Los Angeles

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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The L.A. Art Scene Is Expanding in Time for the Frieze Art Fair Amidst a Billionaire Scion’s Bold Investment in an Up-And-Coming Area


While reporting my doom-and-gloom column last week, I spotted a glimmer of hope: Los Angeles.

So I decided to follow up on it.

Indeed, the art scene in the City of Angels has been undergoing a major expansion, and anticipation is now building around the Frieze L.A. art fair in mid-February—an event that is poised not only to be a celebration of the West Coast art capital but also the year’s first stress test for U.S. galleries writ large. The fair is going through its own leveling-up, with a larger new venue in Santa Monica and 120 exhibitors, 20 percent more than at last year’s edition. Coinciding with Frieze are at least four other art fairs, as well as openings and other festivities by newcomers, including a cluster of New York galleries, led by David Zwirner, which is flocking to East Hollywood. (Although that opening is being delayed, more on that later.)

The locals, meanwhile are doubling down. L.A. mainstay Hauser & Wirth, for instance, is opening a new 5,000-square-foot location in West Hollywood with new paintings by George Condo priced at $2.6 million to $2.8 million. Nearby, homegrown François Ghebaly Gallery will launch a 3,000-square-foot branch, its second in the city. Entrepreneur Stefan Simcowitz’s recent opening of a gallery in Pasadena is followed this week by a new space on the ground floor of the Mohilef Studios downtown.

George Condo, Psycho (2022). Courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth
Photo: Thomas Barrat

“There’s a lot of momentum,” said Mills Moran, co-founder of the local Morán Morán gallery and the Felix Art Fair. “L.A. is growing.”

Some of the excitement can be traced to a new art hub sprouting in East Hollywood. Dubbed Melrose Hill, the area was first populated by vendors servicing Paramount Studios and later furniture showrooms, whose column-free, high-ceiling layouts seem readymade for contemporary art galleries. These days, streets appear desolate, with empty lots and trash on the sidewalks.

Turning the area into a walkable, artsy, and cool destination is the passion project of Zach Lasry, the 32-year-old son of Marc Lasry, the billionaire hedge fund manager and co-owner of NBA’s Milwaukee Bucks team.

“He was just very motivated to make the neighborhood something organically interesting,” said Allegra LaViola, owner of Sargent’s Daughters gallery, which signed a five-year lease with the younger Lasry. “He liked the idea of a neighborhood that had a little bit of a New York vibe. You get out of your car, you can go to this restaurant, go to this coffee shop, go to this gallery, to a cool boutique—instead of getting in a car, driving to one thing, getting out of the car, getting back in the car, going to another thing.”

Morán Morán was first to sign on, opening a gallery near a gas station on N. Western Avenue in August 2021, with a 10-year lease. The 5,000-square-foot space with skylights was an upgrade from its former 3,000-square-foot quarters in West Hollywood.

“We were really early,” Moran said. “We saw Zach’s vision. It wasn’t hard to visualize. They’ve been acquiring property there for a long time. Our conversations started before the pandemic.”

Others followed. Clearing opened a temporary space in September. Sargent’s Daughters and Shrine, who share a space east of Dimes Square in New York, are moving in next month to coincide with Frieze L.A. James Fuentes will follow in March, across from Morán Morán.

James Fuentes, Los Angeles.

New York gallerist James Fuentes’s new Los Angeles outpost. Courtesy of the Gallery.

The biggest kahuna in the area, of course, is David Zwirner, whose limited liability company paid $6 million in 2021 for a building at 606 N. Western Avenue and another $1 million for a two-bedroom house with bars on the windows around the corner last year, according to property records.

The gallery had planned to launch its first West Coast flagship in time for Frieze L.A. with a long-awaited show of Njideka Akunyili Crosby. But the chatter mill is abuzz that the 15,000-square-food project by Selldorf Architects got mired in construction delays, and won’t open till later this spring. A spokeswoman for the gallery confirmed that it’s not debuting during the week of Frieze but declined to elaborate.

Moran said that his new neighbors are discussing coordinated openings to draw people to the up-and-coming area. Safety may be a concern, at least initially.

“There’s so much homelessness, it’s actually dangerous,” said Simchowitz, the art establishment’s perennial gadfly. A homeless man threw an iron bar at his car when he was in the area this week, he said.  

I raised the issue of safety with some New York transplants.

“It reminds me of Delancey Street, where the gallery is in New York,” said Fuentes, who signed a 10-year lease in Melrose Hill. “I never felt like I needed to be extra-concerned.”

 

Jemima Kirke, Bride in a Dark Room (2017) will be in Sargent’s Daughter’s first L.A. show, “Death of Beauty.” Courtesy: Sargent’s Daughters

LaViola said that she always takes safety into consideration, leading her to install a buzzer at her New York gallery, but that she wasn’t too worried about Melrose Hill.

Lasry’s plan to create denser foot traffic is part of what drew her to the area, she said. Affordable rent, a feature of a fringe locale, was another. “I would pay the same price for 500 square feet on the Upper East Side, where I would be on the third floor, as for the ground floor in Los Angeles, where we could renovate to our own specifications,” she said.

 

“Knowing that there was this built-in association was really key,” LaViola said.

Alison Knowles, The House of Dust Edition (1967). Courtesy of the artist, James Fuentes, and LACMA.

Alison Knowles, The House of Dust Edition (1967) will be part of “Coded: Art Enters the Computer Age, 1952–1982” at LACMA. Courtesy of the artist, James Fuentes, and LACMA.

Los Angeles has been increasing in significance for Fuentes, who has been cautious not to overextend during his 15-year gallery career. But a generation of budding collectors has made L.A. their home since the pandemic, taking advantage of remote work policies, resulting in a new pool of clients. The area is famously home to many artists, useful for the expanding gallery, and proximate to Asia. Fuentes’s artists show in the city’s world-class institutions. One, Alison Knowles, will be included in a group show about the rise of computer technology at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art next month.

“I am so careful with these types of decisions, and I spent a lot of time analyzing it and considering it,” Fuentes said about his move. “I am going into it with optimism.”

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For Its Major Post-Pandemic Triennial, the New Museum Has Invited 40 Rising Artists to Explore the Theme of Persistence


The 2021 New Museum triennial—the fifth iteration of its signature exhibition of emerging artists—has been in the works since long before the pandemic. But its overarching theme, of tenacity in the face of hardship, will likely feel more relevant than ever when the show opens this fall, well over a year into the pandemic.

The museum announced today that the exhibition, co-organized by Margot Norton, a curator at the New Museum, and Jamillah James, senior curator at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, is titled “Soft Water Hard Stone.” The name comes from a Brazilian proverb: Água mole em pedra dura, tanto bate até que fura (“Soft water on hard stone hits until it bores a hole”).

For the curators, it’s a metaphor for persistence: Even the most inexorable of materials change with time and energy. 

The 40 artists included in the show—a group that represents five continents and nearly all media—the proverb can, occasionally, be read more literally. The transfiguration of discordant materials and ideas will constitute a prominent theme in the exhibition, as will the use of outmoded models and artistic traditions.

Their works exalt states of transformation, calling attention to the malleability of structures, porous and unstable surfaces, and the fluid and adaptable potential of both technological and organic media,” a statement on the triennial reads. 

Ambera Wellmann, <i>UnTurning</i> (2019). Courtesy of the artist and KTZ gallery, Berlin.

Ambera Wellmann, UnTurning (2019). Courtesy of the artist and KTZ gallery, Berlin.

Though all of the artists were born after 1975, the curators say they didn’t look to birth dates for their definition of “emerging artists.”

“We decided that, instead of age, our parameter would be based on exposure,” James tells Midnight Publishing Group News, “so that artists we invited that had not yet had a major solo exhibition in a U.S. museum.” 

Norton and James began research for the Triennial in the summer 2018, logging nearly two year’s worth of travel and in-person studio visits before the pandemic necessitated some improvisation. “When we scheduled our travel, we were interested in visiting locations where it made a difference to be there physically, and in areas where artists are often underrepresented in international exhibitions,” James says, pointing to places such as North Africa, South Asia, and Eastern Europe.

Since then, the curators have “become quite accustomed to the Zoom studio visit, to say the least.” Norton says. “While there is a huge disadvantage to not seeing work in person, we actually found it to be quite efficient to continue our research remotely, particularly as we honed in on the show’s theme, and for the artists whose works we have had the opportunity to see in person prior.” 

Brandon Ndife, <i>Modern Dilemma</i> (2020). Courtesy of the artist and Bureau, New York.

Brandon Ndife, Modern Dilemma (2020). Courtesy of the artist and Bureau, New York.

“Soft Water Hard Stone,” is set to run from October 27, 2021 to January 23, 2022 at the New Museum. See the full list of participating artists below.

  • Haig Aivazian (b. 1980 Beirut, Lebanon; lives and works in Beirut, Lebanon)
  • Evgeny Antufiev (b. 1986 Kyzyl, Russia; lives and works in Moscow, Russia)
  • Alex Ayed (b. 1989 Strasbourg, France; lives and works in Brussels, Belgium, and Tunis, Tunisia)
  • Nadia Belerique (b. 1982 Mississauga, Ontario, Canada; lives and works in Toronto, Canada)
  • Hera Büyüktaşcıyan (b. 1984 Istanbul, Turkey; lives and works in Istanbul, Turkey) 
  • Tomás Díaz Cedeño (b. 1983 Mexico City, Mexico; lives and works in Mexico City, Mexico) 
  • Gabriel Chaile (b. 1985 San Miguel de Tucumán, Argentina; lives and works in Lisbon, Portugal)
  • Gaëlle Choisne (b. 1985 Cherbourg, France; lives and works in Paris, France)
  • Krista Clark (b. 1975 Burlington, VT, United States; lives and works in Atlanta, GA, United States) 
  • Kate Cooper (b. 1984, Liverpool, United Kingdom; lives and works in Amsterdam, the Netherlands) 
  • Cynthia Daignault (b. 1978 Baltimore, MD, United States; lives and works in Baltimore, MD, United States) 
  • Jes Fan (b. 1990 Toronto, Canada; lives and works in New York, NY, United States and Hong Kong)
  • Goutam Ghosh (b. 1979 Nabadwip, India; lives and works in Kolkata, India) 
  • Harry Gould Harvey IV (b. 1991 Fall River, MA, United States; lives and works in Fall River, MA, United States) 
  • Clara Ianni (b. 1987 São Paolo, Brazil; lives and works in São Paolo, Brazil)
  • Kahlil Robert Irving (b. 1992 San Diego, CA, United States; lives and works in St. Louis, MO, United States) 
  • Arturo Kameya (b. 1984 Lima, Peru; lives and works in Amsterdam, the Netherlands) 
  • Laurie Kang (b. 1985 Toronto, Canada; lives and works in Toronto, Canada)  
  • Bronwyn Katz (b. 1993 Kimberly, South Africa; lives and works in Cape Town, South Africa) 
  • Ann Greene Kelly (b. 1988 New York, NY, United States; lives and works in Los Angeles, CA, United States)
  • Kang Seung Lee (b. 1978 Seoul, South Korea; lives and works in Los Angeles, CA, United States) 
  • Amy Lien and Enzo Camacho (b. 1987 Dallas, TX, United States; lives and works in New York, NY, United States) and (b. 1985 Manila, Philippines; lives and works in Berlin, Germany) 
  • Tanya Lukin Linklater (Alutiiq) (b. 1976 Kodiak, AK, United States; lives and works in North Bay, Ontario, Canada)
  • Angelika Loderer (b. 1984 Feldbach, Austria; lives and works in Vienna, Austria)
  • Sandra Mujinga (b. 1989 Goma, Democratic Republic of the Congo; lives and works in Oslo, Norway and Berlin, Germany)
  • Gabriela Mureb (b. 1985 Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; lives and works in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)
  • Brandon Ndife (b. 1991 Hammond, IN, United States; lives and works in Brooklyn, NY, United States)
  • Erin Jane Nelson (b. 1989 Neenah, WI, United States; lives and works in Atlanta, GA, United States) 
  • Jeneen Frei Njootli (Vuntut Gwitchin) (b. 1988 Whitehorse, Yukon, Canada; lives and works in Vancouver, Canada)
  • Ima-Abasi Okon (b. 1981 London, United Kingdom; lives and works in London, United Kingdom and Amsterdam, the Netherlands)
  • Christina Pataialii (b. 1988 Auckland, New Zealand; lives and works in Wellington, New Zealand)
  • Thao Nguyen Phan (b. 1987 Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam; lives and works in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam)
  • Nickola Pottinger (b. 1986 Kingston, Jamaica; lives and works in New York, NY, United States)
  • Rose Salane (b. 1992 New York, NY, United States; lives and works in New York, NY, United States)
  • Blair Saxon-Hill (b. 1979 Eugene, OR, United States; lives and works in Portland, OR, United States)
  • Samara Scott (b. 1984 London, United Kingdom; lives and works in London, United Kingdom)
  • Amalie Smith (b. 1985 Copenhagen, Denmark; lives and works in Copenhagen, Denmark)
  • Iris Touliatou (b. 1981 Athens, Greece; lives and works in Athens, Greece) 
  • Ambera Wellmann (b. 1982 Lunenberg, Nova Scotia, Canada; lives and works in New York, NY, United States)
  • Yu Ji (b. 1985 Shanghai, China; lives and works in Shanghai, China)

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Gagosian Has Closed Its San Francisco Gallery, Once Seen as a Beacon of Promise for Silicon Valley’s Art Market


Back in 2016, the arrival of mega-gallery Gagosian in San Francisco was deemed a sign that Silicon Valley’s art market was heating up. Four years later, however, the gallery has officially closed the space, which was located a stone’s throw from the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

“To consolidate and strengthen Gagosian’s presence in California, we are concentrating our efforts based in Los Angeles, for the time being,” a spokesperson told Midnight Publishing Group News.

The confirmation follows a December 31 report in the San Francisco Chronicle that the gallery’s phone had been disconnected, its signage had been removed, and the branch information had been removed from Gagosian’s website.

This is not the first blue-chip gallery to close an outpost during the lockdown era. In October, Marian Goodman announced she would shutter her London space after six years.

Gagosian—the largest art gallery in the world—continues to operate 15 other spaces in New York, Los Angeles, London, Paris, Rome, Athens, Geneva, and Hong Kong.

At the time of the San Francisco gallery’s launch, SFMOMA had just reopened after a major overhaul, focusing the art world’s attention on the city. “This makes sense with the new museum opening and with the emerging collector base in Silicon Valley,” Larry Gagosian told SF Gate at the time. The inaugural show featured work by Cy Twombly, Richard Serra, Jasper Johns, and Pablo Picasso.

Exterior of the Marciano Art Foundation. Photo by Julian Calero.

Exterior of the Marciano Art Foundation. Photo by Julian Calero.

While Gagosian is now downsizing in San Francisco, it is expanding in Los Angeles. This past summer, the gallery extended his footprint in the city by taking over part of the shuttered Marciano Museum, a 90,000-square foot former masonic temple on Wilshire Boulevard. (The private museum founded by fashion moguls Paul and Maurice Marciano permanently shuttered this past February, shortly after workers there voted to unionize.) Gagosian also operates a gallery in nearby Beverly Hills.

The San Francisco gallery’s final exhibition was a show of work by the late Bay Area artist Jay DeFeo. “We felt a great amount of support from local collectors, institutions, and the public,” the space’s co-director Kelly Huang told Midnight Publishing Group News. By offering programming that might be more typical of New York and Los Angeles, she added, “Gagosian helped expand access to contemporary art in the Bay Area.”

Huang, who worked as an art advisor for roughly a decade before joining the gallery, is now planning to launch her own art advisory firm, KCH Advisory. She remains bullish on the notion that the city is fertile ground for the art market to develop. “There is a growing, active, and engaged client base in San Francisco,” she said, “and it reflects the huge potential for the next generation of collectors here.”

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