Jori Finkel draws the battlefield between the various art fairs competing to launch in Los Angeles. Though she points out in her Los Angeles Times story that real trick is getting European galleries and collectors to fly in for the event and make it world class. Otherwise, the struggle just becomes a regional battle between local players whom she describes:
There’s MMPI, a Chicago firm that hired Gross away from the Museum of Contemporary Art’s development team to serve as director of its new venture, Art Platform — Los Angeles. MMPI already organizes seven art fairs, including the Armory Show and Art Chicago, and 77 other trade shows. Gross says his fair will take place in the L.A. Mart, an MMPI property downtown, from Sept. 30 to Oct. 3, to coincide this year with the launch of the museum-wide extravaganza “Pacific Standard Time.”
There’s Kim Martindale, organizer of the Los Angeles Art Show. Founded in 1995 by the Fine Art Dealers Assn. with historic strengths such as California Impressionism, it has increasingly moved into the contemporary realm, but without landing the most prestigious art galleries in that sector. Martindale now calls the fair “encyclopedic.” It’s also the largest art fair in town, drawing 114 gallery exhibitors and an opening-night crowd of 5,000 to the Los Angeles Convention Center last week.
There’s Stephen Cohen, the photography dealer who has organized Photo L.A. for 20 years and launched Art L.A. in 2005 to focus on contemporary art, involving Chinatown and Culver City galleries. That show ran for five years, at which point Cohen’s director, Tim Fleming, started his own fair, now known as Art Los Angeles Contemporary. Cohen alleges that Fleming cost him “hundreds of thousands of dollars by giving away free or discounted booths” during his employ and afterward used his fair’s name and “stole proprietary information like a VIP list.” Cohen says “a lawsuit is imminent.”
Los Angeles Is Primed; Art Fair, Please Stand Up (Los Angeles Times)