L.A. Art Show Ambassador Gavin Rossdale and Host Kate Beckinsale Welcome Pacific Rim Artists
On its 24th anniversary, the L.A. Convention Center event offers a large-scale sculpture by street artist RISK and works by Roger Dean, the man behind spacey album covers by prog rockers Yes.
Now in its 24th year, the L.A. Art Show, hosted this year by Kate Beckinsale along with Art Ambassador musician Gavin Rossdale, will focus on art of the Pacific Rim when it opens Jan. 23 at the Los Angeles Convention Center, with 100 percent of opening night proceeds going to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.
Past hosts have included Jon Hamm, Anne Hathaway and Adam Schulman, Amy Adams and Darren Le Gallo greeting such guests as Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Melanie Griffith, Barbra Streisand, James Brolin, Leonardo DiCaprio, James Franco, Lily Collins, Eli Broad, Gayle Rossi, Shepard Fairey and more.
"I do love the L.A. art scene — Retna, El Mac, those kinds of artists," Rossdale tells The Hollywood Reporter. "I do really like figurative oils, mainly. Francis Bacon has always been my guiding comet. I have Gilbert and George, Peter Beard, great people who made great art, the Chapman brothers, Sarah Lucas, mainly weird figurative pieces. I like modern art, mainly, but I’ve always been attracted to art my whole life. It always spoke to me irrespective of the medium or where it is. If it resonates, it’s art."
Though the Bush frontman and ex-husband to Gwen Stefani is the show's Art Ambassador, rock 'n' roll is not a theme this year. Just don’t tell that to Roger Dean, famous for his spacey album covers for the 1970s prog-rock band Yes. "I welcomed their input, but I also welcomed the fact that they trusted me to do a good job and just let me get on with it," Dean says of working with the band. He will have roughly eight large-scale acrylic paintings, 16 pencil drawings and the same number of small-scale works and logos at the show. "People who buy my work tend to really, really love it and it’s been since when they were students and couldn't afford it," says Dean. "And now they’ve grown up and they're in a position where they can afford it."
A long ambition of L.A. Art Show producer, Kim Martindale, has been to bring together artwork from the Far East as well Central and South America. In addition to its glut of galleries at the show will be feature programs highlighting 15 artists from around the world. "Grandmother's Country," by aboriginal artist Gabriella Possum Nungurrayi, looks at aboriginal women in Australia while the distant memories of Chuni Park inspired "Black Landscape," featuring silhouetted landscapes in ink derived from pine soot. Tang Dynasty Beauty (Beautiful Woman) Velasquez LED TV X 2 is Lee LeeNam's five-minute video juxtaposing Velazquez' Infanta Margarita (1659) with a Tang Dynasty noblewoman as they exchange outfits in fragments, emphasizing the interrelationship between East and West. And gallerist Michael Goedhuis will present 10 of China’s most prominent contemporary ink painters.
"RISK is doing an exhibit here. He's got the Shark, which I think is a terrific combination, with the police car and shark," says Martindale of the street artist’s bisected life-sized patrol car, which will sit opposite a sculpture of a shark comprising spare machine parts. The piece comments on policing in inner city neighborhoods, as well as Damien Hirst's Natural History, a life-sized shark suspended in a tank of formaldehyde.
Rossdale came to the position through Patrick Painter gallery at Bergamot Station, where he's a client. The gallery represents a number of in-demand L.A. artists including Mike Kelley, Ed Moses and Chaz Guest — who will be completing a 20-foot mural on Buffalo Soldiers for the show.
Rossdale will be on the hunt for sculpture to join a collection that includes a piece by Man Ray. "Frank Serra, I based my 2010 comeback tour on the rust on the big pieces he makes," he says of the modern sculptor’s large-scale steel formations. "There's always different paths for inspiration, different mediums. Damien Hirst, some of his greatest things have been the idea."
The L.A. Art Show began in 1994 with 14 galleries and 250 people. Last year, roughly 70,000 gathered to see works from 110 galleries. This year includes 120 galleries from 18 countries. Martindale expects the L.A. art scene to keep growing with the introduction of Frieze L.A., joining an already crowded art fair calendar next month, and plans a 2020 move into February so as to coincide with the prestigious global event.
"I think that will actually just add a lot more excitement than competition, and I'm hoping that Frieze does amazingly well here in L.A. and it should," says Martindale. "We have a growing market and it’s an exciting show and it’s fantastic they’re coming to Los Angeles."