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L.A.'s Pluses and Minuses

August 27, 1996|CATHY CURTIS

Gomez, co-owner of Dark's Art Parlor, is pleased about the gallery's recent move from Santa Ana to North Hollywood's NoHo arts district. He's quick to point out, however, that NoHo "isn't heaven."

NoHo is a formerly blighted Nowheresville along Lankershim Boulevard reinvigorated by private individuals working with L.A.'s Community Redevelopment Agency. Overwhelmingly a theater district, it is the home of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences and 18 small, Equity-waiver theaters.

Though galleries will be included in a mini-mall arts cooperative that opens in NoHo next spring, the visual arts so far have made few inroads.

"People in the theater don't care that much about art," Gomez asserts. "The actors are wrapped up in themselves, and for the theatergoing crowd, buying original artwork is a more upscale [activity] than they're used to."

For Gomez, NoHo rates mostly because it means being closer to Hollywood for a fraction of the rent.

Two recent gallery sales were to entertainment-industry people. Moving to Greater Los Angeles has made possible cooperative advertising with the American Cinematheque and MGM (both will use Dark's as a pickup point for screening passes to alternative-themed films).

The gallery is planning to sell videos made by graduate students of the American Film Institute, possibly involving screenings at which the young directors would preside over a question-and-answer session.

Even expensive advertising in national art magazines (Dark's has begun touting its wares in Art in America and Art News) suddenly makes more sense when you're more centrally located.

"People aren't willing to travel to out-of-the-way places," Gomez says, "particularly if there's nothing [else] to do there."

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