When LA><ART, the well-known contemporary gallery founded by curator Lauri Firstenberg, left Culver City last year, it joined the ranks of art spaces remaking Hollywood. The new venue, designed by architect Lorcan O’Herlihy, is located in a former recording studio first built for RCA Victor in 1928. While the architects wanted to preserve the atmosphere of the site, which is loaded with music history (Elvis Presley, Stevie Wonder, The Beach Boys, Nat King Cole, Bing Crosby, and Jimi Hendrix all recorded hits in the building), they also aspired to create a venue that could accommodate LA><ART’s innovative exhibitions and events.
“LA><ART hosts a number of public outreach programs and events, including artist talks, performances, and Slanguage, their on-site educational program,” noted O’Herlihy, adding that they resisted the conventions of the white cube gallery. “Our main goal was to create an incubator that amplifies all this activity and recognizes the urbanism inherent in LA><ART’s experimental programming.” By stripping back the 4,000-square-foot space to the original wood beams and brick walls, the architects established a baseline for new work. Sure, de rigueur white walls are on hand for hanging artworks, and skylights fill the galley with natural light, but the space is also ready to adapt to multimedia works or performance. “We embraced this space as a flexible, working gallery that fosters curatorial and artistic freedom and highlights contemporary art in all forms,” said O’Herlihy.