Gagosian and Jeffrey Deitch Have Joined Dozens of Smaller LA Galleries to Launch a Shared Online Sales Platform as Dealers Fight for Survival
The 60 dealers taking part in the initiative will also form a professional association to promote Los Angeles's blossoming art scene.
Sixty Los Angeles galleries from across the commercial spectrum are launching a joint online initiative called GalleryPlatform.LA, proving that crises can breed community and innovation.
The move—which comes on the heels of a report indicating that a third of the city’s art galleries may close amid the financial crisis—is a first step toward the formation of a new professional organization known as Gallery Association Los Angeles (GALA). The organization will provide shared resources to the city’s dealers and visitors alike, as well as foster collaborative shows and projects aimed at capturing global attention for Los Angeles’s vibrant art scene year-round.
Starting May 15, GalleryPlatform.LA will feature online viewing rooms for 12 member galleries each week, all hosted on a communally owned and operated digital infrastructure. The rotating program ensures that each dealer will return to the spotlight every six weeks. A diverse makeup of participants also guarantees that visitors will see smaller, more experimental spaces on equal footing with some of the art market’s blue-chip sales champions.
Rather than a single chairman, the platform will be governed by a 15-dealer operating committee. One member, Various Small Fires director Sara Hantman, described this collaborative ethos to Artnet News as a “natural” manifestation of Los Angeles, which encourages “a much more open system” than older, more rigid arts capitals. Subcommittees will manage individual aspects of the infrastructure, such as administration and editorial content.
The platform’s editorial section will feature virtual visits with LA artists, dealers, and collectors. It will also host a robust archive documenting the city’s gallery scene dating back to at least the 1950s, delving into the history of early standard-bearers such as Ferus Gallery and the Brockman Gallery, as well as more recent titans such as Margo Leavin. While the sales offerings will disappear after each week-long cycle, the editorial section will remain online permanently.
The seed of the initiative was planted by renowned gallerist and former Museum of Contemporary Art Los Angeles director Jeffrey Deitch. Reached by phone, he told Artnet News he found it “surprising” that LA did not have its own gallery association by the time he opened his gallery in Hollywood in 2018. Although he says overtures about forming one were met with enthusiastic responses from several local galleries at the time, day-to-day business pushed the effort down the priorities list for months.
Then the shutdown happened.
“With the challenge of the current situation, I’ve been talking to a number of my friends who have more experimental galleries—people who say, ‘I haven’t sold an artwork in a month, and I don’t know how we’re going to get going,’” Deitch says. “So I decided now is the time to launch this initiative.”
In early April, Deitch presented the concept to 65 LA galleries comprising a cross-section of the city’s scene. Two weeks later, GalleryPlatform.LA was announced with its 60-strong lineup of participants, including A-listers like Gagosian and Blum & Poe, rising hometown forces like Various Small Fires and David Kordansky, and progressive emerging spaces like Chinatown’s Bel Ami and Santa Monica’s Five Car Garage, a venue converted from its namesake. Membership remains open and ongoing.
“This is not at all an exclusive club,” Deitch emphasizes. “It’s open to every serious gallery”—no matter their infrastructure, budget, or market profile.
GalleryPlatform.LA has two main goals. The first is to generate sales for its members by offering resources and reach that smaller dealers can’t muster on their own. Although each gallery controls its own offerings, the vast majority of works will be “accessibly priced,” according to Deitch.
The second goal is to build community within Los Angeles’s art ecosystem, strengthening connections not just between galleries, but also between collectors, curators, nonprofits, and others who play a role. All of which leads to the forthcoming Gallery Association Los Angeles.
The group will extend GalleryPlatform.LA’s communal vision offline by creating joint programming throughout each year. GALA will also enhance the local gallery sector by producing practical resources such as citywide gallery maps and suggested routes for visitors. Other possibilities include job listings, organized educational or charity events, and studio and collector visits.
“We want to develop a new system beyond just the current crisis, which has really showed how much was not working about the old gallery model,” Hantman says.
Although GalleryPlatform.LA won’t officially launch until mid-May, observers can already get a taste of what’s coming. The initiative’s shared Instagram (@galleryplatform.LA) is live now.
See the list of participating galleries below. Bolded galleries are part of the operating committee.
Blum & Poe
Charlie James Gallery
Commonwealth and Council
David Kordansky Gallery
Five Car Garage
Hauser & Wirth
Kayne Griffin Corcoran
Kristina Kite Gallery
LTD. Los Angeles
Luis De Jesus
Make Room Los Angeles
Marc Selwyn Fine Art
Meliksetian | Briggs
New Image Art
Overduin & Co.
Park View/Paul Soto
Philip Martin Gallery
Various Small Fires
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