On consecutive weekends in January, Butterfield and Butterfield in West Hollywood will host two art fairs which, due to their proximity on the calendar and their related focus, should be considered two parts of a single viewing experience. First arrives the Art on Paper Fair, L.A. '97, running from January 10-12; the following week features Photo L.A. VI, which will go from January 16-19.

Whether the return of massive gathering of 150 or more galleries under one roof is likely or even desirable, we are now in an era of the scaled down art fair that maintains a particular focal point. Still, it is hard to imagine a more satisfying arrangement than what we have here: some seventy galleries and dealers who place major or exclusive emphasis on works on paper and photography. Given national line-ups (one German specialist in Japanese prints is the sole international participant) that promise very strong quality, this is a serious package of events that should not be missed if you have the slightest interest in fine art.

Marc Riboud, ©
"Eiffel Tower Painter"

Having gotten that ringing endorsement out of the way, it is of more than passing interest to note that neither fair is organized by corporate-type fair specialists, but by a pair of long-standing local dealers, Stephen Cohen (who founded Photo L.A. and has operated it ever since) of Stephen Cohen Gallery, and Marilyn Pink (who took the Art on Paper Fair over from Caskey Lees this year) of Marilyn Pink Master Prints and Drawings Fine Arts. Both know their fields, and therefore appeal to and attract only truly qualified colleagues; and both run no-nonsense operations that are stripped down and efficient. Flash is not especially the forté of either, but the art is, and it is the art that is delivered here.

As is typical, both events open with an evening preview. Art on Paper's is Friday the 10th from 5:30-9pm, admission $15. Photo L.A. makes theirs an AIDS benefit on Thursday the 16th, 6-9pm, tickets costing $35. The evening before at 7pm, Photo L.A.'s honored guest, Marc Riboud, best known for his lengthy photographic documentation of Mao's China, will deliver a lecture at Los Angeles County Museum of Art (Riboud will also be the subject of an exhibition at the Cohen Gallery). Reservations are limited--call (213) 857-6071 for information. A daily Collecting Seminar (Friday at noon, Saturday and Sunday at 10am) is limited to 35 participants per Seminar. The $45 cost of each includes a three-day pass to the fair. The Friday Seminar will be lead by Sotheby's Director of Photographs Denise Bethel; Saturday's talk and show tour will be conducted by John Bennette II, a will known New York collector; and Beth Gates Warren will draw on her twenty years experience as the former Director of Photographs at Sotheby's. Regular admission is $10 (or $15 for all three days).

Daily admission to Art on Paper is $7, but college students with ID will be admitted free of charge.

For further information to Art on Paper, call (310) 395-1465; for Photo L.A. call (213) 937-5525.