"At the Edge of the Sun" Freeze Frames a Moment in Los Angeles' Rich Art History

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For all the attention Los Angeles has received over the past 5 years as an epicenter of contemporary art, there is the question that just simply asks, “Well, what the hell is actually going on there?” It seems like every decade, LA is allowed to give the world the reminder that it is, indeed, an art powerhouse, still the secondary city to NYC’s art dominance, but a prevailing art capital nonetheless. But this movement since the pandemic feels different. The buzz is different, the migration of galleries is surely different and the sheer amount of artists seems to have blossomed and exploded. And that always begs the question of what is the art scene? What is it? Transplants are in abundance, but what is the lifeblood of LA’s aesthetic and the DNA of its art output? At the Edge of the Sun is as close as it going to get to, well, getting it right. And in getting it right in the moment, it gives us a context of where it is going into the future. 

Jeffrey Deitch has never shied from getting into the meat of a movement, or a scene, and given it a chance to shine with the brightest lights upon it. He did it with Street Market, Art in the Streets, Shattered Glass and countless solo shows. At the Edge of the Sun, again, feels different. There is a sense of a collective movement here with these dozen artists that goes beyond what a gallery can show. And that is what makes the exhibition so special, so surprising, and one of the best shows we have seen at Deitch in LA. The gallerist let’s the art itself and the artists breathe, and breathe life into the space. Each gets a chance to showcase their talent, skill and voice, and no matter the aesthetic and identity each artist showcases, the sheer size of the gallery gives you a chance as the viewer to take it in. 

So what is the show exactly? It’s described as “works informed by underground economies, California landscapes, night life, local histories, systemic architecture, surveillance, youth culture, public transportation, backyard kickbacks and more.” And you can’t help but see graffiti’s influence, whether active or just as a backdrop aesthetic. It feels like the unique visual landscape of LA, the panoramas and endless sprawl and cultures literally blending into one another, is present in each work. 

But what was the most remarkable about this presentation was the support, teamwork, collaboration and camaraderie that was so palpable throughout. You hear the stories of time past, the Haring and Basquiat era, the early days of London street art, the surrealists, Dadaists, these moments in time that are associated not only with artists and a place and a look, and you see that LA really does have it’s thing right now. And this is it: it’s Diana Yesenia Alvarado, Michael Alvarez, Mario Ayala, Karla Ekaterine Canseco, rafa esparza, Alfonso Gonzalez Jr., Ozzie Juarez, Maria Maea, Jaime Muñoz, Guadalupe Rosales, Gabriela Ruiz and Shizu Saldamando. This is their moment, but also the city has it’s moment. —Evan Pricco

All photos by Evan Pricco unless otherwise noted

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