A Hollywood Agency Opens an Art Space, but It Won’t ‘Function Like a Gallery’
By JORI FINKEL
AUGUST 31, 2016
LOS ANGELES — Ever since the art lawyer Joshua Roth joined United Talent Agency in early 2015 to start its first fine art division, gallery owners have wondered if the giant Hollywood agency would encroach on their business.
Now, the questioning is sure to grow louder, as Mr. Roth and his colleagues prepare to open a new gallery-like venue, U.T.A. Artist Space, in a former manufacturing building downtown.
The 4,500-square-foot space is to open on Sept. 17 with a rare to California survey of artwork by the photographer and filmmaker Larry Clark (“Kids”). Consigned by the New York gallery Luhring Augustine, the material for sale includes vintage photographs from the 1960s of teenagers shooting up and hooking up and the so-called “Heroin” series from 2014 — abstract oil paintings into which small plastic bags used for drug storage are embedded.
But U.T.A. Artist Space “will not function like a gallery,” said Mr. Roth, who currently represents artists including Ai Weiwei, Rashid Johnson and Judy Chicago in their film and entertainment ventures, while helping other clients navigate the art world. It will not hold regular exhibitions or develop artists’ careers like galleries do, Mr. Roth said. (It will also have limited public hours, Wednesdays through Saturdays.)
Rather, expect collaborations with out-of-town galleries eager to reach Los Angeles collectors, and one-off events that serve United Talent’s current roster or help to cultivate new clients. He mentioned a book reading in the works by a writer not represented by the agency and a musical showcase for “a very hot young band we represent.”
“Our offices in Beverly Hills give artists a spectacular place to go to do business,” added Jim Berkus, the chairman of United Talent. “And this space downtown is where artists will go to collaborate and create.” He noted that “artist” for him includes Wes Anderson, the Coen Brothers, Lena Dunham and Johnny Depp, among others.
The U.T.A. Artist Space is at 670 South Anderson Street in the Boyle Heights neighborhood skirting downtown, a few blocks from 356 Mission and Michele Maccarone’s West Coast branch.
“Right now, the heart and soul of creativity is in downtown Los Angeles,” Mr. Roth said.