There are movies that we never forget, couldn’t even if we tried to, they were that good. And the same can be said of past galleries that were once filled with great art; they too remain embedded in our minds. Unlike films, there’s no gallery Netflix to recapture those moments. And yet, in a way, there is.
By keeping my ear close to the ground, I’ve heard that Yoram Gil will soon be reopening his gallery, as good as ever, but now within a brave new virtual environment called “Art Porticos”. When Gil had his brick and mortar gallery above the Koplin Del Rio Gallery on Robertson Boulevard, I always made it a point to visit it regularly. What was it about his former gallery that always attracted me? What was it that I’ve missed since he closed his gallery? What is it that now excites me about recapturing those great past visits to his gallery?
The answer is not hard to find. Most people think that walking into a gallery is all about the artist, but it’s also about the owner or director. In a sense galleries are engaged, as well as artists, in creating art. Which artists they choose to exhibit is as much a skill as what strokes or colors an artist selects. How they hang or present artwork is as important as how an artist juxtaposes forms. Anyone who often visits galleries quickly learns which galleries do justice to their artists and collectors.
It was in Gil’s gallery that I was first introduced to one of my favorite artists, the Argentinean Gustavo Lopez Armentia. Gil could really pick them, presenting such artists as Moti Cohen, Gary Weisman, Peter Voulkos, Nona Orbach and others. Rarely did I enter his gallery and not see the work of artists that captivated my attention. Gil knew his métier; he knew how to find artists who were interested in fresh visual explorations instead of dashing out cliché after cliché. When I visited The Yoram Gil Gallery, I shared the visual world that he established around himself. But I was also sharing his selective sense of what constituted original creations of art.
Gil’s resurrection will include some new talent, the Israeli artists Hagit Shahal, Michal Vitels, Rachel Wolf, and the LA artist Carol Sears. I’m particularly looking forward to viewing the striking Bacon-esque works of Michal Vitels, with each figure dynamically placed and integrated within a limited palette background.
Soon, very soon, I shall again be able to enter the wonderful visual world of Yoram Gil, but this time around I’ll be able to do so without having to step out of the house.