What does the Los Angeles art scene have that New York does not? Art Platform LA, the September international contemporary art fair, and Paris Photo LA, the trendsetting celebration of photography at Paramount Studios, are two good examples. Next year, Los Angeles will get another major program that is bypassing New York. Reed Exhibitions, the organization that produces Paris Photo and Paris Photo LA, is launching a Los Angeles version of FIAC, its flagship contemporary art fair event. The show has earned a reputation as the continental European equivalent of London’s Frieze Art Fair, where galleries compete for attention with novelty that escalates in arms race proportions.
Many Los Angeles galleries participated in annual FIAC show in Paris last week and shared a wide range of viewpoints about the prospects for adding FIAC to the Los Angeles Art events calendar. Overduin & Co. has not yet decided whether it will also exhibit at FIAC Los Angeles, but finds the option a valuable one. “Each fair has its own personality. I’m excited to see who will exhibit,” reported a gallery spokeswoman. Hannah Hoffman of Los Angeles, who also exhibited at FIAC 2014, points out that it is important to have a project that builds on the foundation of the show. Cherry and Martin, Kohn Gallery and David Kordansky of Los Angles also exhibited at this year’s FIAC event in Paris.
303 Gallery of New York exhibits both contemporary art and photography, which gave it a head start on seeing a FIAC show in Los Angeles at Paris Photo LA earlier this year. Gallery owner Thomas Arsac was noticeably pleased with strong sales, but is still evaluating a return to Los Angeles . Good shows that are well attended pose their own challenge – it is difficult to stand out from the crowd. One FIAC 2014 exhibitor that has already applied to exhibit at FIAC Los Angeles would stand out anywhere in California. “Plan B” Gallery is from Transylvania, a legendary region that evokes mystery and intrigue, reflected in the works by Transylvanian artists it features.
One local art community is well positioned to benefit from adding a continental European art fair to the Southern California art scene. That is local museum curators who can gain global perspectives on art trends and crowd pleasing ways to display them. The FIAC show is best known for generating so much attention that patrons stand in lines like the long queue that waited to see the special exhibitions at Paris Photo LA, a phenomenon that local museums do not see frequently, even though they often have access to the same images.
Here are some key trends to keep an eye open for:
- Three dimensional works. Two Rising Cubes, a bas relief by Daniel Buren in shades of blue, demonstrates a way to stand out, literally, on gallery or museum walls. A simulated headlight by Indian sculptor Anish Kapoor also illuminates this trend.
- Bold presentation of primary colors. Tornabuoni Arte of Milan dedicated its entire space to “Rosso!” This show was 100% red with passion with works by Italian artists from the last fifty years.
- Digital inspiration. Many emerging artists are using traditional fine art techniques to create images that mimic digital art, but show the texture and hues of handcrafted artistry on canvas with closer observation.
FIAC Los Angeles is scheduled for March 27 to 29, 2015 at the Los Angeles Convention Center. This momentum for the lively arts scene in downtown Los Angeles will make a visit well worthwhile.