Opening reception: October 2–3, 6-8pm
In a non-descript office park in Santa Monica, California in 1994, two unconventional art dealers from Los Angeles and Tokyo opened a small gallery that would go on to nurture more museum-caliber artists than any other partnership of its kind on the West Coast. This Autumn, Timothy Blum and Jeff Poe will celebrate fifteen years of altering the international art landscape from their native city with the opening of their newest venue, a 21,000 square foot complex, renovated by Los Angeles based architects Frank Escher and Ravi GuneWardena.
In September 2003, Blum & Poe pioneered what has now become recognized as the Culver City Art District by being the first gallery to move into what was once a desolate area of abandoned buildings. For the past six years, 2754 S. La Cienega has anchored the area as a culturally significant commercial gallery district by consistently producing world-class exhibitions of important Los Angeles artists as well as introducing European and Japanese artists to the art viewing public.
Blum & Poe has once again enlisted Escher GuneWardena Architecture, the designers of their first La Cienega home, whose mission addresses the dialog between form and construction, and the play of light and space that has long been the touchstone of this city’s architecture. The firm’s well-established relationship to and understanding of international contemporary art has fostered numerous collaborations with artists, and exhibition designs and curatorial endeavors at the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh, The Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles, The Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, and The Hammer Museum in Los Angeles to name a few. In the adaptation of 2727 S. La Cienega, a 1958 warehouse and 1968 Ray Kappe-designed manufacturing building, the firm seeks to contrast the pristine museum-like spaces of the interior with the raw aesthetic qualities of the exterior. Massive concrete frames surround new openings and newly poured concrete panels infill abandoned openings in the original block wall. The exterior façade mirrors the unique wilderness of Los Angeles, also reflected in the native gardens surrounding the parking lot.
Set on an acre of land, the elegant design pivots on three soaring exhibition spaces of varying sizes that form a circulation loop, joined by an airy, glowing atrium that is in turn accessed by a lobby connecting the front and rear entrances. These galleries are naturally lit by a calibrated system of light wells and clerestory windows, specifically conceptualized and engineered for the optimization of a contemporary art installation in any medium. In contrast to the main galleries, an additional, more visually raw, 2400 square foot space for independently curated exhibitions, performances, films and lectures is located on the second floor.
Blum & Poe is scheduled to open its doors at 2727 S. La Cienega Blvd. on October 2, 2009 with an exciting program of events to commemorate the gallery’s ambitious history and future programs. Central to these events, Blum & Poe will present a group exhibition on view through November of new works by all gallery artists.