Art of the City: The Connectors Who Make the Scene

Call them what you will, but their best work may be how they bring other artists together

theessentials_masa_t Former punk roadie for Kris Kristofferson and in-house photographer for Frank Gehry, Josh White made his name as the go-to lensman for most of L.A.’s heavyweight art institutions and many artists. While working on projects for Tom Sachs, Jasper Johns, and others, White is publishing a history of Slash Records.

theessentials_masa_tFormer Milanese gallerist Emi Fontana created the nonprofit West of Rome Public Art as a space without a space. Specializing in large-scale projects, it has shepherded such crowd-pleasers as Jennifer Bolande’s citywide storefront plywood curtains and Marnie Weber’s musical theater at Mountain View Cemetery. »

theessentials_masa_tFounder of the quirky pop band Mad Gregs, Devin McNulty lends his musical genius to a wide range of artists and filmmakers. As a codirector of the Chinatown space Human Resources, he’s helped revitalize performance art in the city. Look for his upcoming documentary on the large-scale artworks by Marnie Weber and others.

theessentials_masa_tThe brainchild of Sara Velas, the Velaslavasay Panorama near USC celebrates the paintings in the round that predated cinema. Home to séances, puppet shows, and ice cream socials, the Pano-rama has become a magnet for connoisseurs and practitioners of the enigmatic and eccentric. »

theessentials_masa_tThe vision of Mark Allen, Machine Project is in many ways the new model for artist-run centers, with its public function as much an artwork as the many cutting-edge performances, exhibitions, and workshops it hosts. Allen’s taste for the absurd has imprinted itself on the DIY tsunami that has swept up the city’s emerging artists. »

Illustrations by Joel Kimmel