Whatever else he is—collector, dealer, rich guy—Adam Lindemann is also a man who respects stationary. Just a few days after he announced his gallery, Venus Over Manhattan, would open a 15,000-square-foot space in Los Angeles this spring, the heading on the letters at his 980 Madison Avenue gallery—named for the sculpture on the building’s facade—had changed. On a slip of paper attached to the third-floor gallery’s glass door, announcing the next show being installed in Manhattan, the word “Venus” now hovered literally over three smaller words, “Manhattan” to the left, and “Los Angeles” to the right.
“We’re just trying it out,” Lindemann shrugged in the plastered under-installation space when asked whether we should just start calling the gallery Venus.
Lindemann searched for about six months before settling on his Los Angeles space, a former nightclub currently painted pink and covered in graffiti. The motivation, he said, was to stage ambitious, large shows of newer, younger art.
“When I did primary shows for Charles Harlan or Andra Uruta”—a project that shot baseball-shaped stones from a batting-cage robotic pitcher at a wall of tiles across the room—“it wasn’t as well received as I would have liked,” he said, comparing those shows to others he held at the Upper East Side gallery, of Alexander Calder, Jack Goldstein, and Raymond Pettibon.
“People don’t like to see new stuff uptown,” he posited. “People like to see Günther Förg or Kazuo Shiraga, or whatever Larry [Gagosian] is showing.”
He thought about opening on the Lower East Side, but was dismayed by the lack of space, and described what he saw as an over-saturation of galleries there. The collector scene he saw growing in Los Angeles heartened him.
“New York still has all the razzmatazz,” he said. “All the big collectors fly out here in their private planes.” But he saw smaller collectors likely to be drawn to efforts like Gavin Brown’s project space with Laura Owens, Maccarone’s forthcoming Los Angeles gallery, and, of course, Hauser Wirth & Schimmel’s 100,000-square-foot business.
Lindemann opens the new gallery this month with an exhibition of Dan Colen (who earlier this year showed his ability to take over a collector’s space with his sprawling show at the Brant Foundation’s outpost in Walter De Maria’s former studio in the East Village). He has already planned shows with Elaine Cameron-Weir, Dan McCarthy, and Marianne Vitale.
If L.A.’s sprawl has always been a problem for its galleries, Lindemann said, Downtown Los Angeles, where his gallery is located, is not far from the city’s younger galleries, nor is it far from the Museum of Contemporary Art. It’s a burgeoning district, he said, if there ever was one. “If you come out to see me you can go to five other galleries and a museum,” he said, “Kinda worth it, right?”
Plus: “There are a lot of artists I’d love to work with in New York who I can’t work with in New York, but I can work with in L.A.”
A version of this story originally appeared in the April 2015 issue of ARTnews on page 34 under the title “Going to California.”