Hauser Wirth & Schimmel open commercial art space in LA’s historic Arts District

When my Uber driver pulled up to 901 East 3rd Street in the Downtown Los Angeles Arts District on Sunday, March 13, I was nothing short of impressed by the scene I had suddenly found myself in the middle of. There were a slew of other cars trying their hands at weaving in and out of an influx of people crossing the street coming to and from the large white building resting on an entire city block on the corner of East 3rd Street.

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The bustle was all for the opening of the newest commercial gallery space, Hauser Wirth & Schimmel. This new Los Angeles location is the newest addition to the world-renowned collector/curator spaces of Hauser Wirth with home bases also in London, Zurich and New York City. There were people of all ages making their ways into the gigantic space to experience Revolution in the Making: Abstract Sculpture by Woman, 1947-2016.

Inside the venue one might find them at a loss of what to do first. Upon entry there is a fine bookstore, public breezeway with historical references about the building’s history as a wheat mill, a research area, education lab, planting garden, and restaurant. An outdoor courtyard area lured in spectators with the aroma of delicious food, which was handed out as complimentary dishes for all guests. The weather was idyllic for such an event and hoards of people enjoyed the communal outdoor sitting tables to feast and discuss the unique art on display in Hauser Wirth & Schimmel.

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Various grand rooms gave way for opportunity to see in-person works by some of the most influential artists in history. The first room I made my way through was the large show space, bright with natural light streaming through the grand atrium. I walked around the space observing a myriad of sculptural pieces set among the building’s historic and elegant columns. From room to room, gallery goers were able to experience large-scale sculptures, installations, paintings, works on paper, and beyond. Contrary to the typical gallery experience, Hauser Wirth & Schimmel offers more than just pieces on display with price tags attached, but rather they are more representative of the non-collecting art museum. Many of the pieces shown at Revolution in the Making, are on lone from other galleries.

Swiss Gallery juggernauts, Iwan and Manuela Wirth, alongside their partner, Paul Schimmel, formerly of the LA Museum of Contemporary Art, aim to have a space where art is commissioned, there are group shows, and education is at work. It makes for a more communal experience and is more engaging with the public. As opposed to other shows that don’t typically stay in one gallery for extended period of time, Revolution in the Making will make its home at Hauser Wirth & Schimmel until September 4, 2016; optimizing the amount of time the public can come and enjoy the art.

The building itself is over 100,000 square feet and each unit’s origins range from the 1890s until the 1940s. A personality of its own emergences from the mere presence of the building, paying homage to its integral roots in Los Angeles’ rich history. A symbol of wheat and ship’s wheel marks the original purpose of the space, and points back to the early days when it was amidst the manufacturing district of Downtown LA.

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It has been mentioned that the mere architecture of the space alone points to an optimism about LA that once radiated throughout the city during the industrial revolution that we don’t see as frequently in architecture of today. Perhaps the activity and life breathed into spaces such as Hauser Wirth & Schimmel will reignite that sort of enthusiasm in the public surrounding.

I found myself taken aback by the sheer number of artists involved in the show as well as the amount of pieces. There are over 100 pieces by over 34 artists being shown right now at the gallery, each with their own story and place in the advancement of women in art. Each room seems to transcend generations and penetrate to the core of the women’s movement during each era. There is a sense of community, learning and awareness surfaced when venturing from one room to the next. Among just some of the names of the post-war era artists shown are Ruth Asawa, Lee Bontecou, Louise Bourgeois, Claire Falkenstein, and Louise Nelson. Moving on to artists of the 1960s-70s are works from Magdalena Abakanowics, Lynda Benglis, Heidi Bucher, Gego, Francois Grossen, Eva Hesse, Sheila Hicks, Yayoi Kusama, Mira Schendel, Michelle Stuart, Hannah Wilke, and Jackie Windsor. Representing contemporary artists there were names such as Isa Genzken, Cristina Iglesias, Liz Larner, Anna Maria Maiolino, Marisa Merz, Senga Nengudi, Lygia Pape, and Ursula von Rydinsvard.

To describe the experience feels rather artificial, as one should go and witness the breadth of work and history present in a deeply historic and monumental space tucked into the framework of the Los Angeles art world.

Revolution in the Making: Abstract Sculpture by Woman, 1947-2016 will be on display at the Hauser Wirth & Schimmel Gallery located at 901 East 3rd Street in Downtown Los Angeles until September 3, 2016. Gallery hours are from 11am-6pm, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Sundays, and from 11am-8pm on Thursdays. For more information you can contact Andrea Schwan, of Andrea Schwan Inc., via e-mail at info@andreaschwan.com or telephone at 1 (917) 371-5023. To learn more about the history of Hauser Wirth and their other locations, you can visit http://www.hauserwirthschimmel.com.

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