Because the current art market can be difficult for smaller galleries, their owners have to think outside of the box, according to local gallery co-owner Adam Miller.
That’s the impetus for a gallery-exchange initiative launching Sunday at the Pit in Glendale, which will give artists from other parts of the country and world an opportunity to gain exposure in Los Angeles.
A recent emphasis on art fairs with hefty prices for participation means “galleries need to be thinking more about working with other galleries and having a larger community,” to survive, said Miller, who co-runs the Pit, which opened in 2014, with Devon Oder.
The initiative, called “The Pit Presents,” will kick off with a group show programmed by Nick Irzyk, an artist who runs the project space Step Sister associated with gallery Brennan & Griffin in New York City.
The show will feature primarily paintings and sculptures, including works by several emerging New York-based artists, including Irzyk, Philip Hinge, Pooneh Maghazehe, Nicholas Sullivan and Victoria Roth.
Miller described the works, generally, as “abstraction and loose figuration with expressionistic and loose approaches to paint application.”
The hope is to give mostly younger, up-and-coming artists whose works wouldn’t necessarily be shown in Los Angeles an opportunity to make connections with collectors, curators, artists and fans here, to both sell art and widen their cultural footprint, Miller said.
“People are really excited to see someone … maybe they’ve been following on Instagram or something, to actually see the work in person and interact with it directly,” Miller said.
Inspiration for the initiative came from Condo, a London-founded large-scale collaboration in which galleries in select cities share their space with visiting galleries.
When a space in the Pit previously occupied by Latin American gallery Ruberta vacated, Miller and his collaborators decided to dedicate the space to an exchange in the spirit of Condo instead of additional in-house programming.
Miller and his collaborators have already lined up five of the six guest programmers that will show over the next year, including artist Levy Delval from Brussels, Adams & Ollman from Portland, Left Field from San Luis Obispo and Lyles & King from New York City.
Step Sister’s show will launch in conjunction with several other Pit openings, “so we’ll all do a big party together,” from 4 to 7 p.m. on Sunday, Miller said.
Also opening Sunday will be a pair of adjacent solo shows featuring photographer and sculptor Heather Rasmussen and painter Tamara Gonzales.
The gallery’s onsite zine shop will host ceramicist Sharif Farrag, who will be selling incense and pen holders as well as other functional objects.