Last spring, when New York-based art dealer Perry Rubenstein announced that he and his wife Sara Fitzmaurice, head of the PR company Fitz & Co., would be making the move to Los Angeles, he said he’d be opening a gallery there in fall 2011. Well, it’s been a bit delayed, but Mr. Rubenstein’s gallery is set to open its doors on June 1, with “Helmut Newton: Sex and Landscapes,” an exhibition of 40 large-scale photographs that come directly from the fashion photographer’s estate. June 2 will bring an event with Neil Young and street artist Shepard Fairey, on the occasion of the release of Mr. Young’s new album.
The new gallery, at 1215 North Highland Avenue in dead central Hollywood, clocks in at a whopping 9,500 square feet, spread over three spaces surrounding a courtyard. Throughout the summer, while the Newton exhibition is on, construction will continue on a rooftop garden designed for entertainment and performances, scheduled for completion in the fall. Mr. Rubenstein promises views stretching into the Hollywood Hills from what he calls his “virtual gallery in the sky.” The architect on the new gallery is the L.A.-based firm wHY Architecture, founded by Kulapat Yantrasast, who worked with Tadao Ando for 15 years, and designed the L.A. branch of New York gallery L&M Arts, in Venice Beach (that gallery now shows South African artist Robin Rhode, who had worked with Mr. Rubenstein in New York). The firm, Mr. Rubenstein says, was recommended to him by Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art director Jeffrey Deitch, a New York transplant himself.
Being in Hollywood, Mr. Rubenstein’s gallery is in somewhat uncharted territory, further east than Los Angeles’s existing gallery districts. The closest known quantity at the moment is the L.A. outpost that New York gallerist Matthew Marks opened a few months ago on Orange Grove Avenue, in West Hollywood. Mr. Rubenstein says he was attracted to a “whole neighborhood of analogue film storage warehouses and post-production studios–which make great galleries.” He says he was advised to look there by yet another New York transplant museum director, Los Angeles County Museum of Art director Michael Govan, who sees potential in the area; he adds that he will soon have a new neighbor a block and a half away in Regen Projects, a veteran L.A. gallery that currently operates two spaces in West Hollywood, but will move to a space in Hollywood in the fall. Mr. Rubenstein, who hopes his gallery will become “a destination and a hub” is excited by the fact that he has 30 parking spaces–and, actually, that sort of thing makes a difference in L.A.
The Newton exhibition is something of a homecoming for Mr. Rubenstein, who worked in the fashion business before entering the art world in the late 1980s. In the fall, he will show L.A.-based artist Zoe Crosher and the German Hans-Peter Feldmann. Last spring, when he announced his move from New York, the dealer said he would retain artists from his New York stable, which included Amir Zaki, Richard Woods and Kamrooz Aram, among others. He has not yet announced his current stable–his new website, which is under construction, does not list that information–but says he will “maintain relationships,” and that the “migration west has created opportunities, some anticipated and some expected, and I want to evaluate those opportunities and use them to the advantage of my program as a whole. I have a chance to create the program I’ve always wanted, which will include the touchstones of my past, but there will be tremendous surprises.” In other words, stay tuned.