A Secret Art Chalet in Hollywood

The front, non-chalet-like entrance to Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions. Photo: Courtesy Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions, via Facebook.

On the New York Times‘s T Magazine blog, Kevin McGarry takes readers inside a hidden space in Los Angeles “around the corner from a blighted stretch of the Hollywood Walk of Fame” that he says feels like an alpine chalet. Located in the storage area of L.A.C.E. (the artist-run space Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions), it was created by Italian-born artist Piero Golia, who shows locally with powerhouse gallery Gagosian, and serves as a salon for those in the know.

The chalet, which was designed by Gehry Partners architect Edwin Chan,  is open several nights a week for events ranging from performances to birthday parties. Among the more notable ones McGarry highlights: in November, choreographer Stephen Galloway danced for the first time in public after leaving the Frankfurt Ballet; and in late January, the Los Angeles High School marching band performed a welcome for artist Pierre Huyghe, who is residing in LA as he gears up for a major retrospective at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art this fall. And then there’s this gem: collector Stefan Simchowicz—known for his practice of “hoarding and liquidating works by very young artists” (a.k.a “a flipper”)—was publicly whipped by a dominatrix. Among the artworks on display, Mark Grotjahn‘s paintings hang in the front room, while Huyghe’s giant aquarium that sustains an ecosystem of giant hermit crabs and floating rocks, is the centerpiece of the back room.

Golia tells T: “I feel like the chalet is more of a tool than an exhibition space could be. If you learn how to use it, there’s much more functionality in the chalet—in reality it’s more similar to a community.” Golia compares it to the Mountain School of Arts, the unaccredited MFA alternative he co-founded and which, for the past 10 years has drawn creative types to LA, where they enjoy a semester of studio visits and immersive conversations.

The chalet project will come to an end this fall, with another party for Huyghe to celebrate the LACMA opening. Golia is reportedly planning the space’s demise, saying: “I want there to be the feeling that the thing will vanish, step by step.”


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