In the past week the LA artworld has received news that more major artworld players are moving to Los Angeles. Most recently to announce this has been powerhouse British art collector Kay Saatchi, former wife of British ad agency giant and super collector Charles Saatchi. A few days earlier the New York art press reported that venerable contemporary art and secondary market dealer Perry Rubenstein would be relocating his NYC gallery to Los Angeles. This is yet another first for the contemporary art market of Los Angeles, which has never seen a world-class New York City gallery move its entire operations to Los Angeles. Like L&M Arts, who recently expanded from their NYC base, Perry Rubenstein gallery will do both contemporary and historical art shows, the latter of which has never been part of the Los Angeles gallery scene. If Kay Saatchi does curate in Los Angeles, she would automatically become a major player on the LA scene. Should she do so and acquire a substantial showcase, this further strengthens the LA artworld as never before. Rubenstein’s 7,500 square foot space would immediately become one of the most important in Los Angeles, from scale to cultural import. It is as if the cultural infrastructure of Los Angeles is being built by the international artworld.
Kay Saatchi made the following statement regarding her move to Los Angeles:
“After twenty five years in London, I have decided to move my base to Los Angeles and to offer a selection ofworks from my art collection, partly for practical reasons and partly for the excitement and challenge of building a new collection in a new environment. It was a privilege to be in London at such a significant moment in the development of contemporary British art, and to be a part of that process, meeting and working with some of the most gifted artists, curators and collectors to emerge at that time, as well as others who were already well established. It was also a privilege to be able to live with such exceptional works of art and to get to know them all so intimately. Inevitably there is sadness in leaving a city I love and in parting with works of art I treasure. But my hope is that the move to Los Angeles will be not so much a departure as a new beginning in which I can help foster broader artistic links between London and the West Coast whilst exploring fresh opportunities as a collector and curator.”
Here is a bit of information regarding Kay Saatchi’s move to the LA art scene:
“U.S.-born Kay Saatchi came to London in the 1980s. A former commercial gallerist, she was married to Charles Saatchi from 1990 to 2001. She is now moving to Los Angeles, Christie’s said”
“Saatchi began her career working with renowned dealer Leo Castelli. She married Charles Saatchi in 1990. She is moving to Los Angeles to pursue curatorial projects and promote a new batch of young, local talent, according to Christie’s”
And here is another body of information – the biography in brief of Kay Saatchi:
“Married to Charles Saatchi for 15 years, she co-curated over 30 shows at the Saatchi gallery.She also co-curated the controversial Sensation exhibition at the Royal Academy in 1997. Sensation featured many works produced by the Young British Artists movement – or the YBAs – including those by Damien Hirst, Sarah Lucas and Tracey Emin.”
Perry Rubenstein on his move to Los Angeles in 2011:
“Los Angeles is not a sideshow anymore,” Rubenstein says of his decision to make a wholesale move to the city, which is home not only to Hollywood but also to a group of major art collectors including David Geffen, Eli Broad, Michael Ovitz, and Steve Martin.” from Artinfo.
Artinfo also reports that Rubenstein has obtained a 7,500 square foot space in Los Angeles that will open fall 2011.
PERRY RUBENSTEIN GALLERY (wHY Architecture, Los Angeles)
The signage attached to Perry Rubenstein’s Art Platform Los Angeles booth read: Perry Rubenstein Hollywood
The gallery will be on Highland avenue in Hollywood. It will be a brief walk to Pizzeria Mozza and Osteria Mozza.
“There is greater need in Los Angeles to do historical exhibitions,” says the dealer. “And given that it is a significant part of my history it would be remiss of me not to do that.”
Rubenstein also said to Artinfo: “Los Angeles is a new center. It looks today the way New York looked compared to Paris after the war.”
This is the new narrative coming out of New York City about the LA artworld. 2011 Los Angeles is NYC 1945, when the New York artworld had taken the dominant position in art production, through the creation of Abstract Expressionism. Like New York 60 plus years ago as compared to Paris, which had 300 galleries that were open year round, Los Angeles has little cultural infrastructure as compared to the New York artworld of 2011. Yet it is Los Angeles that is perceived as having the most significant body of contemporary artists in America, if not in the entire world today.
Vincent Johnson is an artist and writer in Los Angeles