LA’s Growing Downtown Art Scene Driven By Galleries, Not Developers

The downtown art scene in Los Angeles is taking shape in “odd pockets on the outskirts of the city,” according to a report by Jori Finkel in the Art Newspaper. It’s not necessarily the area where “big money” like Eli Broad has chosen to build, namely on South Grand Avenue. The Broad, the private museum he’s currently constructing there, is next door to the Frank Gehry-designed Walt Disney Concert Hall and across the street from the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA), Los Angeles, and will open in late 2015. Earlier this year, artnet News looked at the migration of galleries into less conventionally arty districts (see “West Coast Galleries Bet Big on Los Angeles’s East Side“).

New spaces for Grice Bench, François Ghebaly Gallery, and the Mistake Room (a nonprofit space) were all launched in the downtown arts district, further south within the past year, in an area not far from skid row that is still better known for garment manufacturing. And Hauser Wirth & Schimmel (of which former MOCA chief curator Paul Schimmel is now a partner), is renovating a 100,000-square-foot, seven-building complex that is expected to open in late 2015, Finkel reports. It is near the Box, a space run by Mara McCarthy (the artist Paul’s daughter).

A project space opened in the Boyle Heights neighborhood last year by artist Laura Owens and her dealer Gavin Brown is drawing neighbors like New York dealer Michele Maccarone, who just signed a lease for a 35,000 square foot space a block away (see “Maccarone Gallery to Open to Los Angeles Outpost“). Maccarone is giving her two Los Angeles-based artists, Alex Hubbard and Oscar Tuazon, studio space in the new building. According to the story, galleries are being lured in by rents that are far more reasonable than those of Culver City or Hollywood.


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