Opening

Dealer Francois Ghebaly Is Opening a Second Space in L.A., Joining a Growing Throng of Galleries in Hollywood


Veteran Los Angeles dealer Francois Ghebaly is expanding into a new space in Hollywood.

Next week—not coincidentally just ahead of the latest edition of Frieze Los Angeles—he will open a his second gallery in a raw, un-renovated space, left “as we found it.”

“I was looking for spaces and I came across one that was perfect for us,” Ghebaly told Midnight Publishing Group News. The dealer previously operated galleries in L.A.’s Chinatown and then Culver City in the early aughts. For the past decade, Ghebaly has run a space in downtown L.A. “We’ve been downtown about 10 years. We have a wonderful space and community there and it’s been very successful. We love what we’ve done there.”

The facade of Francois Ghebaly's new space in Hollywood. Image courtesy Francois Ghebaly.

The facade of Francois Ghebaly’s new space in Hollywood. Image courtesy Francois Ghebaly.

“We’re not moving away, we’re expanding,” he said of the new Hollywood locale, which is situated off of Santa Monica Boulevard, on Poinsettia Drive.

“We are going to have a wonderful gallery that kind of keeps the spirit of our downtown gallery.” Both spaces are housed in 1940s-era buildings with brick facades.

Ghebaly said the new site is “basically the very beginning of West Hollywood, so my immediate neighbors are Karma and Nino Meier, and right down the street from Jeffrey Deitch and Matthew Brown.”

Sharif Farrag, Bodach, (2019). Image courtesy the artist and Francois Ghebaly.

Sharif Farrag, Bodach, (2019). Image courtesy the artist and Francois Ghebaly.

The gallery will open with a show of work by Patrick Jackson, and then will shut down for a while. Ghebaly is in conversation with several architects about the space, but hasn’t decided what route he will take.

When the gallery reopens, it will be with a solo show from Sharif Farrag, a young L.A.-based artist. Farrag’s fantastical ceramic sculptures feature a mashup of imagery including body parts, cigarettes, pop-culture cartoon references and imagery from graffiti and skater culture as well as his Syrian-Egyptian heritage. “He’s been building on an incredible body of work,” said Ghebaly.

Patrick Jackson, Heads, Hands and Feet, (2011). Installation view, "Made in L.A. 2020: A Version," The Huntington, Los Angeles, CA.

Patrick Jackson, Heads, Hands and Feet, (2011). Installation view, “Made in L.A. 2020: A Version,” The Huntington, Los Angeles.

Los Angeles is “such an ever-changing city and there is a very exciting group of galleries and a great community that is developing in Hollywood,” Ghebaly said. “L.A. is such a large, wide city that there are many cities within L.A. itself. In Hollywood, something very exciting is happening right now, and I felt like it would be interesting to be a part of it.”

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Cairo Literally Paraded Ancient Royal Mummies Through Town to Mark the Opening of a Long-Awaited Egyptian Civilization Museum


Cairo celebrated the long-awaited opening of its National Museum of Egyptian Civilization with a procession of 22 ancient Egyptian royal mummies, transporting them across the city to their new home, where they will go on view later this month.

Safely moving the millennia-old remains was a multimillion-dollar affair that involved building special shock-absorbent vehicles as well as repaving the roads along the route to ensure a smooth ride. To maintain optimal preservation conditions, the mummies were put into oxygen-free nitrogen capsules for the duration of their journey.

Each of the 18 kings and four queens had their own gold and blue car, designed to look like the pharaonic boats used to transport ancient royals to their tombs, and featuring the winged sun symbol used by the pharaohs.

The carriage carrying the mummy of Queen Tiye, wife of Amenhotep III, advances as part of the parade of 22 ancient Egyptian royal mummies Photo by Khaled Desouki/AFP via Getty Images.

The carriage carrying the mummy of Queen Tiye, wife of Amenhotep III, advances as part of the parade of 22 ancient Egyptian royal mummies Photo by Khaled Desouki/AFP via Getty Images.

The three-mile parade started at the Egyptian Museum near Tahrir Square in downtown Cairo. Egyptian authorities spent months preparing for the event, dubbed the Pharaohs’ Golden Parade, which involved horse-drawn chariots and hundreds of performers in ancient-style garb.

Although the new museum aims to recapture some of the tourism lost in recent years due to political unrest and the pandemic, there were no crowds on hand to watch the spectacle. The parade route and the surrounding streets were closed for security measures and locals were told to watch the televised broadcast. The filming was orchestrated to block views of impoverished communities with banners, flags, and temporary barricades.

Customized vehicles for transferring mummies leave the Egyptian Museum during the Pharaohs' Golden Parade in Cairo, Egypt, on April 3, 2021. Photo by Ahmed Gomaa/Xinhua via Getty Images.

Customized vehicles for transferring mummies leave the Egyptian Museum during the Pharaohs’ Golden Parade in Cairo, Egypt, on April 3, 2021. Photo by Ahmed Gomaa/Xinhua via Getty Images.

“There is a tendency to try to show a better picture instead of fixing the existing reality,” Ahmed Zaazaa, an urban planner, told the New York Times. “The government says they are making reforms, but the vast majority of people in Cairo who live in working-class neighborhoods are excluded.”

The chronologically themed procession started with Seqenenre Taa, who reigned as the 17th dynasty’s last ruler during the 16th century BC, and ended with 12th century BC pharaoh Ramses IX, of the 20th dynasty.

The most famous pharaohs in the parade were Ramses II, of the 19th dynasty, who led the New Kingdom in the 13th century BC, during its most powerful period, for 67 years, and Queen Hatshepsut, who ruled as the second female pharaoh, during the 18th dynasty in the 15th century BC. All the mummies were originally excavated in the 19th century from the Valley of Kings and nearby Deir el-Bahri.

After about 45 minutes, parade ended in front of the new museum with a 21-gun salute, greeted by Egypt’s president, Abdel Fatah al-Sissi, who had inaugurated the main hall earlier that day.

The National Museum of Egyptian Civilization in Cairo. Photo courtesy of the National Museum of Egyptian Civilization, Cairo.

The National Museum of Egyptian Civilization in Cairo. Photo courtesy of the National Museum of Egyptian Civilization, Cairo.

Intended as a nationalist event celebrating Egyptian history, the parade “expresses the greatness of the ancient civilization that provided humanity, and still does, with a unique and diverse legacy, contributing to its progress and prosperity,” wrote Intisar al-Sissi, Egypt’s first lady, on Facebook.

Egypt began building the National Museum of Egyptian Civilization in 2002, and the project has faced numerous delays. It began welcoming visitors to view its 1,500 artifacts yesterday. The mummies will be on view in the museum’s royal hall of mummies beginning April 18. Until then, entry to the museum is half price.

See more photos of the parade and the new museum below.

Specially designed vehicles transport 22 mummies in a convoy from the Egyptian Museum in Tahrir Square to the new National Museum of Egyptian Civilization, during the Pharaohs' Golden Parade in Cairo, Egypt on April 03, 2021. Photo by Stringer/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images.

Specially designed vehicles transport 22 mummies in a convoy from the Egyptian Museum in Tahrir Square to the new National Museum of Egyptian Civilization, during the Pharaohs’ Golden Parade in Cairo, Egypt on April 03, 2021. Photo by Stringer/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images.

People in ancient Egyptian outfits perform during the Pharaohs' Golden Parade in Cairo, Egypt, on April 3, 2021. Photo by Ahmed Gomaa/Xinhua via Getty Images.

People in ancient Egyptian outfits perform during the Pharaohs’ Golden Parade in Cairo, Egypt, on April 3, 2021. Photo by Ahmed Gomaa/Xinhua via Getty Images.

An artist in old traditional costume rides a horse-drawn carriage as specially designed vehicles transport 22 mummies in a convoy from the Egyptian Museum in Tahrir Square to the new National Museum of Egyptian Civilization, during the Pharaohs' Golden Parade in Cairo, Egypt on April 03, 2021. Photo by Stringer/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images.

An artist in old traditional costume rides a horse-drawn carriage as specially designed vehicles transport 22 mummies in a convoy from the Egyptian Museum in Tahrir Square to the new National Museum of Egyptian Civilization, during the Pharaohs’ Golden Parade in Cairo, Egypt on April 03, 2021. Photo by Stringer/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images.

People visit the new National Museum of Egyptian Civilization in Cairo, Egypt, April 4, 2021. Photo by Sui Xiankai/Xinhua via Getty Images.

People visit the new National Museum of Egyptian Civilization in Cairo, Egypt, April 4, 2021. Photo by Sui Xiankai/Xinhua via Getty Images.

People visit the National Museum of Egyptian Civilization in Cairo, Egypt, April 4, 2021. The main hall of the National Museum of Egyptian Civilization NMEC contains 1,500 artifacts and was open for visitors on Sunday, while the mummies hall will be opened on April 18 to coincide with the International Day for Monuments and Sites, also known as World Heritage Day. Photo by Ahmed Gomaa/Xinhua via Getty Images.

People visit the National Museum of Egyptian Civilization in Cairo, Egypt, April 4, 2021. Photo by Ahmed Gomaa/Xinhua via Getty Images.

People visit the new National Museum of Egyptian Civilization in Cairo, Egypt, April 4, 2021. Photo by Sui Xiankai/Xinhua via Getty Images.

People visit the new National Museum of Egyptian Civilization in Cairo, Egypt, April 4, 2021. Photo by Sui Xiankai/Xinhua via Getty Images.

Pharaonic artifacts displayed at the new National Museum of Egyptian Civilization. Photo by Jonathan Rashad/Getty Images.

Pharaonic artifacts displayed at the new National Museum of Egyptian Civilization. Photo by Jonathan Rashad/Getty Images.

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The Polarizing Collector Stefan Simchowitz Is Opening His Own Gallery in a Bid to Take Down Art-Market Elitism


Stefan Simchowitz has been described as many things: advisor, collector, flipper, the “Art World’s Patron Satan” (in the New York Times), and Sith Lord by critic Jerry Saltz.

“Why not polemicist?” wondered the multi-hyphenate as we sat inside the gallery he just opened on Beverly Boulevard in Los Angeles. “I like to discuss ideas,” he said, “and systems. I’m interested in deconstructing; why a system functions the way it does.”

And it’s the very systems of the art world that Simchowitz seems to enjoy deconstructing the most. In his over-the-top way, he has long broken with the norms and ethics that govern collecting and dealing, including literally cutting up artists’ work to resell in greater quantities, and aggressively persuading young artists to sell him large bodies of work for cheap. Now, Simchowitz has done the unthinkable, at least for him: He’s opened an ordinary, brick-and-mortar art gallery.

“In the past decade I’ve built the engine,” he said. Now, he needed to “put a frame on it because it’s been impossible for me to explain what I do. I just wanted a real simple entry point so that people could be like, ‘Oh, he’s got a gallery, he supports artists,’ because basically everyone understands that. It’s like feeding a baby a steak, you start off with the pea, and that’s how your baby starts to eat. This simplifies the story for public consumption.”

Simchowitz’s Hollywood background—he was a producer on numerous films, most notably Requiem for a Dream—comes into play at the gallery, which feels like a key piece in the puzzle that makes up the narrative of his career. “One hundred percent,” he said, “this is a theater and a theatrical release, and it’s a component of the distribution profile.”

Ken Taylor at Simchowitz.

For the gallery’s debut show, of paintings and ceramics by Pasadena artist Ken Taylor (through April 10), Simchowitz opted against hiring publicists or a communications team. For its Instagram account, Simchowitz decided the gallery would follow no one, which is intended to guard against perceptions of favoritism, he said. “You go to Kordansky and you go to the other galleries, and they’re following a very specific group of people. By not following everyone, I’m not insulting anyone; being like this, I’m open to everybody.”

In another departure from gallery norms, the sales directive is first come, first served. He’s not reserving pieces for top collectors to leverage as social currency or to compete for artists to represent (he has his own list of up-and-coming artists ready to draw from, he said). Simchowitz recounts a recent visit by a group who assumed that everything was sold and unavailable unless you were with an institution.

“’Not at all,’ I told them,” and their energy immediately warmed, he said. “I’ve never been against the institutional business. I’ve been against how they operate and the philosophies and conditions of how they’ve built a business. I just think it can be done better and more efficiently.”

Remember that scene in Pretty Woman, when Julia Roberts walks into a tony Rodeo Drive boutique and the haughty staff refuses to serve her, even though she’s got scads of Richard Gere’s cash to spend? “I think the reason you don’t go to some of the bigger galleries in town is because the second you walk in there, you’re a nobody. You go to the Four Seasons and check in and they say, ‘How are you today? Would you like the New York Times with your coffee and breakfast tomorrow morning?”

That is the Simchowitz gallery directive. Gone are the high counters and cool staff. Instead, everyone is warmly welcomed by Hannah, a former museum employee who wears combat boots and a smile, and is ready to chat about your favorite artists, why you’re here, and how she can help. The furniture is mid-century, with warm wood and comfortable benches throughout.

Ken Taylor’s opening at Simchowitz.

Artist Petra Cortright had this to say about her collector friend: “Stefan has a polarizing personality, but at the end of the day he truly loves art and it is something that I will always respect about him. Every aspect of his life is dedicated to good taste and good art. I wish there were more people like him, but there aren’t.”

Recently, on his personal Instagram account, Simchowitz posted a video of Muhammed Ali in the ring. His caption read: “I take inspiration in this. Ducking and diving. Art world vs Ali.”

The Simchowitz ego may be large, but it’s his dexterity and ability to throw a punch—and take one—that keeps people coming back to watch his next match, which is likely to be just as bloody and entertaining as the last.

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Closely Watched Chicago Dealer Mariane Ibrahim Joins the Growing Ranks of Gallerists Opening New Spaces in Paris


Art dealer Mariane Ibrahim, who recently moved her influential gallery to Chicago from Seattle, has joined a growing number of gallerists expanding to Paris. As Midnight Publishing Group News reported recently, a combination of real-estate opportunities, Brexit fallout, and a renewed sense of vibrancy is turning the City of Lights into a veritable art-market hub.

The new space is on Paris’s famous Avenue Matignon and the first exhibition, a group show of artists on the gallery’s roster, will open in September. In recent years, Ibrahim has offered an influential platform for artists of the African diaspora, including Ghanaian market star Amoako Boafo and British-Liberian artist Lina Iris Viktor. Ayana V. Jackson, who she also represents, will have a solo exhibition at the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art in 2022.

“The 8th arrondissement reminds us of our initial initiative to move to Chicago, where we felt like there was something new happening,” Ibrahim told Midnight Publishing Group News. “We are very lucky to be present for the beginning of a new resurrection of certain areas in Paris.”

Mariane Ibrahim is opening a new gallery in Paris on Avenue Matignon. Image courtesy Mariane Ibrahim Gallery.

Mariane Ibrahim is opening a new gallery in Paris on Avenue Matignon. Image courtesy Mariane Ibrahim Gallery.

Paris has remained a point of departure and a point of return for the dealer, who lived in France before moving to the US in 2010. Given the ongoing travel restrictions, it was her French citizenship that made it possible to move forward with the space. 

Ibrahim said she had been considering the move “unconsciously for quite some time,” but began seriously pursuing it over the past six months. 

The pandemic “almost facilitated the need to be in two places at one time,” she added. “Paris is becoming a city that is going to compete in the major art market, and we are eager to be a part of that.”

In recent years, French collectors have grown increasingly interested in artists of the African diaspora as the country has engaged in deeper conversations about restitution of art stolen during the colonial era.

Asked how the Paris and Chicago spaces will work together, Ibrahim said they are opposites in many ways: the Chicago gallery is all on one level and spread out, while the Paris space spans three floors in a Haussmann building. 

At a time when “the global is local and vice versa,” she said, “being in two cultural spaces will enrich the work and practice of our artists.”

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