Art Toronto shines its spotlight on LA artists

The Canadian modern and contemporary art fair celebrates the diversity of Los Angeles, featuring sculpture art and micro-cinema.


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Art Toronto lands this weekend, flooding the Metro Toronto Convention Centre with over 100 Canadian and international galleries and artists. Each year, this major modern and contemporary art fair features a different city or region, offering intimate and unique glimpses into that locality’s art, and with it, it’s way of life. This year’s theme, FOCUS: LOS ANGELES, collects some of the most creative minds to emerge from what has become one of North America’s most burgeoning art scenes.

 

Though, if you ask the group show’s independent curator, Santiago Fernetti, he’ll tell you that the beauty of the megalopolis’ flourishing artistic landscape is that it’s not defined by any one scene, but rather a multitude of them, each which allow its artists to become not a participant in any kind of sweeping cultural movement but an independent agent, forging their own.

Curator Santiago Vernetti

(Curator Santiago Vernetti)

 

“The city is too fertile in its possibilities for it to facilitate only one kind of art world or scene,” says the Argentina-born LA-based Vernetti. “One of the things I find is a kind of trend in LA for artists is that very possibility of constructing your own world, environment, or scene. A lot of contemporary artists in LA also have, to a certain extent, experimented with curatorial practices, have opened up micro-institutions, small art spaces, performance spaces, video screening nights, podcasts, magazines, publications.

 

When it came to gathering this diversity of perspectives and practices and translating them into a singular group showcase that fully represents the cultural landscape of the city, Vernetti’s curatorial approach leaned towards the messy and contradictory, rather than a tidy little summary of the city’s greatest aesthetic hits.

 

“There’s hints of that postcard version of LA that you might think of, but hopefully there’s a great deal of doodling and subversion on the back of the postcard to convince you that the reductive image is not what LA is about,” said Vernetti.

 

This eclectic collection includes virtual reality pieces from innovative new media artistics, a micro-cinema (a hat tip to LA’s silver screen heritage), a new interactive art bar by Adam Stamp, an indoor lounge filled with sculptures by Los Angeles artists, as well as the central exhibit “And the Sky is Grey,” featuring works by Christopher Coy, Karen Lofgren, Grant Levy-Lucero, Christopher Richmond, Nicolas Grenier, and Jake Longstreth.

 

On top of the gallery exhibits, there will also be a talk with Vernett, gallerist Luis de Jesus and artist Kim Schoen moderated by journalist Jori Finkel of the New York Times, as well as a comedy performance by art writer and comedian Christian Catherine Martinez.

 

Art Toronto runs from October 27 - 30 at Metro Toronto Convention Centre. For more information, visit arttoronto.ca.

 
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Jessica Wei is an associate editor for Post City. She has lived and worked as a journalist in Montreal, Hong Kong and, now, Toronto. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.

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