For a New Yorker, Paris Photo Los Angeles can be a little surreal. The photography fair, which took place over the weekend, is located on the back lot of the iconic Paramount Studios, where a stage set of New York has been erected—there are subway entrances, bodegas, and some very convincing West Village walkups. A few of the galleries even set up their wares in mock brownstones and cafés.
Plenty of famous faces were spotted walking these faux Manhattan streets over the weekend. Gwyneth Paltrow, Minnie Driver, and Judd Apatow crossed paths with the art world’s own A-list, the likes of Ed Ruscha, Paul McCarthy, and Catherine Opie, making this fair one of the most star-studded around.
During the opening preview on Thursday night, United Talent Agency united some big names for a dinner hosted by the agency’s Managing Director, Jeremy Zimmer. Dealers like Benjamin Trigano, of M+B Gallery, mingled with film and TV producers like Darren Star and Steven Levitan. The artist Sterling Ruby opted to forgo a suit for a Canadian tuxedo; Devendra Banhart opted to forgo a shave. Everyone went away well fed and happy—the gift bags included a $200 Barneys card.
On Friday night, the party to be seen at went down at Milk Studios, where pop stars, rock stars, art stars, and Hollywood hipsters danced underneath a giant disco ball to throwback rap spun by DJ Stretch Armstrong, one of New York’s finest. Swedish pop singers Icona Pop danced for hours on end, Russell Simmons surveyed the floor, and Ellen von Unwerth snapped pictures. Even the mile-long line for the bathroom featured entertaining some people watching—the queued gawked as Steven Tyler washed his hands. By my unofficial poll, no one seemed to know if the event had any actual purpose; the same poll concluded that no one seemed to care.
Meanwhile, galleries capitalized on the art world in town. Adam Lindemann opened Venus Over Los Angeles, a 14,000-square foot outpost of his New York gallery on an industrial block downtown, with a solo show by Dan Colen. The opening attracted the likes of Heidi Klum, who walked through the sparsely installed gallery of metal sculptures and tiny rainbow paintings accompanied by her kids, boyfriend Vito Schnabel, not to mention Tobey Maguire and Drew Barrymore. In the parking lot out back, Colen and the artist Devin Troy Strother, who makes his paintings in a monstrous studio a few blocks away, sat around picnic tables with steaks and cold Modelos.
The artist Peter Saul, whose show at Lindemann’s New York space closed just last week, opened a show on this coast at David Kordansky gallery near Hollywood. Some Crazy Pictures showcases Saul’s recent body of satirical paintings, which comment slyly on power, money, and the art world itself. One look at “Art and Money,” which depicts $100 bills attacking themselves with bloody brushstrokes, and one’s mind wanders to the noteworthy sales at the fair, like the Danny Lyon prints Etherton gallery reportedly sold for upwards of $200,000.
The conversation shifted from sales to slugging on Saturday night, when Trigano hosted a viewing party of the Big Fight in his home in the Hills. Floyd Mayweather’s victory may have been anti-climactic, but a taco truck and tequila placated artists like Ed Fornieles and Samuel Borkson. As lingering guests dragged themselves off the beanbag chairs outside, there were murmurs of taking the party to The Standard downtown or The Ace hotel, but ultimately even the more aggressive party animals called it a night. We’d like to be invited back next year.