The PDP gallery in Arts District. / S.C.

Opening his gallery in the United States makes more than one art professional dream. In recent years, Los Angeles, which has seen the number of influential institutions explode (Marciano Foundation, The Broad, Hauser & Wirth, Over the influence, etc.), has particularly attracted French merchants. There are as many new French galleries in Los Angeles as there are bakeries! To understand what makes it possible to succeed, French Morning has gathered advice from French people who have started.

1 / Understanding the American market
"It is essential to observe the relationship that Americans have with culture without disparaging it", explains Alexandre Latscha, director of the PDP gallery located in the Arts District. For him, their way of “consuming” culture is very different from that of the French. He was therefore recommended to set up a “photo call” or a selfie wall, as well as events, to capture the attention of visitors. "There is an obvious need for interaction", assures the gallery owner. He also advises to come upstream to see what's going on there, to chat with local professionals.

Depending on the style of work on display, you also have to be ready to "educate" the audience. This is what Agnès Penot, the manager of the 19C gallery in Beverly Hills, does. "You have to instill in them the history of art, the Angelinos do not necessarily know Théodore Rousseau or Georges Seurat."

2 / Test the market
Before going into the deep end, it is better to test the clientele. Unlike New York or Miami, Los Angeles begins with internationally renowned fairs (Frieze L.A. since last year). These events allow, in addition to attracting collectors from around the world, to target local customers. "THE. is a special place for galleries, it's not easy to identify potential collectors ”, explains Anna Milone, the curator of the Flax foundation. She then offers an option: to be welcomed upstream by other galleries to test themselves, to have shared spaces. Likewise, Anna Milone recommends not having only one gallery in Los Angeles, but to go elsewhere before. "Los Angeles is no longer the El Dorado of 5 or 6 years ago, prices have gone up a lot."

3 / Choose the right neighborhood
The 5Art gallery chose to settle on Melrose avenue, when PDP took up residence in the abundant Arts District: there is no shortage of trendy neighborhoods in the city of angels. “The choice of the district is essential because the Angelinos move very little. You have to be close to the collectors targeted ”, defends Anna Milone. She has observed a physical displacement of the galleries for the past ten years, with a concentration around Chinatown. “For“ hyped ”galleries with trendy artists, it would be more Mid-City, but it changes all the time”, she admits. An importance of the location that Agnès Penot (19C) took into account: “We chose Beverly Hills because we are in the 19th century. This is where our customers are. "

4 / Start by exhibiting local artists
“The city is very protective of its artists”says Anna Milone. Indeed, they are particularly valued by collectors. It would then be counterproductive for a gallery owner to land in the city of angels with only French or European artists. “You have to put the local scene into perspective, create a dialogue with foreign artists”, recommends the director of FLAX programs.

5 / Having a presence on the Net
This seems obvious, but we must not neglect the internet: having an attractive site, an updated inventory of works for sale, is essential. More than that, Agnès Penot recommends using sites like Artnet – a network of international galleries – to promote yourself and sell. “Since 2016, we have sold for several hundred thousand dollars through Artnet. Before the gallery opened, we had already sold two works to museums ”, quotes the manager of 19C. Who says presence on the web, says social networks. “You have to invest time and money to be visible on Instagram, to have a dedicated person who also makes videos”, argues Agnès Penot.

In light of the financial risks of renting a space for a gallery, Agnès Penot also questions the interest of having a physical presence when many transactions are carried out online. “We have a gallery for the educational aspect”, assures the Frenchwoman, "The 19th century is not so fashionable, so you have to show that it is beautiful, and that it adapts to modern decor (like the one in the gallery)."


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