As one of the cultural capitals of the world, it should come as no surprise that LA also offers some of the best art curators around. With a bustling gallery scene, art openings every weekend adn cutting edge modern shows to pop up community galleries, art is everywhere. Here are some of the top contenders to help you get your art on.
12619 Hawthorne Blvd.
Gloria Plascencia is a fine arts photographer, who began curating by starting a gallery at the Frame and Art Department in Hermosa Beach. Her reputation working with local artists led to Phantom Galleries offering Plascencia her position at Gallery H.
Phantom Gallery transforms vacant commercial properties into temporary art galleries organized by local art organizations. The Gallery H location was chosen as a bridge between the South Bay and the Los Angeles art communities; the gallery presents new exhibitions every six weeks. Plascencia creates exciting themed exhibits that highlight the work of skilled artists and new up and comers. Recent exhibitions included a Dias de Los Muertes exhibition that featured live dance performance art as well as cutting edge sculpture, photography, and art altars to celebrate the holiday. Expect mixed media, fine art, and sensual style in her shows.
A new media, performance artist, painter and art historian, Schomaker supports artists with the goal of building a community of like-minded individuals and artists. Her inclusive curating has earned her a posse of terrific artists whose work appears in many of her shows as well. Recently, Schomaker curated for Culver City’s Washington Reid Gallery’s “Blank Canvas” exhibition, benefitting United Cerebral Palsy of Los Angeles. Stunning and immersive multi-media and video art are some of her hallmarks.
Calling himself an “image alchemist,” photographer and curator, Refetoff recently co- helmed a joint show in his Chinatown art space ChunKing Studio, titled “Magic and Realism,” along with art critic Shana Nys Dambrot. An environmental activist as well as an artist, Refetoff also collaborates with writer Christopher Langley on “High & Dry,” which can be found featured on KCET’s Artbound. The collaboration presents art and history regarding man’s effect on the desert that surrounds Los Angeles. Expect environmentally conscious photography that adds to the mythology of the American West and a fresh perspective on nature in his shows.
Torrance Art Museum
3320 Civic Center Dr
Torrance, CA 90503
Currently head curator and director at the Torrance Art Museum, Max Presneill still finds time to curate individual shows such as the recent “MASQUE ATTACK” at Temporary Space in Los Angeles, a group show held this past Halloween night that required artists to hang their own work and attend the opening in an event focused on the art community as well as cutting edge mixed media. At TAM since 2009, Presneill has curated shows such as “Another Thing Coming,” featuring new sculpture by LA based artists. Presneill says his curatorial work reflects on both the past and the present and the notion of self and relationships with others. Expect to see insightful modern art and local artists in thematic displays.
The Gabba Gallery
3126 Beverly Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90057
Jason Ostro owns and frequently curates The Gabba Gallery near Koreatown, where nationally known street artists and never-before-galleried artists co-exist in a large, three-room, museum-like space. The Gabba Gallery is the new destination contemporary gallery for a wide range of collectors and hip young art lovers, showcasing photography, street, sculptural, collage, design and fine art. Recently, the gallery received a Certificate of Recognition from Los Angeles council member Mitch O’Farrell for its contribution to the city, including murals curated by Ostro which have brightened the neighborhood around him. Recent exhibitions include “Wish List,” an annual holiday exhibition that features an ever-rotating body of art for sale. Expect to see extraordinary street art and vibrant local artists often depicting local scenes.
1108 Abbot Kinney Blvd
Venice, CA 90291
As co-owner and curator of The Center for Audio & Visual Expression – also known as C.A.V.E, Patrick Iaconis focuses on the Urban Contemporary Art movement, showcasing emerging and established artists that push visual and thematic boundaries. He offers a new exhibition monthly in a variety of media from a mix of Los Angeles area and nationally and internationally known artists. Recent exhibits include Gustavo Rimada’s solo show that mixes floral images with dark emotions. Iaconis also works to support artists in the Venice area. Along with shows at his own gallery, he recently curated a section of “Beyond Eden” at Los Angeles Municipal Gallery in Barnsdall Park. Expect to see the creme de la creme of urban art, with an emphasis on paintings and mixed media.
Hayley Marie Colston
Curator and art gallery creator Hayley Marie Colston has something special about her Gypsy Trails Gallery: it moves. Literally a gallery on wheels, it travels throughout Southern California hosting classes and discussions and curating exhibits. Her goal is to provide a complete outlet for artists including web pages, links, and media from their show in her trailer. Expect local artists whose work reflects the location in which the gallery is positioned. Photography, paintings, and sculpture have all been displayed. The rolling gallery often coordinates its shows with other exhibits near its parking spot, offering in effect a satellite exhibition that compliments a museum show or gallery opening. Colston calls her exhibiting artists “Trail Blazers,” but surely she is one, too.
Peggy Sivert Zask
South Bay Contemporary
401 S Mesa St, Fl 3rd
San Pedro, CA 90731
Curator of the Zask Gallery and board president/curator of South Bay Contemporary in San Pedro, Peggy Sivert-Zask is a force to be reckoned with. A renowned artist, she mounts large scale shows in her capacious San Pedro art space as well as working tirelessly to move San Pedro itself into a destination gallery scene. South Bay Contemporary is artist run, a non-profit supporting contemporary art. Recent shows include “Transforming Feminisms,” and “Fresh.” Expect to see modern, contemporary sculptures and paintings paired with insightful discussions about the art.