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Hauser Wirth & Schimmel, literally the biggest art gallery opening in years




A sculpture by Lee Bontecou prepares to swallow an unwary photographer at Revolution in the Making, the first show at Hauser Wirth & Schimmel in the downtown LA arts district.
A sculpture by Lee Bontecou prepares to swallow an unwary photographer at Revolution in the Making, the first show at Hauser Wirth & Schimmel in the downtown LA arts district.
John Rabe
A sculpture by Lee Bontecou prepares to swallow an unwary photographer at Revolution in the Making, the first show at Hauser Wirth & Schimmel in the downtown LA arts district.
Paul Schimmel addresses the media at the press opening of Hauser Wirth & Schimmel in the downtown LA arts district.
John Rabe
A sculpture by Lee Bontecou prepares to swallow an unwary photographer at Revolution in the Making, the first show at Hauser Wirth & Schimmel in the downtown LA arts district.
Off-Ramp host John Rabe at Hauser Wirth & Schimmel in the downtown LA arts district.
John Rabe
A sculpture by Lee Bontecou prepares to swallow an unwary photographer at Revolution in the Making, the first show at Hauser Wirth & Schimmel in the downtown LA arts district.
The restaurant Manuela, named for Manuela Wirth, is to open later this year at Hauser Wirth & Schimmel in the downtown LA arts district.
John Rabe


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"Huge" gets tossed around a lot today. But the word fits on several levels for the new hybrid gallery Hauser Wirth & Schimmel, which opens to the public this weekend.

First, the building in the downtown LA arts district, an old flour mill, is literally huge., with 23,700 square feet of gallery space. Second, it's a huge event in the art world, the arrival of a global art gallery in Los Angeles long in coming. Third, the management has really huge plans to change the way we think of a gallery.

Paul Schimmel, the former MOCA chief curator who left during the museum's Deitch debacle, says, "We're doing some things that are rather revolutionary in the gallery world. Exhibitions will be up two to three times longer than normal. Instead of five weeks, it'll be 15 weeks. We have a very high percentage of loans from museums and collectors. We brought in an outstanding team of scholars, and we're hoping to change the relationship of the public to the work of art."

A big part of the plan seems to be to "activate" the space — encouraging people to come in and hang out, have a coffee, sit in the garden, use the WiFi, eat at the restaurant (when it opens this summer). It's an idea keeps people who aren't rich from being put off by the high prices of the blue-chip artists Hauser Wirth & Schimmel handles. Listen to the audio for much more of my interview with Schimmel, including his thoughts on the Deitch years and MOCA's present and future.

Jori Finkel was at the press opening, and I talked with her about her recent article in The Art Newspaper called "The unspoken reason why galleries are flocking to Los Angeles." As always, follow the money.

Many galleries are fiercely, if discreetly, vying for market control over artists, with high-end galleries such as Hauser Wirth & Schimmel and Sprüth Magers competing directly for the startling number of major Los Angeles-based artists who lack gallery representation there. Just two years ago, the list was extraordinary: Mark Bradford, Sterling Ruby, Thomas Houseago, John Baldessari, Barbara Kruger, Liza Lou, Robert Irwin and Paul McCarthy didn’t have galleries here. -- Jori Finkel, The Art Newspaper

Hauser Wirth & Schimmel's inaugural show fills the space with a somewhat revolutionary show that features exclusively works by women sculptors. Curator Jenni Sorkin says (not shockingly) the people in charge of art schools thought women couldn't handle the physicality of sculpting. Turns out (not shockingly), they were idiots. Check the photos for examples, and listen to The Frame Friday for an interview with Sorkin.

Jenni Sorkin, co-curator of Revolution in the Making, the first show at Hauser Wirth & Schimmel in the downtown LA arts district.
Jenni Sorkin, co-curator of Revolution in the Making, the first show at Hauser Wirth & Schimmel in the downtown LA arts district.
John Rabe

Revolution in the Making: Abstract Sculpture by Women 1947-2016," is at Hauser Wirth & Schimmel this Sunday through Sept. 4. The gallery is at 901 E. 3d St., Los Angeles, near Wurstkuche and the old Al's Bar. Admission is free.