LA Art Show director and producer Kassandra Voyagis and last year’s gala host, Rita Ora COURTESY OF L.A. ART SHOW
After shifting to a summer show in 2021, the LA Art Show (laartshow.com) returns to the Los Angeles Convention Center in its traditional month Jan. 19 through 23 to kick off the city’s 2022 art season.
“The Space Between You and I - I & II” by Thai Mainhard at Simard Bilodeau Contemporary PHOTO COURTESY OF LA ART SHOW
“The show represents L.A.,” says producer and director Kassandra Voyagis, who’s been involved in Los Angeles’ longest-running art fair—founded in 1994—since 2004. “Over the past three or four years, L.A. has developed into a major capital of art. For us, I think it’s important that we’ve always been here and we’re part of downtown.”
One of the country’s largest international contemporary art fairs, this year’s LA Art Show will welcome more than 120 galleries, museums and nonprofit arts organizations from around the world. Los Angeles’ location on the Pacific Rim makes it particularly accessible to Asian markets. “I’m very happy the travel bans are finally lifting so that our Asian and European galleries can return,” says Voyagis. For her, the diversity of artists and genres is what distinguishes the show. “We have DIVERSEartLA, which is our giveback to the community; we have lowbrow art; we have traditional art. So it’s really one of those fairs that allows for somebody to see a little bit of everything.”
Digital artist Marjan Moghaddam’s “Capital with Blue and Red Gan Painting” at Vellum LA. PHOTO COURTESY OF LA ART SHOW
Displayed in 200,000 square feet of space at the convention center will be 20,000 works of painting, sculpture, installation, photography, design, digital art, video and performance. Art is grouped into sections to highlight contemporary art, immersive experiences, historical works, solo exhibitions, works on paper and DIVERSEartLA, the museum area Marisa Caichiolo curates around an annual theme. “This year, we’re curating it with a lens to the ecological situation and climate change,” says Voyagis. “We’re inviting museums and institutions to partner with science and environmental museums, and together we’re going to do an entire world of immersive experiences focusing on the looming impact we will face with the planet warming.”
Tex Hammond at the 2021 LA Art Show PHOTO BY BIRDMAN PHOTO
Last summer, the LA Art Show proved to be a pioneer in the digital art space by featuring digital assets called NFTs from Vellum LA. “We were the first fair to introduce that,” says Voyagis. “Vellum LA is opening a physical space this month on Melrose and they’re returning in January.” Local galleries like Bergamot Station’s bG Gallery of contemporary art and lowbrow favorite CoproGallery have also been integral supporters.
Barbara Kolo, “Escape Into Indanthrene” (2021) at bG Gallery. PHOTO BY BIRDMAN PHOTO
This year’s show will commence Wednesday, Jan. 19, with an opening night gala benefiting St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital hosted by a celebrity guest—who, at July’s event, was Rita Ora. The fair will be open Thursday through Saturday from noon to 8PM and Sunday from noon to 6PM, with VIP morning hours from 10AM to noon Saturday and Sunday. Per tradition, a show partner will host a special VIP party.
Immersive Experience presented by Museum of Nature of Cantabria, Spain, by Andrea Juan and Gabriel Penedo Diego COURTESY OF L.A. ART SHOW
To accommodate COVID-19 safety requirements, the summer show scaled back to 30,000 attendees—which is half the usual attendance. However, due to a partnership with Artsy making art available online, the show doubled its sales. “All of the galleries did extremely well,” says Voyagis. “I think that spoke to the excitement of people to be able to get out and to purchase art and to experience art with other people.”
“Warm Fixations” by digital sculptor Sam Clover, aka “PLANTTDADDII,” at Vellum LA’s Sea Change exhibition PHOTO COURTESY OF LA ART SHOW
DIRECTOR-PRODUCER KASSANDRA VOYAGIS HIGHLIGHTS SOME L.A.-BASED STANDOUTS.
“We have bG gallery, which is located in Santa Monica, and this year, they’re going to include neon technology and a science crossover. From bG, I like Barbara Kolo’s new Transitions works, and for prints, I like G.K. Austin II’s work and how it’s displayed.”
“Last summer, we introduced Vellum LA, which is the first L.A. physical gallery for NFT-backed digital art. The goal is to situate digital and crypto art within the context of art history, and also educate the public on the potential of NFTs and their impact on the future of art.”
“Simard Bilodeau Contemporary has shown Yalda Sepahpour’s work for many years at the LA Art Show, and she is loved and sells very well. Thai Mainhard has strong Italian and Spanish roots, and I’m Italian.”
“Another introduction we made last summer who’s coming back is Tex Hammond. He’s 14 years old and represented by Acosta Arts, a local gallery. It was his first art fair ever and he did incredibly well. He uses various media like graffiti, video games, music and abstract art.”