Posted on in Editorial by Josh

Los Angeles has long been the main attraction for the art world in California, but as San Francisco and Silicon Valley pick up steam, LA must share the spotlight. Let’s look at major institutions, initiatives, and events that are cultivating the arts across California.

Art Los Angeles Contemporary (ALAC) took place earlier this year, deemed THE west coast Art Basel by the Huffington Post. Art Advisor, Veronica Fernandez says, “ALAC has played a large role in both the why and how Los Angeles came to be viewed as ‘the new art world capital.’”

The LA art fair continues to quietly impress. Entering its eighth edition in 2017, Art Los Angeles Contemporary returned to the Barker Hangar in Santa Monica from January 26–29. ALAC included just 60 local and international exhibitors, reflecting the fair's “less is more” approach. Although smaller than Art Basel and Frieze, ALAC was impressively curated and offered something quite unique, easy navigation. 

In the last two years, more than 24 galleries have moved into the warehouses and decommissioned factories in downtown Los Angeles on either side of the desiccated Los Angeles River, including the Arts District and neighboring Boyle Heights, offering a new party destination for the city’s thriving art scene, says the NYTimes.

The 14th Factory takes the common practice of updating a downtown LA warehouse into a gallery to another level. Simon Birch quietly opened a 3-acre space in Lincoln Heights that is filled with micro-exhibitions. One room is an exact replica of the room in Stanley Kubrick’s Oscar-winning film 2001: A Space Odyssey and is blowing up Instagram.



Science fiction made reality is a running theme throughout California. The art and tech industries prop each other up, creative artists’ dreams are made possible by new technology and tech all-stars are inspired by creative minds. Several institutions are harboring this free flow between the two industries.

Pace Art + Technology was established in 2015 by Pace President Marc Glimcher, as the gallery’s new program dedicated to showcasing interdisciplinary art groups, collectives and studios whose works explore the confluence of art and technology. The initiative is the expansion of Pace’s longstanding commitment to artistic approaches that highlight and emphasize technological and digital methods. Pace Art + Technology launched in 2016 with exhibitions at Pace Menlo Park in California. 

LACMA Art + Technology Lab was inspired by the spirit of LACMA's original Art and Technology program (1967-1971), which paired artists with technology companies in Southern California. The Art + Technology Lab at LACMA supports artist experiments with emerging technology. Through LACMA’s sponsors, the Lab provides grants, in-kind support, and facilities at the museum to develop new artist projects.

Christie’s finally set up shop in Beverly Hills earlier this April to support the growing LA market. The auction house displayed nearly half a billion dollars in art and other objects for the opening of its new Beverly Hills offices. LA Managing Director says “this is Christie’s moment to shine in LA.” The new two-story, 5,400 square foot flagship building has been completely renovated. For the design and construction of this unique space, Christie’s engaged wHY, the interdisciplinary design team known for its work on the Marciano Art Foundation, CalArts, and Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and Swinerton Builders. The gallery has a grand yet flexible layout for hosting exhibitions, social events, and educational programs.



In San Francisco the long awaited art insitute at Fort Mason Center for Arts & Culture is on target to open this fall. The new campus at FMCAC will replace San Francisco Institute of Art’s existing studios and facilities in the Dogpatch neighborhood. The project is supported by Making History: The Campaign for San Francisco Art Institute. The 67,000 sq-ft campus is brought to life by Leddy Maytum Stacy Architects and will bring in artists from around the world.

SFMOMA recently concluded a three-year, $305 million dollar redesign. The supercharged space by some measures is the largest museum of modern art in the United States. A treasure for the Bay Area and the nation, the SFMOMA renovation has rejuvenated the local gallery scene.



Collectors discovered and acquired new art while exploring art trends developing around the globe at the 7th annual Art Market San Francisco. The Bay Area's leading contemporary and modern art fair took place April 27-30 at Fort Mason with 65 innovative and established galleries from around the world. Arthena is a proud partner of Art Market San Francisco, e-mail for information about upcoming events. 

Art Silicon Valley San Francisco Fair will return to San Mateo on October 5-9, 2017, bringing together collectors from all over the West Coast in search of unique contemporary artworks. Close by is the Standard Art Gallery, which rotates works from an immense permanent collection as well as student works. The space is only down the road from the heart of Palo Alto, where techies congregate to transform technology. Influence from the later is vivid in the technology-fueled student artworks that are proudly exhibited in the Standard Gallery. Technology is penetrating all parts of the art world, but California is shaping up as the nexus of the two.