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January 19 - 22, 2006, photo la, Santa Monica
January 27 - 29, 2006, L.A. Fine Print Fair, West Hollywood
January 25 - 29, 2006, L.A. Art Show, Santa Monica
January 26 - 29, 2006, artLA, Santa Monica

by Bill Lasarow

photo la

L.A. Art Show

L.A. Fine Print Fair


The old “one stop shop” model of an art fair was scrapped around here over a decade ago in favor of more streamlined special interest fairs--much the way Detroit has scrapped SUVs in favor of high mileage vehicles. Uh oh, poor analogy!

It just may not quite be part of the American psyche to settle for compact scale. Take Art Week L.A., the new banner beneath which are gathered four disinct fairs: the L.A. Art Show, artLA, photo la, and the L.A. Fine Print Fair. Each hosts from about 30 to over 70 participating galleries (it all adds up to well over 200), for the most part American, though there will be a handful arriving from beyond our North American shores, as well as a few private dealers. Also look for a supplementary array of organizer sponsored exhibitions, lectures, and specialty seminars (check respective Fair announcements for offerings and cost beyond the basic ticket entry).

The third weekend of the month belongs exclusively to photo la, in its 15th year the most venerable of the lot. January’s final weekend brings the other three, all jostling for your attention based on what makes them each distinct from one another: photo la equals photography ranging from 19th Century vintage to up-to-the- moment contemporary. The L.A. Fine Print Fair does the same with prints, though covering a historical swath going back several centuries. Contemporary cutting edge art hølds sway at artLA, the baby of the group in only its second year. The Fine Art Dealers Association is the organizer of the L.A. Art Show and its mix of traditional and high end modern and contemporary dealers.

With an overall audience of more than 30,000 likely to attend one or more venue, by all means head to the Fair(s) of your choice for the sheer fun of checking out the high concentration of images, the energy of active buying and selling (the professional action isn’t always visible to the casual visitor, but it’s an important sidebar), the conversational give and take, and the ancient joy of people watching thrown in. It’s all more than worth the cost of admission. Speaking of which, maybe someone will explain why, if we’re calling this Art Week L.A. now, you can’t buy one discounted ticket for the whole thing?