CARTWHEEL’s Best of 2013 L.A. Art Show

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From folk art to street art, here’s our roundup of trends and favorite sightings at the L.A. Art Show, January 23-27, 2013.

The L.A. Art Show has established itself as the most important place to explore art trends the world over. A fair of this magnitude helps to communicate to the rest of the world as what we already know to be true: that Los Angeles is one of the best cities on the planet to be an art lover.

This year, the show was timely to the year 2013. It featured more galleries from China than ever before, a significant influence from street art, a change in fair ownership, and an L.A.-centric exhibition “Letters from Los Angeles.”

In addition to art trendspotting (and a little bit of celebrity spotting, as well) a highlight of the five-day event for the CARTWHEEL team was the collection of L.A.’s bright talents who spoke on panel discussions. We heard from artists, gallerists and collectors such as Gary Baseman, Greg “Craola” Simkins, Jack Rutberg, and Blake Byrne.

“Letters from Los Angeles: Text in Southern California Art” demanded attention from all fairgoers, whether their intention for visiting the L.A. Art Show was to browse the carpeted aisles of historic and traditional art or to make acquisitions among the concrete floored contemporary booths that buzzed with the excitement of the new. The excellent “Letters” exhibit was brilliant enough to keep us returning for second and third takes, even as we noticed a difficult-to-ignore trend from elsewhere at the fair: diamonds and glitter that gave many of the convention center’s walls an extra gleam. Here are more highlights from the CARTWHEEL team as follows:


Artist Bill Barminski with his works at “Letters from Los Angeles.” Photo: Lisa Derrick


Untitled (I Don’t Understand Hit), 2003, by Bill Barminski with Jack Rutberg Fine Arts.


A Spectacle and Nothing Strange, 2012, by Eve Fowler at “Letters from Los Angeles” with Jack Rutberg Fine Arts.


Artist Bill Barminski and gallerist Jack Rutberg at “Letters from Los Angeles.” Photo: Lisa Derrick


Untitled, Ink, acrylic and spray paint on canvas, 2012, by David Arquette at The Art of Elysium booth.


Sparkle! Untitled, Found painting with salt, mirror powder, paint and gesso, by Mattia Biagi at The Art of Elysium auction exhibition booth. The Art of Elysium was a beneficiary of the L.A. Art Show.


More sparkle! Obey Lotus Crescent (White & Gold), Silkscreen and diamond dust on Somerset Satin Tub, edition of 75, 2013, by Shepard Fairey with Paul Stolper Gallery. Photo: Dana Nichols


(l to r:) Feisser Cardenas, Lauren Stone and Shepard Fairey in front of Fairey’s works at Paul Stolper Gallery.


“To Live and Paint in L.A.” panelists (l to r:) Gary Baseman, Jason Shawn Alexander, and Greg “Craola” Simkins. Photo: Lisa Derrick


Katsu Ishida with Systema Gallery.


In case you missed it, here’s the CARTWHEEL ad in the L.A. Art Show catalog featuring the work of five of our six artists repped by CARTWHEEL Shop!


Actor James Franco and Warren Brand (Branded Arts) at the Opening Night Premiere Party of the L.A. Art Show. Photo: Luis Ochoa.


(l to r:) ESMoA board member Stephen Maguire, artist Cole Sternberg and Art Reserve’s Eli Consilvio at The Art of Elysium booth.

Red Truck Gallery was a highlight for CARTWHEEL’s Marilyn Nix:

There were two gallery spaces at the Los Angeles Art Show that are constantly buzzing with visitors, artists and fun times. Those are Jack Rutberg Fine Artshere from across town Los Angeles, with his superb exhibition “Letters from Los Angeles,” and the other was the Red Truck Gallery here from New Orleans, overflowing with outsider and fine folk art.

At Red Truck’s packed booth–with both art and people– we were delighted by the works of Jason D’Aquino’s wonderful miniatures and by the enigmatic marionette-type figures and miniature environments crafted by Tom Haney, an artist living and working in Atlanta, Georgia. Haney carves and models the figures for his sculptures and then sets them in an environment to tell a folksy story incorporating a range of journeyman skills from carving, painting and mechanization.

Haney Mixed Signals

Fearnought by Tom Haney with Red Truck Gallery. Photo: Marilyn Nix

AHaney Undercurrent

Contrivance by Tom Haney with Red Truck Gallery. Photo: Marilyn Nix


Artist Jason D’Aquino with his exquisite miniatures at Red Truck Gallery. Photo: Lisa Derrick


The Red Truck Gallery booth at the L.A. Art Show. Photo: Dana Nichols


CARTWHEEL’s Eva Recinos attended a panel discussion about public mural art:

Street art made its presence felt not only within the galleries’ setups but on an important stage–the LA Dialogs portion of the entire show. Here, a panel of speakers converged Saturday afternoon to discuss public art and murals. “Rebuilding Our Heritage: Ordinance Reform and the Impending Mural Resurgence in L.A.” touched on both political, artistic, and cultural themes with the expertise of  artists Judithe Hernandez, Glenna Avila, and Man One along with Tanner Blackman, Planning Director for Los Angeles City Councilmember Jose Huizar,  and Chris Espinoza manager of El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historical Monument,  which includes Olvera Street and the newly restored, monumental  David Alfaro Siqueiros American Tropical  (La América Tropical) mural.


The talk, moderated by Isabel Rojas‐Williams, Executive Director, Mural Conservancy Los Angeles (MCLA), shed light on the importance of weaving public art with politics and the community. All of the speakers, regardless of their current positions on murals, agreed on the idea of public art creating an impact on the surrounding community. All the panel speakers continue to work towards an ordinance that will make public art legal. The speakers also kept in mind the idea of youth, graffiti and the city’s past as they stressed the importance of allowing artists the opportunity to create large-scale pieces that positively influence society.


Panel discussion on public mural art. Photo: Eva Recinos

Eva Recinos was happy to see one of her favorite local galleries at the L.A. Art Show:

This year marked my first time at a major art show and at LA Art show so I didn’t quite know what to expect. There seemed too much to see in one day but I definitely found my favorites very quickly. I looked for some recognizable names but also stumbled upon galleries that presented works from artists I didn’t recognize. As I wandered around, I noticed a familiar name – Fabien Castanier Gallery. When I spoke to graffiti artist TILT for CARTWHEEL, he mentioned a sculpture of Ronald McDonald. That didn’t make it in the show but I found it at LA Art show!


Ronald Loves Vanilla Milkshake by TILT.


Artists Charlie Anderson and JonOne at the Fabien Castanier Gallery booth during the Opening Night Premiere Party. To the left, JonOne’s live painting canvas. To the right two works by Anderson. Photo: Luis Ochoa


JonOne painting live at the Fabien Castanier Gallery booth during the Opening Night Premiere Party. Photo: Luis Ochoa

More observations from CARTWHEEL’s Eva Recinos:

The ever-controversial Mr. Brainwash also had work in the show; I found it especially interesting that this work came from Lake Worth, Florida from Art Link International. I remember seeing his work in Los Angeles so it goes to show just how much he’s expanded.

 Charlie Chaplin

Charlie Chaplin, Mr. Brainwash.

Eva Recinos:

I also enjoyed a lot of the more traditional fine art pieces in LA Art show, like this fantastic, ultra-real oil on canvas portrait by Michel Pellus. The wall text also shared a very extraordinary fact – the artist is completely self-taught.

detail,  Medici's Favorite Like

detail, Medici’s Favorite Like by Michel Pellus.

CARTWHEEL’s Cindy and Lisa were impressed with the large-scale pop art shown by Desire Obtain Cherish at The McLoughlin Gallery:

Cindy Schwarzstein:

I took this photo of Desire Obtain Cherish on Saturday. I asked him to pose doing something he hasn’t done for anyone else. Joan, the owner of the gallery, was a little uneasy with him picking the piece up around a lot of people, but I’m glad he did — it makes one very cool, “exclusively CARTWHEEL,” shot from one of our favorite exhibitions of the entire fair!


Saturday at LA Art Show hanging with Desire Obtain Cherish doing something no one else has a photo of. Photo: Cindy Schwarzstein

Lisa Derrick:

For me the absolute stand out commentary work at the LA Art Show was Desire Obtain Cherish, Designer Pill Packs at The McLoughlin Gallery: Spot-on brutal commentary on the Business of Art, Designer Pill Packs state baldly that neither art nor consumer goods are a panacea for shallow weltschmerz or consumptive malaiseContinue reading


Designer Pill Packs by Desire Obtain Cherish. Photo: Lisa Derrick


Designer Pill Packs by Desire Obtain Cherish. Photo: Luis Ochoa


(l to r:) Designer Pill Packs and Basquiat Punched, comprised of 6,500 individually wrapped pills, by Desire Obtain Cherish with The McLoughlin Gallery booth. Photo: Dana Nichols

Top Image: Las Indias, by Raul Guerrero with Jack Rutberg Fine Arts in “Letters from Los Angeles”.

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