THE 22ND L.A. ART SHOW REARS IT’S GORGEOUS HEAD
A couch–mangled almost beyond recognition, curiously covered with pennies–sighs behind red rope as Arthur Johnston’s 1936 pop hit “Pennies from Heaven” plays softly from two speakers. The piece, titled “Couch Destruction: Angel Release (Pennies from Heaven)” and created by Raphael Montañez Ortiz is presented by LACMA. Spectators sit patiently on folding chairs, quietly taking in the strange tableau. But this is not a museum. Here in the sprawling post-modern complex that is the Los Angeles convention center the annual buffet of visual stimuli known as the L.A. Art Show is taking place.
All told, eight museums from the L.A. area curated exhibitions at this year’s show. This unique marriage of offerings from blue chip galleries, indie art showrooms, and institutional museums is indicative of the hierarchical fluidity on display in the city’s exploding art scene. Attendance offered the opportunity to view mind-bending Chinese sculpture, provocative performances, and selections of street art. Coming on the heels of the just-announced $1 billion George Lucas Museum of Narrative Art, and ahead of the eagerly anticipated opening of the Marciano Art Foundation Museum later this year, there has never been a better time to be an art lover in this city.
For a fair that started at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium in 1995 with 14 galleries, the L.A. Art Show has truly come a long way. It is now an institution of its own.