Arts & Entertainment

December Art Column

By Jeff Davis

Did you miss Art Basel in Miami again this year!? Not planning to fly 7,000 miles to Hong Kong in March for the next global art festival? Fear not, the LA Art Season opening is just around the corner in January. Everyone will be jetting to LA to escape the cold of New York, London, Paris and Beijing to enjoy our blustery winter weather and art fairs. Below is a summary of the upcoming opportunities – take advantage!

Photo LA 2017 (Jan. 12 – Jan. 15), will celebrate it’s 26th season year and will kick off with an Opening Gala honoring Weston Naef, curator of emeritus of the Getty Museum’s Department of Photographs who founded their world renowned collection. The exposition will be a global showcase ranging from 19th century masterpieces to contemporary cutting edge photography. To foster dialogue there will be a number of lectures, special installations, round table discussions and docent tours by distinguished photographers and artists. Don’t miss “Classic Photo LA” – a collection of classic images produced by world-famous photographers including: Ansel Adams, Annie Leibovitz, Diane Arbus, W. Eugene Smith, Weegee and Robert Capa to name just a few.

Photo LA is located in downtown at the REEF/LA Mart – just a hop, skip and a jump away from The LA Art Show, Broad Museum, MOCA, Geffen Contemporary and the Arts District. So, plan to spend the whole day!

The LA Art Show 2017 (Jan. 12 – Jan. 15) will feature modern and contemporary art from more than 90 galleries and over 20 countries this year, including China, France, Japan, Mexico, the United Kingdom, South Korea and Czechoslovakia to name a few. The show will take up 150,000 square feet at the downtown LA Convention Center and expects to draw over 70,000 visitors. Wear your tennis shoes, it’s a lot of walking! The work of DOMA, a South American art collective will be featured this year. They will present a sculptural installation as a commentary on their Latin Roots and the idealization of the “L.A. Dream”, as well as participate in the Dialogs LA Panel series to discuss the work.

Two weeks later, we have Art Los Angeles Contemporary (Jan. 26 – Jan. 29, 2017). This year there will be over 60 local and international galleries, in addition to an expanded program of lectures and collaborations with local artists. The fair is located at Barker Hanger at the Santa Monica Airport; come early because parking because nearby parking can fill up quickly.

The stARTup Art Fair Los Angeles (Jan. 27 – Jan. 29, 2017) is taking place at the Highlands Gardens Hotel Hollywood. The art world is changing, and many artists are finding themselves working outside of the traditional gallery system. The mission of stARTup Art Fair is to provide a professional exhibition venue for independent artists –artists who do not have a formal agreement with a commercial gallery. The intimate, boutique fair provides artists and art enthusiasts with direct access to the art world, fostering new relationships and creating an unparalleled exhibition platform.

While LA will have tons of art fairs during January, don’t forget to trek down to the OC and check out what’s going on at the Laguna Art Museum. They currently have a trio of outstanding shows running through Jan. 15, 2017. The exhibits include: Phillip K. Smith III’s “Bent Parallel”, Kristen Leachman’s “Xylem Rays” and Anna Althea Hills “Miss Hills of Laguna Beach”.


Phillip K. Smith III, Bent Parallel, 2014, Glass, aluminum, LED lighting and electronics, 96” x 258” x 106’’. – Courtesty the artist and Royal Projects. Photographer: Lance Gerber


Smith’s Bent Parallel is composed of two large intersecting color filled walls that hinge at an obtuse angle. The massive sculpture measures 96” x 258” x 106” and pulls you into its center . The work is constructed from glass, aluminum, LED lights and custom electronics that shift the wall colors subtly as you stand before them. One can’t help notice themselves in the reflection. Unlike a pure mirror, the reflection seems to come from the interior of the work. Of course you can’t help taking a selfie or two to share. When looking at the photo you’ll notice that the colors that your eyes see are not the same as the camera lens.

On the other end of the art spectrum the museum exhibits over 60 stunning landscape paintings by Laguna Beach artist Anna Althea Hills (1882–1930). Hills was one of the artists who helped put Laguna Beach on the map as a premier art colony during the first decades of the twentieth century. Hills’ work is primarily in oil, using both a brush and a palette knife. Her palette knife work is highly distinctive, creating an impressionistic feel to most of her paintings. My favorites where the colorful hillsides and oceanscapes, some of which almost take on a photo-real quality at times.


Anna Althea Hills, The Blue Pacific, Oil on Canvas, 1928

Anna Althea Hills, The Blue Pacific, Oil on Canvas, 1928


Last, but not least, Kristin Leachman’s “Xylem Rays” which depicts in detail the interior tissues of trees that transports water from the roots to the leaves. The paintings are incredibly detailed and magnified as if viewed under a microscope. From afar the works look like a cross-section corrugated, scrunched cardboard and at times swirling eddies in a river.


Kristin Leachman, Xylem 10, Oil on canvas on panel, 60” x 80”

December 23, 2016

About Author

Jeff Davis Jeff Davis is an artist with a studio at the Hawthorne Art Complex. He writes a monthly column for Beacon Media publications as well as collecting and investing in art and other asset classes. Mr. Davis has a BS in Economics from the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School and an MBA from the University of Chicago. He grew up in Golden Valley, Minnesota and has lived in New York, Chicago, Philadelphia and currently resides in Los Angeles. Please contact Mr. Davis at his website or through Beacon Media if you would like c.overage of a local art event or exhibit.

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