From Cologne to Culver City: The Vision of Gallerist Susanne Vielmetter
From her eponymous gallery in Culver City, Susanne Vielmetter represents one of L.A.’s top rosters of international artists, one that includes heavy hitters like Mickalene Thomas, Wangechi Mutu, and Elizabeth Neel along with some of Southern California’s best emerging talents. “My mission is to provide an aesthetic and financial framework for my artists to present their work and to encourage them to push their practice to new and challenging levels,” Vielmetter told us this week, in the midst of preparations for Art Los Angeles Contemporary. “At the core of what I do is an interest to present a wide range of aesthetic concerns and conceptual issues, and to include viewpoints that might be underrepresented in other cultural institutions.”
A German native who studied art and language at the University of Cologne in the 1980s, Vielmetter says she had never thought of a gallery as an ideal realm to explore her critical interests until she moved to LA in 1990—first to work in a small gallery, then opening her first space in 2000. She first focused on local artists, but by the time she had moved into her current space—an 8,500 square-footer in Culver City’s arts district—the gallery’s roster had expanded to include a range of international talents as well. “Los Angeles is a city of great cultural diversity,” Vielmetter says, “and it’s important to me that my gallery reflects this rich canon of different voices.”
For her booth at ALAC, Vielmetter will be presenting new work by two of the gallery’s L.A.-based artists: Ruben Ochoa and Monique van Genderen. She promises a powerful presentation, juxtaposing a massive concrete sculpture by Ochoa—never before seen in Los Angeles—with some “effortless abstractions” by van Genderen made for the fair. “Ochoa’s sculptures, referencing Minimalism and Land Art and addressing issues of cultural and class boundaries, set a striking contrast to van Genderen’s vibrant and colorful ruminations on painterly abstraction,” Vielmetter said.
Looking past the fair, the gallerist has many more exciting things in store for 2014 at Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects, including solo shows by Nicola Tyson, Stanya Kahn, Raffi Kalenderian, Edgar Arceneaux, Charles Gaines, and a new artist to their program, Sadie Benning. They’ve also got five of their artists represented in the Whitney Biennial: Karl Haendel, Shana Lutker, Dave McKenzie, My Barbarian, and Amy Sillman.
Photo credit: Kevin Scholl
Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects, Art LA Contemporary 2014, Section LA, Jan. 30th – Feb. 2nd.