ART PLATFORM -2012 Edition
held in September 2012 in Los Angeles confirms its presence on the LA art scene
The very first edition of Art Platform was held at LA Mart – effective but impersonal 12-story complex in Down Town-. For their second edition, the MMPIs have decided to settle at the most hip place for art exhibitions: the Barker- Hangar; the hangar is just the middle of small planes and private jets for which, literally, the sky is the limit!
By choosing September for Art Platform, the MMPIs -who are the great organizers of Armory Show in NY and Volta in NY and also one of the best signatures of Art Basel (Switzerland)- were very audacious. The Salon was squeezed between Art Chicago and the major art fairs from Europe Frieze in London and the Fiac in Paris; the salon was also de facto isolated from the traditional January/ Month of the Arts of Los Angeles. A first edition is always taken as en event; the most difficult was to position the second edition. Can we say that the youngest LA art fair Art Platform has risen to the challenge?
Some unmistakable signs show the Art fair organizers confirmed their plan to establish themselves in the Art community of Los Angeles over the long term
Executive Director Adam Gross (images above) made an appreciable realistic speech: “ if the art fair has obvious commercial purpose, my target is to make people from the LA art scene realize how big its reputation outside is”. Therefore he asked to LA artists, curator and art consultant to participate to the organization. LA architect Frederick Fisher was asked for the layout, a longstanding photographer from LA, Clayton Campbell, who runs the 18 street art center displayed all along the fence at the entrance his large B&W portraits; Artra whose magic curatorial Director is Max Presneill was asked to curate the underground part under the form of Co/lab; Julie Novakoff, director of Nova Fine Art consulting from Los Angeles was giving excellent VIP tours; local Museum and art associations were well represented with a booth for each; Partners and Sponsors were mainly locally based; and the crew was mainly LA Based. Those few elements confirm the long term intention from Executive Director Adam Gross to make his mark in LA to play a major part in the Art community.
A Generalist Art Fair
The date chosen, the kind of galleries selected –modern, contemporary & cutting edge-, their number -72- the Art shown and the layout have positioned the art fair in the range of a generalist Salon. A generalist Art Fair or Salon is made of a little bit of some ingredients. Art platform had a little bit of each medium –photography, sculpture, oil on canvas, works on paper- , a little bit of cutting edge art, a little bit of modern art, established artists and a few great highly expensive names of artists.
And then, a generalist Salon needs a worldwide approval with galleries coming from all over the world. ArtPlatform has reunited galleries from (decrease order) Los Angeles, New York , San Francisco, Miami, Australia, the Netherlands, Japan, China, plus an under-representation of Europe with just 2 from London, 1 from Berlin, 1 from Italy, 1 from Paris (which, for this one is questionable because for obvious economic reasons they shown only their LA artists, so, even when the artwork shown is excellent -and it was excellent there- we must ask what is the interest for a local collector?)
By cons, galleries from India, Korea or South America where creativity of the artists is quite vivid and Sculpture from Great Britain (which is the best in the world)… were missing.
The finishing touch to make it as a high standard generalist was the layout. LA architect Frederick Fisher was asked for it and it was extremely well done, classical with large aisles, effective, we just had to follow the flow and comfortable feel for everyone with nice coaches here and there.
be-Art Top Five Art Galleries & Artists are:
Despite the absence of certain good galleries from New York, from Asia, from South America, from Europe and even from Los Angeles because of the crisis for those from Europe and because of other art fairs coming up, the level of the art displayed was actually really good.
be-Art # 1 The very first to name is Louis Stern Fine Arts from Los Angeles.
Stern gallery showed a series of paintings worthy of a museum with some of their best Hard-edge paintings. For those readers who don’t know about Hard-edge movement, the term was divised by Californian art critic Jules Langsner
“Abstract Classicist painting is hard-edged painting. Forms are finite, flat, rimmed by a hard, clean edge. These forms are not intended to evoke in the spectator any recollections of specific shapes he may have encountered in some other connection. They are autonomous shapes, sufficient unto themselves as shapes.”
A breathtaking series from Karl Benjamin was on display as well as an audacious 1969 large painting color purple crossed with a red line by Lorser Feitelson. Those remarkable paintings were ideally aesthetically balanced in the booth with timeless sculptures by Harry Bertoia.
“Museal ensemble” like French say.
be-Art # 2 The second gallery of our top five is Sin Sin Fine Art from Hong Kong. They courageously displayed a solo show of Chinese artist Fung Ming Chip. When Chinese artists accept to deal with their tradition and in addition when they are good enough to transcend from it, the result is a subtle art mix with a contemporary approach. This is the kind of art you never stop learning from it.
be-Art # 3 Our top three is the whole Co/Lab. Curator Max Presneill has gathered 20 excellent emerging galleries under the name of Co/lab. The concept is quite original especially nowadays. The galleries from Tokyo, Roma, Australia … were all invited for free to show their emerging artists. They were all enthusiastic and they displayed a creative fresh art. Among those very emerging artists, note Japanese ???? a very young and promising painter to follow. Another one is also Japanese but lives in LA, Ichiro Irie. He assembles earthquake patty -usually used to stick items on their shelves and only with three colors available – in a collage kind to make portraits of his friends. Behind this wax aspect kind we feel a certain danger of things that are not here for ever…………
be-Art # 4 Helen Gory Gallery. The Australian showed a specific photography that emerges year after year from Australia. After the excellent school of Helsinki and the emergence of a Chinese photography that connoisseurs know, grace to Helen Gory Galerie, and other galleries who dare to make the journey through us, we can say there is an excellent emerging Australian School of photography. The photographs are recognizable among a thousand. First they are all milky-white close-up portraits. They are extremely composed and made with an economy of means. Just a few highly colored items are displayed within the ensemble. Artist shown there was Petrina Hicks.
be-Art # 5 Marine Contemporary in Venice-California is our top five. They shown London based artist Debra Scacco whose “work focuses intently on “home”. What is it? A place? A person? A feeling?”. It is made of very small size –almost unreadable- words or sentences written with ink on a paper on which she previously put washed ink. Extremely delicate and intimate work.
Last extra, Shen CHEN from Fu Xin Gallery is our last not to be missed artist. This is the kind of work we can’t look on the Internet. It is made of infinite layers of stripe of light or dark gray colors. These stripes put together on a large format canvas bring a good peaceful feeling to the viewer
no images go to https://www.shenchenstudio.com/recent1.html
Are all the tools in place to transform ArtPlatform in a “do not miss” art fair?
If the MMPIs want to continue in the Generalist kind, they will have to be very picky to find the good balance between everything, like modern/contemporary, photos/paintings/installations/videos, emerging galleries/established galleries but the MMPI should also, step by step, find a specific angle to bring a certain craziness to fit with LA’s people.
Because we would have loved that the MMPIs dig out more in the direction of their excellent co/Lab. I’m sure a big machine like the MMPI can find a more novative angle to the Art Fair. They could invent a new kind of Art Fair that goes even better with the reality of LA art scene.
LA is the synonym of creativity, of inventiveness.
LA is the country where the improbable “Watts Towers” were made possible.
LA is the Berlin of the US: a beehive where emerging artists create their future.. For years LA was a Lab, so, take it as is and the art fair will be THE do not miss!
Los Angeles, Sept. 2012