LA Culture Guide | Beverly Hills' 10 Art Galleries You Should Visit
Beverly Hills boasts some of the most renowned galleries of the American West. In the shadow of giants like the Gagosian and Ace Galleries are a handful of equally prestigious art spaces that would satiate even the most avid collectors. Count in the well-respected institutions affiliated with the neighboring University of California Los Angeles campus and one finds an art scene which is both mature and vibrant, established and innovative.
The legendary Gagosian first opened its doors in Los Angeles way back in 1979, before relocating to New York in 1985. Gagosian then launched a new location in Beverly Hills designed by the architect Richard Meier in 1995. The gallery’s owner and director Larry Gagosian has left a mark on the contemporary art world with numerous exhibitions highlighting the most acclaimed artists of the New York School, pop art and abstract expressionism, and has fostered a legacy as one of the biggest names in the art market. The Beverly Hills Gagosian has notably mounted exhibitions by Frank Gehry, Jeff Koons, Richard Prince and Edward Ruscha, and more recently by artists such as William Eggleston and Richard Avedon. There is no doubt that the Gagosian sets the pace for Beverly Hills’ art scene and that of the world over.
Under the directorship of Douglas Christmas, the Ace Gallery has been hailed as the oldest contemporary art gallery on the West coast. Similarly setting the bar as the largest commercial gallery space in the American West with 30,000 square feet of exhibition space, Ace Gallery holds as much as a place in art space history as it does on the contemporary scene. Beginning with exhibitions of Warhol, Rauschenberg, Lichtenstein, Nauman and Serra in the 1960s, Christmas continues his expert programme with large-scale works by artists such as Bernar Venet and Jannis Kounellis. Boasting offices and galleries in Mexico City, Beijing, Berlin and Paris, Christmas is also credited with the construction of the gallery space as a ‘white cube.’
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After a decade and a half of experience of directing galleries in New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles, Timothy Yarger established his eponymous gallery in 1997. Alongside a strong repertoire in 19th and 20th century movements and artworks, Timothy Yarger exhibits an array of established contemporary artists such as Jeff Quinn, Louise Nevelson and Curtis Phillips. Timothy Yarger also participates in numerous international art fairs, from the Venice Biennale to Art Chicago and SCOPE Basel and Miami.
A relative newcomer to the Beverly Hills gallery scene, Garboushian Gallery boasts an eclectic array of painting and sculpture drawn together by the common themes of abstraction and geometry. Gallery owner Herair Garboushian has a particularly strong relationship with John Seery, an eminent artist of the 1970s who is considered an exemplar of Lyrical Abstraction. Other exhibitions featuring artists like Burnsoo Song and Melvin Edwards echo Garboushian’s core commitment to a carefully measured abstraction across media, bridging painting and sculpture. Garboushian Gallery comprises an intimate catalogue of one collector’s refined yet emotionally informed taste in contemporary art.
Clarissa Tossin. Brasília, Cars, Pools & Other Modernities, 2009–13 (detail). Made in L.A. 2014. Installation view at the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles. June 15-September 7, 2014. | Photo by Brian Forrest
Based at the University of California Los Angeles, the Armand Hammer Museum expertly fills the role of a community art space often neglected by the elite exhibition spaces of Beverly Hills. Located a stone’s throw from the gleaming pavement of Beverly Hills in neighbouring Westwood, the Hammer Museum offers a refreshing alternative to the commercial, instead engaging the intellectual and political inclinations of the community. Borne out of an unusual twist of circumstance, whereby the museum’s patron passed suddenly weeks after its opening in 1990, the Hammer Museum has since been administered by and in close collaboration with the university. Focusing primarily on emerging artists, the Hammer Museum’s signature event since 2012 has been the Made in L.A. Biennial which features emerging artists from the Los Angeles area.
Operating in its current location since 2000 yet a fixture of the contemporary American and European art market since 1978, Jonathan Novak Contemporary Art specialises in pop art, abstract expressionism, photorealism, Minimalism and Color Field. With an eye for the aesthetically captivating, Jonathan Novak’s visually arresting collection is well worth the effort of arranging an appointment to visit the gallery. One of Jonathan Novak’s recent exhibitions titled Photorealism: the Everyday Illuminated is a striking analogy for Beverly Hills itself: glossy, vibrant and perhaps a little too perfect to be real.
Marc Selwyn Fine Art Gallery opened the doors to its new location on Santa Monica Boulevard in February of 2014 in a former auto garage that has been transformed into a meticulous brick gallery space. Marc Selwyn brings a decade of experience of collecting and exhibition to this up-and-coming section of Beverly Hills, maintaining a prudent distance from the gallery giants of the Golden Triangle. The gallery represents contemporary artists like Lee Mullican, Mimi Lauter, Barry Le Va and Mel Bouchner, as well as the secondary market for pieces by Sol LeWitt, Richard Serra and others.
Yet another gallery strong in post-war, abstract expressionist and contemporary works, Karl Hutter is a small yet significant addition to the Beverly Hills artscape. Having exhibited works by Francis Alys, Adolf Fleischmann, Bruce Conner and Andy Warhol while emphasising a historical approach, Karl Hutter has also displayed the likes of Brian Wills, Dennis Koch, Chris Thorson, Miwa Ogasawara and Jedd Novatt. Karl Hutter stands as a testament to the monumental quality of the galleries of Beverly Hills, offering a reminder that even those smaller carry their own weight and more.
Formerly based in Paris, French dealer and collector Denis Bloch specialises in modern and contemporary original prints and drawings, as well as sculptures and vintage posters. Well equipped with works of the masters of the 20th century, Denis Bloch boasts a collection of some of the more recent giants, from Damien Hirst and Jeff Koons to Keith Harring and David LaChapelle.
While Beverly Hills offers no shortage of the most valuable and acclaimed artists and artworks of the contemporary scene, the UCLA New Wight Gallery offers a refreshing breath of youth in an otherwise mature artistic landscape. With frequently changing exhibitions to match the vibrant output of UCLA’s department of art, the New Wight Gallery proves that talent can be found in the Beverly Hills area well outside the heavily financed white cube. The gallery presents the work of undergraduates in addition to MFA students from UCLA and other California schools while maintaining a professional exhibition space easily on par with established galleries.