The 2018 LA Art Show, which took place January 10-14, presented works from influential underground galleries and international heavyweights, spanning Picasso to pop surrealism and from street art to official government exhibitions, with an increased focus on Asia and Latin America. Now in its 24th year, the event drew more than 90 galleries from 18 countries across 260,000-square-feet of the LA Convention Center. The combination of anchor museums and Los Angeles subcultures reflected this year outlines a market and cultural space with its own unique luster and was the perfect destination for collectors and art lovers, alike.
Some themes throughout the show were political commentary; refractive effects of social media; a greater
presence of women and people of color; and, surprisingly, donuts! Below are some of our favorite works from the show:
MODERN & CONTEMPORARY
SM FINE ART GALLERY, Beijing, China
Artist: Kim Tae-Ho
Internal Rhythm 2016-48, 2016
Acrylic on canvas
76 x 102.2 inches
Korean art, in particular, has been a popular presence in recent years, especially with a resurgence of international interest in Dansaekhwa, which translates to “monochrome painting.” Pieces by one of Dansaekhwa’s leading figures, Kim Tae-ho, were highlighted at the LA Art Show. His series of paintings, “Internal Rhythm,” was curated by Simon Kwon, the director of SM Fine Art Gallery. Dansaekhwa (pronounced “dawn-say-qua”) is considered one of the most influential Korean art movements of the 20th-century, with works typically rendered via pushing layers of white, black, blue or earth-toned paints across soaked canvases, or dragging pencils across pieces of traditional hanji paper. Focusing on brush strokes and the application of color, these works appear to be vastly different from his previous works. For more information on Kim Tae-Ho and SM Fine Art Gallery, visit smfineartgallery.com.
JONATHAN LEVINE PROJECTS, Jersey City, NJ
Artist: Kip Omolade
Diovadiova Chrome Sasha I, 2016
Oil on Canvas
60 x 48 inches
Brooklyn-based artist Kip Omolade creates large-scale oil paintings of chrome masks, depicting not only the subtle details of female faces but incorporating the reflected environment of each piece. The series, entitled "Diovadiova Chrome," makes reference, in part, to historical African sculptures, while exploring contemporary aspects of identity, luxury, and immortality. Each piece begins as a mold and cast taken from an actual model, which is then utilized as source material for Omolade’s towering paintings that can measure several feet tall. For more information on Omolade and Jonathan Levine Projects, visit jonathanlevineprojects.com.
ART ALL WAYS, Jersey City, NJ
Artist: Jae Yong Kim
Can’t Stop Thinking About...Donuts, 2017
Ceramic, under glaze, glaze, luster glaze, Swarovski crystals
57.4 x 557 inches
Jae Yong Kim’s ceramic donut installations elicit an immediate visceral response. Paying tribute to pop artists present and past with his use of familiar motifs, Kim’s sculptures beg the question “is the viewer visually consuming a donut, an artwork or the art world at large?” Similar to being in a donut shop, a subconscious effect causes each color to render a flavor and a sweet and/or savory dream starts to unfold. Distinguishing colors and patterns start aligning themselves with art historical and pop culture references. By utilizing techniques resembling the paint drips of Jackson Pollack, rendering dots like Yayoi Kusama or giving a subtle nod toward Claes Oldenburg, Kim’s work tells a rich story about consumption and consumerism in the art world and beyond. For more information on Kim and Art Wall Ways, visit artallwaysprojects.com.
AXIOM, Santa Monica, CA
Artist: Ryan McCann
American Cartoon, 2016
Garden tools and acrylic on wood
72 x 96 inches
Once a backup quarterback at UCLA in the late 1990s and early 2000s, Ryan McCann returns to the LA Art Show with his Simpsons-inspired "American Cartoon." For years now, McCann has taken on icons like Banksy, Jeff Koons, Damien Hirst, Kaws and Shepard Fairey, but this time, McCann turns his attention to America’s favorite cartoon family, The Simpsons. All materials were sourced from a hardware store, including wood fencing, garden tools, acrylic paint and screws. For more information on McCann and Axiom, visit axiomcontemporary.com.
GBA GALLERY, Los Angeles, CA
Artist: Greg Auerbach
Grinding the Flag,
Mixed Media Sculpture
Greg Auerbach’s utilizes materials like spray paint, acrylics, bullet shells, ink, stencils, needles, silk screens, bricks and concrete, as well as various created methods of experimentation and play with found objects, in order to create his political works. With irony, conviction and an ability to make uncomfortable issues more approachable, he creates stunning works that can, at first glance, be beautiful and at the same time haunting in its message and execution. For more information on Auerbach and GBA Gallery, visit gbauerbach.com.
DENIS BLOCH FINE ART GALLERY, Beverly Hills, CA
Artist: Monika Nowak
Various Work 2016
Mixed Media with Resin
each 47 x 447 inches
Through her sexy-pop heroines, Monika Nowak expresses a certain vision of today’s woman — strong but fragile. During her artistic career, she developed a vision of epic universes which the marvelous coexists with the barbarous, the poetic provokes the aesthetic, and the melancholic alternates with the euphoric. Her fragile heroines are paradoxical, contradictory and excessive but also dreamy, soft, wild, poetic and provocative. These pop-style women are built upon an image of the Slavic spirit as described by the aestheticist Dominique Fernandez: “A soul that allows light to pass, whether from Heaven or God, that is what one agrees ‘Slavic’ is." For more information on Nowak and Denis Bloch Fine Art Gallery, visit denisbloch.com.
PACIFIC STANDARD TIME: LA/LA
Timothy Yarger Fine Art, Los Angeles, CA
Artist: Cristobal Valecillos // YARE: One More Dance
YARE: One More Dance, 2016
"Yare: One More Dance" is a contemporary multi-disciplinary representation of Los diablos de Yare — declared an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO. To celebrate the Getty’s Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA initiative, the artist invokes the annual Los Diablos de Yare festival by creating a collection of handcrafted masks. Valecillos created a series of stunning photographs set against a backdrop of iconic Los Angeles landmarks. These provocative and compelling images incorporate the joys and challenges of the contemporary human spirit. For more information on Cristobal Valecillos and Timothy Yarger Fine Art, visit yargerfinearts.com.
Artist: Antuan Rodriguez
“Left” or “Right”/Punching Bags, 2016
Building on last year’s excitement, DIVERSEartLA dedicated more than 60,000-square-feet in the art show to performance art, installations, exhibits and programs curated by major museums and arts organizations such as LACMA, MOLAA, The Autry Museum of the American West and Museum of the Arts Guadalajuara. "Left or Right" was one of the most popular and largest exhibits at the show, and was a healing project curated by Marisa Caichiolo and created by Antuan Rodriguez. The interactive installation depicted different world leaders and tyrants on red punching bags that allowed the spectators to release anger, hatred and resentment. For more information on DIVERSEartLA and Rodriquez, visit laartshow.com/diverseartla/.
DESIGN L.A. ART
SIMYO GALLERY, Seoul, South Korea
Artist: Lee Jae Hyo
This year, the art show introduced Design LA Art, a new segment showcasing the fusion and balance between design and furniture. The works of Lee Jae Hyo served as centerpieces this year — in particular, “0121-1110=115102,” a wooden arch. Hoojung Lee, director of Korean Art Affairs for the show, said Hyo connects fine art with design in a “sincere, original and organic” style. “[He] sees ordinary or mundane materials and elements in nature with his keen artistic eyes, then transforms them into profound monumental sculptures, including functional art in the most minimalistic way,” she said. For more information on Hyo and Simyo Gallery, visit simyogallery.com/.
Artist: Desnnis McNett
Entrance to Littletopia, 2017
Wood and various media
Littletopia — the show within a show — was back for its fifth year at the LA Art Show. With a focus on pop-surrealism and lowbrow work that is sometimes dark and sometimes whimsical with pop culture references, the variety of art included paintings, illustrations, mixed media, assemblage, sculpture, installations and functional art. Entering the decidedly distinct realm of Littletopia, one passes through a massive archway, signaling you are indeed entering a different world. Each year, a different artist is selected to create the iconic entry installation. This year, internationally-renowned muralist and installation artist Dennis McNett (aka Wolfbat) was selected to build the archway. Wolfbat is known for creating large-scale work with incredibly intricate details, folkloric imagery and psychedelic patterns. For more information on Littletopia visit laartshow.com/littletopia/.
Red Rocks by Sarah Winkler
Acrylic on Panel
48 x 48 inches
To find out more about the exhibits, galleries and artists, contact the LA Art Show at laartshow.com
All Photography by Grace Lennon; taken with permission of LA Art Show