Wednesday, July 06, 2005

New York Times Discovers LA Art Scene!

The fact it has taken me this long to comment on a July 3rd New York Times story about the LA art scene, tells the story in itself.

I can remember back in the early 1990's when Art News did their Big LA/California issue. I was standing around in some gallery's back room while we watched faxed copies of the article - fresh off the press in New York - arriving. And as someone made copies of the pages as they appeared and handed them out - almost the first thing that anyone said was, " My God - It's all about us!"

And she was right. Many of those mentioned were in that room at that moment and virtually all of us knew each other and most of us saw each other several nights a week on the circuit - Tommy Solomon's Garage, Sue Spaid's Gallery, Food House, Bliss, Domestic Setting, Bennet Roberts, Three Day Weekend, Post, TRI (which I think was capitalized, but I am not sure now any more than I can say with certainty how many Laura's - five? - were in that even then famous show) - along with the slightly older more established galleries.

The LA art world then was a relatively small one and very incestuous one - in all them meanings of the word - and having many of our artist friends and gallery owners recognized in a semi-major New York art magazine was a big deal.

Cut to today, and this latest New York overview of the LA art world has created barely a ripple. The gallery scene is now far larger and it is increasingly spread all over the city. LA's art schools (even down in Irvine) virtually all have international reputations and the numbers of working artists is far larger, far too many for everyone to know each other any more. And as for recognition in New York (or London or Cologne, for that matter), today it is a given for an LA artists today to show in New York as major NYC galleries scoop up LA artists before they are even out of art school and, often, before they have even had their first LA solo show.

But I suspect, that even with all these new levels of sophistication - that some of the people named when reading that article will exclaim - "My God - It's all about us!"

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