In March 2016, Paul Schimmel, former chief curator at MOCA teamed up with Swiss gallery juggernaut Hauser & Wirth to open one of the largest and most ambitious artistic spaces in the world. Natch, it’s in the Arts District. Housed inside a former Pillsbury flour mill next to train tracks and the LA River, the Hauser, Wirth & Schimmel super-complex includes 30,000 square feet of exhibition space, a bookstore, a research area, a planting garden, a restaurant, and a multi-disciplinary arts center. It will host curated museum-grade exhibitions with accompanying public programming, making it unlike any other commercial gallery space in the city, or for that matter, in the Americas.
The arrival of Hauser, Wirth & Schimmel is no doubt a validation of the neighborhood of warehouse’s newfound cultural authority over the international art community, but to see where this authority began, look no further than the exterior of the gallery’s 100-year-old building. The brick walls will remain covered with original works of street art, made from spray paint and wheat paste, that reflect the hardscrabble life in the neighborhoods surrounding Arts District. You know, before the Europeans started calling it that.