WHERE could you ponder the significance of a neon sign reading "Make tacos, not war," a painted mattress nailed to a wall and a 35-seat bus that looks like it collided with a Mack truck? These and other surreal objets were on display last week at L.A.'s premier contemporary art fair, Art LA, at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium.
The event's opening-night party, which benefited the Hammer Museum's emerging artists series, Hammer Projects, brought out gallerists, buyers and art hounds, who -- true to stereotype -- were almost all dressed in black (with a bunch of guys going full Johnny Cash in black button-down shirts under black blazers). Fashion-savvy femmes sported opaque black tights and long black boots under architectural dresses and overcoats. There was also plenty of bold eyewear (of course), from horn-rims to wraparounds.
For The Record
Los Angeles Times Wednesday, February 06, 2008 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 2 National Desk 1 inches; 58 words Type of Material: Correction
Art party: In Sunday's Image section, a sidebar accompanying an article about the opening-night gala for the art fair ArtLA said show organizer Artfairs Inc. produced a guidebook, ForYourArt, that was available at the event. The book was produced by the ForYourArt organization. Also, the caption on a photograph gave party guest Jeff Poe's name as Jeff Toa.
For The Record
Los Angeles Times Sunday, February 10, 2008 Home Edition Image Part P Page 2 Features Desk 2 inches; 64 words Type of Material: Correction
Art party: In the Feb. 3 Image section, a sidebar accompanying an article about the opening-night gala for the art fair ArtLA said show organizer Artfairs Inc. produced a guidebook, ForYourArt, that was available at the event. The book was produced by the ForYourArt organization. Also, the caption on a photograph with the package incorrectly gave party guest Jeff Poe's name as Jeff Toa.
The show featured more than 60 galleries -- roughly half from L.A. -- and lured buyers from around the world. Most of the night's conversation swirled around deals and acquisitions, but it wasn't all "Sell, sell, sell!" As the red wine flowed, some guests curled up on straw mats in a lounge/art installation kitted-out with Sharpie markers and blank-canvas Art LA totes to create some artwork for themselves. Others kicked back at a makeshift bar set up in a vendor booth: a functional installation piece called "Blame Canada" by Terence Koh, which recreates the seedy Bang Bang Bar in the David Lynch movie "Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me."
Still, major deals were brewing everywhere. Marc Selwyn of Marc Selwyn Fine Art never had time to grab a drink -- he sold six paintings in the first hour. Talk about a party.
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Like a Thomas Bros. Guide, but for art
Stacked on tables around the Art LA fair was a little guide called ForYourArt, a clever new dossier that maps out L.A.'s hot spots for contemporary art. Produced by the show's organizer, Artfairs Inc., the guide features alphabetized listings by neighborhood, with maps for each area color-coordinating to a list of galleries, museums, public art places and art colleges. Best of all, the pocket-sized primer also lists the artists scheduled to appear at each venue during a three-month period (the guide will come out quarterly). You can pick up ForYourArt at LAXART, REDCAT, the Mandrake Bar and galleries throughout the city. You can also download a version at www.foryourart.com. Your days of being in the dark about art are done.