Roberts Projects is thrilled to announce its next chapter with the move to a newly restored, expansive space located in a historic 1948 building in the Mid-Wilshire district of Los Angeles. This relocation marks the gallery’s 23rd year as a significant voice in the Los Angeles arts community.
The new creative venue will occupy a 10,000 sq ft historic automobile showroom and feature four exhibition spaces, a bookshop, and a permanent site-specific space conceived by the trailblazing artist Betye Saar. This major expansion will triple the gallery’s footprint and provide an experience that is reflective of the gallery’s mission and long-term commitment to Los Angeles.
Originally the former Max Barish Chrysler-Plymouth showroom, the new space is located at 442 South La Brea Avenue, two blocks north of Wilshire Boulevard. A private parking lot is adjacent to the building.
The architectural conversion was realized by the firm of Johnston Marklee which designed Roberts Projects’ Culver City location in 2008. The firm of Buro Happold led the lighting design.
The inaugural exhibition at the gallery will feature a new painting series by renowned artist Kehinde Wiley, represented by Roberts Projects since 2002. Kehinde Wiley: Colorful Realm, on view from January 21 through March 18, 2023, will mark the artist’s sixth solo show with the gallery.
To celebrate the opening of the new space and bookshop, Roberts Projects will release two major publications: Amoako Boafo and Betye Saar: Black Doll Blues.
A key feature of the gallery will be the main exhibition space, highlighted by a 30-foot-high vaulted ceiling with illuminated “wings.” Three other flexible exhibition spaces include cavities of light, which elegantly reveal architectural elements and provide a unique viewing experience.
A special, site-specific niche space created by Betye Saar will be a permanent feature of the gallery, offering an immersive, unexpected experience through rotating installations and projects. The first iteration will showcase a new assemblage work by Saar. Future installations will be organized by the artist and later expanded to diversified curatorial efforts.
I am drawn to architectural niches because they are unique and intimate spaces that are usually ignored or overlooked. Oftentimes they are a strange or odd shape: under a stairwell, in an old closet, or a skinny recess between walls. The niche I created for Roberts Projects is situated in a place meant to be discovered. I view the niche as an artistic challenge to create something beautiful and mysterious within it. – Betye Saar
Our gallery has always focused on developing and nurturing young talent, building careers and preserving the legacies of our multigenerational roster of artists. This new location will allow us to greatly expand our efforts on these fronts while offering new opportunities for our artists and continuing to grow our vigorous programming. – Julie Roberts, Co-Founder and Co-Owner
This new space is the next chapter in our long history of being at the forefront of the Los Angeles art scene. Now amidst a creative renaissance, the city is further transforming. With access to outstanding exhibitions year-round, dedicated collectors, and creative energy from those who call this city home, Los Angeles is poised to be one of the most important creative hubs for years to come. The gallery’s expansion will further amplify its dynamic program while simultaneously strengthening its ties to my hometown. – Bennett Roberts, Co-Founder and Co-Owner
The building was originally erected in 1948 as the Max Barish Chrysler-Plymouth dealership, “Auto Dealer to the Stars” where Fred Astaire, Lucille Ball, Cary Grant, Bob Hope and Michael Landon bought their automobiles.
Many of the original, distinctive features of the bow truss structure will be preserved, including the expansive vaulted ceiling, skylights and showroom floor. The street-facing façade will be completely converted to suit the gallery’s minimalist aesthetic. The end result will be a design that highlights the unique character of the space while offering a contemporary experience.
We are thrilled to be collaborating with Roberts Projects on their future gallery in Los Angeles, our second project together, within a quintessential bow truss commercial building from the 1940s on La Brea Avenue. For their new location, we are designing a collection of galleries that will support the diverse content and scale of artists’ work including site specific installations that have come to define the gallery. The spaces will range in scale from a large volumetric day-lit hall to intimate project rooms. The elemental façade and building mass will integrate the new gallery into the cultural landscape of the arts and architecture across the city. – Sharon Johnston, FAIA, Founder, Partner, Johnston Marklee