This week, the art world was focused on Art Basel in Miami, but Matthew Marks has his sights set on another sunny clime. In about a year, his Manhattan blue chip gallery, which currently has three locations in Chelsea, will open an outpost in West Hollywood on North Orange Grove Avenue, right off Santa Monica Boulevard in a building that's being torn down.
The gallery represents art stars featured in the MOCA's new 30th anniversary installation, including Nan Goldin, Charles Ray, Ellsworth Kelly, and Brice Marden. That exhibition opened with tremendous fanfare on Nov. 15, complete with appearances by Brangelina and a performance by Lady Gaga on a Damien Hirst-customized piano.
In late Oct., Marks, who also represents Jasper Johns, the German sculptor Katharina Fritsch and the Swiss team Peter Fischli and David Weiss, told the New York Times:
"It's surprising that the majority of my artists, especially the European ones, have not shown on the West Coast."
Deborah Schoeneman interviews Sabrina Buell, the West Coast Director of the Matthew Marks Gallery, who is overseeing the project, about the foray into LA
Who is designing it? How big will it be?
Peter Zellner, who is a young Los Angeles-based architect. There will be a 3,000 square foot gallery on the first floor with a rooftop sculpture garden.
Why LA, why now?
Many of the artists we represent like Katharina Fritsch, Robert Gober, Jasper Johns, Ellsworth Kelly and Brice Marden either haven't shown in Los Angeles or haven't shown in Los Angeles in a very long time. In terms of the timing, Matthew always has a feeling about these things -- it's instinct.
What do you think about LA's art scene?
The art schools in Los Angeles feed the scene in an exciting way. There is a dialog between the teachers, young and established artists and curators. Great art has room to develop in the wide-open spaces that the city offers and it makes its way into the world a lot like the music and films made there.
Which artists do you represent who live in LA?
We represent six artists that live on the West Coast: Robert Adams, Vincent Fecteau, Roy McMakin, Ken Price, Charles Ray, and Paul Sietsema.
How often will Matthew Marks be at the LA gallery?
Matthew just bought a house in the Hollywood Hills so I think he will be out West quite often.
Will you be looking for more LA artists to represent? What do you look for in an artist when you are deciding if you want to represent him or her?
Again, it's a decision based on instinct. Matthew's belief is that one has to change in order to stay the same. I am always looking at new artists and Matthew is quite open to discussing potential new artists for the program.