INSIGHTS | Conversation with Davida Nemeroff (Night Gallery)

Art Brussels returns for its 38th edition with a strong international line-up and a unique mix of established and emerging talent. One newcomer of note is Night Gallery from Los Angeles, featuring a dual presentation of Grant Levy-Lucero and Rose Marcus in the DISCOVERY section. For Art Brussels Insights, we spoke with Davida Nemeroff, the founder of Night Gallery, about her downtown L.A. gallery and her upcoming presentation in DISCOVERY at Art Brussels.

Conversation with Davida Nemeroff (founder Night Gallery)
and Louis-Philippe Van Eeckhoutte

Can you introduce us to Night Gallery?
This year, Night Gallery celebrates one decade as Los Angeles’s leading platform for emerging artists. I founded the gallery in 2010 in a strip-mall storefront in the city’s Lincoln Heights neighbourhood, before moving to our current location in L.A.’s downtown arts district in 2013. Over the past ten years, Night Gallery has become the locus of Los Angeles’s thriving visual art community. In 2016, we were described by The New York Times as “arguably the epicentre of the underground art world in Los Angeles”, and our artists have received accolades from the L.A. Times, Vogue, Artforum, Cultured, and GQ, among others. Our programming continues the joyfully experimental approach of our early years, while deeply investing in the careers of the emerging and mid-career artists we represent.

How did you decide to start Night Gallery?
I started Night Gallery soon after graduating from Columbia University in the winter of 2010. It was also soon after I moved to Los Angeles. The gallery began as post-studio platform for my friends and collaborators to continue the conversations we had started in graduate school. The artists in the very first Night Gallery show, Paul Heyer, Mira Dancy and Anna Rosen, are all artists I went to Columbia with, and they remain artists with whom I have continued to work and grow with.

Where does the name of the gallery come from?
The name Night Gallery was more of a description than anything else. For the first three years the gallery was in operation, it was exactly that: a night gallery, with hours starting at 10 PM and going until 2 AM. I soon learned that was unheard of in L.A., but I believe it was my perseverance with keeping steady hours that eventually led to Night Gallery’s success as place for artists to gather and deliberate on their work. 

What does being part of Art Brussels 2020 for the first time mean for Night Gallery?
We are thrilled to participate in Art Brussels as ambassadors of L.A.’s thriving independent gallery scene. As Los Angeles’s profile rises in the international art community, fairs like Art Brussels provide vital opportunities to engage our artists’ work in a global arts conversation, expanding and enriching the dialogue they have begun in Los Angeles. 

What will you be presenting in DISCOVERY at Art Brussels 2020? 
We will be presenting work by the Los Angeles-based ceramicist Grant Levy-Lucero and the New York-based multimedia artist Rose Marcus. Both artists’ work addresses the experience of contemporary urban living, using the quotidian features of city streets to speak to overarching societal tensions, as well as the perceptual euphoria that can be found in the 21st-century city. Levy-Lucero’s ceramic vessels feature the artist’s hand-painted interpretations of famous brand logos, speaking to the subjective experience of contemporary commerce and tying its patterns to traditions of trade from antiquity. Marcus’s multi-media works build sculptural interventions around her own documentary photographs of the development that characterizes present-day Manhattan, pointing out its fraught social dynamics while celebrating its formal transcendence.

Can you describe the current art scene in downtown L.A.?
Los Angeles’s downtown art scene is currently in the middle of a very widely acknowledged renaissance, which dovetails with Night Gallery’s own history. More and more artists are moving to L.A., oftentimes simply out of a desire for larger and more affordable studio space, and once they find the electric energy that meets them here, they stay. The success of independent galleries like Night Gallery has fostered a sense of community between local artists, as well as with the collectors and curators who frequent our space. L.A. right now is a rare city that gets global attention while sustaining a tight-knit local culture. 

How do you look at Brussels from L.A.?
From the vantage point of L.A., Brussels is considered a site of esteemed arts traditions that gives space for tremendous international cultural exchange, with a sophistication and seriousness of purpose that isn’t to be found in most cities.

Do you have any advice for young, aspiring art collectors? 
It is always important to start with what you love and to do good research from there. Find young galleries and stick with them – you will see first-hand how you have supported artists whose work you love, and you will be on the ground floor for the discovery of emerging voices. 

1. Davida Nemeroff, photograph by Joe Pugliese
2. Rose Marcus, Front, installation view at Night Gallery, 2019
3. Rose Marcus, Bust, 2019
4. Grant Levy-Lucero, Central, installation view at Night Gallery, 2017
5. Grant Levy-Lucero, Melissa 99¢ and Up, Sugar, 2017

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