LACE both champions and challenges the art of our time by fostering artists who innovate, explore, and risk. We move within and beyond our four walls to provide opportunities for diverse publics to engage deeply with contemporary art. In doing so, we further dialogue and participation between and among artists and those audiences.
Founded in 1978 by a small group of artists, LACE (Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions) has become an internationally recognized pioneer among art institutions. Uniquely positioned among commercial galleries and major art establishments, our nonprofit organization provides a local venue that advocates and exhibits innovations in art-making. By encouraging experimentation, LACE has nurtured not only several generations of young artists, but also newly emerging art forms such as performance art, video art, digital art, and installation-based work. LACE has presented the work of over 5,000 artists in over 3,000 programs and events, which have provided the impetus for dialogue about contemporary arts and culture for over 30 years.
Many of the artists that LACE has supported over the years, being once unknown, have gone on to become influential and admired individuals in their field, including Laurie Anderson, John Baldessari, Chris Burden, Karen Finley, Dan Graham, Gronk, Ishmael Houston-Jones, Mike Kelley, Martin Kersels, Barbara Kruger, Linda Nishio, Tony Oursler, Jorge Pardo, Rudy Perez, Paper Tiger TV, Adrian Piper, Nancy Rubins, Ed Ruscha, Jim Shaw, Diana Thater, Bill Viola, Johanna Went, and Bruce and Normon Yonemoto.
Since moving to Hollywood Boulevard in the mid-1990s, LACE has become a key intermediary between the local community and the contemporary art world. Our prominent spot on the Hollywood Walk of Fame allows for a broad and diverse audience. Since contemporary artists’ interests have moved beyond the gallery itself and into public arenas, LACE’s programs encourage the public to encounter art in their daily existence so that they are engaged by it and also participate in it. LACE has been deeply involved in the creative vibrancy of the Hollywood community and looks forward to expanding its reach through programming efforts.
LACE’s programming is either free or low-cost, making it accessible to all audiences. Just in 2008, LACE produced an exciting range of creative and educational activities, including 11 exhibitions, more than 40 public programs, and a mobile public art project. These presentations served nearly 16,000 audience members, and showcased the work of 195 artists and 18 curators. LACE has more than doubled its education and outreach offerings since 2005 and plans to continue this expansion.
LACE has developed ongoing education and outreach programs in order to build audiences and provoke discussions of exhibitions. These programs include the Salon Series, which are experiential events for adults; ArtWorks, providing hands-on art making workshops for at-risk youth; and the Gallery Guides Program, which provides gallery visitors with a point of entry for the artwork and its concepts.
At a time when public funding for arts education has diminished, and access to the arts becomes more rare for all populations, LACE strives to increase meaningful dialogue between our institution and our diverse community. LACE fosters artistic collaboration and provides Los Angeles audiences with access to stimulating ideas and artworks. These original guiding principles remain at the very heart of the organization today. While the contemporary art community in Los Angeles has grown and expanded over the years, the need for a venue like LACE—free from commercial constraint and unbound by the restrictions imposed by larger institutions—is more essential to the vitality and diversity of that community than ever before.
Recently celebrating its 30th anniversary, LACE has become a part of LA’s history and continues to innovate into the city’s future.