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New L.A. art fair firms up galleries and VIP program

July 20, 2011 |  2:40 pm

Nobody said it would be easy to launch another contemporary art fair in L.A., at a time when the economy is sluggish and the city’s leading galleries have already committed to a full calendar of art fairs nationally and internationally. But Adam Gross, the energetic director of Art Platform Los Angeles, reports that more than 70 galleries have signed up for his new fair to debut Oct. 1 to 3, with a few  more to be confirmed.

As reported previously, the fair will run during the opening weekend of “Pacific Standard Time,” a region-wide celebration of art in Southern California that now involves some 60 local museums. The fair will take place in the L.A. Mart, a building downtown owned by the fair’s parent company, Merchandise Mart Properties Inc.

Gross reports that many fair participants will, in a loose “Pacific Standard Time” spirit, focus on art made in California. Dwight Hackett from Santa Fe is featuring work by Jay DeFeo, a Bay Area-based artist famous for her Beat/assemblage aesthetic. New York gallerist Bruce Silverstein is bringing photographs taken by Aaron Siskind in California during his travels here. Santa Monica dealer Patrick Painter is planning an installation of the lyrical and mystical Dutch-born, L.A.-based artist Bas Jan Ader who, very much the Hart Crane of the art world, is believed to have died at sea.

As for the list of confirmed galleries, the largest concentration is local in origin. And some mainstays of the Armory Show in New York, another MMPI fair, are notably absent. But Gross says he is happy with the quality of the galleries, adding, "Our real vision is a three-year vision.”

He adds that the fair’s success can’t be judged by sales alone, noting that his mission is to help make the art scene here more "visible and accessible." Among other things, Art Platform is helping to develop the VIP program for “Pacific Standard Time.” VIP visitors can expect, Gross says, a mix of artist studio visits, museum tours and private collection tours, including “access to some of L.A.’s most important and impactful collections—and not just the Broads and Nathansons, the world-class collections everybody knows.”

“We are all working together,” he adds, “to give people a very good excuse to visit the city and experience one of the world's great art capitals.”


Los Angeles is primed: Art fair, please step up

The ABC's of L.A.'s art fairs

--Jori Finkel

Image: "California 5, 1975" by Aaron Siskind, one of the works that the Bruce Silverstein Gallery is bringing to Art Platform Los Angeles.