The Art, Collectibles and Design at London and Los Angeles Art Fairs

From by Todd Jatras
The Art, Collectibles and Design at London and Los Angeles Art Fairs

The London Art Fair (January 20-24) took place this past weekend and visitors were greeted at the entrance with Infiniti’s QX30 art car by British wire sculptor Rachel Ducker. The compact, luxury hatchback was covered with 48,000 copper tacks that took more than 130 hours to apply. The effect is certainly radiant, but tacks or no tacks, the standard version of the auto—with a 2.0-liter, four-cylinder turbocharged engine, producing 208 horsepower and connected to a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission—looks sharp but won’t actually cut you when you try to wax your new ride. ​

Ekaterina Anokhina, 25 Weeks of Winter Photo Credit: Ekaterina Anokhina

Elsewhere at the art fair, Photo50 (the annual guest-curated contemporary photo section) was a stirring exhibition titled Feminine Masculine: On the Struggle and Fascination of Dealing with the Other Sex. It was inspired by Jean-Luc Godard’s 1966 film Masculin Féminin, which delved deeply into the mystery and dynamics of gender relations. The British Journal of Photography has a terrific preview of the exhibit here.

lord byronPhoto Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Also on display in London was an item purported to be Lord Byron’s glass “bong,” which he used to smoke opium in the early 1800s. London’s Pertwee Andersen & Gold Gallery claimed the smoking device had already sold for $1.5 million, a hefty price for a piece of glass. But it turned out to be another hoax perpetuated by the Conner Brothers, the nom de guerre of a couple of London art dealers who have pranked the art world on several previous occasions. According to Independent, London Art Fair director Sarah Monk had this to say about the bogus bong, “Playful works will always have a place in the art world, and this was no exception.” 

Check out our London City Guide for more local coverage. 

Stephen Webster JewelersPhoto Credit: Stephen Webster Jewelers

Tracy Emin, one of the original Young British Artists (think Damien Hurst and Chris Ofili) who was once thought of as the ‘enfant terrible’ of that art scene, has collaborated with fine jeweler Stephen Webster to offer a wearable, fine-art jewelry collection based on her trademark neon text pieces and animal sketches. Set in 18K gold with white diamond lettering, the I Promise to Love You collection is extensive and includes necklaces, bracelets, earrings, rings, cuffs, charms and pendants. Just in time for Valentine’s Day, the collection is available for pre-order from Stephen Webster Jewelers in London. The Kiss necklace is priced at $2,000 and More Passion cuffs go for $6,000. 

Art Los Angeles Contemporary Photo Credit: Rachel Murray/Getty Images

Now in its seventh year, Art Los Angeles Contemporary (January 28-31; the Barker Hanger at Santa Monica Airport), has quickly become the west coast’s most important art fair. With more than 60 galleries from all over the globe exhibiting, and a full selection of artist’s talks, discussions and performances, there’s a lot to do and see. 

Diana ThaterPhoto Credit: Fredrik Nilsen/LACMA

Also in Los Angeles, Diana Thater’s huge career retrospective at the L.A. County Museum of Art continues through February 21. The Sympathetic Imagination is the largest solo exhibit of a female artist ever held at LACMA and is well worth the visit. Thater deconstructs and reassembles nature with videos that operate well outside of the medium’s usual format.

Check out our Los Angeles City Guide for more local coverage. 

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