“IT WAS THE BEST OF TIMES,
it was the worst of times…” Dickens (or Shakespeare) always sums it up nicely. Amidst the current national backdrop of politics gone cray cray, the arts are thriving across the country—especially in LA. Funny how that works.
For some time now, the City of Angels has become the City of Artists, arguably the arts capital of the Western Hemisphere, if not the world—inarguably when it comes to the latest trends in painting, sculpture, installation, et al. Leave it to our sun-andshadow-dappled city, where artists thrive on the abundant natural light and the relatively cheap rents, to move the culture needle forward. And then some.
In this, our annual Arts Issue, we dig into the city’s oil-and-acrylic-splattered smorgasbord, from Playa Vista to Pasadena—and everything in between. What a feast: We introduce five artists who flourish on the cutting edge where art and the digital world intersect. That had to happen, right? (See “Star Tech!,” page 45.) And who needs old-fashioned dealers and galleries? Another artist, a self-taught painter from the mountains of eastern Utah, Zachary Crane, 28, has built a booming little business right off his old iPhone (see “Portrait of the Insta-Artist,” page 64). Counting prominent collectors from Hollywood to haute-est Paris, Crane has proved that an Instagram of fame can go a very long way.
But let’s not forget LA’s hardly oldschool institutional art scene. Long before Crane dropped his first DM, Los Angeles culture queen Nancy Dwan invented the future of art in LA in the 1960s with her seminal Westwood gallery, which introduced the city to a host of leading New York artists, and conversely, blasted the art world with the best of the best of Angelenomade fare. This summer, LACMA pays tribute to this zeitgeist moment with a must-see mega exhibit (see “Dwan of Ages,” page 58). Westwood is back, by the way, thanks to the Hammer Museum’s indefatigable director, Ann Philbin, who is in the midst of expanding her little museum by a whopping 40,000 square feet (which is only fitting, since the Hammer’s budget these days already tops out among the country’s biggest). LA’s avant-avant garde museum never ceases to shock (nor will our exclusive preview of the Hammer’s “Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA” offering, “Radical Women: Latin American Art, 1960-1985,” page 72). Across town, MOCA mixed shock with a hefty dose of chic at its annual fundraising gala, which pulled in a glittering mix of celebrities and socialites with its magenta-mad ode to legendary bad-boy artist Jeff Koons—and a cool $3 million for future exhibitions. Heady stuff.
As glam-bam as that party was, the Met Gala this past spring, in my hometown of New York, still rules. By a hair. Have to give Ms. Wintour credit for that. This year was fashion fun as usual, of course, but nothing matched the 1996 iteration. At that one, a 30-something reporter for W magazine got to chat up Princess Diana (the year before she died)—all regal-rad in her midnight blue Dior slip dress. What an enchanting, unforgettable encounter.
“Whoever loved that loved not at first sight?” Thanks, Will Shakespeare (via Christopher Marlowe), for summing that moment up.
21st Century Foxes! from top: Painting the town with talent agent/ glamour boy Gary Mantoosh at MOCA’s 38th annual gala honoring Jeff Koons; crushing on pretty gal/cover star/partner in comedy Leslie Mann; kick-starting spring with publisher Alison...