As an emerging artist, you know you ought to be connecting with galleries. It can be an intimidating process reaching out into the unknown and offering up your precious innermost thoughts. There are so many what ifs that need to be conquered in order to even get yourself to pick up the phone. But beyond the usual anxiety that goes along with connecting with galleries for the first time is the simple task of finding them. Where are the places that up and coming artists should be aspiring to early on? Every city with a thriving art scene has them. Today, I’ve rounded up some of the best galleries for emerging artists in Los Angeles. These are places to get to know, not just as an artist who would like to have your work shown but also as a member of the art community. A few of these establishments are quite the rainmakers when it comes to bringing in high rollers in the Los Angeles scene.
Located in the Koreatown district of Los Angeles, Commonwealth and Council is an intergenerational, artist run gallery. Originally opened in the living room of Young Chung, curator and artist, Commonwealth and Council was once called Koreatown’s biggest art party by LA Weekly. The gallery taps into the underground art scene and hosts exuberant openings. The whole shebang is based on the idea of networking and mutual support. The gallery’s website proclaims their intent to “explore how generosity and hospitality can sustain our co-existence.”
Three art curators, Summer Guthery, Gladys-Katherina Hernando, and Rebecca Matalon are responsible for the inception of this non-profit space a few years back. Joan houses exhibitions, programming, performances, and more. The focus at Joan is squarely on emerging and underrepresented artists, offering them a place to get work in front of an audience, to network, to have access to resources beyond mere physical space. Through the gallery’s website, sales of artist edition pieces help fund all of the good things happening at Joan. The gallery plays host to solo and group shows and is part of a thriving arts community within the city of Los Angeles.
This artist run non-profit operates in four hub cities across the U.S. including New York, Philadelphia, Chicago, and, of course, Los Angeles. Emerging and mid-career artists are the focus at all locations. Artist-initiated exhibitions and other opportunities strive to bring the art community together. Tiger Strikes Asteroid has had some traction in the press with coverage from some heavy hitters like Huffington Post, the artblog, Hyperallergic, White Hot Magazine, and others. Presently the L.A. branch of Tiger Strikes Asteroid houses a group show titled Verdant Loop set to open August 5 with a reception from 7-10.
Though not presently in search of artist submissions, LAXART describes itself as “one of Los Angeles’s premier alternative venues” and should very much be on your radar. Founded in 2005 in Culver City, LAXART moved to a renovated space in West Hollywood. LAXART’s reopening drew out luminaries from the Los Angeles scene and the new location puts it square in an area of other emerging and well-established art houses. LAXART is the sort of place that has become a hub for artists and not just in the capcity of a place to be exhibited. Gatherings at LAXART offer the chance to meet and greet an extensive cast of characters from across the Los Angeles art scene.
First of all, let’s discuss what the word kunsthalle means. Kunsthalle (or Kunsthaus) is the German word for a facility that houses exhibitions. In other words, a gallery. That said, Eastside International describes itself as “an artist-run contemporary visual art Kunsthalle and international artist residency.” Eastside International (ESXLA) opened in 2014 under the direction of Jason Ramos, Michelle Carla Handel, and Molly Shea. Ramos remains as director today. ESXLA is a place for artists to immerse themselves in the Los Angeles art scene as well as a place where young and emerging artists, as well as established artists, can gain visibility in the context of a non-commercial, alternative venue.
In 2014, artists Adam D. Miller and Devon Oder opened The Pit in a 600 square foot section formerly housing a mechanic shop. Since then, the venue has been a vibrant and creative exhibition space for emerging and mid-career artists. In-house publications, as well as artist editions, are sold in conjunction with every exhibition at The Pit. While primarily focused on artists in and around Los Angeles, The Pit does draw from a larger national and international pool at times. The press keeps an eye on the goings on at this Glendale establishment, too. L.A. Times has been known to review shows in the space and The Pit appears on quite a few must-know lists–including this one, now.