Go Behind the Scenes of the LA Art World with Brenda Williams

This fall we’re looking forward to working once again with Brenda Williams to offer Contemporary Los Angeles Art. Brenda is a local art adviser and independent curator specializing in emerging contemporary artists. Her class will meet over six Saturdays, and explore areas in the Los Angeles art world not usually accessible to the public. Visits will focus on private home collections, artists’ studios, and curator-led gallery tours. Each six-hour meeting will include multiple location visits.

To read more about the class, and register for fall, click here.

We spoke with Brenda about her background, and what artists she’s watching now.

How did you get interested in art collecting, and what were your first experiences in the art world?

While living in Italy I worked for Bonomo gallery where the owner and her daughter honed my taste for contemporary art. When I returned to the states, I became more interested in African art and textiles. I fell in love with the masks and statues from various tribes in Africa. The textiles by makers from around the world (Africa, Asia, South and North American tribal areas) were so amazing (ikat, tie dye and embroidery), I couldn’t resist their beauty. Later I collected various types of tea services.

What artists or galleries are you excited about right now?

It’s been a very difficult 2 years trying to see art in person. On the few occasions when the city let down it’s Covid restrictions, galleries permitted visitors with an appointment. I got to see a few in-person shows. Galleries and museums pivoted quickly to offer viewings and other programing online. Art seen through the lens of a camera is very different than seeing it in person. No one is happier than me that we can return to viewing art in person. I visited UTA Gallery, Nicodim Gallery and the new spaces by jil moniz, downtown on Spring and Stefan Simchowitz on Beverly Blvd. As for artists, Amy Sherald really opened my eyes. Simphiwe Ndzube is beyond brilliant. Another rising star is April Bey who’s current exhibition is at the California African American Museum until January 2022.

What do you feel is something unique Los Angeles has to offer art lovers?

The unique thing LA has to offer art lovers right now is an overwhelming amount of resources to find new, emerging and established artists, at new galleries and museums. You can begin viewing and collecting art, from the lowest to the top spectrum of the art market. The city has exploded in artists and galleries over the past 7 years and you can see work from local and world renown artists in under a 25 mile radius. There is literally a gallery or small museum in every neighborhood.

Which collections or works are you looking forward to sharing with your students?

The current exhibitions at the California African American Museum (CAAM). The upcoming portrait show at LACMA that will include the portrait of Barack Obama by Kehinde Wiley. Many galleries have not yet posted their upcoming fall exhibitions but, I am looking forward to sharing the adventure of exploring the galleries and museums with my students.

For those who are interested in learning more about the art world in Los Angeles, how would you recommend getting started?

Visit as many museums and galleries as you can. Don’t be afraid to ask a lot of questions. Read local art based publications like CARLA and Artillery. There are other more established worldwide publications, I think art enthusiasts can find those. And if that leaves you wanting more, take my class Contemporary Los Angeles Art this fall.

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