Los Angeles Art Gallery Tours
by Suzanne Ennis
The Los Angeles gallery scene has exploded in recent years, with buzzy new galleries such as Night Gallery and the Mistake Room in downtown’s industrial district and Papillion in Leimert Park pioneering neighborhoods off the beaten art track, and blue-chip galleries including Regen Projects in Hollywood and Gagosian Gallery in Beverly Hills drawing increasingly high-profile talent.
Helping to make sense of the sprawling scene is Bill Kleiman, director of Los Angeles Art Gallery Tours. A graduate of L.A.’s Otis/Parsons (now Otis College of Art and Design) MFA program, Kleiman has more than 25 years of experience as a professional artist. In addition to his bona fides and insider access, Kleiman’s snobbery-free attitude lends his tours wide appeal. You can customize your tour with Kleiman based on interest, location or discipline, or you can opt to visit preselected neighborhoods, such as Chinatown and downtown or Santa Monica and Venice. A top choice is the Culver City Arts District, focused along La Cienega and Washington boulevards. Considered by many contemporary art aficionados to be the best gallery-hopping ’hood in L.A., the district is home to nearly 40 galleries, all in easy walking distance to one another.
On a Culver City art gallery tour with Kleiman, you’re likely to visit Blum & Poe (2727 S. La Cienega Blvd., 310.836.2062), the powerhouse gallery credited with establishing Culver City as an arts destination (and launching Takashi Murakami’s U.S. career), as well as Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects (6006 Washington Blvd., 310.837.2117) and Cherry and Martin (2712 S. La Cienega Blvd., 310.559.0100), another Kleiman favorite.
While the constant rotation of exhibitions means the artwork varies from tour to tour, Kleiman says his approach remains the same. “I grab the spirit of the moment and share that narrative,” he says, adding, “Artwork is completely about communication and the conversation, verbal or nonverbal, that it inspires.” Be ready to share your opinion—and in Kleiman’s infectious enthusiasm.