LA Art Show Returns With NFTs and Global Contemporary Art

Liz Catalano
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After several delays and complications due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the LA Art Show will return in the summer of 2021. The three-day event marks the fair’s 26th anniversary. The organizers aim to rekindle the art market in Los Angeles following a difficult year of lockdowns and cancellations.

“Now more than ever, we need a physical art fair in Los Angeles to bring the creative community back together,” LA Art Show producer and director ​Kassandra Voyagis said in a press release​. “2020 has been such a challenging year for everyone, and even though things won’t be how they were before, we can’t let 2021 go by without having an art fair in the city. Our community needs something to look forward to.”

The LA Art Show in 2019. Image courtesy of the LA Art Show.
The LA Art Show in 2019. Image courtesy of the LA Art Show.

About the LA Art Show 2021

Since its start in 1994, the LA Art Show has focused on supporting the local community and building a robust art market on the West Coast of the United States. This year, the fair will run from July 29th through August 1st, 2021 in the Los Angeles Convention Center’s West Hall. The 200,000 square-foot location will welcome more than 80 galleries from across the United States, South America, Europe, and Asia. As in years past, 15% of ticket sale proceeds will support the work of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. 

The LA Art Show will also be available on Artsy, where collectors can view and purchase the exhibited art online. Attendees can explore a preview on Artsy from July 26th through July 28th, followed by an extended online run from August 2nd through August 8th. 

Previously, the LA Art Show was scheduled for February of 2021 to coincide with Frieze LA. Frieze’s cancellation and the continued safety concern of hosting live events during the pandemic prompted the five-month delay. Safety remains a concern for the show’s organizers. Galleries will be further apart than usual, and all attendees must comply with CDC and Los Angeles County safety guidelines during the socially-distanced event.

Félicie d'Estienne d'Orves, Cosmographies: Pleiades, Sirius, Sagittarius A*, 2019. Image from The Spaceless Gallery / the LA Art Show.
Félicie d’Estienne d’Orves, Cosmographies: Pleiades, Sirius, Sagittarius A*, 2019. Image from The Spaceless Gallery / the LA Art Show.

Featured Exhibitions

This year’s LA Art Show will feature contemporary art exhibitions from around the world. Among them is “Where the Streets Have No Name,” presented by New Delhi-based gallery Arushi Arts. Pieces by street artists Riya Chandiramani, Sellout, Jenna Helfman, Marty Thornton, Roger James, and George Weait will appear side by side. 

The Spaceless Gallery will showcase the work of visual artist Félicie d’Estienne d’Orves. She tends to mix science with installation art to explore themes of vision, time, and light. “Liminal: Martian Sun” will be on view at the LA Art Show. The collection takes in the artist’s full oeuvre of land and performance art. Other featured exhibitions include Lee Lee Nam’s “ Imagined Borders,” presented by Simyo Gallery, and Paik Gannomi’s “Abstract in Nature,” presented by JJ Art, Inc.

Carmen Argote, photo from Last Light, part of Immersive Distancing. Image from the LA Art Show.
Carmen Argote, photo from Last Light, part of Immersive Distancing. Image from the LA Art Show.

2021 Edition of DIVERSEartLA

Marisa Caichiolo curated this year’s edition of DIVERSEartLA, a yearly part of the fair dedicated to the cultural diversity of Los Angeles. The 2021 DIVERSEartLA show focuses on the contributions of women and non-binary artists working at the intersection of art, science, and technology. Participating institutions include the San Marcos Museum of Art from Lima, Peru, Museum La Neomudejar from Madrid, Spain, and the Art Museum of the Americas (AMA) from Washington, D.C.

The 2021 edition of DIVERSEartLA will present an interactive experience by Madrid-based artist Ana Marcos. Her installation, DATA | ergo sum | RELOADED, relies on artificial intelligence to extract and display information about visitors who walk by. Attendees can also view work from Carmen Argote and Zeynep Abes, two Los Angeles-based artists who produced their joint Immersive Distancing project during the COVID-19 pandemic. Argote’s Last Light series explores scale and measurement around Los Angeles at night. In Abes’ Memory Place, the Turkish artist contemplates her memories of Istanbul as both a location and an idea.

Marjan Moghaddam, Capital with Blue & Red Gan Painting, NFT. Image from Vellum LA / the LA Art Show.
Marjan Moghaddam, Capital with Blue & Red Gan Painting, NFT. Image from Vellum LA / the LA Art Show.

New in 2021: Digital Programming and NFTs

This year’s LA Art Show offers several new elements for its attendees. Extensive digital programming in the months leading up to the fair allowed the art world a preview of the exhibitions, including the DIVERSEartLA offerings. The digital events included talks with Building Bridges Art Exchange, UCLA Chicano Studies Research Center, the Museum of the University of San Marcos, Peru, and Museum La Neomudejar. Each digital program is now publicly available as a recording. 

The fair will also bring several new digital elements to its in-person programming. Performance artist Tiffany Trenda will present a live show via QR code. In-person fair attendees can interact with the artist through their cell phones, causing her performance to change and develop in real time. 

The LA Art Show is engaging with the rising NFT trend as well. Vellum LA, the first physical gallery in the city to specialize in NFTs, will partner with SuperRare to offer a digital art exhibition. Visitors can view and engage with Vellum LA’s Sea Change show, which will utilize StandardVision’s museum-grade digital art canvases. 

As the art world slowly returns to in-person events, Auction Daily is tracking their effect on the market. Check out our coverage of other art fairs that successfully ran in 2021’s second quarter

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James Ardis
James Ardis
Senior Writer and Editor

James Ardis is a writer, editor, and content strategist focused on the auction industry. His company, James Ardis Writing, has partnered with auction houses, galleries, and many clients outside the art world.

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