As Robert Crothers said, this was the last audience he had to convince about the importance of contemporary art in Los Angeles.
But the art-minded crowd listened patiently anyway as Crothers, publisher of the new Artcoast magazine, gave his pitch about L. A. as the new center for modern art at a party to kick off the magazine.
The setting was the R. M. Schindler house on North Kings Road in West Hollywood. The rarely seen house, surrounded by high hedges, was a key draw for the guests who attended the cocktail reception Monday night. Museum curators, artists, gallery owners, art scholars and art appreciators wandered through the house, which is owned by Friends of the Schindler House, admiring its minimalist architectural design and warming themselves by the pressed sawdust logs in the fireplaces.
Guests strolled out on the lawn for drinks and Chinese hors d’oeuvres, part of the Pacific Rim theme of the evening. The magazine, after all, is subtitled “Contemporary Art East and West,” and uses Los Angeles as a focal point for exploring “visual culture,” according to the premiere issue.
Darkness made perusing the magazine next to impossible, but guests did their best anyway to leaf through the heavy volume, which makes its debut this month at a hefty $6.
“We thought about having the reception in a restaurant,” Crothers said, “but I think people appreciate the fact that we did something different.”
The Guest List
Among the appreciative were artist David Hockney (with his two dachshunds in tow); magazine editor Kay Larson; Schindler house curator Robert Sweeney; producers Ray Stark and Douglas Cramer; Museum of Contemporary Art curator Mary Jane Jacobs; Stephanie Baron and Maurice Tuchman, curators at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; gallery owner Margo Levin; MOCA board member Fred Nicholas and wife Joan; Henry Hopkins, director of the Frederick R. Weisman Art Foundation; Al Nodal, city cultural affairs department general manager, and artists John Baldessari and Don Bachardy, who talked about his upcoming book of portraits of writer Christopher Isherwood.
Said Bachardy of the portraits, done in the last six months of Isherwood’s life: “It was the most extraordinary experience of my life--so far.”