Face it New York: LA is stealing your art-savvy thunder. It isn't just that Pacific Standard Time put us back on the map. The LA art scene has always been rich and welcoming. We also have more art schools and cultural institutions than any other city. And when it comes to fashion and style, what better place to find the most stylish Angelenos than at an art opening? Here are some of our favorite galleries to see and be seen in.
RECOMMENDED: See more of LA's most stylish places
Located just off Beverly Boulevard, this mid-sized gallery hosts frequent exhibits of note—such as a popular David Lynch–Danger Mouse multimedia collaboration in 2009. Michael Kohn is a major art dealer in representational and abstract art, who established his gallery more than 25 years ago. He seems to effortlessly court celeb artists du jour (Simmons & Burke, Will Cotton, Mark Ryden, Ryan McGinness, Retna), while also representing the estates of such notable late California artists as Wallace Berman and Bruce Conner. Opening nights here are always a lively scene.
Director David Fahey has worked closely with photographers for more than 37 years as a dealer, lecturer, author and publisher. A visit to Fahey/Klein Gallery always enchants and delights. Arguably the most important photography gallery in LA, Fahey/Klein was established in 1987 by Fahey and Randee Klein Devlin; in 1998 Devlin's husband Ken Devlin joined as a partner and co-owner. Specializing in 20th century and contemporary photography, this spacious gallery—practically hidden in a low-key building on North La Brea—manages to stay on top of emerging talent as well as curate impressive collections by such iconic photographers as Berenice Abbott, Henri Cartier-Bresson and Irving Penn.
A fixture in Hollywood's thriving arts scene, Regen Projects shows artworld darlings who've made it big (Raymond Pettibon, Lari Pittman, Catherine Opie, Doug Aitken). In September of 2012, the powerhouse gallery moved to the corner of Santa Monica Boulevard and Highland Avenue into its (giant) shiny new home: a 20,000-square-foot, Michael Maltzan–designed gallery space with a rooftop sculpture park.
Perry Rubenstein isn't just another NY transplant looking to dabble in the emerging LA art scene. When the successful NY gallerist decided to open an LA outpost, he uprooted and moved here, joining MOCA director Jeffrey Deitch and others who rightfully understand LA's standing as an arts epicenter, and a place where artists—and gallerists—have more freedom to experiment. Rubenstein's gallery opened its doors in the summer of 2012 with an exciting roster of exhibits from LA-based talent, including an installation from the late post–conceptual artist Mike Kelley, and new works from artist and photgrapher Zoe Crosher. His capacious gallery, a former film-supply warehouse on Highland Avenue, is airy and sprawling. We're excited to see what this former New Yorker will bring to the LA art scene, now that he's one of ours.
As art critic, curator and editor of the Coagula Art Journal since 1992, Mat Gleason certainly knows a thing or two about the LA art scene. The 2012 opening of this contemporary exhibition and performance space in Chinatown has been an underground sensation, shooting a fearless blast of energy into a sometimes-tired scene. Exhibition openings are followed by stand-up comedy nights, where funny folks perform in the hip venue space, sometimes using the art on the walls as fodder for their act. (It goes without saying, brave artists show here!)