The first Saturday of May always seems to be eventful. It is a day where people have bid adieu to their April Showers and are ready to bloom into their own May flowers (or something–probably not). In 2015, on a day when America’s focus was largely dominated by The Kentucky Derby, the new ‘Fight of the Century,’ and a thrilling Game 7, featuring Los Angeles’s own Clippers, the annual celebration of the year’s most celebrated works of photography quietly took place as well.
Every year, Los Angeles’s Paramount Studios hosts the U.S. Paris Photo, one of the world’s most distinguished photography fairs. I had the fortune of being invited by a friend (who had been invited by Janda Wetherington).
The galleries are actually set up and curated within the New York City backlot set, which virtually serves as a museum itself. As both New York native and film enthusiast, this was an eerie but utopic setting for me. The sets were surprisingly accurate simulations of urban New York. The detailed delis, bodegas, and brownstone apartment complexes did a solid job of capturing the hustle and bustle of the city in the summertime. This walk-through exhibition successfully enhanced the overall experience without taking anything away from the exceptional work within the galleries.
Over 80 leading galleries and dealers from 17 different countries world-wide showcased works at this year’s Paris Photo Los Angeles. Famous art dealers, artists, celebrities (including Judd Apatow, Gwenyth Paltrow, and Drew Barrymore), coexisted with
relative foreigners to the art world and more pedestrian fans of photography like myself to appreciate one of the most powerful and ubiquitous mediums in the image-based culture of our shared present.
Among the works which stood out most to me were those of the Diane Rosenstein Gallery, Hassan Hajjaj of the Gusford Gallery, and the Taschen Gallery (which exhibited some crazy pictures of the Rolling Stones). All of the exhibitors can be found on the Paris Photo Los Angeles website right here.
I really don’t believe that the sports world and the art world need to be so opposed and so separated. On this fateful last first Saturday of May of 2015, I was able to fully enjoy both ends of this cultural spectrum. Perhaps that separation is due to the undeniably exclusive nature of the art world. Events like Paris Photo are for the “cultural elite.” Thanks to my Mom (
who is the head of public programs at the Guggenheim –if you’re ever in NY hit me/her up for passes!), I have been to many art fairs, art walks, and art openings, and have always observed the shallowness and superficiality of many of the people who attend such events. They tend to be more about the networking opportunities than the art itself. maybe a bit of an offensive overstatement, I would reword (- Natalie) However, that actually wasn’t the case at Paris Photo. Regardless of whether that was because it was such a special event or because the photography was just that impressive or any number of other reasons, it was refreshing to see people actually observing and discussing the art instead of complimenting each other’s fedoras. The art world may feel exotic and intimidating but you should not let that scare you away. If you get invited to a photo fair, an opening, a premiere, or even if you don’t (which I’m not saying is more likely!), Los Angeles is home to a thriving, diverse art scene that you deserve to be a part of if you are reading this.