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Sneak Peek: Inside the mega new Hauser Wirth & Schimmel gallery in downtown L.A.

Sneak Peek: Inside the mega new Hauser Wirth & Schimmel gallery in downtown L.A.
The new Hauser Wirth & Schimmel gallery in downtown Los Angeles will have a gand opening on March 13. Above, the South Gallery, with pieces by Louise Bourgeois and Ruth Asawa. (Carolina A. Miranda / Los Angeles Times)

In a few days, Hauser Wirth & Schimmel, L.A.'s newest art space, will be throwing its doors open to the public. On Thursday, I had the good fortune to attend the press preview, which was rife with sculpture, feminist theory and avocado toasts.

The exhibition is beguiling — a survey of sculpture by women from the post-World War II era to the present, curated by gallery partner Paul Schimmel and UC Santa Barbara scholar Jenni Sorkin. It features key works by vital 20th century figures such as Louise Bourgeois, who is represented by sculptures from some of her earliest one-woman shows in New York in the early 1950s.

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A preview of the Hauser Wirth & Schimmel gallery in a revamped 19th century flour mill in downtown Los Angeles. It’s set to open to the public on March 13 with its inaugural show "Revolution in the Making: Abstract Sculpture by Women, 1947-2016." (Jeff Amlotte)

There are other gems too: An ethereal piece made out of gold threads by Lygia Pape that seems to vanish as you approach, and a pair of sculptures by Eva Hesse that hadn't been seen together since they were first shown at a gallery in New York in the 1960s. (For a thorough overview of the show, see the review by Times critic Christopher Knight.)

But no preview is just about the art — and in the case of Hauser Wirth & Schimmel, a good part of the appeal was the site: a suite of meticulously spruced-up industrial buildings and a sunny courtyard that, even at the press preview, was the place to see and be seen.

I imagine that once the new, on-site locally sourced, seasonal-everything restaurant opens this summer, the place is gonna be rife with blowouts and air-kissing.

In other words, the scene here is the bluest of blue chip. Thankfully for us scrubs, the art part will be gloriously free.

Here's my photo tour of the press preview:

The morning began in the South Gallery atHauser Wirth & Schimmel, with remarks from founder Iwan Wirth, who noted the presence of a number of California artists on the gallery's roster. The orange totebags kept members of the press readily identifiable.
The morning began in the South Gallery atHauser Wirth & Schimmel, with remarks from founder Iwan Wirth, who noted the presence of a number of California artists on the gallery's roster. The orange totebags kept members of the press readily identifiable. (Carolina A. Miranda / Los Angeles Times)
The first gallery contained numerous works by California sculptor Ruth Asawa, who often wove one piece inside another and another. An incredible level of craft and a highlight of the show.
The first gallery contained numerous works by California sculptor Ruth Asawa, who often wove one piece inside another and another. An incredible level of craft and a highlight of the show. (Carolina A. Miranda / Los Angeles Times)
The exhibition features half a dozen sculptures by the inimitable Lee Bontecou -- all of which are a wonder to examine for their ferocity. Included was a rare 1966 wall sculpture from the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago that is illuminated from within.
The exhibition features half a dozen sculptures by the inimitable Lee Bontecou -- all of which are a wonder to examine for their ferocity. Included was a rare 1966 wall sculpture from the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago that is illuminated from within. (Carolina A. Miranda / Los Angeles Times)
Reporterschatter before a scupture byClaire Falkenstein, a longtime California artist who created her own solar system out of copper and wire. "They're beautiful in a primal sort of way," says exhibition curator Paul Schimmel of the works.
Reporterschatter before a scupture byClaire Falkenstein, a longtime California artist who created her own solar system out of copper and wire. "They're beautiful in a primal sort of way," says exhibition curator Paul Schimmel of the works. (Carolina A. Miranda / Los Angeles Times)
A research lab behind the South Gallery features documents, photographs and other ephemera tied to artist Louise Bourgeois — including this vintage copy of Artforum featuring the artist's work on the cover.
A research lab behind the South Gallery features documents, photographs and other ephemera tied to artist Louise Bourgeois — including this vintage copy of Artforum featuring the artist's work on the cover. (Carolina A. Miranda / Los Angeles Times)
The trip from one gallery to the next required crossing the outdoor courtyard, where these adorable avocado toasts were being served.I missed the toasts because I was taking pictures.Thankfully this means I also missed the sight of journalists eating.
The trip from one gallery to the next required crossing the outdoor courtyard, where these adorable avocado toasts were being served.I missed the toasts because I was taking pictures.Thankfully this means I also missed the sight of journalists eating. (Carolina A. Miranda / Los Angeles Times)
In the courtyard was this striking sculpture by Jackie Winsor titled "30 to 1Bound Trees," originally made in the early 1970s and re-createdfor the purpose of the exhibition.
In the courtyard was this striking sculpture by Jackie Winsor titled "30 to 1Bound Trees," originally made in the early 1970s and re-createdfor the purpose of the exhibition. (Carolina A. Miranda / Los Angeles Times)
The trip across the courtyard ledto another suite of galleries that featured a number of historic works — such as "Wheel With Rope," 1973, by Magdalena Abakanowicz. It is on loan to Hauser Wirth & Schimmel from the National Museum in Wroclaw, Poland.
The trip across the courtyard ledto another suite of galleries that featured a number of historic works — such as "Wheel With Rope," 1973, by Magdalena Abakanowicz. It is on loan to Hauser Wirth & Schimmel from the National Museum in Wroclaw, Poland. (Carolina A. Miranda / Los Angele /)
The exhibition contained works well-known and rare — including this pair of latex sculptures by Eva Hesse, which had not been together since they were first shown at the Leo Castelli gallery in New York in 1968.
The exhibition contained works well-known and rare — including this pair of latex sculptures by Eva Hesse, which had not been together since they were first shown at the Leo Castelli gallery in New York in 1968. (Carolina A. Miranda / Los Angeles Times)
I particularly enjoyed these cedar sculptures by New York-based artist Ursula von Rydingsvard, "Untitled (Nine Cones)," from 1976. The pieces were first installed on landfill in lower Manhattan in 1977.
I particularly enjoyed these cedar sculptures by New York-based artist Ursula von Rydingsvard, "Untitled (Nine Cones)," from 1976. The pieces were first installed on landfill in lower Manhattan in 1977. (Carolina A. Miranda / Los Angeles Times)
A pair of sculptures by Lynda Benglis: left, "Eat Meat," 1969-75, and "Wing," 1970, which are fabricated out of aluminum.
A pair of sculptures by Lynda Benglis: left, "Eat Meat," 1969-75, and "Wing," 1970, which are fabricated out of aluminum. (Carolina A. Miranda / Los Angeles Times)
An unfinished warehouse space contained sculptures by contemporary artists, including Dutch-American sculptor Lara Schnitger. In the foreground is "Notorious Five," from 2016.
An unfinished warehouse space contained sculptures by contemporary artists, including Dutch-American sculptor Lara Schnitger. In the foreground is "Notorious Five," from 2016. (Carolina A. Miranda / Los Angeles Times)
The breezeway connecting 2nd and3rd streets features "Forgiving Strands," an installation by Shinique Smith. The breezeway will be open to the public once the gallery opens, but because it's privately operated, I'm curious to see what happens the moment the firsthomeless person tries to traverse it.
The breezeway connecting 2nd and3rd streets features "Forgiving Strands," an installation by Shinique Smith. The breezeway will be open to the public once the gallery opens, but because it's privately operated, I'm curious to see what happens the moment the firsthomeless person tries to traverse it. (Carolina A. Miranda / Los Angeles Times)

"Revolution in the Making: Abstract Sculpture by Women, 1947-2016," goes on view Sunday and runs through Sept. 4 at Hauser Wirth & Schimmel. 901 E. Third St., downtown Los Angeles, hauserwirthschimmel.com.

Find me on Twitter @cmonstah.

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