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A Los Angeles hospital has been brought back to life temporarily as a gallery after being abandoned three years ago, just in time for Halloween. The immersive exhibition, called “Human Condition,” features work from over 80 different artists displayed in surgical rooms, maternity wards and a psychiatric floor. Curator John Wolf says, “The abandonment of the space is part of the show. It’s almost like the hospital itself is one of the artists.” The exhibition will run until November 30.

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Jai & Jai Gallery has become an essential hub for the young architecture scene in Los Angeles. Their 350-square-foot exhibition space is sandwiched between a barbecue smokehouse and a former vintage music store in Chinatown, and it is rapidly becoming a loci of experimentation for the next generation of designers.

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For most of the 60 years that Los Angeles artists have been making aesthetically powerful, conceptually acute work, book publishers have generally looked the other way.

Not surprisingly, it wasn't especially difficult during that time to find monographs on second- and even third-tier New York School artists or histories of parochial developments in Manhattan, center of both the art market and the publishing industry.

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The nearly completed Broad museum in downtown Los Angeles resembles a giant, milky honeycomb, so it was appropriate that on Sunday the place buzzed with activity.

Curious artists, journalists and art world figures streamed through the airy, light-filled space for a one-day sneak peek inside the museum, which is not scheduled to open until Sept. 20. A freight elevator, still lined with plywood, deposited arrivals onto the museum's top floor, a 35,000-square-foot space not yet broken up by partition walls.

A sound installation by Swedish artist BJ Nilsen hummed and hissed, echoing under the soaring ceiling as shards of light leaked through 318 skylights, glimmering against bare concrete and unfinished wood.

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Former Dodgers President Jamie McCourt and heiress and philanthropist Aileen Getty are among the four new trustees announced Thursday by the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles.

Investor and philanthropist Andrew Nikou and art collector Chara Schreyer also joined MOCA's board of trustees.

“They each have a commitment and passion for civic and culture engagement that is inspiring,” MOCA Director Philippe Vergne said in the announcement. “As a group, they represent well how we are continuing to establish the museum’s national and international footprint.”

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Friday, 22 March 2013 13:05

MOCA to Remain an Independent Institution

After partnership offers from the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) and the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., LA’s Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) has decided to remain an independent institution. The museum has been struggling after a spate of financial issues and widespread criticism of its administration and overall direction.  

MOCA’s board released a statement on March 19, 2013 explaining, “The board is in agreement that the best future for MOCA would be as an independent institution. The Board understands that this will require a significant increase in MOCA’s endowment to ensure its strong financial standing. We are working quickly toward that goal, while at the same time exploring all strategic options, to honor the best interest of the institution and the artistic community we serve.” There are currently no artists on MOCA’s board after a number of high-profiled artists including John Baldessari, Ed Ruscha, and Barbara Kruger resigned earlier this year.

Earlier this month, LACMA Director Michael Govan offered to raise $100 million for MOCA’s two locations in exchange for the acquisition of the institution. The National Gallery was not interested in an institutional merger but offered to collaborate with MOCA on programming and research initiatives. Eli Broad, one of MOCA’s major benefactors, was in favor of partnering with the National Gallery.  

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Friday, 22 February 2013 14:50

Historic Agnew’s Gallery to Sell Archive

London’s historic Agnew’s Gallery, which announced earlier this month that they will be closing after nearly 200 years in business, plans to sell off its extensive library and archive after its doors shut on April 30, 2013. The remarkable archive is considered one of the most important and complete records of art market dealings to take place over the past two centuries. While Agnew’s specializes in Old Master paintings, the gallery has dealt in everything from Rembrandt (1606-1669) masterpieces to modern canvases by Francis Bacon (1909-1992).

The archive contains stock legers, which are extremely important to provenance research related to the gallery’s areas of expertise. There has been some speculation that the Getty Institute in Los Angeles will bid on the archive as they run a significant provenance research center. However, it is likely that officials will want to keep the archive in the UK.

The gallery’s chairman, Julian Agnew, will continue to work as an advisor to clients and plans to keep the company’s family name.  

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U.S. Antique Shows announced that they will be adding another event to their roster this spring. The L.A. Antique Jewelry & Watch Show, which will take place March 22-24, 2013, will bring together over 100 preeminent antique jewelry dealers from across the country.

The show, which will be held at the Hyatt Regency Century City, will offer patrons a variety of rare and unique jewelry and watches by notable brands such as Cartier, Rolex, Patek Philippe, and Van Cleef & Arpels. Cameos, rings, decorative necklaces, brooches, gemstones, and pendants spanning from the Renaissance to the Art Deco era will also be featured. Highlights from the upcoming show include a 12-carat internally flawless fancy yellow ring from Raymond Lee Jewelers, rare Art Deco diamond bracelets and jewelry from Jerome Heidenreich Inc., and an Art Deco platinum and diamond Tiffany & Co. pendant from J.S. Fearnley.

Dan Darby, group fair director, said, “We are thrilled to be able to bring together dealers and antique jewelry enthusiasts in the market that boasts the largest jewelry district in the country…We look forward to introducing local antique collectors to some of the most unique pieces ever offered on the West Coast.”

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Jean-Michel Basquiat (1960-1988), an obscure graffiti artist who shot to fame in the 1980s thanks to his Neo-expressionist and Primitivist paintings, is the subject of a major exhibition now on view at Gagosian Gallery in New York. Gagosian first featured Basquiat’s work thirty years ago in its Los Angeles gallery.

Since his untimely death at 27, Basquiat has been given a number of posthumous retrospectives including one at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York (1992-92) and another at the Brooklyn Museum of Art (2005). The first major show to focus on the artist in eight years, the Gagosian exhibition will present over fifty works from public and private collections that span Basquiat’s short but powerful career.

Basquiat, who left his family home in Brooklyn at 15, became a major figure in New York City’s underground art scene. After making a name for himself as a prolific graffiti artist, Basquiat transitioned to painting and hit his artistic stride. Basquiat befriended Andy Warhol (1928-1987), was the subject of an iconic New York Times Magazine feature, and had become a major art star before his life was cut short due to a drug overdose.  

Basquiat’s works will be on view at Gagosian Gallery through April 6, 2013.

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Leonardo da Vinci’s (1452-1519) Virgin and Child with Saint Anne currently resides in the Louvre’s illustrious collection in Paris. Last year, the painting was the highlight of an exhibition at the French institution, which included compositional sketches, preparatory drawings, and landscape studies as well as related works by other artists. The work even made an appearance at the Louvre’s outpost in Lens, an industrial town in northern France. Considered his final masterpiece, da Vinci worked on Virgin and Child with Saint Anne for years, ultimately leaving the painting unfinished at the time of his death in 1519.

The J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles recently put a different version of the painting on view. The work, which appeared in the Louvre’s exhibition, was made in da Vinci’s workshop, but not by his hand. It will remain on view with the museum’s Italian Renaissance paintings indefinitely.

The painting was bequeathed to UCLA in 1939 by California real estate developer Willitts J. Hole. The work was transferred to the Hammer Museum in 1995 after the university took over management and operation of the institution. Sadly, Virgin Child with Saint Anne has spent decades in storage. In fact, it hasn’t been prominently displayed since the 1940s when it hung in the UCLA library. The reason the work has languished in storage for so long is that the Hammer Gallery requires that any work displayed in its historical art galleries be a part of founder Armand Hammer’s personal collection. Since Virgin and Child with Saint Anne was a gift, it doesn’t qualify.

The painting arrived at the Getty in 2010 prior to being shipped to Paris for the Louvre exhibition. Museum staff analyzed, cleaned, and repaired some varnish before shipping the painting to Europe. Now that Virgin and Child with Saint Anne is back at the Getty, museum officials are happy to have the work on public display.

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