Cultured Magazine

Spring 2014

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BREAKING THE RULES Hannah Hoffman and Erin Falls are relishing the freedom of having a gallery in Los Angeles, where collectors are more open-minded and it's okay to mix the old and the new. BY MAXWELL WILLIAMS PHOTOGRAPH BY FREDRIK NILSEN 62 CULTURED In the first nine months the Hannah Hoffman Gallery has been open in Hollywood, California, it has exhibited a collection of drawings and sculptures by the late Brazilian artist Mira Schendel; a four-person show featuring Los Angeles- based upstarts Sam Falls, Jacob Kassay, Matt Sheridan Smith and Joe Zorrilla; and early works by legendary German painter Jörg Immendorff. Most recently, New York-based sculptor Frank Benson curated an intriguing group show of photographs that confront the portrayal of the body in commercial photography. It's while this show, called "The Body Issue," is up that I sit down to talk to Hoffman and her director Erin Falls about the ambitious mixture of old and new schools that makes the gallery so fascinating. "The reason why I can reconcile bouncing between historical and contemporary so seamlessly is be- cause it's all part of the same dialogue," says Hoffman. "Though, technically, something is done in the '60s versus now, they're in relation to each other. Art, to me, all exists on the same plane—it's discursive. I find that the back- and-forth feels like how artists think about art. One informs the other fluidly." Falls adds that the gallery's viewers come in not knowing quite what to expect, particularly with Immendorff's paintings, which admittedly look very current. "The historical work looks so fresh," says Falls, "and it also contex- tualizes the other artists in our program." Hoffman's instinctual approach to her gallery comes from years of work- ing under New York art dealer Gavin Brown, who encouraged her to start her own space. It was Hoffman's choice to take the gallery to Los Angeles, where she's enjoying a less overcrowded art scene. "People move here to get away from New York," says Hoffman, whose desk is integrated into the gallery, creating a candid atmosphere she gleaned from Brown. "Where New York is right now, I didn't feel as though I could contribute and sustain myself." Falls agrees that New York isn't the ideal place for an emerging gallery. She recently moved with her husband, the artist Sam Falls, from New York, where she'd worked at the galleries of Jeffrey Deitch and Mary Boone. "Because it's a smaller world here, people are really happy when they feel like you're doing something interesting that's not being done," Falls says. "In New York, there are just so many galleries doing so many different things, it's easy to get overlooked." The Hannah Hoffman Gallery certainly doesn't get overlooked in L.A. and is only a short walk from Regen Projects and Redling Fine Art. The program- ming is something of an anomaly in L.A., where there is a devoted collector base and a more tight-knit group of artists and curators. The next show— spray-painted canvases by French artist Isabelle Cornaro—has already garnered interest, as she had a recent show at respected L.A. non-profit space LA>

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