Photo Essays

LA’s First Spring/Break Art Show Had Plenty of Creative Spirit

The curator-centric fair gave space for artists to pay tribute to Los Angeles in a spirit of DIY-fun.

Patrons walk in and out the Spring/Break Art Show’s stalls as night falls. (all photos by the author for Hyperallergic)

LOS ANGELES — Braving overcast skies, countless art admirers ventured to Spring/Break’s first-ever art show in Los Angeles this past weekend. Running ahead of its annual New York show in March and coinciding with Frieze Los Angeles, the Spring/Break Art Show found a home in the forest-green former produce stalls at Skylight Row in downtown Los Angeles. In New York, the fair has also set up shop in other unorthodox venues like a train station located within a historic post office and the former Condé Nast offices in Times Square. The show’s theme this year centered on how we construct fact and fiction and sometimes blend the two into an unrecognizable whole.

A signed photo of Justin Bieber in Richard Prince’s “All the More Best”

Although art fairs say they are trying to make spaces more equitable for emerging artists — Frieze New York lowered its booth prices last year for newer sections — Spring/Break truly leveled the playing field by offering free exhibition space and, according to their press release, keeping “overhead costs […] low” for more than 40 exhibitors, including both nationally recognized artists and up-and-coming creatives. (Causing some confusion was a Richard Prince impersonator, who gamely signed autographs of Barack Obama and other celebrities for “fans.”)

Some LA-based galleries that made a splash at the fair included E.C. LINÁ, whose artists grappled with everything from race to wildfires to Tide pods. Other local groups like Outback Arthouse tackled the double-edged sword of social media and the selfie.

Artist Kristin Hough poses in front of “It’s A Honey of A Deal!” and “Smile! Somebody Loves You” for the “Gone Sunday” exhibit, curated by Outback Arthouse

No show like this could be complete without an indictment of the two-faced nature of religion, class, and politics. Blase, a French artist, filled this role by repurposing old portraits of aristocrats with a sardonic twist, adorning them with beauty queen sashes and MAGA hats and exposing sex abuses in the Catholic Church.

A selection of works by French artist Blase in his exhibit From Paris, with Love, curated by Julien Dobbs-Higginson

And of course, artists paid homage to the physical landscape of Los Angeles and greater Southern California. One exhibit hosted by Greg Haberny educated patrons about the town of Bombay Beach on the Salton Sea and the Hermitage Museum through cardboard-based “pocket drawings” hung over a floor covered with crayons that crunched underneath visitors’ feet.

A visitor participates in the VR experience “Landgrab the Musical in Virtual Reality” by Filip Kostic, curated by Hunter Shaw Fine Art

Reflecting the gamification of the art world, a few exhibits merged virtual reality techniques with art installations. A notable one was Filip Kostic’s installation in which a player outfitted with VR goggles stepped onto a stage that transformed into a scene from the Wild West. Others, like art collective Fall on Your Sword, took a step back in time to bring viewers an authentic drive-in movie experience as they sat in a 1972 Volkswagen Beetle with heavily vibrating car seats while watching movie clips of amorous teens in cars.

Multimedia installation “Private Drive-In” by art collective Fall on Your Sword

Stick around below to check out some of the more notable works from the fair. You can also find a full list of the Spring/Break LA artists and check out their work here.

Patrons walk by a signed photo of Kanye West in Richard Prince’s “All the More Best,” curated by Ché Morales + Andrew Cole
An audience observes “Inverso Mudus”, a three-channel moving image with audio by AES + F, part of TRANSFER’s curated video series “TRANSFER DOWNLOAD LA.”
An acrylic rendering of a wildfire in Samantha Fields’s “Containment #1,” curated by E.C LINÁ (Eva Chimento + Kim Light)
Artist and curator Maripol poses in front of works like “Little Red Riding Hood” and “Lover.”
A woman sits in front of Liv Aanrud’s “Scorched and Scorned” (back) and Nicolas Shake’s “Green Box” and “SPR: 215/35ZR17 and Ave 50. Palm” (right), curated by Arvia.
Front: A section of Bombay Beach CA/Greg Haberny’s collection “The Pocket Drawings,” back: Kellesimone Waits’ painting “Death Rattle,” curated by Sara Driver
Artist and curator Jo Shane stands in front of “Canang Sari” from “Reimagining Paradise History and Healing.”
Patrons look at Ricardo Cisneros’ “Podstacle” from “History is the Fiction” exhibition, curated by E.C LINÁ (Eva Chimento + Kim Light)
Julian Tan’s “Trex, cusi got punched, more followers please, kiddie pool, St. Paul, Love” for “Gone Sunday” exhibit, curated by Outback Arthouse
Sarah Bereza’s sculpture “The Approach” as part of the exhibit “beast of formation”
Chandler McWilliams’s “The Light and the Lightest,” (top) Rebecca Bruno, “Interior Articulation” (center) and Shagha Ariannia’s “Book of Beast (Feeling the Monsters)”(right), curated by Tin Flats
Nicole Nadeau’s sculpture “a flower by another name”

The Spring/Break Art Show was held at the Stalls at Skylight ROW DLTA  (1925 East 8th Street, Los Angeles) on February 15–17. Check out our Frieze Los Angeles Week coverage here

comments (0)