Los Angeles Art Scene–Can the Big Orange handle Big Art?

Los Angeles is not considered a traditional “art-focused” city. However, as they say, “times, they are a’ changin’,” and there is a newfound boom within the City of Angels, the Big Orange. A location attractive to artists (who can resist sunshine and wide open spaces?) did not always attract individuals with the means to purchase fine art, and the charitable nature that goes along with establishing museums and galleries in a metropolitan area.

Los Angeles Art–Then

In the early years (1970’s), the only fine art to be found in southern California were scraps which made their way westward from the East coast, providing opportunity for only a few small collectors. The Los Angeles art scene was a small group with little means, containing only a few galleries. In the 1990’s, the gallery scene began expanding, but focused inwards, without an international feel which was seen in other large American cities. As collectors and galleries arrive, so does the influx of money and fresh ideas – and a more international flavor has arrived.


The big question is: can this bustling, widespread city handle the growth over the long term? There are plenty of nay-sayers. Those who have lived here for a long time have seen booms and busts, and question whether the current support will continue, and if attention spans are long enough to keep the buzz going. Some art leaders in the community see a cycle which mimics markets—as they rise and fall, so does the interest in art.

Los Angeles Art–Now

However, art professionals have been arriving and remaining. New galleries are opening, bringing more collectors, more curators and more critics. There is a new focus on international art, and international players are joining in. With many options to open display spaces, young artists have a positive feeling about working and selling their art in L.A.

There is a conversational feel about art, as though the city itself is open to innovative ideas, new discussions, and novel exhibitions. With the influx of a new arts district near Little Tokyo, and several new galleries and museums such as The Broad, a new foundation can be established. The introduction of Sotheby’s Institute of Art may play a supportive role in moving away from the speculative feeling in L.A. Educating new artists (along with programs at UCLA and USC) is encouraging discussion and brainstorming with younger players. The city is confident this change in attitude about the status of art in defining a city’s image can be deepened.

Los Angeles Art—Future

One of the biggest advantages to growing an art scene in L.A. is space. While other historically significant art cities struggle with space, L.A. has a wide variety of affordable spaces. Key players have caught on and there has been significant growth in large facilities (like warehouses) to showcase the growing population of artists. L.A.’s reputation is growing, and so is the number of international artists, representing a wide variety of cultural and creative styles. Art of all types and genres can be found here, and the warm sunny weather allows fairs and open-air exhibitions to occur year-round. Although it is doubtful to ever rival art cities like Paris or New York, Los Angeles’ big space appears prepared to handle big art.

At Sybaris Collection, we understand that you may not be able to fly to Los Angeles. We travel throughout the world and strive to provide collectors with a glimpse of unique and inspiring artwork discovered around the world, by emerging as well as established artists. Let us help you cultivate your taste and find treasures that speak to you –  no matter your style, genre or medium. When looking for an exclusive selection, we offer ARTclub for those with distinguishing taste.