Last week we took a peek inside of the LAMA 20th Anniversary Catalogue, an almost pornographic art book of lots and lots and lots of goods that will be up for grabs this weekend. The art ranges from Picasso to Ruscha, surrealism to light and space. It sweeps through so many places and cultures and movements in a very clean way. For whatever reason, we anticipated this translating fairly mildly from catalogue pages to showroom floor. How does it all look? Quite brilliant, actually. We previewed the auction last Friday and we *highly* recommend you do the same. It’s like a hurricane passed through five of your favorite modern art museums and neatly organized them on the walls of a warehouse.
The LAMA–Los Angeles Modern Auctions–space is located all the way out in Van Nuys. It isn’t by anything you’d assume or liken to the art world. It doesn’t make any pretense of being a grand modern architectural destination either. It doesn’t do anything but hold art pieces while in close proximity to the Van Nuys Airport. You will arrive and pull out your directions to verify you are at the right location: yes, LAMA’s space is the very industrial, beige cinderblock building.
Once you step inside you find that you are in the right place. An orange wall that serves as the title of this consumer exhibit faces the door and leads you down one hallway or another, both of which have Eames goods among works by artists John Baldessari and Andy Warhol. Keep a keen eye: you’ll find the Yayoi Kusama piece here.
Once you pass the threshold from this entryway, you will step into some other world. You’re now inside a space that is part high-art pack rat, part dream world thrift store, and part art museum. The walls are covered in all different sized paintings and photographs, the floor is a landscape for furniture design (many of which had small sculptures atop of them), the floors had large pots and sculptures lined in rows, and the ceilings hung elaborate, shapely light fixtures. Literally everywhere you look, a creation stares back at you. Think that table is there for convenience? Psych: it’s actually an Art Deco patio table up for grabs. There are so many moments of this.
Everything is also a great deal more elaborate than you think. You may pass what you assume is just some print or representation of a famous artist’s piece but, with further examination, you realize these are all genuine. A good example of this you find in examining the Lichtenstein’s, each of which have a penciled signature of his on the bottom. Same with the Ruschas. And the Kellys.. Even the Picassos. The Murakamis and Closes were too high up to verify but you can trust they are the same. One of the most exciting moments of walking the floor was seeing a Miró displayed on a brass fixture. You simply take the pieces in as they are (a painting and a painting holder) but–when you view it from behind–you see remnants of it being sold to a Rev. Trent from Michgan’s I. Irving Feldman Galleries in the sixties. The reality of art, commerce, and the human hand are very present in the LAMA warehouse.
LAMA’s upcoming auction is not to be missed. Preview it if you have a chance this week! It’s a bizarre, unbelievable, absolutely unpretentious art encounter that takes the uncomfortableness of a museum and replaces it with a The Price Is Right normality: all of this artwork could be yours…if the price is right for you! You can preview the works through Saturday with the actual auction happening Sunday, October 7. It should be a hoot. We hear it is an incredibly spectacle and that there will be lots of additional goodies to mark the occasion.