The LA Art Show’s New Focus on Modern and Contemporary Fuels Record Attendance

The fair has a fresh focus on modern and contemporary art.

Desire Obtain Cherish Prosperity in Proportion (2014) at the LA Art Show. Image: Courtesy of the the LA Art Show
Desire Obtain Cherish Prosperity in Proportion (2014) at the LA Art Show. Image: Courtesy of the the LA Art Show


A sure sign that the LA Art Show‘s sharp new focus on modern and contemporary art was a good bet, is the number of visitors to the five-day event (January 27—31) at the Los Angeles Convention Center. By Sunday, attendance was on track for upwards of 65,000 visitors.

ArtLA-EthosContemporary-Dick Marconi Origins Of The Phoenix 60x48 Ethos Contemporary Gallery

Dick Marconi Origins of the Phoenix
Image: Courtesy of Ethos Contemporary, Newport Beach, California

“It’s going very well,” fair director Kim Martindale reported enthusiastically. “Sales are up, and we’re on track for record attendance.”

LA-Art-La muestra de Gersaint

Lluis Barba La Muestra de Gersaint (2016)
Image: Courtesy of Cynthia Corbett Gallery.


This being LA, of course there was star-power in the mix. Actress Anne Hathaway and her husband Adam Shulman hosted the opening night premiere party, with proceeds benefitting the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.


Anne Hathaway and her husband Adam Shulman hosted Art LA opening night party, which benefited St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

For the 21st annual edition of the show, organizers introduced a new focus on modern and contemporary art in contrast to the encyclopedic approach of previous years with international project spaces from Japan, Cuba, and the Dominican Republic. Martindale also noted the performance pieces in this year’s iteration including The Way of Modern Man, an installation and performance by Jana Cruder exploring how smartphone culture is changing the human experience.

LA-Art Steff Walk_med res

Performance piece by Millie Brown
Image: Courtesy of the artist.

It’s also the second consecutive year in which the show presented a special exhibit on Dansaekhwa, the distinct monochrome style of painting that developed in the late 1960s and 70s in Japan and Korea and has commanded serious art world attention in recent years.

Young-il Ahn_WATER S-397_1997_Oil on canvas_44 x 84in-DETAIL 2

Young-il Ahn Water (1997).
Image: Courtesy of the artist.

Called “Dansaekhwa II: The Traces of Four Artists,” the special show, curated by Yoon Jin Sup, puts an Eastern spin on Contemporary Minimalism, according to Martindale, as seen through the works of Young-il Ahn, Kim Hyung Dae, Lee Seung-Jio and, Yoo Byeong Hoon.


Desire Obtain Cherish Prosperity in Proportion (2014) at the LA Art Show.
Image: Courtesy of the the LA Art Show

Putting a novel twist on the way it traditionally conducts business, the New York-based auction house Doyle had a booth at the fair for the first time. “We are excited to be participating in the LA Art Show,” vice president Harold Porcher, director of modern and postwar art, told artnet News. Porcher said he wanted the booth to be thematic in keeping with the fair’s new focus so decided to show realism after abstract expressionism.



“Many auction houses are utilizing their connections to develop private sales as part of the services provided. It also is a great way for us to connect with West Coast collectors and dealers,” he said, noting Doyle’s nascent Beverly Hills location.” Porcher said: “It certainly could be something you will see us do more of in the future.”

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