Art Fair Review: ALAC, Tenth Anniversary

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ALAC (Art Los Angeles Contemporary)
@ the Barker Hangar, Santa Monica, February 13-17, 2019
https://artlosangelesfair.com/

Photo by John Sciulli/Getty Images for Art Los Angeles Contemporary

NICE MOVE FOR ALAC 10th ANNIVERSARY…

This 2019 ALAC had to face two great challenges, : their Tenth Anniversary and the launching of famous British art fair, FRIEZE… the kind of challenge that makes grow bigger… or disappear

Move forward: new architectural design, new logo

Tim Flemming and his crew had no other choice than to move forward by doing things differently so the fair welcomed a new architectural design by Seattle-based firm Olson Kundig and a new visual identity by Willo Perron & Associates.

 

“After ten years, I recognize the impact we have made locally and internationally’ …. ‘Our 10th Anniversary is a chance for us to recommit to who we are: content-forward, international and LA.’ said Therefore ALAC’s Founder and Director, Tim Flemming

Tim Flemming Photo by John Sciulli/Getty Images for Art Los Angeles Contemporary

 

This season the fair took place under a hangar with a solid roof, not a tent rendering the whole setting quite grandiose with such high ceiling. The entrance emphasized the grandiose with a scaffolding arcade leading to a welcoming coffee/meeting area and the library area with art books. The space dedicated to the galleries had large aisles to walk in, and nice seating areas. 

However, the main large aisle welcoming Emerging Galleries was such a disappointment that circulating through it gave a first bad overall impression of the fair when on the contrary the rest of the fair was excellent.

THE GALLERIES

The fair welcomed established and emerging galleries offering two extremes, very good surprise and bad ones, nothing in between.

Some noticeable defections:

Patrick Painter has preferred to join LA Art Show in January and FRIEZE L.A. sucked quite a few historical galleries to ALAC like Suzanne Vielmetter, David Kordansky, François Ghebaly or Anat Egbi

More countries represented than last year:

65 Established galleries from  Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York, Brooklyn, Denver, Chicago, Montreal, Buenos Aires, Cologne, London, Paris, Berlin, Brussels, Warsaw, Copenhagen, Portland, Auckland, Winnipeg, Oslo, Hong Kong….

17 Emerging Galleries from Los Angeles, London, Riga, Naples, Berlin, Milan, New York, Vienna, Frankfurt, Paris and a section “The Academy” with individual artworks from emerging galleries in a salon-style exhibition curated by Claudia Rech, Berlin-based art historian, curator, and former gallerist of Gillmeier Rech.

be-Art PICKS 2109

BEST L.A. ARTIST:
June Edmonds at Luis de Jesus Los Angeles

June Edmonds characterizes the spirit of making art in Los Angeles. An LA artist is by essence a researcher who takes time trying “things” to find the right technique in order to express his/her inner feeling with the right means.

The image below does not reflect the sensation the viewer can get in front of that painting. The colorful brush strokes made by hand one by one instill the notion of time. The thickness of the paint gives a sense of a living material like human flesh, the color, the shapes drawn, the shapes crossing each other, everything is lay down on purpose to provoke an interpretation

As usual the image does not render the beauty of the painting UFUFUO, 2018 by June Edmonds Acrylic on unstreteched canvas 84 X 140 IN

 

BEST PIECE by:

Jesse Willenbring, Ceysson & Bénétière, Paris, NY, Luxembourg, St Etienne

Willenbrig is a LA-Based artist who takes endless inspiration for his whole body of work from the epic Greek poems by Homer the Ulysses Odyssey. He translates both his feelings and the story under the form of a complex pictural composition made of superimposed layers of colors and shapes. His style of painting relates a lot with Modern Art like Klee for the musical side for example.

In his last series (see example below) Willenbring adds another layer that partially hides the modern part. To the complexity of the “what to show”  Willenbring adds a “how to show” which raises a pretty interesting conflict also for the viewer.

Jesse Willenbring

BEST USE OF TECHNIQUE:
Matthew Stone at The Hole, New York

Paint on glass, scanned in 3D. Digitally composed and assembled on Linen – 2019, Matthew Stone at The Hole, NY

 

 

BEST SERIES: Untitled 1990 (1990) by John Divola at Gallery Luisotti, Santa Monica

Magnificent yet subtle Series of painted photographs on which the artist explores the limit of an artist intervention

John Divola Untitled 90UC, 1990 – Gelatin silver print- 60 x 48 inches

 

 

OTHER IMAGES TAKEN AT ALAC 2019

AT LUIS DE JESUS LOS ANGELES below June Edmonds and above Caitlin Cherry

 

Ed Ruscha; WEN OUT FOR CIGRETS N NEVER CAME BACK, 2017 Cast bronze with hand applied patina; 19-3/4 x 2 inches | 50.2 cm x 5 cm; Edition of 40 Courtesy The Lapis Press
Matthew Brandt Silver on gelatin print at Praz Delavallade
Sculpture by Wang Keping at Chancery Lane gallery, Hong Kong
ORLAN at Ceysson & Bénétière
magnificent yet simple piece by Jorge Méndez Blake at 1301PE, Los Angeles
Gilles Drouault Galerie, Paris

Guy Yanai series of 4 at Galerie Derouillon
Amy Bennett at Richard Heller Gallery, LA
At Praz Delavallade
Josh Lilley Booth, London
Left Alex Isarael and right 3 John Baldessari at Mixografia, Los Angeles

ALAC is a Fair that every Angelino loves very much. However if it was a good idea to change the time to show to coincide with FRIEZE in order to catch their visitors, the fair needs a curating improvement with sharpen eyes to offer the best of LA. Once selected, the galleries also need to raise the bar both in content and form. No doubt it will happen next year.

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