‘I’ve always wanted to have an art production hub, which could be used for exhibitions, communication, activism, and artists helping other artists,’ says British-born artist Anthony James of his latest venture, There-There, an art space partnership with curator Lauri Firstenberg, founder of the non-profit LAxART, and real estate investor and architectural preservationist, Cyrus Etemad.
The name of the gallery space in East Hollywood is a nod to Gertrude Stein. ‘One night at dinner,’ says Firstenberg, ‘Cheim & Read’s [partner and sales director] Adam Sheffer looked at my tattoo of Gertrude Stein’s letterhead that reads, “A Rose is a Rose is a Rose”, and I said we need a name or graphic presence like this. He then blurted out, “There is no there there”— a comment Stein once made about her hometown of Oakland, California — and we all agreed that everything has changed in the art world. This is an unstable time of transition.’
‘When Lauri came to me with the idea,’ James says, ‘it didn't take long for me to agree to be a partner, as her curational genius and generosity had always inspired me.’ Firstenberg adds, ‘There-There ‘will home in on the relationship between an artist and curator. In light of the election and post election climate, it seemed like the right time to create a space for gathering our community to take risks and open ourselves up to new ideas.’ The inaugural exhibition, ‘Absolute Zero’, was curated by Firstenberg and features new work by James.