Andreas Waris owns a gallery in MacArthur Park and shares his perspective about the LA art scene.
Los Angeles has a considerably influential and interesting history of Art with a number of outstanding institutions as well as high profile and historically relevant Art Schools within the broader Los Angeles area. Throughout the 20th and 21st century, Los Angeles’ integrity and international discourse has always been outstanding. Los Angeles continues to be a hub of international exchange with a very diverse and growing art scene including artists at different stages in their careers, excellent critics, curators and art historians, as well as challenging gallery programs and world class collectors.
Bad Reputation was founded in 2014 and is located on the seventh floor of a pre war building in the historic Los Angeles neighborhood of Mac Arthur Park. The gallery is overlooking Westlake Theater and the adjacent park and lake. The name is taken from a book title written by artist Penny Arcade. She allegedly started working on the book in the same building and on the same floor as the gallery is located today. Publishing House Semiotext(e) was operating in the 2007 Wilshire building and rented out offices for their writers until recently.
In this sense the location always had a significant Los Angeles critical culture history. The inauguration exhibition was a solo presentation of Berlin based performance artist Johannes Paul Raether with a site specific performance iteration of his Transformalor/Transformellae character derivation Transformella Version: 4.5.1.
The performance took place in the vicinity of the gallery, at surrounding street intersections and the park across the gallery. The piece was structured like a typical lecture/public proclamation/protest, the artist had been staging across the globe. The character interacted with the street crowd and visitors of the various businesses in the building. Opening the gallery with an artist like Raether was important to define the gallery program in the years to come. The notion of exclusivity the gallery proposed in terms of access embedded inside a larger system and located in a commercial building, housing free clinics, senior social clubs and various businesses, presented the opportunity to propose a gallery concept more inclusive of art and its context and keeping the exhibition space somewhat open rather than isolating the workin a more conventional or dominant setting of warehouses and gallery rows.
The program can be best described with a focus on Appropriation, Conceptualism and Situational Aesthetics. With an emphasis on young and emerging artists in combination with established practices, the program seeks to create a historical context.
A very new and exciting gallery project that just opened is Scott Weaver’s O-Town House in the MacArthur Park neighborhood. The current exhibition is with Berlin based Australia born conceptual artist Gerard Bibby who is one of my favorite artists and has been involved in the Basso project which started out in Berlin-Kreuzberg.
Another exhibition program I think that nails it, is Benjamin Echeverria’s Reserve Ames. Past programming was done out of a backyard wood shed in the Arlington Heights neighborhood. There are many other fantastic galleries and non profits in Los Angeles to know and see.
Current and upcoming exhibitions at Bad Reputation can be found here.
Andreas Waris studied Fine Art and Visual Culture / Critical Studies at UdK, Berlin and completed his MFA from USC in 2011. In 2014 he opened Bad Reputation, a contemporary art gallery in the Mac Arthur Park neighborhood of Los Angeles.