Support Hyperallergic’s independent arts journalism.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.