Felix Art Fair 2024 Edition

Learning about new and emerging contemporary artists can be daunting for the average person who doesn’t regularly attend gallery openings to mingle with artists, collectors, and the occasional celebrity, or discuss the latest art trends while exuding an equal level of aloofness and coolness. To do this in the first place, you would need to know about the plethora of galleries and obscure artist-run spaces that exist all across the sprawling landscape that is Los Angeles—and beyond. This is where art fairs can bridge the gap, providing a large survey of what is currently happening in cities throughout the art world today, all condensed into one accessible space.

For those unfamiliar, an art fair is similar to any other type of convention, where you generally have various vendors —in this case art galleries— erecting booths to display or sell their goods. In an art fair, each booth houses a different local, national, or international gallery that brings a sampling of art from the artists they represent. Los Angeles’s Art Week runs from February 26th to March 3rd hosting three major art fairs that run concurrently across the city. There is Frieze in Santa Monica, which is the largest and most commercial, SPRING/BREAK in Culver City, a curatorial and installation-driven theme, and, arguably the more interesting, Felix Art Fair in Hollywood. What sets Felix apart from most other art fairs is that it inhabits various rooms and floors throughout the historic Roosevelt Hotel. Not only does the locale allow for each gallery to present their work in a fully separate and enclosed space—enabling their installations to take center stage—but it also allows the gallery to display the works in a more natural setting. For potential buyers, seeing a piece of art on a static white wall next to a series of other pieces is one thing, but being able to see how a painting looks and feels in a living space can provide more context, and become something you can imagine living with.

Leo Mock, We Stand Surrounded by a Million Years at M+B Gallery. Photo by Zachary C. Jensen.

Walking into Felix is a true LA experience. On the ground level, the cabana rooms encircling the pool are transformed into gallery spaces, all labeled with the gallery name and their home city. This curated experience is further extended to rooms on the 11th and 12th floors of the towers. Here the unexpected is to be expected with hallways adorned with paintings or a sculpture jutting out from the ceiling. Bathrooms have artworks displayed above the toilet, or even featured in the shower. You may find a sculpture placed in the middle of a bed as if casually inviting the viewer to lay down with it—though to be clear, unlike the lady who happened to lay down next to it for a selfie on the preview day, you should not. It is this contextualizing, as well as clever re-contextualizing of real residential spaces that allows the art to take on new life. Each work becomes something that is lived with and experienced rather than something just to hoard away in vaults only to be acquired for its potential resale value. Even if you are not someone who has the means, or interest to collect art on this scale, Felix is a great and fairly affordable immersive introduction into the contemporary art scene.

As for the artworks themselves, there are quite a few galleries that have some intriguing and thought-provoking works on view. Here are a few of the Los Angeles-based galleries that had especially strong showings:


Will Maxen, Untitled (Fourth of July) at Residency Art Gallery. Photo by Zachary C. Jensen

Residency Art Gallery based out of Inglewood, California had one of the more inspiring exhibits by a solo artist. Featuring a selection of new paintings by Will Maxen in a series titled, “I’ll Be With You As You Go,” Maxen uses both personal and historical memories as well as his mixed-race background to examine the tensions of modern American life. The portraits, based on archival photos, are at once quite personal and yet are entirely universal. Details are both blurred and sharp depending on the feature with muted colors disconnecting the ghost-like subjects from reality and placing them between a shapeless dream and memory. Although

Will Maxen, My Hands Shake When I Try to Write Small (top) and Untitled (West Walk) (bottom) at Residency Gallery.

made to resemble photographs, at times they appear more like distorted film negatives having bled all over the canvas to reveal something more about the human experience. Overall, the portraits are some of the most beautiful works on display at Felix and should not be missed.


Erick Medel, Mom con Spiderman at Charlie James Gallery. Photo by Zachary C. Jensen

The Charlie James Gallery out of Chinatown had arguably the most compelling and cohesive group presentation in the entire fair. Composed of artworks from primarily North American POC artists, the work explores themes of identity and culture in powerful and inspiring ways. Textile works such as Erick Medel’s embroidered thread paintings offer a tender examination of life in the Boyle Heights community. The sheer level of artistry and skill it takes to sew each portrait and still-life are apparent in the emotive softness and care of every stitch. One scene of a mother walking down the street with her child dressed in a Spider-Man costume is a snapshot that embodies both youthful innocence and the loving nature of motherhood. In Danie Cansino’s multiple portrait and landscape paintings on striped serape fabric, we are introduced to strong statements of identity, resilience, and cultural pride. The serape fabric holds so much cultural context and at the same time hosts itself as a canvas for vibrant, almost photo-realistic subjects. One example titled Bloodline, is a powerful

Danie Cansino, Bloodline at Charlie James Gallery. Photo by Zachary C. Jensen

self-portrait of Cansino sitting nude while staring directly at the viewer. Her body is covered in tattoos with her legs as canvases for Chicano portraits and prominent indigenous line work on her face— all a detailed history lesson inscribed on her body. Keep an eye out for future shows at this gallery.


Merveille Kelekele Kelekele, Chante Fantome de Bob at Photo by Zachary C. Jensen

The M + B Gallery based in West Hollywood had another well-designed group show with works by Merveille Kelekele Kelekele, Erna Mist, and Matthew Rosenquist. Merveille Kelekele Kelekele, born in the Democratic Republic of Congo and now living in Paris, created portraits of colorful nightmare-like creatures with CHANTE FANTÔME DE BOB, LES ÂMES DANSERONT, LES MORTS SE RÉVEILLERONT ET MON TOUR ARRIVERA as a highlight of this collection. A large oil on canvas, it features a multi-faced creature with numerous arms playing the guitar, while smaller ghostly creatures hang on and around it. The painting, while dark in subject matter and palette, also offers a celebratory interpretation of the afterlife that many cultures embrace. Nearby, a playful series of wooden painted sculptures by Matthew Rosenquist feature hipster-esque characters. Posed in various aspects of everyday life, they are arranged on the patio of the gallery’s hotel room. By placing them close together, and in the center of a crowded space, these sculptures meld into the fair crowds while also

Matthew Rosenquist, (left) White Jeans (center) Lunchin’ WIth Lydia (right) Self Portrait at M+B Gallery
Matthew Rosenquist, Texting in A Tartan Skirt at M+B Gallery

forming their own group. In Texting in a Tartan Skirt, we witness an examination of our modern attachment to cell phones complete with the immobile moments of obliviousness we all experience with our screens.


Nik Gelormino, Shell Stool (no.14), 2024. Image courtesy of Sea Shell Gallery
Nik Gelormino, Flat Dove (no. 2), 2024. Image courtesy of Sea Shell Gallery

Sea View Gallery out of the Mount Washington neighborhood has a wonderfully eclectic booth that runs the gamut of artistic mediums and styles, while still embracing Felix’s domestic setting. The functional reclaimed wooden sculptures by San Francisco artist Nik Gelormino tie in shapes found in nature to create exquisite designs that can be both admired and used. Two such examples are the seashell stool made of naturally fallen cedar, and the multi-layered flat dove sculpture made of hard-carved redwood that doubles as a coffee table. Next, Canadian artist Jane Corrigan’s textured oil paintings depicting cartoonish scenes of adolescence, capture the whimsical nature of young adulthood while also thoughtfully representing the growing sense of anxiety that coming-of-age can bring.

Jane Corrigan, End Days, 2024. Image courtesy of Sea Shell Gallery

In Days End, her soft pastel palette paired with the serene sun setting behind a tree provides a warm comfort. Yet the skeletal form reclining beneath the tree tempers that feeling, and quickly brings realizations about the finality of summer, life, or journey. While many of the gallery spaces at Felix could be consumed in a few short minutes, Sea View’s installation is well worth a few extra moments of your time. 


Installation view of painting by Emily Ferguson at Nicodim Gallery

Lastly, the Nicodim Gallery out of Downtown Los Angeles is always a pleasure to visit. One standout portrait by Emily Ferguson installed in the bathroom has perhaps an unintentional mirrored view as you approach causing the subject to look away from themself and made for an intriguing installation.

On any normal day in Los Angeles, it would be nearly impossible to view all of these galleries in a single day, let alone see works from London, Paris, New York, and Turin all in one place. Art fairs like Felix grant casual viewers and collectors alike the opportunity to globally gallery-hop in an afternoon.

Felix Art Fair
February 28 – March 3 2024
The Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel
7000 Hollywood Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90028