#FBF: 5 Things That Didn’t Lack at ALAC – Art Los Angeles Contemporary

Last weekend it was that one-time of year in Los Angeles where three big international art happenings happened simultaneously— otherwise known as Superbowl weekend to the rest of the world.  The first and longest running in the trio of art fairs to hit was Art Los Angeles Contemporary (ALAC).  Self-heralded and collector-acclaimed as ‘the International Contemporary Art fair of the West Coast,’ ALAC opened it’s doors for the weekend last Thursday with a ‘VIP Preview’ and opening gala.  Dressing Santa Monica’s 40,000 sq ft Barker Hangar with an LA-heavy roster of exhibitors, ALAC glided into it’s sixth year with a classy yet fairly monotonous presentation of art from established and emerging galleries worldwide.

Unlike the LA art scene IRL however, most of the work decking the booths of this minimalist mini-hall were rectangular and made to be hung on a wall.  I like rectangles and work hung on walls— especially those depicting the negative space between the digitized brushstrokes of Matthew Stone at The Hole or saturated within the bleeding pastel pools of Sayre Gomez at François Ghebaly Gallery— but in my meandering… much of the work from booth to booth felt interchangeable.  Among the exceptions were these 5 moments where exhibitors most dynamically pushed dimensions of the white-cube:

Best Box Transformation // Anat Ebgi



Apparently every year Anat Ebgi colorizes their booth with a specific theme.  This year, shades of white lit an immaculate carpet-clad installation for viewing works by Martin Basher, Nick Hornby, Jason Bailer Losh, Neil Raitt, and Joe Reihsen.  Pristine in their group presentation, each work stood side-by-side to accentuate a more evocative rhizome of itself.  Individually inviting and collectively more effective, the installation view offered a totality for approaching and engaging with each work’s smart, deductive palette and manipulated perspective.

Best Cross-Generational Wall Conversation // Foxy Production


Who knew Deborah Turbeville could be post-internet?  On the largest wall at Foxy Production works by the iconic photographer hung with the latest series of unique prints by Travess Smalley.  Forming a white-framed grid, the gallery’s installation evoked an interesting didactic among two distinct bodies of work and a seemingly shared practice of cross-pollination— one transforming the trajectory of fashion photography through the lens of ‘avant-garde’ art, the other realizing the virtual infinity of physical space through synthesizing computer graphics with collage making.

Best … Wait, What The Hell Is This Thing?  // François Ghebaly Gallery


François Ghebaly Gallery has become a favorite LA haunt to track because each show interprets space as an experience that is immersive, playful, and completely unexpected.  Setting the foreground at ALAC, Sayre Gomez’s pastel portals painted a scene for an erratic and uncanny video sculpture centerpiece (one of few projection traces throughout the fair) lined with works by Mitchell Syrop, Patrick Jackson, Channa Horwitz, and Neïl Beloufa.

Best Take on Topography // M+B


At M+B, a series of screen shaped-rectangles by Matthew Brandt appeared to be black mirrors from far away… but upon closer inspection, grew into flickering gradient holograms with fractured limbs.  How is it doing that?  That was one of the few times I actually really couldn’t figure out (and cared) how and what was working behind the screen… turns out, the artist has employed his darkroom savvy to recreate images of crowds by layering resin on a plastic screen set between two backlit LCD sheets — the same material that covers the screens of our smartphones and computers. Like holograms, compositions take form as the viewer moves around them.

Best Use of Green // The Hole NYC


One of the more humorous art campaigns was over at The Hole, where Eric Yahnker situates Hilary Clinton in one of her most promising campaigns yet: exhaling a spliff.  The former first lady (and maybe the first female president)’s portrait is surround by an installation of 300 baseballs with forged signatures of non-baseball all-stars, including Ernest Hemingway, Eddie Money, Truman Capote, Annie Liebowitz and T.S. Eliot.

All photos by Alex The Brown.

— Also posted on The Work Magazine blog