The unspoken reason why galleries are flocking to Los Angeles

Galleries like Sprüth Magers and Hauser Wirth & Schimmel quietly but fiercely compete for the city’s artists.

The grand openings of the Los Angeles branches of European galleries Sprüth Magers and Hauser & Wirth (called Hauser Wirth & Schimmel), on 23 February and 13 March respectively, are sure to generate even more buzz about the booming Los Angeles art scene. Gallerists who have moved here in the past have praised the “energy” (Dominique Lévy), the “freshness” (Perry Rubenstein), “the ability to spread out” (Michele Maccarone) and the “exciting artists” (Adam Lindemann, of Venus Over Los Angeles). Or, as Lindemann put it more plainly, “The weather is better and there is a lot more room.”

Some of the buzz is well earned, especially when it comes to cheaper downtown real estate and the great artists working and teaching here. But there is another strong incentive behind so many galleries making the move, one that too often goes unmentioned.  Many galleries are fiercely, if discreetly, vying for market control over artists, with high-end galleries such as Hauser Wirth & Schimmel and Sprüth Magers competing directly for the startling number of major Los Angeles-based artists who lack gallery representation there.

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