Why These Galleries Are Betting on Los Angeles’s Expanding Art Scene

Art Market

Maxwell Rabb

Feb 2, 2024 6:47PM

The growth of the Los Angeles art scene has been a consistent feature since the pandemic. While the number of homegrown galleries has risen, several established names have also expanded their footprint into the city over recent years. In 2022, galleries such as Sean Kelly Gallery and Hauser & Wirth opened outposts in the city, and last year, they were joined by the likes of Lisson Gallery, Marian Goodman Gallery, and David Zwirner.

In 2024, this momentum is showing no signs of abating. Galleries including Rele, Perrotin, C L E A R I N G, and Southern Guild have announced expansions or new spaces in the city. Artsy spoke with representatives from these four galleries about the reasons why they are increasing their presence in the City of Angels.

Rendering of Perrotin Los Angeles by Johnston Markee, 2023. Courtesy of Perrotin.


On February 28th, just before the opening of Frieze Los Angeles, the mega-gallery Perrotin will open its doors at the historic Del Mar Theater in between Mid-City and Mid-Wilshire. After opening in Tokyo, Shanghai, and Dubai in recent years, the L.A. location, in founder Emmanuel Perrotin’s words, “was a missing piece—especially given its location on the Pacific Rim and the strong connection between Asia and the West Coast.”

“Many of Perrotin’s artists live in Los Angeles or visit regularly, and having a gallery in L.A. creates a home base for our artists,” Perrotin said. “A Los Angeles gallery gives us a platform to present—and in some cases debut—our program on the West Coast, sharing the work of our artists with new audiences.”

“Los Angeles continues to be an invigorating city for the arts,” said Perrotin, noting recent developments like the forthcoming Lucas Museum of Narrative Art and the new LACMA building. “The gallery landscape is also changing by the day, and we’re excited to be a part of this tremendous moment of growth,” he added.

Exterior view of C L E A R I N G in Los Angeles. Courtesy of C L E A R I N G, New York / Brussels / Los Angeles.

Tastemaking gallery C L E A R I N G was founded in 2011 in New York. In 2020, it opened in Beverly Hills, and after two years, it moved into its current space in East Hollywood. After several months of renovations, the gallery reopened its 2,500-square-foot space on January 20th. “We maintain a keen interest in deepening and strengthening our roots on the West Coast,” director Reilly Davidson told Artsy.

“The remodel has allowed for a refined space that reaffirms our ongoing engagement in the American market as well as another context for our gallery artists to interact with,” she added.

Davidson sees this as an opportune moment for C L E A R I N G to further integrate into the city’s flourishing art community. “Los Angeles has experienced its own renaissance, particularly in the past few years,” Davidson observed, adding that the gallery is “excited to be a part of the city’s ever-expanding network of artists, galleries, and collectors.”

Exterior view of Rele in Los Angeles. Courtesy of Rele.

Founded in Lagos in 2015, Rele bet on Los Angeles’s art scene back in February 2021. Initially, the Nigerian gallery opened in Beverly Grove on Melrose Avenue, but then, on January 20th of this year, the gallery expanded into a 3,500-square-foot space in Melrose Hill. Founder Adenrele Sonariwo said that since the gallery was received with a warm welcome from the local art community, they felt inspired to broaden the scope of their work in L.A.

“Space consideration was a priority for us because our previous space was limiting in terms of the kinds of exhibitions we were able to stage,” Sonariwo told Artsy. The gallerist emphasized that, over the last few years, “there’s something special about the city,” and that it is “welcoming and open to engaging with diverse programs.”

“Our new space allows us to be able to present more programming with multiple shows happening at the same time,” said the gallerist, who is also opening a space in London later this month. “But most importantly, it allows us to become a true melting pot for the appreciation of African arts within the L.A. community. With this new space, we hope to give the community something they can own and embrace through our programming and community-focused initiatives.”

Portrait of Trevyn and Julian McGowan in the new L.A. space. Courtesy of Elizabeth Carababas/Southern Guild.

Founded in 2018 in Cape Town, Southern Guild is poised to make its mark on the Los Angeles art scene with its new outpost in Melrose Hill, opening in early 2024. Occupying a 5,000-square-foot space, the gallery will feature three large-scale exhibition rooms designed to host simultaneous exhibitions.

“Los Angeles represents an accelerator of possibility—an opportunity for cultural exchange and dialogue,” said founder and CEO Trevyn McGowan. “Our goal is to be permeable, to immerse ourselves in the creative community of L.A., [and] to gain insights from the diverse artistic practices unfolding in the city.

“We are eager to explore the perspectives of curators and artists shaping the American art landscape while also delving into the unique contributions of individuals with origins in Africa who now call America home, whether by choice or circumstance.”

McGowan’s connection to the city is a personal one, with the city’s “industrious spirit” and “vibrant energy” mirroring those of Johannesburg and Cape Town. “When we decided in 2022 to open an international space, Los Angeles called to me like a magnet,” the founder shared, expressing enthusiasm for the city’s ambitious art spaces and growing gallery network. “It’s a realm where new ground is constantly being broken, challenging conventional norms,” he noted, emphasizing “a seriousness that doesn’t take itself too seriously to play.”

Maxwell Rabb

Maxwell Rabb is Artsy’s Staff Writer.

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