The "Other" Side of the LA Art Scene
In LA… Things Keep Getting Better!
In Los Angeles, it used to be that if you wanted to experience meaningful independent art, you would have to either wait for one of the annual Art Walks, or hope that one of the city’s museums (usually The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA) would feature a left-of-center exhibit. Thankfully, in the past decade the landscape of the Los Angeles art scene has grown to include many independent and “other” art experiences that are unique, interesting, and impressive. Here’s a list of a few known and lesser-known favorites:
This small and charming Echo Park gallery is a hip reflection of its vibrant neighborhood. Showcasing cutting-edge work from underground independent artists of all mediums, it has a bohemian vibe and is just down the street from the Glendale / Sunset bridge (yes, the one with the Ruben Soto “Eyes” mural). There is always something intriguing on display here and the curators do not shy away from including political/diverse/genderqueer content. A very inclusive space always striving to display art that has something to say.
At Wonzimer Gallery, business partners Aidan and Alaia sought to open a space where young and innovative creators can showcase their new works. Comfort is key here with an inviting living room setting that showcases 1960’s Italian Baroque furniture for gallery-goers to lounge on (I think my grandmother used to have one of these chairs). The space is truly unique and the art is fresh and engaging.
This not-for-profit gallery is home to a wide variety of conceptual contemporary art. One upcoming exhibition of note: for one night only, singer Dorian Wood will perform Janet Jackson’s 1989 masterpiece “Rhythm Nation: 1814,” arranged for voice and piano. If that doesn’t sound like an amazing night out, then I’m not sure you know what an amazing night out is.
Owned by multiple disciplinary LA artist Maceo Paisley, Nous Tous gallery and community space is located in the Chinatown district of DTLA. The gallery supports emerging talent with a focus on cultural exchange and dialogue. “UOME1: An Art Exhibition Addressing Money, Work, and Self-Worth” is one recent exhibit, the title of which should give the gallery-goer an idea of the type of powerful work that this space is demonstrating.
Operating out of the back of a flower shop in DTLA, fourlarks is a performance art space that is home to award-winning original junkyard operas. Their events are continually revered for their inspiring orchestrations and choreography. A darkly original adaptation of Peer Gynt and a version of Orpheus that was staged in three cubic meters of sand are just two of the previous unique offerings by this innovative company.
Right in the middle of Echo Park is where Shepard Fairey chose to place his gallery where he occasionally showcases his own work, along with artists like Steve Keene and Chuck D. It seems like everyone eventually finds their way to Subliminal Projects at some point, but it is always worth another visit.
Founded in Brooklyn in 2012 by a pair of independent artists, Superchief’s DTLA location provides a relaxed, large-scale warehouse that is home to diverse artists and art scenes. It’s above ground, but the space has a cool “basement vibe” and the exhibit openings are always exciting, well-attended, diverse, and fun.
Curated by LA performance artist Peter Kalisch, Queerspace is a variety show featuring strange performance art acts in an accepting environment. Peter himself travels under the moniker of “Noise Pup” and makes his own brand of incredible noise art. Check out the party’s Facebook page for updates on the next event.
The iconic Tom of Finland lived in this two-story Craftsman home in Silver Lake and it is filled with his erotic art. In addition to amazing prints, look for the specially branded Tom of Finland “OUT standing RED” wine bottles and don’t miss a trip down to Paradise Cove in the elaborate backyard garden. This is a Los Angeles gem that is not to be missed.
Hive is one of the longest standing galleries on the Downtown Art Walk and boasts two full galleries showcasing 5 featured artists a month. The Hive Gallery mission is “…to break down the quiet, traditional, art-on-white-walls, viewing experience and create a gallery atmosphere that is as equally alive as it’s artwork.” Hive is one of the more reputable independent galleries in LA and it’s always buzzing with something cool. (DAMNIT! I told myself no bee references! I was so close… so… close…)
This modern, off-the-beaten path gallery always features incredible artists and photographers like: Bob Mizer, Malick Sidibé, and Maxwell Poth. The space is well-kept and manageable for both the art novice and more experienced collectors alike.
Jason Eldredge has collaborated with some of the world's leading fashion and lifestyle brands as a Music Director, Content Creator, and DJ. He has DJ-ed the Academy Awards and the MTV VMAs and was part of the team that selected music for "Six Feet Under" on HBO.
Jason was the host of radio shows for KCRW (NPR) in Los Angeles and East Village Radio in New York City. His interviews include: filmmaker David Lynch, actress Janeane Garofalo, and comedian Andy Samberg. Jason studied Art History at Columbia University.