L.A. Art Weekend: A Report

Joy Yoon

Louboutins and Chuck Taylors mingled as equals last weekend as L.A. Art Weekend kicked off its four-day event with soirees galore, highlighting the city’s cultural offerings and the vast array of creative talent working in all realms of art. Exhibitions of contemporary artists including Walead Beshty, Dan Graham, Elliott Hundley, Dave Muller and Franz West were just a tip of the iceberg.

Originally a pilot program, Los Angeles Art Weekend was developed by Brian Phillips of BlackFrame for visiting journalists to navigate the tremendous artistic diversity of Los Angeles. During one weekend, they were given behind the scenes tours and invited to special events and intimate conversations with artists. In 2008, Phillips partnered with FYAWorld, the consulting arm of ForYourArt, an L.A.-based arts organization founded by Bettina Korek. Phillips hoped to steer his original program away from the cookie cutter targeted art program for journalists to a much broader public program with ForYourArt and its fresh initiatives.

This year marked the official launch of ForYourArt’s pocket-sized quarterly guide MAP ForYourArt and the launch of the “beta” version of the online site ForYourArt.com, all of which provide the necessary tools to help navigate the contemporary art scene of L.A.

Some of the weekend’s highlights:

Postopolis! L.A. invited six of the most influential bloggers in architecture, art, design, and music -- BLDGBLOG, City of Sound, We Make Money Not Art, Mudd Up!, Plataforma Arquitectura and Subtopia to host a near-continuous, five-day conversation about architecture, urbanism, landscape, design, technology and art.

The TASCHEN bookstore in Beverly Hills hosted a special book signing of their new trade edition book, Valentino – A Grand Italian Epic, with the maestro himself, fashion designer Valentino Garavani. As the “glitzy” crowd poured complimentary Moet & Chandon down their throats and as the camera flashes blinded onlookers, throngs of admirers poured in to catch a glimpse. Valentino strolled into the store fashionably late with his entourage in tow: his lover/partner Giancarlo Giammetti, Brazilian style icon and former VP of Worldwide PR for Valentino Carlos Souza, and VBH jewelry designer Bruce Hoeksema. As the fashion crowd hobnobbing took place, I stood in the back watching and hoping not to get trampled by over zealous fans air-kissing their way to the front of the line. Valentino stood there quietly in his tanned glory and signed his new “ready-to-wear” version of his book. Unlike the couture version ($1,500) that was previously released with actual Valentino sketches, the $70 price tag bodes well with our recession heavy pocketbooks.

At the Hammer Museum in Westwood, Mike Mills invited fashion designers Kate and Laura Mulleavy of Rodarte to moderate a Q&A session after a brief video presentation of his works. The Hammer Museum, Los Angeles Art Weekend and DAP (the distributor of Mike Mills' book) co-hosted the event, which was followed by a book signing of Mike’s new book at the Purple Lounge at the Standard Hotel on Sunset.

Also: The Elliott Hundley exhibition walkthrough at Regen Projects II; a salon on Dante’s Inferno with a discussion with artist Sandow Birk; the amazing Culver City Gallery Walk with Dave Muller and Walead Besthy; and of course, Los Angeles born but New York based painter, Kehinde Wiley at Roberts & Tilton.

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