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An Interview w/ Tim Fleming, Director of Art Los Angeles Contemporary

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Art Los Angeles Contemporary Team Up With Printed Matter’s, LA Art Book Fair
For A Grandiose Finale To A Fabulous Month Of Art In LA

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Tim: Our favorite art fair is happening at the same time as ours, The LA Art Book Fair.

Me: I fell in love with the LA Art Book Fair last year.

Tim: Printed Matter are the ones behind LA Art Book Fair, we’re really close with them and this will be their 2nd LA Art Book Fair at MOCA, that I think the weekend is about us (ALAC) and Printed Matter for sure.

Me: So they don’t have a presence at Art Los Angeles Contemporary this year ?

Tim: Printed Matter are the ones behind The LA Art Book Fair, so they won’t be able to be at ours with the amount of production they are busy putting together and I completely understand that. We've given their space to someone else, it’s sad but true. D.A.P will be with us, which we’re really happy about.
(D.A.P) stands for distributed art publishers.

Me: Oh good, so there’s a cross promotion between ALAC & LAABF which seems to be a perfect fit. Sort of an east meets west if you will. I've been going to ALAC for five years now and it means a lot to me to see the growth and positive response from the community. It seems like the fair’s choices year after year keep it fresh. How do you decipher on which panels, book signings, galleries will show… do you go by what is selling on the art market or peaks your interest personally?

Tim: Actually… both and neither. The events, I leave up to our talented program director, Spencer Douglass. He (Douglass) seeks out projects that might want to do something beyond the booth. It starts with the galleries applying, and then we develop our program element. Sometimes things fall out of the sky and timing helps. We start with a, not a theme per say, but like one year we did a lot of performance art. We liked incorporating performance work into the art fair. Then, we did a lot of music events, trying to integrate them. A more traditional, contemporary music programming, that same year we did a lot of literature. This year is is an eclectic mixture of all things, we are building a theater at the Barker itself. We used to have it across the street, for discussions, but really wanted to integrate the talks and special events better. No one knows this yet, but we now have access to a room that a tenant left and we’re converting that space into our theater which will be accessible near the entrance of the fair. So to get back to the original question... how we choose stuff… well it’s a good question. Spencer really does all of that, I lend a helping hand, for the most part it’s all him.

For instance, Dave Hickey has written a new book Pirates and Farmers and is the midst of promoting it so that was perfect timing to work with him. We brainstormed with some of the best curators in town Franklin Sirmons the director of the Biennale, Prospect 3 New Orleans and Michael Ned Holte, one of the curators from Made In LA, will be in conversation at the fair on Sunday afternoon, talking about what it means to put together a Biennale.

Biennale is Italian for "biennial" or "every other year" and can be used to describe any event that happens every two years. It is most commonly used within the art world to describe large-scale international contemporary art exhibitions.

We’re always thinking about art fairs and biennials, large scale events that draw lots of people in involving art work and the best way to be more than just another art fair, these two gentlemen (I’m sure) are trying to push the boundaries of being more than a biennial.

Me: I feel like this year you (ALAC) have a really good mixture of up and coming galleries, established galleries and those that have been a staple throughout the five years, every gallery has a very distinct and strong presence.

Tim: Yeah I’m really happy, the only gallery from LA that’s new to the fair is Tif Sigfrids who just opened the past year, so this is her first. Then there’s LA galleries like Marc Selwyn who didn't do the fair last year, so it’s good to have him back. Los Angeles is a great city for new galleries and they seem to be opening more and more each year and its good to be working with them, paving the way for what's new in Los Angeles.

Me: I feel like LA is becoming the destination of visual art world, especially with the explosion of Downtown LA. Do you think LA is the place to be for visual artists right now?

Tim: I think thats the question that seems to be very prevalent recently, in lieu of the economy being stronger and galleries reporting back saying that their marketplaces are certainly seeing improvement from the last two years, but I think Los Angeles has always been an amazing destination for art, if it’s THE destination, I don't know, I think it’s certainly an exciting moment. LA is always evolving. It goes quickly, people love to say that LA is about to have a moment. I feel like Los Angeles IS a moment. It’s always progressing and there's always so much activity here but is it specific to 2014? Maybe, but no more than other cities. It’s hard to answer that. It’s a great city to make artwork and a great place to find supportive galleries, certainly now with supportive fair’s for those galleries, great institutions that love working with artists but I think it has always been that way. If Art Los Angeles Contemporary can play a part in that, thats really great, we opened five years ago and the foundation was already in place, certainly with a group of collectors that have played a big part in fostering new collectors and breeding life into what’s happening now. LA has so much great work displayed all around the city and there's so much great content to invite people to witness, which can also be a challenging because, art in LA is inherently EVERYWHERE. Galleries are spread all over; Culver City, Hollywood, Venice, etc.. LA is an ebb and flow of art districts and now with Downtown as this wild frontier I wouldn't be surprised if their was a 20,000 sq ft great warehouse space opening soon.

“François Ghebaly, is leasing the 12,000-square-foot warehouse directly adjacent to Night Gallery's. Ghebaly is sharing the lease with four other tenants: Fahrenheit, a new exhibition space and residency program developed by FLAX (France Los Angeles Exchange) and Martha Kirszenbaum; Brian Kennon's 2nd Cannons artists' book publishing project; Dorothée Perret's DoPe Press, which publishes Paris, LA magazine as well as artists' books and editions; and Los Angeles Contemporary Archive (LACA), a media resource center developed by Human Resources co-founder Eric Kim with Hailey Loman. It is a dynamic mix of commercial and nonprofit enterprises, all sharing a commitment to supporting L.A.'s multifaceted art scene.” - Artbound

Me: How does ALAC work with non profit organizations?

Tim: Well of course, as I mentioned before, we are really close with Printed Matter, who put on the LA Art Book Fair for the 2nd year in a row. We are sort of co-partners and sponsors for each others fairs, committed to sending traffic back and forth from The Barker Hangar in Santa Monica to The Geffen Contemporary Moca collaborating on a great weekend of art events. We’re are also working with Arcadia this year who did a round of LA grants to artists this year and an exhibition of the grantees. The Rema Hort Mann Foundation, which has the LA Arts initiative where they give 8 “grantees” artist grants which are announced on site prior to our opening on Thursday night. The artist’s are from LA (there might be one or two from San Diego) they are out of school, might have had an exhibition, but still are unrepresented. We’re happy to play a role in giving them a platform to showcase their work and it’s been very rewarding. The grants are $10,000, the list of nominees (which last year I think was 70 or 80) are listed on the foundation’s website which is available for all galleries to look at. I'm very impressed that this organization came from NY and they launched it last year for the first time in LA, raising some significant funds from The Department of Cultural Affairs, the city of Los Angeles and really got a lot of support on a civic level which is just amazing. So it’s an honor to be working with them, it ties them to the city and were happy to have played a role in that.

For more information on Art Los Angeles Contemporary & to buy tickets visit http://artlosangelesfair.com
Located: The Barker Hangar 3021 Airport Avenue Santa Monica, CA 90405
Opening Night: Thursday, January 30, 7–9pm
Regular Fair Hours: Friday, January 31, 11am–7pm
Saturday, February 1, 11am–7pm
Sunday, February 2, 11am–6pm

Printed Matter's LA ART BOOK FAIR 2014 is free all weekend at The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA. For More information visit http://laartbookfair.net

Opening Night: Thursday, January 30, 2014, 6–9 pm Regular fair hours: January 31- February 2, 2014

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