I love, love, love the LA art scene, and it seems to just be getting better and better over the past few years. The introduction of fairs like Frieze LA and Felix in 2019 is basically the art world's way of christening the city. So where do I like to go?
The following list is laid out by neighborhood since that's how I usually plan my gallery visits. I'll also try to call out any interesting museums or restaurants nearby. Also I realize some of these galleries may not actually be in these neighborhoods but they're close enough on the map so...don't come for me native LA residents, I'm doing my best.
If you're in LA and want to explore my list - check out my google map here.
I'll start with West Hollywood because it's the best for a few reasons...
- Great galleries (duh)
- You can WALK to each of them
That's right. As a New Yorker I'm not about taking 50 Ubers to see a few gallery shows, so I was happy to find that there is a large cluster of really amazing galleries in West Hollywood. So once you start at one, you can walk to all the rest. I'd recommend starting with the following:
Various Small Fires
Various Small Fires is a poster child for why it's to not always be in a jam packed city where you have to make due with existing building's architecture. It's super modern facade and interiors give the gallery a stamp of legitimacy before one has even seen the exhibit inside.
Tanya Bonakdar Gallery
Understated. Minimal...but still interesting and classy. That's how I'd describe Tanya Bonakdar's LA space. Plus it's SO close to Various Small Fires and on the way to Gavlak, Regen Projects and more, so it's worth a stop in.
Gavlak Gallery is a sweet little space with a rare feminine flare - it has a baby pink back office. Makes sense since their founder is Sarah Gavlak - a very classy feminine woman, who's program is made up of mostly female and LGBTQ+ artists.
Don't be fooled by the stamped brink sign of Regen Projects...it's a legit, massive, security guard guarded space.
Steve Turner's welcoming billboard almost makes one think it's simply a store that's gone out of business, or some type of shrewd political message like "Who's John Galt..." but it's neither.
Inside is a multi-room gallery with FUN exhibitions. Like the one below by Hannah Epstein. Complete with customer video game and all.
So if you're in LA for Frieze, or anything really, I'd recommend staying in West Hollywood. You'll be close to lots of galleries, where Frieze LA is hosted - at Paramount Pictures, and Chateau Marmont.
If you think Chateau Marmont is all hype - I assure you it's not. I've yet to taste a better frosé or better brunch.
David Kordansky Gallery
If you're coming from West Hollywood - you'll feel like you're driving around a bougie neighborhood and then BAM - an oasis...the palace that is better known as David Kordansky Gallery.
On one side is an expansive, multi-room gallery space. On another side (not pictured) is where his large staff works (think 50+).
Sprueth Mager's entrance was very understated given the massive amount of construction taking place in the building where they're located. The downstairs was fairly underwhelming given the takeover of a draped room for a video installation...but the upstairs gallery is stunning.
Sprueth Magers is conveniently located right across the street from The LACMA - making visiting the two quite convenient.
Honor Fraser Gallery
I was unable to make it to Honor Fraser to take my own pictures, but it's online exhibitions and art fair booths are always amazing, so it's on the top of my lists for galleries to visit next time I'm in LA. I mean look at that art explosion on top of it. What's not to love.
Night Gallery is right next to a strip club and a bunch of highways, but don't judge...inside are exhibitions from the best up-and-coming artists of our time like Robert Nava and Derek Fordjour.
I love the little courtyard area they have in the back...it's perfect for taking a break to read through a press release or price sheet.
If you feel like you're lost in a sketchy area that reminds you of potentially the garment district of LA - you're very close to Chateau Shatto.
Once you make it to the right floor - suite 1030 - you can't miss Chateau Shatto's signature art deco sign.
Even though I had THE WORST luck when it came to weather (thunderstorms and clouds) the entire time I was in LA- I could still appreciate the galleries beautiful view out of their warehouse windows. #urban
The Box is conveniently located in a warehouse across the street from the Hauser & Wirth complex. Complex you say? You'll see what I mean in a minute.
It may look small from the outside, but it's massive on the inside...with two major exhibition spaces as well as little rooms that I assume can convert as needed, based on an exhibits needs.
Hauser & Wirth
Below is the entrance to the more 'traditional' side to the complex - which is decorated with a chic grey and cream color scheme.
Unfortunately the furry walls were for the Piero Manzoni exhibition, and not a part of the building regularly.
In the more modern side of the complex there's a restaurant, sculpture garden, another exhibition space and more.
Downtown Food Options
The best part of visiting Night, Chateau Shatto and Hauser...other than the art of course, was being in close proximity to Grand Central Market.
If you're looking for breakfast, I'd recommend Eggslut.
If you're there for lunch, there's nothing better than a classic California burrito.
Charlie James Gallery
Next to the downtown galleries, there's Charlie James Gallery nestled in Chinatown.
If any gallery was going to call Beverly Hills their home, it would be Gagosian. It's also conveniently located a block away from the famous Villa Blanca restaurant. If you're a fan of Vanderpump Rules you'll know what I'm talking about.
Smart Objects is just as 'cool' of a gallery as it's neighborhood's residents. I can envision all the hipsters heading to openings now - sipping on whiskey sours...kind of like at The Hole in the East Village.
If you're feeling particularly adventurous and want to travel waaaaaay down south to Long Beach, you can visit Karma International Gallery. Worth it? Probably. But I'd check online just in case.
Did I miss any? What are your favorite LA galleries? Let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org