Dealer Javier Peres, Once an L.A. Fixture, Pays the City a Visit

Javier Peres. (Photo: Patrick McMullan Company)

Last year, the longtime Los Angeles dealer Javier Peres shuttered his Culver City gallery and decamped for Berlin, where he now runs two spaces. However, he is back in town at the moment, participating in the Art Platform fair.

When we walked by Mr. Peres’s space he was regaling a visitor, waving energetically at a series of messy abstractions hanging on the walls. The dealer was wearing a long grey shirt and running shoes, and he has a bushy beard. The two shook hands, and the other gentleman wandered off.

“We are exhibiting only one person,” Mr. Peres told us. “The artist’s name is Leo Gabin. It’s actually three artists. They’re a Belgian collective from Ghent.” The designer Adam Kimmel told the dealer about them. “He said, ‘Dude, you would love this shit.’

“The next morning, I took a flight from Berlin to Brussels, a train to Ghent,” Mr. Peres said. He offered to work with them. “I haven’t decided to work with an artist on the spot since Joe Bradley.” The works owe something to the scuzzier paintings that Mr. Bradley has presented in recent shows. They look like Charline von Heyl paintings that have spent a few seconds in a blender.

Mr. Peres walked us closer to one of the canvases and pointed to small, lascivious images of women that were silkscreened onto the canvas, hiding just beneath the bright, speedy layers of paint. “They started as horny teenagers looking at YouTube, watching booty dancing and things like that,” he said. (They make videos, too, with similar themes.) Now they teach at the Royal Academy in Ghent.

We asked the dealer if he would participate in Art Platform’s rival fair, Art Los Angeles Contemporary, which alights in January. He said that he will. “Winter in Berlin versus winter in L.A.?” It seemed to be an easy choice. “The winter in Berlin is fucking insane,” he continued. It gets dark quickly. The cold is terrible. But he has found some pleasure in it. “It’s like an exotic animal to me,” he said.