Zemer Peled & Mark Bennett at Mark Moore Gallery
By Patrick Quinn
Through November 5th
Saturday, November 5th will be your last chance to see the excellent two-artist show currently on display at the Mark Moore gallery. In the main gallery are sculptures by Israeli born artist Zemer Peled, and the second room debuts six new drawings by Mark Bennett. Though vastly different in content and style, the two artists oddly complement each other. It’s the kind of appealing juxtaposition one expects from a venue as respected as the Mark Moore Gallery. Which is sadly ironic, considering that at 6:00pm that evening the gallery will permanently close its doors to the public.
Founded in 1984, the gallery was originally at Bergamot Station in Santa Monica. For the next two decades, Mark Moore represented artists whose work was acquired by major institutions and shown at Art Fairs around the world. In 2010, it moved to Culver City, a quiet neighborhood that slept for decades in the shadow of the film industry. But as one gallery after another opened on La Cienega Boulevard, it was obvious there was a new sheriff in town. Culver City became a creative focal point not just for the city, but the art world in general. But in recent years, the way people do business has changed. More specifically, the way people collect art has changed. On that subject, Mark Moore had this to say- “Young people don’t seem to have the interest or inclination to collect, while those who have been driving the market seem to be winding down their collecting as they enter retirement age.”
This sense of change has led other preeminent gallery owners to turn off the lights and call it a day. The Rosamund Felson Gallery ended a 40-year run with a celebratory group show that featured work by every represented artist. The Margo Leavin Gallery recently closed after 42 years in the business. In 2015, both the Frank Lloyd Gallery and Angles Gallery went dark after decades of success. But to paraphrase an old Scorpions song, the winds of change blow both ways. Despite these closures, the Los Angeles art scene appears stronger than ever. The Broad has attracted capacity crowds in its first year. International galleries such as Sprueth Magers and Hauser & Worth have opened venues that are closer in scale to small museums. Alternative spaces such as the Mistake Room and Night Gallery are thriving. Yet change seems inevitable. And if this truly is Mark Moore’s final gallery show, it’s a worthy denouement.
The nine pieces on display make up Zemer Peled’s first ever solo show in Los Angeles. Except for one piece from 2015, everything was completed this year and it shows. Each piece feels related to the others organically as if they had all been cultivated from a single crop. The labor-intensive work consists of handcrafted porcelain shards assembled into singular pieces that almost seem alive. One thinks of coral from a reef or sea anemones from some long-forgotten Jacques Cousteau underwater documentary.
In the second room are six pieces by Mark Bennett, his first solo show since 2005. Relying solely on memory, not to mention numerous TV reruns, he creates architectural elevations of famous houses from popular TV shows. The work is a fascinating mix of realistic detail and whimsical nostalgic. Mike Brady would be proud.
Prints of past work by Mark Bennett are available through the gallery. Mark Moore will continue to represent artists, advise collectors, and possibly orchestrate some pop-up shows in different venues.
The gallery is located at 5790 Washington Blvd. Culver City, CA 90232 (310) 453-3031. Their hours are Tuesday – Saturday from 11:00 to 6:00.