Who says there’s no good LA art fair? This past weekend proved once and for all that LA can not only put on a big fair but that it can attract some of the world’s top galleries as well as a brigade of international collectors and even celebrities, as no other city can. Paris Photo, at Paramount Pictures in Hollywood along with the smaller Photo Independent at Raleigh Studios across the street demonstrated the huge and growing interest in Art in the city. The French satellite fair took advantage of an East Coast city block styled set to give visitors an inside look into the art world as well as one of Hollywood’s biggest studio sets. The cold weather and surprise rain showers on Friday enhanced the effect as visitors strolled the prop streets tripping over intricately designed and surprisingly accurate reproductions of New York City subway grates complete with precarious rattlings and bent metal edges.
Each booth, placed neatly inside built out spaces in surprisingly convincing mock brownstones and cafe’s gave it the illusion of an old world art district from a city vastly different from Los Angeles. The charming and would-be kitsch atmosphere however was eliminated as visitors entered the booths to find works by some of photography’s top talent represented by dealers from Mexico to Berlin. The indoor studio booths showed some of their best work while special exhibitions featured work by the likes of Dennis Hopper and a special look into the archives of the LAPD. It’s not everyday that the art world and Hollywood get together and even rarer that it works so well. Paris Photo LA’s somewhat casual atmosphere provided a much needed break from the frenzied rush to see it all that sometimes accompanies major art fairs, giving visitors the opportunity to meander about in true LA style and actually appreciate the art.
There’s just something about France and LA that works. Paris Photo has proven that LA can have a great art fair perhaps providing confidence to the people at FIAC as they gear up for their first LA fair next year.