Los Angeles – what springs to mind? City of angels/broken dreams. Perpetual sunshine and palm tree-lined streets. Old-school cinemas and Hollywood cliches. Bagels and iced lattes.
But what about art?
LA holds huge attraction for creatives. Why? Because there’s a deep pool of talent, more space, and more people willing to collaborate.
The Guardian said recently that LA is “America’s cultural capital”. So we’ve chimed in with some galleries, collaborations and creative projects we’re loving right now, for you to check out, or read up on.
LA’s contemporary art museum just had an enormous refurbishment. Amongst the 2000-strong artworks, highlight exhibitions include Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Mirrored Room (The New York Times noted that its popularity has inspired 8 hour queues and countless selfies), and Cindy Sherman’s Imitation Of Life, using photography to comment on our ‘pictures generation’.
Taking opera out of the house, and into the car. Literally. Hopscotch is an ambitious project which sees the audience driven around in cars containing musicians, singers and actors. It’s hyper-opera that’s really ‘going places’.
What was once a secret nightclub in downtown LA, is now S-A-D-E: a small artist-run gallery that, according to Society6, sometimes has poetry readings and secret bar nights with a bunch of their friends in the industry.
Mama Gallery is a car-lovers dream: full of automotive and performative installations. Which is kinda fitting, since it looks like a garage from the outside. Dazed Magazine explain that exhibitions are curated with a metaphysical slant, that each show is “joined by a mysterious thread that will be revealed gradually, as the gallery grows”.
Drive Time is a short video directed by creative slashie (photographer/model/artist/videographer) Petra Collins. It’s a nice little snippet into sun-drenched LA life for the female artists (read: Petra’s friends) driving the city’s art scene.
Recently opened in Chinatown, Leimin space is a small gallery, showcasing the works of female artists. Lots of neon, pink, and sass.
Night Gallery was aptly named for its nocturnal business hours. A few years down the track has seen Night Gallery shift from dark & edgy artist-run space, to fully fledged daytime art experience.
Vacancy projects is a studio by artist/design duo Kristofferson San Pablo & Mary Vu. They do collaborative projects and pop-ups, as well as sell clothing, graphics, print, posters and books. Head to their Instagram to see a little more – you’ll notice they’re pretty into The Simpsons.
A tiny weeny book store in a beautiful, light-filled warehouse space that stocks independent art books, zines, records, clothes and merch. Good for wasting time on a lazy afternoon.
WCCW (Women’s Centre for Creative Work)
This one’s pretty self-explanatory. The WCCW ladies hold a bunch of creative workshops all the time, including yoga, film screenings, sketching, moon-guided meditations, and writing and speaking workshops.
Shabazz Projects is a publishing platform based in LA creating books and objects. The emphasis is on contemporary art and photography, and they use books as the medium to communicate the artist’s intent. All work is limited to 200 or less editions.
There’s a lot to check out on Santa Monica Boulevard, including New Image Art Gallery. New Image supports artists early in their careers, with an emphasis on empowering young voices and innovative genres.