Del Vaz Projects
West of Los Angeles, between Santa Monica and Brentwood, is Del Vaz Projects. This space, like its founder Jay Ezra Nayssan, son of exiled Iranians and a native Angeleno, is hard to classify. Half way between an artist’s salon with an aristocrat edge and a generous project space, Del Vaz Projects takes its name from a Persian expression meaning “open-handed and open-hearted.” An expression well-suited to the man who decided one day to open the doors of his own minimalist apartment to host cool exhibitions, pointedly defying the constraints of a living place. There, we discovered works by Angeleno artists such as Liz Craft, Max Hooper Schneider and Rachelle Sawatsky before they got represented abroad, and solo shoes by international artists like the Argentine Nahuel Vecino and Turk Derya Akay. The multidisciplinary line taken by Del Vaz Projects is also re ected in dance performances, lm screenings and even regular ower workshops. But it’s the design and applied arts that really give this space its own identity, particularly with the emblematic exhibition of New York artists Jessi Reaves and Sophie Stone in 2016, which showed sculptures inspired by furniture and rugs. At the start of this year Nayssan, in collaboration with the M+B, ANNEX gallery, opened a showroom devoted the objects of these artists. At Paris’s Avant-Première, Del Vaz Projects is presenting a solo show of Los Angeles photographer Paul Mpagi Sepuya, in P.R. agency David Giroire’s space in the Jardin du Palais-Royal.
Founded in early 2016 by the Franco-Japanese artist Naoki Sutter-Shudo and the Canadian-Finnish art critic Sabrina Tarasoff, former co-directors of the Shanaynay space in the 20th arrondissement in Paris, Bel Ami is an artist-run space located in the historic commercial district of Chinatown, L.A. A hotspot for the Los Angeles art world in the 2010s, the neighbourhood was home to the rst spaces owned by David Kordansky and François Ghebaly, before they moved onto Culver City and then to Downtown. Taking its name from a French novel by Maupassant, yet nestled between a Chinese beauty salon and a ravioli restaurant, Bel Ami seduces with its paradoxes, offers an edgy artistic programme, and willingly mixes styles and generations in elegant exhibitions accompanied by poetic or absurd texts. So far, the space has presented work by the neo-pop New York artist and member of the 1980s pictures generation, Walter Robinson, emerging artists on the L.A. scene such as Benjamin Reiss, and young French artists like Louise Sartor. Bel Ami projects include group shows featuring the Los Angeles artist Orion Martin and solo shows of the young German Miriam Laura Leonardi and Parisian artist Julien Monnerie. They’ll be presenting work by the latter at the Paris Avant-Première (in an as-yet undisclosed location) – an ensemble of his Formes, abstract sculptures in wood made in collaboration with the hat-block maker Lorenzo Re, who worked with Christian Dior haute couture at the time of John Galliano.
Tapping into the European craze for Los Angeles, rst noted in 2014 with the opening of galleries and art spaces like Freedman Fitzpatrick and Fahrenheit, the Zürich gallery Karma International, founded in 2008 by Karolina Dankow and Marina Olsen, opened a space in L.A. in 2015. It’s been drawing the crowds in ever since thanks to its programme that’s both international and yet anchored in the work of local artists, a clever and essential balance in a world city with paradoxically provincial instincts. Installed in a 1920s building, anked by a sublime garden of cacti and palm trees – which they often use for performances, concerts and lectures – the Karma International gallery has the advantage of being in the heart of one of the most fashionable neighbourhoods right now: West Adams, in Mid-City. This predominantly black, rather disadvantaged part of town has seen The Underground Museum, devoted to Afro-American culture and art, open here in 2012, then came the very edgy collective of designers Eckhaus Latta, as well other young galleries. Karma International, with its impeccable artistic programme, can boast having been the rst to show Swiss artist Sylvie Fleury, Norwegian Ida Ekblad, and Martine Syms, who lives in Los Angeles. As well as lots of young female artists nourished by the Californian scene, but also more established gures like the Swiss Xanti Schawinsky, member of the Bauhaus, and the Lebanese sculptor Simone Fattal. In the context of Paris Avant- Première, Karma International is showing, in collaboration with New York gallery Gavin Brown’s Enterprise, a collective exhibition featuring the young Flannery Silva – who lives in Los Angeles – the New Yorker K8 Hardy, and artist and DJ DeSe Escobar – who originally hails from Los Angeles, but now resides in New York. This exhibition will take place in the VIVA Projects private apartment, just a few steps from the Grand Palais.
Preview from October 12, Paris.