(Bruce Helander - artist, art critiс, former Editor-in-Chief "The Art Economist", former White House Fellow of the National Endowment for the Arts).
LA Art Show-Stoppers
Approaching the mighty Los Angeles Convention Center in the heart of the downtown business district can be a humbling experience, particularly from a pedestrian's perspective, looking up at this massive but handsomely designed façade holding its own with the soaring 54-story Ritz-Carlton hotel next door and the Staples Center sports complex across the street. Clearly, this intersection of art and commerce is where the action is: I arrived at the convention center for the LA Art Show the day before the exclusive opening night premiere party to check things out and get an early start on investigating acres of temporary urban art jungle, featuring thirty percent more galleries than last year's fair and including almost fifty international galleries from around the globe. Looking down from the second floor press office windows onto the expansive white wall grids that separate the variety of booths that that will soon come alive with a remarkable display of creative diversity, the gigantic interior space is buzzing like a beehive with workers and hard hat soldiers maneuvering large custom made crates on forklifts zooming in all directions.
It's clear the LA Art Show, now in its 19th year, is no ordinary art fair, which in the last few years has drawn the attention and participation from major, celebrated galleries like Ace Gallery. Once inside the exhibition area, it's necessary to have a pathway map to guide you intelligently and efficiently to the areas you want to explore. This year, the LA Art Show is divided into three distinct categories, which helps to zero in on what you want to see: a modern & contemporary section; a historic & traditional section; and the International Fine Print Dealers Association (IFPDA)-sponsored Los Angeles Fine Print Fair. Toss in an ambitious speakers program (that I also participated in) titled Dialogs LA, ongoing special events and receptions and the adjoining Los Angeles Jewelry Antique & Design Show that sponsored a museum quality exhibition in conjunction with the La Ruta Maya Foundation, which showcases more than 159 superb cultural treasures from the classic period of Mayan civilization, and you've got one helluva exciting opportunity to have a great experience.
I was impressed with the overall quality of the LA Art Show exhibitors, and as an art collector myself, would have been happy to wrap up at least 25 paintings and objects and ship them off to my home in West Palm Beach had my budget allowed it. All it takes is money and there was plenty of that being exchanged, judging by the number of red dots that decorated many of the booth walls. There's certainly something for everyone at the show, but here's a check list of some of my personal favorites...
...The Valentine Ryabov Gallery from Moscow, Russia presented an sophisticated display of riveting new works by Sergey Fedotov, who has somehow mastered the impossible homemade recipe of combining abstract expressionism with distinctly narrative components. Fedotov's painting titled Uglich City is a charming illustration of a creative work of art on several intellectual levels that might have not seemed possible until now. Other works that offer a glimpse at flower arrangements, portraits and country landscapes also are consistently inventive and powerfully dramatic. Valentine Ryabov Gallery: www.ryabovexpo.com ...
Sergey Fedotov, Uglich City, 2006, oil on canvas, 23.6 x 27.5 in.
Courtesy Valentine Ryabov Gallery.