LOS ANGELES — Los Angeles galleries are having their moment at this year’s Felix Art Fair. For its third iteration held at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, organizers decided to scale down and feature 29 galleries (compared to 40 and 60 in previous years) and most of them are local. 

After checking in, and showing proof of vaccine or a negative COVID test, masked attendees are able to weave in and out of poolside cabanas while hotel guests tan and swim. Placing art pieces on the walls and in crevices of hotel rooms, rather than typical white walls, makes for a much more interactive experience. Sculptures are placed in the shower, paintings hang above toilets, and even wooden closets become display boxes. 

At Charlie James Gallery, busts by John Ahearn hang on indoor and outdoor walls as if taking part in patrons’ conversations. Other works include paintings by Gabriella Sanchez and two cake sculptures by Patrick Martinez which honor slain Chicano journalist Ruben Salazar and abolitionist Frederick Douglass.

Patrick Martinez at Charlie James Gallery

A few hotel rooms over, Inglewood-based Residency Art Gallery highlights Black and Brown artists like the Perez Bros, Jonah Elijah, and Yvette Mayorga, among others, whose work explores migration, militarization, gender, labor, and race. 

Chris Sharp Gallery features a single artist: Los Angeles-based Indigenous artist Ishi Glinsky who makes sculptures of cartoon characters using resin inlay techniques common in Indigenous jewelry-making practices. The use of these popular figures is in conversation with “Zunitoons,” which are made by the members of the Zuni nation and sell mostly to tourists in the Southwest. 

One particular stand out is Gavlak Gallery featuring sculptures by Kim Dacres made of interwoven tire strips, and the Afro-futurist, glittering tapestries of April Bey. 

Like most art fairs, there’s an exclusive air about it, with tickets selling at an unfriendly $75. But if you get a chance to see it, you’ll get a window into the wide-ranging and effervescent Los Angeles art scene.

Sam Anderson at Tanya Leighton
Ishi Glinsky at Chris Sharp
April Bay and Kim Dacres at Gavlak Gallery
Lenz Geerk at Roberts Projects
Glen Wilson at Various Small Fires
Jonny Negron at Chateau Shatto
Sarah Ann Weber and Amanda Wall at Anat Ebgi Gallery
Greg Ito at Anat Ebgi Gallery
Ed Ruscha hangs above the bed art at Gagosian
Veronica Fernandez, The Perez Bros., Jonah Elijah, and Yvette Mayorga at Residency Art Gallery
John Ahearn at Charlie James Gallery
Fabian Guerrero at Residency Art Gallery

The Felix Art Fair continues at the Hollywood Roosevelt (7000 Hollywood Boulevard, Hollywood, Los Angeles) through Sunday, August 1.

Samanta Helou Hernandez is a multimedia journalist and photographer covering culture, identity, and social issues. She's published with Playboy, PRI "The World," and Curbed LA, among others. Her work...