For a city that has embraced its emergence onto the global arts stage in recent years, its still an impressive feat that Los Angeles’s first major market week would open with four well-curated and diverse events, perhaps even more impressive that each would manage to express such a unique vision and concept in relation to the broader fabric of the week. From Frieze’s dynamic use of the Paramount Studios lots to SPRING/BREAK’s utilization of fruit stands downtown, the mixture of familiar forms in intriguing locales has helped define this whirlwind week in California.
Enter Felix, the joint effort of collector Dean Valentine and dealers Al and Mills Morán. The fair, which took over the rooms and public spaces of the iconic Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, has made for one of the more commanding entries of the week, allowing a strange mixture of intimate exhibitions and adventurous concepts that simultaneously felt well-suited to the well-heeled patrons of the contemporary art market. Brad Pitt was seen hobnobbing in the early hours of the opening evening, passing through more traditional spaces and booths like Susanne Vielmetter’s, filled with glittering details, hand-drawn posters and other materials.
At Clearing Gallery, artist Calvin Marcus was showing some of his enigmatic facial casts mounted on canvas, while at M+B Los Angeles, artist Angela Dufresne’s swirling brand of figuration made for an equally captivating series of works. Clearing had also brought some of artist Zak Kitnik’s recent backgammon board works, which had been installed horizontally and which were open to use by the visitors on hand. Another striking use of space could be seen at the Michael Benevento booth, where works by Dan Finsel and Kaari Upson were installed around and over the bed in the hotel room, creating a strangely evocative and subtle hint of suspended intimacy and frozen time.
Considering the ever-growing stature of Los Angeles’s local arts community, and the growing number of locally-focused galleries and young artists in the city, Felix seems to have taken up a strong position amongst the local residents of the city, as well as those further afield who have maintained a close connection to the city’s arts community. The fair’s concept promises for an interesting next few years as these connections are further cultivated and strengthened.
The fair closes today, February 17.
— D. Creahan
Felix Art Fair [Exhibition]