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Bettina Korek's Guide to the Art Los Angeles Contemporary Art Fair

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Bettina Korek

The ALAC kicks off Thursday.

Ahead of the Art Los Angeles Contemporary Art Fair, which is running Jan. 26 to Jan. 29, Bettina Korek, founder of independent arts organization ForYourArt and an all-around cool girl, who has been hailed by The Wall Street Journal as "L.A.'s art insider," is sharing her tips on making the most out of the four-day art event.  

Who should go to ALAC:

ALAC is for collectors and anyone curious about art. It's also a great "taste of L.A." because many of the interesting emerging and established galleries from across the city participate. It's much faster to cover all the aisles of the fair than the whole geography of the city in your car.

With over 60 galleries taking part, ALAC is relatively manageable for new collectors (compared to the over 250 that participate in Art Basel Miami Beach, for example), both in scope and price range. Prices are generally in the $5,000 to $20,000 range, but some pieces are priced less than $1,000. There are definitely affordable things — always ask if there are works on paper or prints available by artists whose work may not be in your price range. The Freeways section with more emerging artists will have prices to match.

Best time to visit:

If you can get away from work, and procure a pass, the VIP opening on Thursday during the day is the fair's most subdued time, good for actually taking the artworks in; as the evening progresses it becomes more of a social event. The weekend is also a good time to go, with public programs and a broader mix of attendees.

Tips for parking/getting in:

Ask a friend who works at a participating gallery for a VIP pass, or buy tickets online for both the preview and the public days of the fair at artlosangelesfair.com/tickets.

Best game plan:

Grab a map and look at every gallery. Make notes to remember what you like, and ask gallerists for their business cards. Don't be afraid to introduce yourself to someone working in the booth, especially if they aren't busy. Fairs like ALAC can be a great way to form relationships and get a sense of galleries whose programs (their roster of artists and shows) might make sense for you to follow more closely.

What's new this year:

The popular "young gallery" section, called Freeways, returns for a second year. Pay special attention to edgy Angeleno galleries like Club Pro, Jenny’s, Park View, and Tif Sigfrids.

What's not-to-be-missed:

Tom of Finland for queer erotica at David Kordansky Gallery, and Analia Saban’s prints at Mixografia. Playfully titled "Paper or Plastic?" each work takes the shape of a plastic grocery bag printed with "Thank You For Your Business" and other recognizable phrases. For film lovers, there's David Lynch at Kayne Griffin Corcorcan, and for cultural critique check out Meg Cranston at Meliksetian Briggs.

Where to fuel up:

Get coffee by Go Get 'Em Tiger and food by Amara Kitchen, located toward the back of the fair.

Must-see programming:

With more of a focus on filmmaking this year, Hollywood might be interested in screenings by video artist Pat O’Neill, an experimental filmmaker known for his work in the special effects industry. He is showing Chocolate Mountains (2015) and An Extra Wander: For Chickie (2016) at 11:30 a.m. on Friday.

Filmmaker Roger Corman and actress Mary Woronov will also discuss their work’s impact on art, video, and filmmaking over the past four decades at 3 p.m. on Sunday.

How to dress:

Anything goes in the art world. Thursday night will be more of a fashion scene, otherwise wear comfortable shoes and bring a bag to carry information and books you might pick up along the way. Stop by the Reader Lounge to pick up A Few Houses in Los Angeles — pen and ink sketches of mid-century homes by William Leavitt inspired by real estate listings in the Los Angeles Times — included in the new edition of the fair’s publication.   

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