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Affordable art in L.A.? Go ahead and splurge at Gabba, 5 car garage

November 19, 2013|By Deborah Vankin
  • Gabba Gallery's Jamie Becker freshens up a wall of Shark Toof prints at Saturday's opening of Wish List.
Gabba Gallery's Jamie Becker freshens up a wall of Shark Toof prints… (Mary Hanson / Gabba Gallery…)

With the holidays approaching -- and on the heels of Francis Bacon’s triptych breaking auction price records last week, garnering $142.4 million at Christie’s -- we’re especially interested to hear that phrase, “affordable art.” Two shows, therefore, have caught our eye of late.

Silver Lake’s relatively new Gabba Gallery saw more than 450 people on Saturday night at the opening of “Wish List,” a revolving group show where all the artworks are less than $1,000. The opening featured paintings, sculptures and even hand-painted baseball caps and “art purses” by 65 artists, both established and emerging. Among them: photographer Mark Hanauer, Miri Chais and Allie Pohl. There were also a number of hand-embellished prints by well-known street artists such as Phobik, CANTSTOPGOODBOY and Random Act.

The show was so high-energy that gallery owner Jason Ostro and Gabba’s Jaime Becker and Emma Palumbo raced around the room filling empty spots on the walls with new art from the storage room. One high-profile site at the front of the gallery was re-curated about nine times within just a few hours during the opening.   

ART: Can you guess the high price?

“Oh my God!” exclaimed one woman, stumbling out onto the darkened, crowded sidewalk, her arms loaded with prints. “This is a Shark Toof. $50! This cap? Hand-done.”

Newly arriving hipsters, artists and art lovers pushed past her. The throbbing sound of DJ Sharper Image blasted onto the sidewalk intermittently as the gallery’s front door repeatedly swung open.

As artgoers walked off with their treasures, Gabba continued to replenish its walls -- a Chris James sculpture here, another Shark Toof print there. As pieces sell throughout the month, the gallery will keep putting up new works until the show closes on Dec. 21.

Those who left Gabba empty-handed, however, fear not: 5 car garage, a private gallery that opened earlier this year in Santa Monica, is hosting what it calls “the ultimate garage sale” starting on Nov. 25 with three additional dates throughout December.

CHEAT SHEET: Fall arts preview

The focus of the RSVP-only show -- which actually does take place in a former five-car garage and is curated by owner Emma Gray -- is on local and emerging contemporary artists who will be showing photographs, prints and paintings as well as ceramic sculptures and hand-crafted jewelry, among other things.

A few items will go for upward of $3,000, but the bulk of artworks -- by  John Knuth, Kristin Calabrese and Max Maslansky, among others -- will fall in the $25-$1,000 range. 

Like Gabba Gallery, 5 car garage’s show is a “bring and buy sale” at which guests will walk off with their purchases and the gallery’s walls will continually be replenished.

Which translates to: Leave room in the trunk.

RSVP at:


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