The Art Los Angeles Contemporary Art Fair (ALAC) opened its hangar this past Thursday (January 29th) to welcome some of the world’s best contemporary artists and galleries for their annual gathering of arts appreciation and collecting. Upon researching the fair for coverage that we wanted to provide to our viewers of ArtAboveReality we found out that the fair has a strong focus on the Los Angeles area, unlike the preceding Los Angeles Art Show, which featured over 120 galleries worldwide.
The overall feel of the fair was different from the beginning. After covering events like Art Basel Miami and the LA Art Show, the ALAC seemed dull in comparison. There were a few pieces that really excited us, but it seemed the excitement began and ended with the journalists. We missed opening night of the fair because of the great Los Angeles traffic wars (if you live in LA you know about cross-town rush hour traffic) and ended up settling for the next day for the viewing. I’m always eager to see which artist will have their show piece displayed as the “face” of the show. For ALAC, it was a sculpture by artists “Wrinkle-Dekker”, Michael Decker and Aaron Wrinkle and titled “Lazy Boy”. It’s really cool because we learned that the sculpture is made from dirt and mud from Highland Park, where the artists are from.
The artists, Michael Decker and Aaron Wrinkle, view him as a kind of Thoreau-ian figure, a stand-in for their own pondering of nature, humanity and contemporary art. – Art Fair Los Angeles Press
The first piece I viewed walking into the Barker Hanger was a canvas full of Sharpie markers by artist Katherine Bernhardt, which for me, set the theme for the show. I coined it a “child-like adulthood”. The Sharpie in this piece represented the permanent marks we could make on our lives while still living in a colorful reality. At first glance this piece can be easily dismissed as an artists attempt to cure boredom but after a few moments of placing yourself in thought, you can discover the intent behind the creation.
Another immediate “Wow” piece was “Fallen Neanderthal with Boxed Visions” (2015) by Nathaniel Mellors. It’s not often that you walk into an event a see a huge “dummy” in the middle of the floor, wait, this is LA so I retract that, but this dummy had a reason for being there. Using a stunt dummy, plexiglass and ornamented rocks, Nathaniel Mellors was able to sum up our society in his display. Playing on the notion that we as humans sometimes don’t think outside the box and that being the cause for us sometimes ending up on our backs, as you see in the photo.
After snapping photos and trying to decipher what some pieces meant I decided to take off the journalism hat for a second and just be an art lover. Too many times I go into an event camera first and I forget that I’m also an appreciator of the arts. I came across a collection of works by artists of Tif Sigfrids’ gallery that just made me burst out in laughter.
“The IRS Totally Raped Me” is a statement that will be made by many Americans during this tax season and everyone who encountered the piece acknowledged it’s shtick. These pieces took on something special at this event because artist Joe Sola decided to divert from the traditional Gallery-to-Collector assembly line and hired Car Salesman Brandon Gojcaj to be a guest curator. I honestly had no idea Brandon was a car salesman and he played it off as such. He initially asked me if I “had ever heard of Joe Sola?”, and that sparked the conversation. I started to go a little deeper in my questioning and then he revealed that he wasn’t really a curator, but a salesman who had just moved to CA.
This brought countless laughs from us and smirks from others but it also opened my mind to ask “How many salesman are here? How many folks representing artists actually care about the art here? These questions started to lead down a road of art authenticity that I’ll save for another article.
The highlight of the night for me was when I went into the space of Alden Projects and saw the original Keith Haring subway drawing along with the Basquiat and Warhol flyer from an event at the Palladium in the eighties. Check out the photos from the art fair in the gallery below.