Preview the Best of the PULSE LA Art Fair

Los Angeles – long known as a hyper-insular scene where it has been notoriously difficult for art fairs to survive – is about to become the center of attention of the institutionalized art world this month. In addition to PST, the Getty Research Institute’s massively ambitious city-wide exhibit of post-war art in LA, three art fairs will be opening this weekend downtown. It’s such a massive opening weekend, in fact, that artLA, one of the major anchor fairs, recently postponed its opening until January, citing a fear of getting “lost in the cacophony of so much activity.” In addition to blue-chip Art Platform at LA Mart, the self-described “renegade” fringe-y Fountain Fair will set up in the loft district by the LA River, and young but solid fair PULSE finds a new incarnation at the LA Live event deck.

PULSE LA easily has the coolest venue — PULSE director Cornell Dewitt notes, “Why would we come to LA and not use a venue with tons of outdoor space?” — and the fair has always been noteworthy for hitting a sweet spot of user-friendly but interesting, relatively affordable contemporary art. They’re also working particularly hard to integrate the paradigm of the international art fair, which so often feels like it could be anywhere, with the art community in the city.

Your best bet for taking in PULSE? Focus on showings by LA galleries you might not see elsewhere and the various PULSE Projects focusing on collaboration with local artists, institutions, nonprofits, and publications. Below, find our guide to PULSE art happenings that are worth checking out.

Image: Martin Durazo, THE ROMANCE OF ENIGMATIC ESCAPE, Nada Hudson, July 30 – 31, 2011. Courtesy Luis De Jesus Los Angeles

PULSE pairs with Luis De Jesus Los Angeles gallery to commission a new work by Durazo: Max-Nigmatix, a mixed media exploration of nightlife, reverie, and the quantification of joy through his trademark fluorescent painting and digital images of celebrities, along with magnifying lenses, lasers – and a MacBook pro — to get you into the LA ethos.