The venerable ParisPhoto international art fair held annually in November, migrated west to Los Angeles three years ago, adding this new spring event to the art world calendar and attracting a new crop of exhibiting galleries with greater proximity to the west coast.
Long a cultural hub for contemporary art, Los Angeles is a good fit for gathering the global photography community, affording better geographic access to the fair’s North American outpost for enthusiastic collectors from South America and the Pacific rim.
Landing (partially) in the cavernous sound stages of Paramount Studios in Hollywood, this version of ParisPhoto bears little aesthetic resemblance to it’s glorious sister fair in the elegant Beaux-Arts Grand Palais on Avenue Winston Churchill. Any modernist west coast references are haplessly lost along the faux cobblestone ‘streets’ of an ersatz New York backlot— a tired and dusty old film set wherein a young Brando would have stumbled out a doorway. Venue aside, much of the work was good.
Many of the well established artists comfortably ensconced at the Paris show were noticeably absent, however in their place were pieces from less self-conscious talent, newer to the scene.
Among the notable was the Unglee solo show at Christophe Gaillard with composite panels of Polaroid prints of tulips, contrasted with enlarged newspaper obituaries describing various invented lives and deaths of the artist himself.
Winnipegger Diana Thorneycroft’s diorama’s involving dolls against backdrops appropriated from iconic paintings, at once darkly humourous and foreboding, were a feat of both construction and photographic execution.
Lui Bolin, from Beijing, at NYCs Klein Sun Gallery attracted a conversational crowd to his protest images, as did the intensely sublime collodion prints of constructed narratives by Alex Timmermans at Voila Gallery.
No fair is complete without its selection of booksellers, and here were nine — including biggies Aperture, DAP and Mack with their respective stellar lineup of authors signing monographs. Alec Soth, Julie Blackmon, Danny Singer, and art darling Mona Kuhn were among Saturday’s roster of artists greeting while autographing.
Younger, smaller and more restless than its continental counterpart, this year’s iteration of ParisPhoto LA was memorable for its youthful bravado and impartial variety. Make-believe Gotham notwithstanding, the California vibe was as much on display as the art and bleached blondes.
Published 2 May 2015 for the Association of Women Art Dealers (AWAD) London UK