Sunday, February 23, 2014

Where to be Merry: O P E N @ Papillion

The Merriment: A contemporary art gallery featuring emerging and mid-career artists

The Location: Leimert Park

The Vibes: Bright, minimalist, white, inviting

Good for: Access to unique artwork that comes from around the world

When-To-Go: Wednesdays-Sundays, noon-6pm

The $ Factor: FREE to browse; $2,500-$25,000 to purchase

The 4-1-1: This isn’t the first time that an art gallery has opened in this space; back in 1967, brothers Alonzo and Dale Davis opened The Brockman Gallery, which played a pivotal role in the Los Angeles arts scene in the ‘60s,’70s and ‘80s, featuring the works of prominent African-American artists such as Romare Bearden.

Last Saturday was the grand opening for the newest addition to Leimert Park: Papillion.

Amongst the worldly tunes, courtesy of DJ Kaleem, an eclectic crowd and significant players in L.A.’s elite art scene congregated indoors and outside, with neighborhood passersby curiously taking in all of the commotion.

And plenty to see there was.

The main stars of the night were gallery owner Michelle Papillion, who gracefully maneuvered through the hundreds of guests, and the inaugural exhibit, O P E N. Featuring artists from the States, England, South Africa and Angola, this exhibit has plenty of intriguing pieces, from clay sculptures and hanging installations, to paintings and lots of colorful mixed-media projects. One of my favorites is Derek Fordjour’s Cheerleader (down), made of charcoal and pastel on newsprint and paper (pictured below).

Papillion is the transformation of the Papillion Institute of Art (P.I.A.), which originally arrived on the L.A. scene in Spring 2010, in the southeast part of downtown (You can read here my interview with Phonte of The Foreign Exchange/Little Brother that took place in P.I.A.). While the former space definitely had a more urban and industrial feel to it—with exposed bricks and beams—the same passionate commitment to showcasing art in the most revering and visually appealing manner has been transferred to the new, brighter and airier Leimert Park location.

Like the former P.I.A., Papillion will host plenty of events in its two rooms and outdoor section that opens in the summer, including collaborative projects with the African Fashion and Art Week. It’s all just part of ushering in what owner Michelle calls the #LeimertParkRenaissance.

Papillion is looking like it’s going to be a great addition to Leimert Park and I’m extremely excited to see how it will enrich the local neighborhood and add to the L.A.’s unique and rich story of the arts. So the next time you’re in the market for new art or are simply interested in looking at thought-provoking art, make sure to stop by Papillion. See you there soon!

Featured artists in the O P E N exhibit:

- Danielle Dean (London)

- David Sigmund (Los Angeles)

- Derek Fordjour (New York)

- Hugo McCloud (New York)

- Kenturah Davis (Los Angeles)

- Nzuji de Magalhaes (Angola)

- Raksha Parekh (South Africa)

- Samuel Levi Jones (San Francisco)

For more information: 

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