By Bruce Edwin
The 19th Annual L.A. Art Show kicked-off with a star-studded benefit for the Sister Cities of Los Angeles, and their program Bordeaux-Los Angeles; A 50 Year Partnership. The opening night VIP Patron event, which attracted a crowd of 7,000 collectors, celebrities, royalty, and political officials, featured an exclusive tasting of world-renowned Grand Crus wines from Bordeaux, alongside California-Latino inspired samplers by chef John Sedlar of Rivera Restaurant in Downtown Los Angeles. DJ's also spun music for the crowd.
VIP Patron Party
The evening hosted numerous high-profile celebrities, royalty and political officials. 2014 celebrity attendees included Barbra Streisand, James Brolin, Loni Anderson, Shepard Fairey, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, and many more. Many Los Angeles based businesses served a wide assortment of food and beverages to many of the the 7,000 art patrons who unlike myself, had the patience to wait in food lines, that attended the Opening Night Premiere Party. The L.A. Art Show took place from January 15th - 19th, 2014 concurrently with the Los Angeles Jewelry, Antique & Design Show at the Los Angeles Convention Center, in the South Hall at 1201 Figueroa Street, in Los Angeles, California.
The first thing that one must be aware of when collecting art, is to be aware that a painting is a three dimensional object. Even though it may be framed on the flat surface of canvas, Masonite, or similar, the aspect of a liquid paint being applied to a flat surface, when it dries, creates a surface raised, to some degree and in varying locations based upon the brushstrokes within the frame, off of the surface of the plane being painted upon. Further, in addition to the brushstroke, style, and ability of the artist, how the light interacts with each surface and area of paint creates the depth, tonality, warmth, quality, and feeling that the painting may evoke. I state this to remind the new or aspiring collector that seeing a painting in person is the only proper way to see it. Even the most professionally photographed image of a great painting will never compare to the aesthetic greatness that the painting may posses in person, as a three dimensional object which can not be captured by the silver halide crystals or digital pixelations of a photographic image.
The Importance of Art
It gives me great hope for humanity when I see the many new numbers of people; young and old, attending the L.A. Art Show in ever increasing numbers. This hope exists because art is a personal language of communication. And when there are people viewing art, these viewers are people that are attempting to learn and understand about what another human being; the artist, is attempting to communicate. Where there is communication, there is understanding, or at least the road to understanding, and there is appreciation of another human being, and therefore peace. Art consequently is one of the greatest tools in civilization as art creates understanding and peace. Art is also education. Art is not only a non-verbal form of communication, it is an emotional conveyance, and a spiritual act for both the creator and the receiver who is the viewer. For these reasons and many more, the arts, in all its forms and un-form, are the greatest aspects of humanity that are brought into creation by the artist. Art; whether it be in the form of dance, fashion, music, film, photography, storytelling, or beyond, is the spirit of our lives manifested in the physical form. Painting, referred to as fine art, is as captivating today as it was when it first began. A great work of art can at times inspire a viewer as powerfully as a stroll in nature or beyond. Art is an expression of life. For the true artist, to create art is not a choice, it is a part of their soul which must be released like the air we breathe in order to live.
L.A. Art Show 2014
The Los Angeles Art Show returned this year, to great success, and was, at it is for me always, one of the highlights of my year. Thousands of amazing, awe inspiring works of art filled the Los Angeles Convention Center for the four day show, with a VIP preview night the day before, with art in all forms brought from around the world by some of the best gallerists of our time. I can not imagine not seeing art on a regular basis-in all forms. The experience of the L.A. Art Show, is powerful and intense. When you attend, plan on at least two full days or more to take it all in.
The Los Angeles Jewelry, Antique, and Design Show
New this year was the Los Angeles Jewelry, Antique, and Design Show, which was in an adjoining massive hall of The Convention Center, but connected right to it where patrons could freely walk between one show and the other. Tickets to one show allowed entry to either show. The Jewelry, Antique, and Design show people were mostly very quiet. Only several here on this side actually spoke with me. One of the few who did speak with me, is going to make a sale. Lion Heart Autographs here out of New York, has a very professional staff, is headed by David Lowenherz who is a true professional, and has amazing, rare collectibles including actual letters from famous historical figures, stars, and more. X Power Gallery, which has antique furniture, is another one of the rare businesses here who engage with the public. Most of the others here really need to warm up more to the guests of the show, be more outgoing and talk to people more, and learn how to sell. Vendors who want advice on this, contact my office at the front of this page.
Guatemala: Treasures of the Maya Spirit
On the Antiques side as well, included the show "Guatemala: Treasures of the Maya Spirit." Most of the artifacts from this show were on display at LACMA show, "Children of the Plumed Serpent: The Legacy of Quetzalcoatl in Ancient Mexico" earlier this year, which I had already seen, with the LACMA show, not surprisingly, being much larger. With that stated however, if you are like me, you can never get enough of or see too many times the stunning, masterful, original art work sculptures and artifacts of the Maya. Next year, I suggest they bring more pieces that have not seen anywhere else in Los Angeles, and when they give lectures on the works which they did here, make sure that they have someone giving the lecture in English as well, not just Spanish as was done here, or get a translator.
Most galleries here on the art side have warmed up to the press and public over the years. Most have learned that L.A. is a friendly, social culture, and one is not going to do very well selling art by sitting at a corner desk with their nose up in the air, and only speaking when spoken to. There are a few exceptions, but most of those gallerists are new to the show, and still need to learn, what may (or may not) work for them in their hometown, does not necessarily work in the entertainment capitol of the world. I spent over 40 hours at the L.A. Art Show this year, attending every day, including the VIP Patron's Party. As every year at the show here, I was in total amazement and awe, from the show production, which was expert, to the art and gallerists themselves.
McColl Fine Art out of Charlotte, North Carolina has an artist named Cartl Dimitri, who has created some interesting works in the style of Basquiat that I like. Joseph who runs the gallery here is a professional and cordial gentleman with expertly prepared materials who is very helpful to his clients. I recommend him. Arthur Pinajian (1014-1999) created some fine work that is carried by Stephanie's Art Gallery in La Canada Flintridge, California, who were very kind and professional to me. Arcadia in NYC is a great gallery with some of my favorite contemporary works, ranging from realism to surreal. Michael Carson's new work here is very impressive.
Lotton Gallery has some fine works from Chicago. Altamira Fine Art in Arizona and Wyoming has some interesting works including the pop art works by Billy Schenck which are nice. Larrence Fine Art in New York were very cordial, and carries LA ROC, who worked along side Keith Haring, with some great pieces. Maxwell Alexander Gallery in Culver City is a great gallery with one of my favorites, Vincent Xeus. Galerie K=Y from Paris has some nice works by the very talented Renaud Delorme among more. Leslie Smith Gallery in Amsterdam has some amazing works by aboriginal artists which were among my favorite, including works by Nancy Ross Nungurrayi, and Contemporary Aboriginal Artist Emily Kame Kngwarreye (pictured here) among more. The woman named Sanne of the gallery here is very professional and cordial, and knows her clients artwork very well.
Century Guild Gallery from L.A. and formerly Chicago, represents some great works by the legendary horror writer and filmmaker Clive Barker. Thomas Negovan here was very cordial. Maxine Smith Paintings did some smart promotion with giveaway posters at one of the art publication tables. Her style is very expressive and entertaining.
One smart young artist who was not in the show crossed my path a number of times, or maybe was stalking me, and said hello to me the second time he saw me. The third time, telling me he saw that I was press, he gave me a small card and button with his artwork. I am not here to promote artists not in the L.A. Art Show, but the work actually looked quite good, and I was impressed with his chutzpa, which is what it takes to succeed as an artist.
In the classical realm, numerous works were on display here through corporate sponsors, by Vincent vanGogh which were amazing. Rehs Gallery out of New York has amazing works, and M.S. Rau out of New Orleans is nothing short of mind blowing and awe inspiring with their phenomenal works by the masters. The staff of this fine gallery are exemplary professionals.
China Projects is the area of The L.A. Art Show with gallerists all from China. One artist here was a huge hit, and I had an associate interested in buying his work, but he said he did not know the price of his own work, and never got back with us after repeated calls. Artists, if language is a barrier for you, bring a translator who actually cares about your work and your success! Judith Hughes Day from Vietnam has some nice works. Coco Art had some very cool porcelain figures in martial arts forms. Island6 Arts Center in Shanghai is a cool collective that has created some very nice pop art light art pieces which I like a lot. The director here and his staff were very kind.
A modern art show is not an complete art show without Andy Warhol, and as every year, Andy Warhol was represented here. Rachel at Cavalier Galleries was kind and helpful here. Cavalier represents the outstanding photographer Harry Benson, who has photographed many of the greatest stars, political, and civil rights leaders of the past sixty years. An image of one of Mr. Benson's shots of Andy Warhol is pictured here.
Numerous daily lectures will also held at the L.A. Art Show which were educational. On Friday January 17th, 2014, a lecture was held here called " Rediscovering Andy: A Hidden Treasure Trove of Warhol's Most Prolific Work." It was headed by speaker Jim Hedges, art collector, and moderated by Bruce Helander, an artist and curator. The lecture was very entertaining and informative. Both Bruce and Jim will be doing an interview with me for a future issue of The Hollywood Sentinel regarding Andy Warhol's work. One artist had taken some shots of Andy Warhol during the Factory days, and incorporated those images into some nice artworks she made based on Andy's images. I will be speaking with her for a future issue as well.
One other gallery had a nice print of one of Warhol's silkscreens. They did not have a professional image of that work to send me, so I will have to perhaps show that here at another time. The most exciting modern art piece here to me by far, was the original silkscreen and painting by Andy Warhol of the Russian dancer Rudolph Nureyev at Waterhouse and Dodd Gallery. This rare work is not merely a silkscreen, but also has visible brushstrokes by the artist which, to any Warhol fan, is hugely exciting to see.
This is only a tiny fraction of the show detailed here, but some of my favorite works. I will be including more in the next issue. Like life itself, art needs to be seen with ones own eyes and experienced; not merely talked or read about. If you have not had the honor, I urge you to go to the next amazing Los Angeles Art Show in 2015. You will be glad you did.
For more information regarding any of the works published here, contact the publicity department at 310-226-7176. This story is ©2014, The Hollywood Sentinel, all world rights reserved.