An “Angeleno Salon”
Prohibition Gallery is a little gem that sparkles on the corner of W. Washington Blvd., in the Culver City Arts District. It’s hard to miss given an extraordinary mural covering the exterior wall of the gallery – which serves as a block-long revolving canvas for its visiting roster of talent. Prohibition Gallery, founded in 2011 by Glenn Williams, fosters a fertile environment for the artists who show there. There is a rare sense of camaraderie and generosity between its artists that one finds lacking in the business of Art. The openings are packed and the collectors know they are seeing art with serious thought and talent behind the work. The fertility and excitement in the air are contagious, and Williams has succeeded in creating a crucial mecca for talent.
As precedent to opening his own gallery, Glenn Williams made a name for himself as a highly successful fashion designer specializing in men and women’s couture. He trained in the ancient technique of tailoring: sculpting his designs with the detail and hand-made craftsmanship that is the source of original work. His work has been profiled in publications such as Vogue, GQ, the Wall Street Journal and the Los Angeles Times. Williams has had a love for art and artists from a young age, thus opening a gallery was a natural evolution of this life-long passion. He started collecting in his early twenties and has continued to search out artists and support them throughout his life. His catalogue includes Jean-Michel Basquiat, Louise Nevelson, Ovadia Alkara, the photography of Joyce Tenneson, Jonathan Borofsky and Salvador Dali. As a champion of artists, he wanted to do something more meaningful than just collect. Having a gallery that supported local artists and highlighted the unique culture of those who live and create in L.A. was a seminal way to show his passion for art and undiscovered talent. Within two years, Prohibition has become a hub of activity, with artists exhibiting talked about original work and sales being made to a variety of important collectors with associations to museums and galleries both locally and nationally. The gallery is an “artists‘ haven”, a place buzzing with creative freedom, new ideas, and a synergy between artist and gallery that yields an exciting, albeit, daring final product in a celebration of contemporary art. One can feel the electricity created by their unconventional guest curator program – finding success with Willliams’ encouragement and collaboration. Any way you look at it, Prohibition is a one-of-a-kind “Angeleno Salon.”
Emerging local artist Michael Gittes, son of film producer, Harry Gittes, exhibited his first sold out solo show at Prohibition in 2011 to a star-studded crowd of art collectors. Prohibition hosted two more successful shows of Gittes’ works at the gallery since, and the artist has experienced further accolades in his career – exhibiting at The Armory Show New York City in May 2013, and will be seen at the upcoming Art Basel Miami in December.
Eliot Saarinen, another Angeleno artist (yes, he’s related to the great Eero Saarinen) first exhibited with Prohibition in 2012 to a flurry of eager admirers who have continued to follow and collect his work. Saarinen has constructed an impressively diverse body of work, in turn amassing local and national collectors. Saarinen has gone on to exhibit highly successful shows at Santa Monica’s Bergamot Station (2012), and Knoll Factory in Austin, Texas (2014).
Wyatt Mills, a Los Angeles native and trained at the School of Visual Arts in New York, is yet another fierce young talent who exhibited in April 2013 at Prohibition Gallery. Mills has since gone on to embark on a number of upcoming projects including involvement in four exhibitions in 2013 alone. He will also be showing a new body ofwork at the Brewery Artwalk, Los Angeles (October 2013), and Miami Project, Art Basel (December 2013).
Next up in October is a show that Williams is especially excited about: Jeff Kies. Kies is the quintessential Los Angeles artist. Born in Ohio, he studied at the Columbus College of Art and Design, came to L.A. in his early twenties and has been making art and showing it here ever since. His work can be found in numerous private collections. Kies’ early Neo-Symbolist work makes one think of an L.A. Paul Klee. Kies’ upcoming exhibition encompasses a new series of work which is purely abstract. He’s been working on a larger scale, using a pre-Roman era style called “verre eglomise” or reverse glass painting. The effect is strikingly complex, making one think of a beloved landscape through the veil of one’s dreams. They are a personal vision, dense with color, detailed with an elusive magic that transports the viewer.
Floating back in time to the unique vision of the early Parisian-American art collectors like the Steins and Cones, one can imagine their excitement in championing a then unknown Picasso or Matisse. If you come to Prohibition, you might find an emerging artist who you can’t help but talk about. More than a home for contemporary artists – a unique social and intellectual setting with a modern-day twist – Prohibition Gallery is the definitive Angeleno Salon.