Step Aside Basel, LA's Preparing for the High Profile Art Fair of the Decade

Iris Yirei Hu

1/29/20112 min read

Mel Bochner. If the Color Changes. Featured at the 2011 Los Angeles Art Show.

As the Mecca for diversity, culture, and art, Los Angeles’ vibrant art scene is no surprise. The energy is through the roof; completely filled with emerging and world-renowned contemporary artists, art schools, museums and galleries. Don’t forget about the city’s leading collectors and patrons of art too. Whatever it is, L.A. has it all.

Yet it hasn’t had an outstanding art fair in decades.

While New York has the Armory Show, London has Frieze, and Miami has Art Basel, where does L.A. fit in the picture? L.A. is just as deserving of an art fair as these international cities. More importantly, art fairs can increase cultural tourism, increase revenue, and ultimately make Los Angeles the bigger and better capital of world-class contemporary art.

There have been attempts at making art fairs happen in Los Angeles. The 2011 Los Angeles Art Show, held at the Los Angeles Convention Center in downtown, just wrapped up its debut a few days ago. It featured more than 100 galleries from around the world, along with a historical range of prints and paintings. Then there is Art Los Angeles Contemporary, which opens tonight at the Barker Hanger in Santa Monica. Unfortunately, neither of these has been recognized as high-profile shows. Why? Many have complained about the lack of appropriate venues in L.A. and the shortage of international collectors who visit the city, among other reasons.

Not to worry, though. L.A.’s ready for the hit art fair of the new decade. Merchandise Mart Properties Inc., who organizes the Armory Show and Art Chicago, aims to debut Art Platform – Los Angeles in September. This highly anticipated event will take place from September 30 to October 3, 2011. Moreover, it will coincide with the exciting Getty-funded museum-wide show “Pacific Standard Time,” which aims to show the birth of the Los Angeles art scene. The stakes are high and expectations are towering, but cross your fingers—if Art Platform becomes a tremendous success, Los Angeles will be steps closer to becoming today’s contemporary art capital of the world.