See the wild side of the LA art scene at Soho Warehouse’s Garden and Tavern
The space at our DTLA House returns to industrial chic with an extended art collection
Thursday 20 April 2023 By Anastasiia Fedorova
Situated in a former storage facility-turned-recording studio in Downtown Los Angeles, Soho Warehouse spans seven floors of converted industrial space. The club embodies the spirit of the surrounding area: ever-evolving, diverse, and merging gritty and sleek. With all of Soho Warehouse's upcoming updates, the garden and tavern have been transformed in line with the urban yet welcoming aesthetic of the House.
The space now has an extended art collection capturing the vibrant LA art scene. A complete opposite of White Cube, it’s designed for gatherings, conversations and shared moments, and the art here reflects the eclectic nature of the city’s creativity.
The original collection for the space was curated by Kate Bryan, Soho House’s Global Director of Art, for the opening of the club in 2019. Returning artworks to the space created an opportunity to celebrate the original collection, but also expand the artist range to reflect the current moment. Anakena Paddon, Soho House’s Art Collection Manager, talked us through the curatorial process, the unique character of the LA art scene and what the city’s ever-present sunshine has to do with it.
A sense of being immersed in LA’s artistic talent
‘The tavern is a unique space to work with – it has massive triple-height ceilings that create an atmosphere resembling an urban cathedral. We wanted to play with that height and how much light you’re getting in Los Angeles, which is such a luxury.
‘It was a chance to invade the space with all of this colour, all these different representations of people’s work. If you spend a lot of time in there, you get the chance to look at every piece individually – but overall, you just get this sensation of being immersed in LA’s talent. And on a practical level, I think having art in restaurants is a great thing. It’s a conversation starter. People are curious, and if you’ve got a lull at your table, what better way to get it going again than to chat about what’s on the walls?’
New voices in the collection
‘There’s a strip of five pieces that are hung quite high, higher than we probably normally would go. One of them is by José Guadalupe Sanchez III, which depicts a reimagined truck. It’s a reflection of a deep history of car culture that’s present in Downtown Los Angeles, and especially Chicano car culture.
‘One of the central large works is by Dané Estes, which is actually a commission that he did for Soho.Home.Studio Melrose. His painting serves as a central altar point for this arrangement of works. It was just really fun to be able to play with the scale of the room – we don’t always have that opportunity when working on a more domestic scale.
‘We also included Anna Carey who did a lot of works for the bedrooms in Soho Warehouse, which would be familiar to members who stayed at the club before. Overall, the collection is continuing the theme of superstar pieces originally acquired by Kate Bryan, but with the addition of local artists who we really wanted to feature.’
The rebellious spirit of LA’s art scene
‘Historically, New York and London have been the formal global art hubs, and LA played the role of a naughty younger sibling. This history continues in part: here you get a feeling that people are open to taking risks, not bogged down by art history or the formal industry of the art world. The way that people are making art in California feels very free, more rebellious somehow.
‘You also get artists who come to LA from all over the world to embrace this openness. And to be completely honest, the light in Los Angeles changes the way that people produce work. It makes you see colours and subject matter differently, and it’s reflected a lot in the works created in the city.’
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