Art
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What to See at LA Art Show 2022

Hypnotic sculptures to interactive NFT installations at the newly branded Crypto.com Arena.

On Wednesday night, the Los Angeles Art Show (LAAS) returned to its normal grounds at the Convention Center after a hiatus due to COVID. For those unfamiliar, LAAS certainly doesn’t carry the heavyweight artists and galleries that you’d expect from a Frieze or Art Basel, but still features a large assortment of emerging galleries from around the world. Going on 26 years and counting, LAAS is the city’s longest-running international art fair, usually garnering a crowd of around 65,000 attendees per year.

The opening night gala saw far fewer, but a crowd nonetheless excited to usher in a sense of normalcy. That familiarity is short-lived as you walk past the newly branded Crypto.com Arena into a strict vaccination check at the entrance of the fair. For the time being, this is the new normal.

LAAS carried this mashup of old and new through a variety of creative disciplines that ranged from traditional impressionist oil paintings and Pop-Art-inspired pieces to watercolor studies, kinetic sculptures and the biggest newcomer, NFTs.

Curator Marisa Caichiolo centered this year’s edition around the environment’s depiction in art, along with humanity’s place within the world. The exhibitors aim for the presentation to open a dialogue about the Earth’s past, present and future direction regarding discussions, such as climate change and the collective solutions needed to address these problems.

The Other Waterfall is a subtle but great example of this. Made by artists Claudia Rodriguez and Rosina Santana, in collaboration with social psychologist Ana Joaquina Ramírez, the installation drew people in through an unassuming tarp that is accompanied by a film in the background and Louis Armstrong‘s seminal hit tune, West End Blues. The artists created the towering piece by enlisting more than 400 people to crochet recyclable plastic raffia fibers to raise awareness to the Santiago River — which delimits part of the Guadalajara Metropolitan Area and has been classified by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights as one of the most polluted in Latin America.

No art fair these days is complete without its share of NFT activations. Relating to the theme of climate change, a pertinent topic for both the fair and crypto-mining, Toronto-based art collective Conscious Crypto Creator, presented one of their latest NFT artworks as part of the OUR COMMON HOME series.

In ICEBERGS, visitors are invited to make spontaneous gestures that would activate icebergs that would change and float away depending on the rhythm of your movements. The organizers state the aim of the four-part installation is to “highlight the impact of our daily decisions on the melting of polar ice caps. Deciding to walk for instance instead of burning fossil fuels can positively impact world temperatures. To illustrate this direct action/consequence link, a body tracking system will detect your physical movement and level of activity as you approach the display.”

Several things jump out when observing OUR COMMON HOME: The concept is fascinating, but actual execution was buggy upon testing. The installation in a way reflects the current landscape of the NFT world, where it’s still a bit up in the air. Although there is room for boundless expression and the mixing of the physical and digital worlds, the kinks and the understanding of its processes still need heavy tuning.

Other notable artworks include an 8-foot Portal Icosahedron sculpture by Anthony James, a fused glass artwork by James Jean, along with a sculpture by Carole A. Feuerman that looked so real, people thought it was an actual person.

As one of the largest international art fairs in the U.S., the event is an exciting space to view a number of similar artists and galleries as the ones mentioned above. LAAS is open to the public until January 23. Tickets cost $30 USD for general admission, with 15% of proceeds benefitting St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

Elsewhere in art, Porsche brings the Art of Cyril Lancelin to Singapore Art Week.

LA Art Show
South Hall
1201 S Figueroa St,
Los Angeles, CA 90015

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