Southern California art has a lot to offer and we’re a thriving culture center. Just look at our top-notch art schools and art stars. Our museums — with the Getty Center being the richest museum in the world — our galleries, and our collectors, and … did I just say “our collectors”? I guess I got carried away a bit. Unfortunately, this is where Los Angeles fails to live up to its potential. The Los Angeles art world is known for kvetching about the dearth of collectors. The old saw about LA collectors going to New York to buy art still hums in the background, but rumor is that this annoying sound is fading. And that would be good news for everyone involved.
If it’s true that LA’s wealthy are starting to buy art, right here, in this city, then that would explain why three prominent art fairs are setting up camp in October. Two are from New York (Platform and PULSE), and the third is LA’s foremost, artLA. This is a mark that Los Angeles has become an art-world destination (read more from Gordy Grundy on page 46).
I hear, however, that a lot of Los Angeles dealers pooh-pooh the art fairs coming here. How can that be? I can see some logic for the galleries; for instance, the no-brainer: Why would we rent a booth to show our art when our art is already here? That does seem like a rational way to look at things. But, then why do all the blue-chip New York galleries line up to be in the New York art fairs?
Plain and simple, folks. Los Angeles has a low self-esteem problem. LA doesn’t think it’s good enough. Obviously New York thinks we are. Artists from all over the world flock here to go to school, and then they stay for the sunshine. Over half of our museum directors are from New York. For a town that is so unsure of itself, those facts alone could reassure any naysayer.
READ COMPLETE ARTICLE: VOL 5, ISSUE 6, JULY/AUGUST 2011