Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Patronage in L.A. (Part 1 of 3): How Capricious Donors Stymie a Great Art Scene @ Zaidan Gallery

In recent years, Los Angeles has received increased international attention as an important new center for contemporary art. In fact, the idea that L.A. art is the next great frontier has been repeated so many times that today it’s almost a clichĂ©. The real question should be, in the face of all this buzz, what still holds it back?

The city’s virtues are many and well known: Strong art schools, affordable housing and studios, large expanses of space, and good weather have all contributed to a flourishing scene. In contrast to over-structured art centers like London and New York, Los Angeles still offers a fresh and nimble arts landscape. This flexibility has helped to create an environment conducive to innovative programming in contemporary art, at venues ranging from grassroots artist-run spaces such as Control Room and Public Fiction, to prominent nonprofits like LACE and LAXART and world-renowned institutions LACMA and the Hammer. Across this varied landscape, however, what all these institutions have in common is one thing: a need for increased support from the L.A.’s powerful patrons... more