LA Art Fairs

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Brush up on L.A.’s bustling art fair scene this month

Angeleno, January 2008

Photo L.A.? Art L.A.? L.A. Fine Print Fair? L.A. Art Show? Four separate fairs hit Santa Monica this month, promising hefty doses of today’s record-breaking art world insanity. First up is the 17th annual Photo L.A. (January 10–13), which has traded up from the Civic Auditorium to the larger Barker Hangar, into which 76 local and international dealers will cram their most lucrative blue-chip Irving Penns and Walker Evanses, counterbalanced by a slate of emerging avant-garde video artists.
Younger sister event Art L.A. follows (January 25–27) at the Civic, with an edgy and experimental collection of exhibitors like Patrick Painter, Regen Projects and China Art Objects. That same weekend, back at Barker Hangar, the L.A. Fine Print Fair is in its 23rd year, with wares ranging from Rembrandt to Rauschenberg. Running right alongside it in the same venue is the much larger L.A. Art Show, which last year drew $15 million in sales, as well as appearances by bold-facers like Angelina Jolie and Diane Keaton.

Does all of this sound confusing, insular and perhaps just a wee bit inbred? Not to worry. Novices can sign up for a collectors’ boot camp to be held during the Art Show; leading the group will be Jori Finkel, a veteran art writer for the The New York Times and Art In America. “The workshop,” she says, “is to help you think about your interests and taste, and how to focus your collection.” For $150 (which includes lunch), the four-hour lecture/consultation provides an insider’s primer on both the official byways and unofficial folkways of the scene. One bit of Finkel advice, gratis: Those on a budget should consider beginning with prints or photographs—an excellent, lower-cost way to dip in. –Alexis Johnson

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