Hauser Wirth & Schimmel hits the Arts District

hauser-hanging.jpgPiece by Shinique Smith in the breezeway of the new Hauser Wirth & Schimmel gallery space. Photo by Iris Schneider. Previously at LA Observed: Shinique Smith visits Charles White Elementary on Wilshire Boulevard.

Sunday's public opening of the new Hauser Wirth & Schimmel gallery space in a complex of long-empty buildings on East 3rd Street has been the most anticipated arrival yet in the fast-changing downtown Arts District. Long before the weekend, there were media pieces examining what it means for the art world, for former MOCA curator Paul Schimmel and for the future evolution of the Arts District and its century-old buildings. On the day of the media preview last Thursday, the LA Times devoted most of the print Calendar section to art and architecture reviews by Christopher Knight and Christopher Hawthorne. The preview itself drew a couple of hundred visitors, and brought about a new cultural threshold for that section of the district, at least for LA Observed. For the first time, we had to pay to park in that neighborhood where 3rd Street crosses Traction Avenue near Wurstkuche, The Pie Hole and Sci-Arc.

The opening of an international gallery to exhibit and represent top-end artists is certainly a new turn for the Arts District. But even if you never plop down many thousands of dollars for a piece of art, Hauser Wirth & Schimmel and its gentrifying street figure to become a destination. The gallery sprawls over 116,000 square feet, takes in a former flour mill and a bank building, and includes an art book store, will open a restaurant this summer, and features a large open-air court yard hidden from the street that looks primed to become a welcoming place to meet friends or have coffee. The talk at last week's media preview was how the gallery will function for most of us like a free museum, offering exhibitions to take in even if you are not buying.

"It feels like a nice museum, which shouldn't be surprising, considering that Paul Schimmel was himself a renowned museum curator before he joined Hauser & Wirth's gallery empire as partner for the LA space," ArtNet posted. "At the press conference yesterday, he described it as 'the first art center in the Arts District,' adding that he hoped, via the endeavor, to 'expand the notion of what a gallery can be.'"

Jackie Winsor's "30 to 1 Bound Trees" in the courtyard, photo by Ben Davis/ArtNet.

Here are some photos by Iris Schneider, unless noted.

hauser-front-iris.jpgFront of new Hauser, Wirth and Schimmel gallery space on East 3rd Street in the Arts District.

hauser-wall-jg.jpgWall inside the gallery complex. Photo by Judy Graeme.

hauser-asawa-iris.jpgRuth Asawa's woven metal baskets.

hauser-cedar-domes-iris.jpgCedar Domes by Ursula Von Rydingsvard.

hauser-schwag-lao.jpgOrange swag bags added color to the press preview. LA Observed photo.

Some links:

  • Why does DTLA's huge new Hauser Wirth & Schimmel art complex underwhelm? It's a familiar story. LA Times/Christopher Hawthorne

  • Preserving Old Graffiti at a New L.A. Gallery New York Times Style Magazine

  • What Do You Put in the Largest Art Gallery in America? Bloomberg News

  • Hauser Wirth & Schimmel, literally the biggest art gallery opening in years KPCC Off-Ramp

  • 34 Revolutionary Women Artists Who Shaped Abstract Sculpture Inaugurate Hauser Wirth & Schimmel in Los Angeles Artsy

  • Art lovers turn out for opening of Swiss gallery's first L.A. outpost LA Times

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