Art Los Angeles Contemporary opened Thursday night to a young, buzzing frenzy—appropriately reflecting the artists and booths represented at the fair. Situated at the Barker Hangar in Santa Monica, the brief two-hour opening night got VIPs rushing to and through this art fête off the beaten path. Here are the great eight booths from Art LA Contemporary to bookmark for the weekend.
The Hole, New York
Using the standard background of Photoshop as wallpaper, The Hole has taken the idea of a mock-up and brought it to their literal stage—a presentation that resonates with their program of artists that utilize digital media and advanced technical practices to bring fresh works to this New York art world darling. With Katsu’s drone pieces, Holton Rower’s amorphous Pour Paintings, and favorites like Mark Flood and Friends With You, this booth’s riotous synthesis of color and wits cannot and should not be missed.
Anat Ebgi, Los Angeles
Five months into their commitment to a year of curating solely female artist shows, Anat Ebgi boasts conceptually and technically marvelous pieces by artists Amie Dicke and Samantha Thomas—the two that happened to draw us in here. However, special mention must go to End of Term by Serge Attukwei-Clottey. In his home in Ghana, the yellow plastic gallons we use to store our excess oil are doubly used to collect water. Addressing ecological and political issues with alarming simplicity, Attukwei-Clottey creates tapestries from filthy pieces of this tainted plastic fused with wire—reminding us of these prevalent violations of basic human needs and our use, and waste, of resources.
Neumeister Bar-Am, Berlin
Over in the inaugural Freeway section of Art LA Contemporary, Neumeister Bar-Am is showcasing two emerging Dutch artists. Rachel de Joode’s imprints of human hands molded into abstract forms challenge the subjectivity of “humanness.” Harm van den Dorpel brings his programming and artificial intelligence background into his present works, modeled after the Scrum and Kanban methodologies popular with startups. By investigating how our brain makes seemingly random connections, he exposes how primal artificial intelligence truly is and the resultant relevance of our cognition. Each artist challenges the complexities of what the human is through opposite approaches—the physical and mental—in this color-quiet, concept-loud booth.
Workplace Gallery, Gateshead
In Cantata Profana, artist Matt Stokes features six extreme metal vocalists from different countries (UK, Netherlands, US, Norway and Germany) singing a completely Acapella choral piece. By taking them out of their background and context, a listener can focus on exactly what these performers expend vocally and physically in this often misunderstood genre of music. Filmed and recorded in Berlin, this completely new composition is done in a single, live take. Matt Stokes stands by at the booth with headphones ready for you to listen in on this ear-bending video work.
Michael Benevento, Los Angeles
Michael Benevento’s neat, white cube features artists Jesse Benson, Mark Roeder, Tariq Alvi, and Michael E. Smith. The latter’s assisted readymade of a center console from a Chrysler Town and Country immediately caught our eye. Mounted on a ball bearing, the spinning console simulates a car crash to a frightening degree as its apparent loss of control begins to tap at the anxieties suppressed in your mind.
Ever Gold [Projects], San Francisco
San Francisco’s Ever Gold [Projects] recently celebrated their 7-year anniversary and brought with them an extension of their honorary show of the Ceramics Collective down the coast to LA. Adam Parker Smith’s wild gestural reliefs flank the entrance to this booth revealing a fine balance between emerging and established artists. Maybe it’s the fully functional Picasso-vase-reproduction bongs or the stack of raunchy LA XXX papers sitting on the ground, but there’s something coolly casual about this corner booth that puts you at ease while you enjoy the Barry McGee alongside the Sandy Kim.
CANADA, New York
CANADA’s wide range of work and media between three artists include LeMatire’s lenticular prints of layered photographs. The ultimate holograph effect is arresting as you waddle in front. Local LA artist Samara Golden’s life-size cafe table juts out at you, forcing you to view it head on and assess the familiarity of it all. The domestic vignette, made from found objects and insulation foam, is rooted in memories—the ashtray dating back to that time when you could smoke in a restaurant (if you’re old enough to remember this, Reader).
Jack Hanley Gallery, New York
The sickly sweet feel of Elizabeth Jaeger’s mixed media sculptures makes the viewer question exactly what went wrong in this otherwise two-dimensional world. The prim, simplified setting houses two paradoxical representations of women—one demure, the other strewn carnally across a golden mattress. You cringe realizing the female here looks just as much a generic object as the other material items represented in the booth.
Art LA Contemporary is on view through Sunday, January 31st. Avoid the scrotum with the hook through it (if you can).