In 2008, interested in expanding L&M to another city, the gallery looked toward Los Angeles. A new collector base was slowly but clearly defining itself with a particular interest from Hollywood and other related industries. More importantly however, a large number of internationally known contemporary artists chose Los Angeles as their home. In addition, almost all of these recognized artists taught in the many well-respected art schools in the city, consistently producing new generations of talent.
To house the new gallery, L&M chose a historic power plant from the 1930’s; a classic brick building, perfectly proportioned and with clean simple lines. The building is located at 660 Venice Boulevard, just east of Abbot Kinney. Venice was of particular interest to L&M for many reasons. While most galleries are located in the heart of Los Angeles, Venice provides a destination point and a coastal experience that is unique to the city. Venice is also one of the few areas in Los Angeles with a rich history of artistic production, with many artists choosing to keep studios there.
For the building’s design L&M selected local architect Kulapat Yantrasast of wHY architecture who is known for his creative thinking combined with timeless design. His firm had already had experience with art spaces with the creation of the Grand Rapids Art Museum and work on The Tyler Museum of Art in Texas and the Speed Art Museum in Louisville, Kentucky. The firm is also in the process of redesigning and renovating multiple galleries for the Art Institute of Chicago. To the L&M site, Yantrasast added, “a new gallery building, built with recycled bricks from old downtown Los Angeles buildings”, which “enhances and enlivens the old brick power substation. The buildings are placed to create connecting outdoor spaces and gardens for multiple uses of arts and culture. The gallery is conceived not only as a venue for stimulating art exhibitions but as also a place for contemplation with art and with nature, an urban oasis right on Venice Boulevard.” Each building will have about 1,200 square feet of exhibition space with 4,000 square feet of exterior space.
The concept behind the gallery was to continue L&M’s tradition of curating museum quality historical shows and at the same time to weave a contemporary program. With several world-class galleries already in the city, none had a similar hybrid of these two approaches in their programming. While the New York gallery has since closed its doors, the Los Angeles gallery will now continue this tradition, with a greater emphasis on contemporary art.
For the inaugural exhibition of the gallery’s Los Angeles branch in September 2010, L&M Arts presented a critically-acclaimed exhibition of indoor and outdoor sculpture by Paul McCarthy. Many successful exhibitions by Thomas Houseago, Barbara Kruger, and Liza Lou followed, alongside historic de Kooning and Calder exhibitions. Moving forward, L&M Arts continues to curate an exciting and thoughtful program.
L&M Arts, Los Angeles, LLC