Art Los Angeles Contemporary Kicks Off, Touting Its French Connections

Outside Art Los Angeles Contemporary
(Photo by John Sciulli/WireImage)

LOS ANGELES — Currently in its fourth year, Art Los Angeles Contemporary has finally hit its stride. With a strong mix of international exhibitors alongside local galleries, the fair served to showcase L.A.’s growing presence as an international hub. One doesn’t expect to see the blue chip galleries present at Frieze, Art Basel, or FIAC, but the fair does provide a good opportunity to discover emerging talent like — to name some highlights from this year's edition — Neil Beloufa, Sarah Cain, and Samara Golden.

And the modest scope might be an asset as well — or at least that's what several people at the opening had to say. With just 70 stands in Santa Monica's Barker Hangar, many exhibitors felt optimistic that the fair’s manageable size would encourage collectors to come back for multiple visits.

At the opening, collectors Jeffrey Soros and Homeira Goldstein strolled the stands, while curator Shamim M. Momin eyed Ry Rocklen’s furniture line on display at Thomas Solomon. The strongest foreign presence was from France, thanks to the fair’s partnership with the French-L.A. exchange initiative Ceci n’est pas. And it wasn’t just the French language overheard everywhere that gave away the Gallic presence, but the billowing clouds of cigarette smoke at the fair entrance! Paris galleries such as Galerie Sultana and Claudine Papillion Galerie were joined by L.A.-based French expats M+B Gallery and Francois Ghebaly.

Other notable international exhibitors include Cardi Black Box from Milan, London’s Jonathan Viner Gallery, and Yautepec Gallery of Mexico City.  In the early hours, galleries reported some sales, with Cardi Black Box selling several pieces to a California collector and L.A.’s Night Gallery moving a large piece by local artist Alika Cooper — with a few more pieces on hold. 

To see images from the opening of Art Los Angeles Contemporary, click on the slideshow.