Over two decades ago, Tanya Bonakdar opened a contemporary art gallery in New York’s SoHo neighborhood, subsequently moving to Chelsea when retail took over that area and the art district gravitated west. To date, she has resisted the lure of expansion, but today Bonakdar announced that she will open a second branch of her gallery, in Los Angeles, next month.
“It’s a natural evolution,” Bonakdar told ARTnews by phone this morning. “We really are artist-driven at the gallery. So many of our artists have expressed interest in having a presence on the West Coast. This is not a decision I have taken lightly. I have been looking and mulling the idea for four or five years. I found the perfect space, and the perfect team, and it all came together.”
That location is at 1010 North Highland Avenue in Hollywood, near galleries like Gavlak and Kohn, and the team consists of director Mary Leigh Cherry, who previously ran Cherry and Martin Gallery, and gallery manager Lia Trinka-Browner, who worked for Marc Foxx gallery for seven years and subsequently spent three years working for artist Laura Owens. (Both Marc Foxx Gallery and Laura Owens’s space 356 Mission have recently closed.)
Bonakdar’s L.A. gallery will open in July with an exhibition of sculptor Charles Long, a veteran of her stable who is currently included in the Hammer Museum’s “Made In L.A.” biennial. That show will be followed, in September, by Olafur Eliasson, who currently has a solo exhibition on view at the L.A.’s Marciano Art Foundation. Coming up in January 2019 is the L.A. debut of Tomás Saraceno, who currently has a show on at Bonakdar’s Chelsea space.
“The contemporary arts community of Los Angeles is unique and unparalleled, from its universities, to its resident artists, to its museums and private foundations to its individual patrons and supporters,” Bonakdar said in a statement accompanying the news release. “We wish to contribute and engage with this community by exhibiting our unique program and exceptional stable of artists. Many of our artists have never shown in galleries in this city, yet desire the particular context of the gallery to do so. Just as the program in New York is driven by the passion, creativity, and vision of the artists we represent, the gallery in Los Angeles will likewise offer a new and exciting platform for these artists to create and exhibit.”
Los Angeles has proved attractive to numerous galleries in recent years. Hauser & Wirth, Maccarone, and Matthew Marks are among the galleries that have opened branches there since 2010.