I thoroughly enjoyed the LA Art Fair last year, and I had a feeling that it would be a good place to begin my entry into the art fair fray on Saturday. I was right. I found some really wonderful work there.
Just like last year the first gallery I came upon was the always rewarding Daniel Weinberg. Also on board were some instructive Chris Martin paintings. I say instructive because I'm still in the process of getting his work. I'm happy to say that his insistent rhythms are starting to work their way in though. And what's not to like about a gallery that shows the twin sons of different mothers, James Sienna and Daniel Zeller. I've never seen a bad piece by either of them and yesterday was no exception. The only disappointment this year was that Weinberg didn't have any works by Luke Whitlatch. I was counting on the gallery for my fix. His paintings were a highlight last year. (Somebody give this guy a show in NYC!) All, of course, was forgiven because the people at Weinberg are so nice and their artists are, oh, so very very good.
Roberts and Tilton made another strong showing this year with artists Kehinde Wiley, Barry McGee, Adam Pendleton, Becca Mann, and well, pretty much every artist they had on the wall. The gallery's Julie Roberts wins the "We Encourage Photography" award for the day. I fell in love with the Jimmy Baker installation, Potential Unlawful Combant, and inquired as to whether I might take a photo of it. Not only did Roberts say, "Yes.", but she actually asked me to help her move the table and chairs out of the way so I could get a clearer shot. Hmmm. Intense respect for the viewer and the work. A fine thing. All I can say is "Thank you." Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. This, kids, is what it's all about.
At Mary Goldman, Alejandro Diaz had me laughing out loud with the juxtaposition of his bright neon Naked Artist Inside and the lo-fi approach of the cardboard sign format. There were also some nice Robert Pruitt pieces in the back corner. Unfortunately, my liking them is all that I remember about them. The art fair memory daze had apparently started to set in and I was only at the end of my first fair.
Downstairs at Western Project was a knockout color-burst of a sculpture by Jason Adkins that I couldn't quite stop looking at it. Plus, I'm a total sucker for art that involves pallets. The main cube resting on it's pallet seemed to be saying "We're ready for transport." It worked from just about any angle, covering everything from the mercenary to the political. Awesome. When I spoke with the gallerist he mentioned that Adkin's paintings (not on display) stand in sharp contrast to the shouting colors of his sculptures. He was right. When I checked the gallery's website I found evocative gray-centered abstracts. I think that if I saw his sculptures and paintings in the same room my body might just implode. A good sign. More, please.
Actually, I'd say that about the LA Art Fair in general: More please. They were in a smaller space this year, so there were fewer dealers. No matter, what I found there packed quite the punch, certainly enough of one to catapult me into the rest of my day.