
Bus Stop Series, 2014
ACA GALLERIES, New York, New York
Artist: Jack Stuppin
Jack Stuppin’s vibrant, undulating landscapes are passionate reactions to nature and ardent appeals for environmental consciousness. Nature is the soul of his art. Stuppin’s conception and execution are highly individual. Using thick impasto, energetic brushwork and brilliant colors, he has created his own particular style. For more information on the ACA Galleries and Jack Stuppin, visit http://www.acagalleries.com/.
Catskill Moon, 2013 & West Kill, 2012
Oil on Canvas
Artist: Butch Anthony
Visitors to Littletopia at this year’s LA Art Show were greeted by a large, carnival-themed archway, highlighting the fantastical artwork of Liz McGrath in conjunction with Brian Poor, Lee Shamel and Julie B. of Pretty in Plastic, Inc. Red Truck Gallery, a prominent figure in Littletopia every year, featured artist Butch Anthony. For his exhibit “Vita Post Mortum,” Anthony purchased antique portraits from thrift stores and flea markets, with some pieces from the mid-19th century. Anthony gives them a kind of story — or life as the exhibit title suggests — by superimposing bone imagery and text. The figures look as though they were an X-ray, as though the artist — and the museum viewer — were looking through them to their bare essence. For more information on Red Truck Gallery and Butch Anthony, visit http://www.redtruckgallery.com/.
Entrance to Littletopia, 2017
Wood and various media
Vita Post Mortum, 2016
SPECIAL EXHIBITIONS : FRAGMENTS FROM HOME PRESENTED BY LACMA
As part of the “Special Exhibitions” portion of the show, LACMA staged the exhibit “Fragments From Home,” which included performance and installation pieces by two artists, New York-based Raphael Montañez Ortiz and L.A.-based Ramiro Gomez. Ortiz’s installation, “Couch Destruction: Angel Release (Pennies From Heaven),” and his performance, “Shred Your Worries,” address political and religious concerns, while his installation “Piano Destruction Ritual: Cowboy and Indian, Part Two” looks at how we construct and deconstruct our lives. Gomez’s cardboard installation, “Cut-Outs,” creates a portrait of what the artist sees as a contemporary Latin American service community of gardeners, housekeepers, caregivers and others. Both artists are participants in LACMA’s program for “Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA.” For more information on LACMA and Fragments From Home artist, visit http://www.lacma.org/.
SHRED YOUR WORRIES
Artist: Raphael Montanez Ortiz
Artist: Ramiro Gomez
To find out more about the exhibits, galleries and artists, contact the LA Art Show at http://www.laartshow.com.
All Photography by Grace Lennon; taken with permission of LA Art Show