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Even five years ago the choice of LA, rather than New York, as Sprüth Magers’ American outpost might have seemed surprising. Today, LA’s commercial art scene is exploding. An LA location is especially logical for Sprüth Magers, considering its existing deep ties with the city. The gallery’s roster, mostly of established and mid-career artists, includes many Los Angeles luminaries, some of whom have not had local representation for quite a while. John Baldessari, whom Sprüth Magers has represented for some 30 years, lost his local gallery when Margo Leavin closed in 2012. As such, coming to Los Angeles seemed like a natural move to the European duo. “We have been traveling to LA since the gallery opened (as Monika Sprüth) in 1983, and the decision to open a gallery here grew over many years whilst seeing the city and the contemporary art scene develop,” Sprüth said in an email interview. “We experienced the city together with our artists, as many of them live here, like John Baldessari, Lizzie Fitch / Ryan Trecartin, Barbara Kruger, Analia Saban, Sterling Ruby and Ed Ruscha. It feels like the right moment to open a space in Los Angeles now.” Located in the Miracle Mile District, opposite the Los Angeles County Museum of Art campus, the new gallery occupies an airy two-story 14,000 square foot space flooded with ambient light. The location was a strategic choice, not only because it’s right on Museum Row. There’s also the provenance of the building in which it is housed. “The building represents an LA aesthetic,” said Sprüth. “Our gallery is located in a midcentury space designed by West Coast architects Pereira & Associates, directly across from LACMA. We were looking for an interesting architectural space with an identity, and found it in a great neighborhood.” The inaugural exhibit, courtesy of Marian Goodman Gallery, featured a recent series of storyboard paintings by Baldessari. The works seem thematically fitting for the gallery’s LA launch because of their subtle connection to the world of filmmaking and the perceived hedonistic LA lifestyle. In the paintings, the artist combined found photographs of subjects at leisure with incongruous lines of text extrapolated from film scripts. The captions seem to have been paired arbitrarily with the images. Ben’s Jacket Drapes… (2015, varnished inkjet print on canvas with acrylic paint, 70 7/8 x 54 5/8 x 1 5/8 inches), presents the rear view of a female figure reclining on a chaise longue, facing a body of water that meets a distant tree-lined horizon. Below the image is the caption—a non-se-

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Fabrik - Issue 31  

This issue coincides with Fabrik’s Photo Independent Art Fair, and the Month of Photography LA. The photography theme crops up in our covera...