By Vanessa Françoise Rothe
Last Wednesday, January 10, 2018, top fine artists and collectors gathered at the Los Angeles Convention Center for the opening-night party at the 23rd annual LA Art Show, Modern and Contemporary. With slightly fewer booths geared toward representational work, and a slow start on attendance, the show was nevertheless a success, and the works themselves were as strong as ever. Fine Art Connoisseur was there for the opening-night preview with greats such as Jeremy Lipking, Aaron Westerberg, and Casey Baugh and was intrigued to learn about J. Louis, a newcomer to the show and to the Arcadia Contemporary booth.
Steve Diamant, owner of Arcadia Contemporary, boasted a larger-than-usual booth, with up to seven works by each artist. Maxwell Alexander Gallery displayed a winning mix of contemporary works by Jeremy Mann, Michael Klein, Joshua La Rock, and Joseph Todorovitch while keeping its Western traditions with Logan Hagege and other Western-themed artists. Another gallery of note for our readers was the California Museum of Fine Art featuring works by Dan McCaw, Dali Higa, and new Russian selections. MS Rau Antiques sparkled again with its impressive walk-in booth showcasing top historical Impressionist and realist works, including a beautiful large-scale Berthe Morisot and a unique self-portrait sketch by Vincent van Gogh.
Attendees at the opening-night premiere party got to enjoy a sneak peek at the LA Art Show’s more conceptual and abstract installations, such as Antuan Rodriguez’s “Left or Right” punching bags and Bunnie Reiss’s “Space Boat” in Littletopia. Adrienne Stein’s work was of particular note, with her ethereal figures intertwined with flora and fauna, and was a realist light in the contemporary Littletopia section. Works from across the globe were on view, weaving together art from 18 countries, including the National Exhibition from China.
A new section of the show, titled “DESIGN LA ART,” brought interior and architectural design to the show. “Los Angeles has emerged as a major destination for the arts,” says producer Kim Martingale.“With this new section we are honoring the city’s already rich history in the realms of design and architecture, as well as presenting forward-looking programming about the growing fusion of these two disciplines.”
In addition to the wide range of fine art, from realism to conceptual and abstract, the show included programming and discussions on the main stage by gallery owners, artists, and art world journalists presenting on various topics. In addition, there was an element of interior design added this year to the event, with handmade wood furniture installations throughout. Emmy- and Golden Globe Award-winning actor, director, and producer Jon Hamm graciously hosted the evening on behalf of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Though the show was markedly smaller in scale, as noted, the representational selections and top galleries showcasing the work certainly made it worth the visit.
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