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A veritable gallery of progress

January 01, 2006|Suzanne Muchnic

TWO years ago, when contemporary art dealers Anna Helwing, Tim Blum and Jeff Poe opened galleries on a forgettable strip of South La Cienega Boulevard, it wasn't easy to guess what they were thinking. The adjacent section of Culver City had sprouted design and architecture offices, and the civic center had been spiffed up considerably. No longer stuck in a time warp, circa 1950, the city was on the move. But who knew it would be the home of Southern California's next big visual arts scene?

Today, the Helwing and Blum & Poe galleries are part of an expanding galaxy of spaces that show and sell contemporary art in or adjacent to Culver City. For visitors who need directions, the galleries offer printed cards listing about 20 showcases, mostly along South La Cienega and Washington boulevards but including a few outposts. And the list keeps getting longer.

Among the latest additions is the Walter Maciel Gallery, opening Jan. 21. Maciel, a longtime gallery director from San Francisco, has moved south to run his own business. Located at 2642 S. La Cienega Blvd., it shares a building with LAXart, a nonprofit space that will open six days later. Maciel's inaugural show, called "As Good as Your Next Gig" to point out the art world's short attention span, will introduce artists represented by the gallery. The lineup includes Ed Blackburn, James Buckhouse, Jim Christensen, Hung Liu, Cynthia Ona Innis and Maria Pineres.

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Suzanne Muchnic

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