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Pulse aims to bring Miami magic to new L.A. art fair this September

February 23, 2011 | 12:00 pm

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A rotten economy is not enough to stop contemporary art fairs from expanding to L.A.

First, the Merchandise Mart Properties Inc. (MMPI), organizers of the New York Armory Show, announced plans for a new art fair in downtown L.A. at the end of September. Now, the powers-that-be behind Pulse in New York and Miami have scheduled their first L.A. art fair for the same time, Sept. 30 to Oct. 2.

Like the MMPI, Pulse is planning a midsized operation, with 60 to 70 gallery booths. Unlike the MMPI, which is using one of its own properties downtown (the L.A. Mart), Pulse has just secured an outdoor, tent-based venue: the L.A. Live "event deck," home to the ESPN X Games and assorted Hollywood after-parties.

"We just signed the contracts," says Pulse director Cornell DeWitt, who calls the choice of venue critical. "We know that parking is a big deal, and it's on top of 2,000 parking spots. There's 100,000 square feet of flexible space."

"And what sealed the deal for us," he adds, "is the outdoor space -- the potential to put on a fair in L.A. that is like our Miami fair, with tons of room for special projects in a beautiful, sunny climate."

Pulse is known for offering more affordable and sometimes more accessible artwork than the blue-chip fairs such as Art Basel Miami Beach and the Armory Show in New York. In those cities too, Pulse takes place during the same time as the anchor fairs.

In L.A., Pulse will also coincide with kickoff events for the Getty-funded museum extravaganza Pacific Standard Time to "capitalize on this groundswell of interest in art from California," DeWitt says.

He sees a certain power in numbers. "Going into a market like L.A., where it's been very difficult for art fairs to survive," he says, "everyone recognizes it will take collaboration between different art fairs and museums and galleries to make this into an incredible event." 

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-- Jori Finkel

www.twitter.com/jorifinkel


Image:  Pulse Miami in December 2010 at the Ice Palace in Miami. Credit: Jason Kaczorowski Photography © 2010


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