While performing arts fanatics have immersed themselves in the nearly non-stop programs offered by the Los Angeles Festival this month, aficionados of the visual arts have plunged into an unprecedented crush of new exhibitions. Sunday Calendar's Sept. 6 issue listed 52 post-Labor Day art openings (up from 29 last year). The Sept. 13 listings brought an additional 25 (an increase of four).
Gallery watchers have noted geographical shifts from the still-strong West Hollywood area and the dwindling downtown scene to La Brea Avenue and, most recently, Santa Monica. But the numbers point out that this movement has obscured the full extent of growth. All of sudden, it seems, we have a bumper crop of exhibitions opening at once.
Expansion actually has taken place over the past decade or so--The Galleries column has long since become a year-round presence--but this fall's lineup of openings marks a recent growth spurt. Increased attention to Los Angeles as an art center--largely due to December's opening of the Museum of Contemporary Art and the Robert O. Anderson Building at the County Museum of Art--has enticed dealers from New York, San Francisco and San Diego to open Los Angeles outposts or simply move here. At the same time, several well-established local galleries have beefed up their operations in new or enlarged homes.
The following column (p.22) kicks off the season with the first installment of reviews.