Emerging L.A. Galleries You Should Know
While Los Angeles’s arts district, wedged between the city’s downtown and the L.A. River, is home to several large, illustrious galleries, a group of younger spaces are cropping up across the city’s palm-studded sprawl. They range from Parker Gallery, located in a Tudor home in Los Feliz with a focus on under-recognized Bay Area artists, to Murmurs, a brand-new project space whose performance and installation-focused repertoire fills a warehouse in Downtown L.A. Below, we highlight six of these emerging galleries that are changing the Los Angeles art landscape for the better.
Matthew Brown Los Angeles
633 North La Brea Ave, Suite 101, West Hollywood, Los Angeles, CA 90036
Installation view of Kenturah Davis, “Blur in the Interest of Precision,” at Matthew Brown Gallery, 2019. Courtesy of Matthew Brown Los Angeles.
On a busy strip of La Brea, just south of Melrose Avenue and Pink’s, the historic Los Angeles hot dog stand, the twentysomething Matthew Brown opened his eponymous gallery in January 2019. While working at numerous galleries across Los Angeles, Brown filled notebooks with plans for his own space. Those ideas informed the robust programming that has already filled his substantial two-roomgallery in its first year.
For his inaugural show, Brown presented a solo exhibition of Los Angeles– and Accra-based artist Kenturah Davis’s large-scale, ethereal portraits built almost imperceptibly from stamped arrangements of text. With Brandy Carstens (formerly of Tanya Bonakdar) as director, the gallery has since mounted impressive shows with artists like Haitian painter Tomm El-Saieh, Brooklyn-based artist Dan Herschlein, and New York– and Richmond-based painter Sedrick Chisom. This fall, look out for exhibitions by Houston-based painter Vincent Valdez and Los Angeles–based sculptor Luis Flores.
2441 Glendower Ave, Los Feliz, Los Angeles CA 90027
Installation view of “The Candy Store,” at Parker Gallery, 2018. Courtesy of Parker Gallery.
After exploring countless “expensive and uninspiring” storefronts across Los Angeles, Parker Gallery founder Sam Parker turned his focus to domestic spaces. In May 2017, Parker launched his program within a historic 1924 home in the Los Feliz hills, not far from Griffith Park and Frank Lloyd Wright’s famed Ennis House. The space opened with “Nut Art,” a joyous, in-depth exhibition of the Northern California movement by the same name. Parker showed work of the movement’s founders—like Clayton Bailey, Roy De Forest, David Gilhooly, and Maija Peeples-Bright—alongside art by contemporary artists such as Peter and Sally Saul, Hannah Greely, and Calvin Marcus.
In the years since, the gallery’s programming has focused on under-recognized artists from the 1960s and ’70s working in the Bay Area, where Parker grew up, in dialogue with younger, emerging artists, like Marley Freeman and Lukas Geronimas. This fall, Parker will mount its first solo show with 90-year-old Sacramento-based painter Irving Marcus, and its second solo with Los Angeles–based sculptor Greely.
1411 Newton Street, Downtown LA, Los Angeles, CA 90021
Murmurs, Los Angeles, CA. Courtesy of Murmurs.
Los Angeles natives Morgan Elder and Allison Littrell grew up observing the growth of the L.A. art scene and dreamt of creating a multifaceted art space that “appeals to all sorts of people, not only seasoned art fans,” they wrote via email. Before they joined forces to realize this goal, Elder received her BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and founded the Chicago-based gallery Born Nude; and Littrell received her masters at USC and founded the art publication, Third Magazine. This June, they opened Murmurs, a sprawling gallery in Downtown L.A. set to host a diverse range of programming: from exhibitions and performances to panels, workshops, film screenings, and readings. A focus on emerging practices that engage social practice and collaboration-based artwork draws this wide-ranging scope together.
Earlier this month, the gallery hosted My Body, Nonbinary, the first in a performance series at spaces across the city featuring nonbinary poets, performance artists, and musicians based in L.A. In late August, Murmurs will open their inaugural group exhibition, including work by Genevieve Belleveau, Joel Dean, Lesley Jackson, Jenine Marsh, Jack Schneider, and Alison Veit. After, they will present their first solo installation by L.A.–based artist Cherisse Gray.
Park View / Paul Soto
2271 W. Washington Boulevard, Arlington Heights, Los Angeles CA 90018
Installation view of Mark A. Rodriguez, “Account,” 2019. Photo by Jeff McLane. Courtesy of the artist and Park View / Paul Soto, Los Angeles.
In late 2014, Paul Soto launched his program within his MacArthur Park apartment, an area better known for Korean spas than for galleries. It wasn’t until September of last year that Park View / Paul Soto landed in its first storefront space. Part of Arlington Heights’s growing art community, Soto has since presented exhibitions from gallery artists including J. Parker Valentine, Autumn Ramsey, Matt Paweski, Alex Olson, and Dylan Mira. He also opened a second space in Brussels, called La Maison De Rendez-Vous, which is shared with three other international galleries: LambdaLambdaLambda, Lulu, and Misako & Rosen.
In August, Park View / Paul Soto will celebrate its fifth anniversary with a group exhibition featuring its 10 represented artists alongside two guests. The fall will bring solo presentations with Mira and Andy Giannakakis as well as participation in Condo Mexico City with Kurimanzutto in September and Paris Internationale in October.
7313 Melrose Avenue, West Hollywood, Los Angeles, CA 90046
Installation view of Soyoung Shin, “Welcome Home,” 2019. Courtesy of AA LA.
AA LA’s most recent exhibition, “One Arm Bandit”by Detroit-based artist Bailey Scieszka, probed the myth of the American Dream through an immersive mix of painting, video, and sculpture. Like the majority of work that founder and Los Angeles native Alex Ahn presents at his gallery, which opened in September 2015, the show questioned deeply ingrained political and cultural institutions.
Over the past four years, AA LA has mounted 24 exhibitions, focusing on installation-based projects that transform the two-room West Hollywood gallery space. Solo presentations have featured artists Tyler Healy, Rindon Johnson, Heidi Lau, Cecilia Salama, Soyoung Shin, Zach Storm, and Ilona Szwarc, interspersed with a range of group exhibitions organized by guest curators including “obsequies” by Manuel Arturo Abreau, “Unbearable Infinite”by Ari Lipkis, and “It’s Snowing in LA”by Amy Kang and Mary McGuire. On August 24th, the gallery is set to host Ripple Place, a work directed and choreographed by Sam Wentz, professor of movement at CalArts, and performed by dancers Abriel Gardner and Chenhui Mao.
3400 W. Washington Blvd, Arlington Heights, Los Angeles, CA 90018
Installation view of Stephen G. Rhodes, “Fantasy of Life & Friends,” 2019. Courtesy of Kristina Kite.
After a successful run with Los Angeles gallery Overduin and Kite, Kristina Kite broke out on her own to found her namesake space. Located amongst a growing string of galleries and non-profit spaces on the main drag of Arlington Heights’s Washington Boulevard, the gallery opened in February 2017 with a solo exhibition of L.A.–based artist Nancy Lupo. The show featured Lupo’s sculptures and installations built from everyday objects like multicolored plastic forks, industrial-grade trash cans, dental floss, a panoply of toothpastes, and organic items prone to decomposition, like watermelons.
Since then, Kite has presented primarily solo exhibitions of emerging and mid-career artists, like Dianna Molzan, Amy O’Neill, Lisa Lapinski, Michael Queenland, and Nicole Miller. Most recently, Stephen G. Rhodes filled the space with an immersive installation that was part-fun house, part-ritualistic environment, featuring totemic sculptures, suspended mirrors, and looping videos. This fall, Lupo will have her second show with Kite.
Correction: A previous version of this article incorrectly identified Matthew Brown Los Angeles as Matthew Brown Gallery.