Paris Photo LA

Something for Everyone at Paris Photo LA

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An art fair on a movie studio lot? Why not. The premise of Paris Photo’s satellite edition is quintessentially SoCal. Where else but here in Los Angeles can visitors simultaneously roam around the streets of New York, bask in the endless blue sky and sunshine, line up for gourmet food trucks, and order a six-dollar nitrogen-cooled Stumptown coffee, all the while looking at an onslaught of pictures after pictures? Yup, only in LA.

Held once again in Paramount Pictures Studio, this year’s Paris Photo LA is fun (yes, F-U-N). It offers something for everyone. The red carpet treatment welcomes VIP. Mingling with Hollywood celebrities are not guaranteed but that does not stop hopeful fair goers from constantly scanning their peripheral vision for a potential star-sighting. A handful of publishers make many the gorgeously printed photo books available for the mass. One exhibitor is even selling vintage softcore porn prints at a bargain price. And yes, there are the galleries, too.

Out of the 79 galleries exhibiting this year, I am quite thrilled at the prospect of Los Angeles-based ops bringing interesting, worthwhile artists and their images to the table. Ahem. I mean, the wall. Today is the last day of the fair. If you are driving out there, these installations by five LA galleries are worth your time and gas money.

Little Big Man Gallery is presenting a comparative survey juxtaposing two Japanese photographers. Iconic Nobuyoshi Araki (notorious for his series of Japanese bondage called “shibari”) and young Motoyuki Daifu together create a smorgasbord of candidly staged and documented Japanese cultural ethos. I feel voyeuristic and naughty, but also very real and very human.

Gusford Los Angeles is showing Moroccan-born Hassan Hajjaj. Portrayed with vibrantly bold, poppingly saturated hues and dazzlingly blazing dizzying patterns, Hajjaj’s subjects are turned into extravagant, gaudy superstars. Framed with actual objects such as gum packets and canned foods, these anonymous celebs are shrined in a strange and homey altar. I shall worship them.

Among their 3-person installation by Luis De Jesus Los Angeles, Kate Bonner shines. Schemed mainly with monochromatic colors, the artist playfully destroys a picture and frame. Torn and cut parts are reconstructed to form curiously darling wall objects. I like these.

Represented by Wilding Cran Gallery, Bill Anderson’s horizontal city/suburban/nature-scapes quietly challenge the viewer’s perception. Alternating geometric patterns and abstracted motifs function as analog filters, changing the viewing experience. At first, these design elements smell like digitally manipulated artifacts laced with photographed scenes. But no, they are simply found. Anderson presents a subtle yet potent, mediated visual possibility by brilliantly framing the ordinary environment. Talk about having a photographer’s eye.

Squares and grids that make up the presentation of Zoe Crosher by LAM Gallery appear to be a hybrid between nostalgic vintage instant Polaroids and a casually curated (yes, these days everything is “curated”) Instagram feed. Looking out of the window of various motels around LAX airport, each photo’s emotional impact is immediate and real. Anyone who has ever experienced a misfortune of being housed in these places understands. Collectively, the evocative capacity of the images is exponentially amplified.

There’s something for everyone. I’m pretty sure if you go, you’ll find your muse, even if that means taking selfies in fake SOHO.

Paris Photo LA concludes today (May 3, 2015). More information on their website. It’s a WORTH-YOUR-GETTING-STUCK-IN-TRAFFIC.

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