With the 2022 edition of Frieze Los Angeles opening later this week, all eyes seem to be on the City of Angels, with a host of East Coast galleries making real investments in the city’s art market by way of expansions and more. But Los Angeles has long had a storied history of cutting-edge spaces supporting local talent. Among them is Night Gallery, which has been in operation for just over a decade. Its founder, Davida Nemeroff, recently decided to double down on her own investment in the city by opening a cavernous new space just steps away from her current location.
Located at 2050 Imperial Street, the 14,000-square-foot location is kitty-corner to Night Gallery’s location at 2276 East 16th Street, on the outskirts of the Downtown Arts District, and will nearly triple the gallery’s footprint in the city. Having had a soft opening just after the New Year, the location is currently host to L.A.–based artist Samara Golden’s latest mirror-based installation Guts, in which seemingly endless amounts of brightly colored viscera occupy a custom-built platform.
Nemeroff said she had long been fielding questions about expanding her gallery to a different part of L.A.—or even to New York. “It seems like every gallery in L.A. is doing some kind of expansion,” Nemeroff said. “In some ways, it feels like as a gallery working today, you need to be expanding and fluid in some capacity.”
One reason for the additional space was, well, additional space. “As a staff, we were bumping into each other,” Nemeroff said. “As the pandemic began and art fairs, which provide supplement opportunities and context, stopped for a moment, we started to think about how to expand our programming, but not necessarily our footprint.”
Then the nearby space became available. Nemeroff described it as “a warm space with beautiful light.” At first, she considered sharing the space with other galleries or businesses, but “the more time we spent in it, the more time it became obvious that we wanted it to ourselves, that we could program it.” She thought of artists in the gallery’s stable such as Golden, Tau Lewis, or Cara Benedetto, all of whom work in installation, sculpture, or video.
Called Night Gallery North, the new location will, in its first year, host four exhibitions, giving each new installation a longer run than is typical for solo shows at a commercial gallery. Running until March 26, Golden’s exhibition will be followed by one devoted to L.A.-based sculptor Josh Callaghan and then two group shows—one focused on sculpture, the other on large-scale painting.
Night’s senior director, Brian Faucette, said that after almost two years of digitally focused presentations, the gallery is looking forward to being able to bring visitors back into its physical environs. “Having this new giant space gives us a little bit more room—physically and also in our program schedule—to make these large experiential projects that is the antithesis to the virtual experience,” he said. “Samara’s installation is obviously a great way to kick that off because it’s a giant piece that will make no sense to you in person—and make even less sense to you online.”
He added, “There’s nothing like walking into a gallery and seeing something that actually confuses your sense of space.”
Golden, who first met Nemeroff while the two were in Columbia University’s M.F.A. program, had her first solo show at Night Gallery in late 2011, about nine months after it opened. Busy with other major commissions—at the 2014 Made in L.A. biennial at the Hammer Museum and at the 2017 Whitney Biennial, and for surveys at Yebra Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco (2016) and the Fabric Workshop and Museum in Philadelphia (2020)—Golden is now having her first Night Gallery show since 2014’s “Mass Murder.” Faucette described her show as a “homecoming,” adding, “it means a lot to the history of the gallery.” The main installation in the new show will travel to the Art Gallery of New South Wales in Sydney, where it will be included in an exhibition called “Dream Home” that will open later this year.
In an email, Golden said, “I am in awe of Davida and how she has built Night Gallery from the ground up into something so powerful and meaningful. She has always persevered with integrity, and I have a great deal of respect for her.”
For Faucette, Night Gallery North, which is joined by a small white-cube space called Night Gallery East that the team began programming during the pandemic, is part of how the enterprise hopes to operate in the city going forward. “There’s so many other galleries that are expanding into other cities—that’s certainly something we thought about,” he said. “But we like having a real proximity. We have a little campus built now—between the two gallery spaces and then also across the street the studio that has six of our artists there. We’ve really been able to build community here. That gives us the ability to be very involved in what our artists are doing.”