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Gallery owners discover the wide open spaces of Boyle Heights

maccarone

The new Maccarone gallery on Mission Street

BOYLE HEIGHTS —  The western edge of Boyle Heights that dips down to the L.A. River is filled with brick warehouses, factories, food processing centers other commercial buildings. But now the industrial lowlands of Boyle Heights (should we call it Lo-Bo?) are undergoing a change as a different kind of tenant moves in: art galleries.

This weekend, New York’s Maccarone gallery opens its Los Angeles outpost in a sprawling 35,000-square-foot industrial space on Mission Road,  reports the New York Times.  It joins about a half-dozen art spaces now found nearby between the 101 Freeway and the L.A. River.

Down the street from Maccarone is 356 Mission, which hosts an going series of art openings, readings and other performances, and Little Big Man Gallery. Meanwhile, another cluster of art spaces can be be found nearby on Anderson Street, according to Curate L.A.  That includes Venus Over Los Angeles, the West Coast outpost of another New York gallery that opened in June in a 14,000-square-foot former warehouse now painted pink.

Why are these galleries and art spaces opening up here, across the river from the Downtown Arts District?   Low-cost and large spaces. Well, it’s relatively low cost if you come from Manhattan or San Francisco, where some Boyle Heights’ new gallery owners have lived and worked.

Gallery owner Michelle Maccarone told the New York Times that her new Boyle Heights space is twice as big as her West Village gallery.  “I can’t grow like this in New York,” she said.

Venus Over Los Angeles gallery on Anderson Street

Venus Over Los Angeles gallery on Anderson Street

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14 comments

  1. I have to admit, the NY Times article made me throw up in my mouth a little bit. There’s something about how pioused these New Yorkers and San Franciscans come across that makes a native Angelino like myself roll my eyes in disgust.

  2. Lo-Bo?!? Are you F’n serious? We’ve already accepted the fact that you don’t know where the eastside actually is, but now you’re just making stuff up. The area of west Boyle Heights that you’re referring to is called the flats. The flats stretch from north (think Aliso) to the south where these building are.

  3. Art is culturally unwelcoming! They must be stopped!

  4. For me, the hardest thing about these NYT pieces about LA is that they repeatedly view things here via comparatives with NYC. (“there’s an energy around them that’s exciting to me — it reminds me of New York” — “the galleries are beginning to give the area the urban cultural density that Los Angeles mostly lacks” — “I feel like here it’s not so cutthroat”).

    Because NYC and LA are so different, these comparatives are mostly beside the point. It is not helpful to list the contrasts between the pineapple and the watermelon.

    Resorting to comparatives is a side effect of ignorance of the city. Pity them. They also don’t have enough local sources (note how many ex-NY’ers are in the piece), and, not knowing the city, tend to slip into cliches (“In true Los Angeles fashion, the broker drove prospective clients around from the front door to the back, judging it too big simply to walk through.”) Gag me with a spoon.

    Yet, hey, at least they are covering the story.

    • This used to bother me too, but I feel more sympathetic these days.

      Los Angeles can be a hard place for even native Angelenos (like myself) to get their heads around. It must seem vast and intimidating to people from other places, especially people who think they already know everything worth knowing.

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