Kiwi art buyer keeps an open mind in LA

By Amanda Linnell

Hanging art works in the home of Tom and Rita Hanks, is all part of the job for Aucklander Isha Welsh.

International art buyer Isha Welsh outside his home in Los Angeles. Photo / Babiche Martens
International art buyer Isha Welsh outside his home in Los Angeles. Photo / Babiche Martens

With a Masters in Art History and 10 years working at the Sue Crockford Gallery, the opportunity for Isha Welsh to relocate to LA in 2008 was too good an opportunity to pass up.

As director of the 1301PE Gallery, situated in mid-Wilshire opposite the Los Angeles County Museum, Welsh works with an impressive list of globally established artists such as Jorge Pardo, Diana Thater, Pae White, and Rirkrit Tiravanija, along with exciting emerging artists like Kirsten Everberg, Kerry Tribe, Superflex, and Blake Rayne.

"The gallery," says Welsh, "has a high aesthetic and conceptual standards with an open-mindedness to experimental forms and artistic collaborations".

Welsh travels a lot with his work, as many of the gallery artists regularly show around the world, but nothing beats getting back to his wife Bunny and their stylish apartment in West Hollywood. Here, he shares with Viva his favourite finds in LA.

10 FAVOURITE THINGS

1. Uta Barth book
I work with Uta at the gallery. Her work captures the light and space of Los Angeles and is all about perception. Her definition of a photograph is drawing or writing with light, which is exactly how her work looks. Starkwhite in Auckland are showing some new Uta Barth photographs at the moment.

2. American optical glasses
My wife found these for me. They were standard issue Air Force glasses in the 1940s. When I find a nice pair of glasses, I tend to take care of them, keep track of them, try hard not to sit on them.

3. Whitney Bedford painting
Whitney is a good friend and a fantastic painter. I like her shipwreck paintings a lot. It is and it isn't a painting of a shipwreck - as she says it's the paint itself that sinks the images. Her studio is in one of the hangars at the Santa Monica Airport.

4. John Lautner's architecture
From our first apartment in Silverlake we looked across to Lautner's Silvertop house. In the evening the house almost looked transparent. It has the most amazing sweeping roof and glass panelled walls. The Chemosphere house is also one of his.

5. Bar cart
We found this Danish bar cart in Orange County. When people come over they can fix their own or top themselves up. Our favourite for summer at the moment is an Americano: 1 part Campari, 1 part sweet vermouth, 1 part soda and a twist of lemon.

6. Toms shoes
In summer we often go to Encinitas and Toms are perfect for the beach. We usually only go between three places, the hotel, Swami's beach, and then back to a great little place called Swami's cafe for lunch and smoothies.

7. Pae White artwork
This is a Smoke piece by Pae White. She uses a flatbed laser to burn an image of smoke into the paper. Pae's work sits at the crossroads between art, design and architecture. I find her practice always diverse and ever-changing which makes working on exhibitions and projects really interesting.

8. Knoll chairs
Some friends gave us these two Knoll Don Pettit chairs when we were looking for furniture for our apartment. While assisting Eero Saarinen in his studio Don Pettit spent his time researching laminated and bent wood and came up with this design.

9. Trails Cafe in Griffith Park
Great coffee and food. It's hard to find coffee as good as you do in NZ. They make all kinds of scones, a baked mushroom cashew pie, rhubarb tart, and lemonade, there's something for everyone. You can also hike to the Griffith Park Observatory for a big view out over LA.

10. Salt's Cure
Is a great little restaurant in our neighborhood. They source all ingredients grown and raised in California. Chef-owners Chris Phelps and Zak Walters are purists and make everything in-house. There is always a line for brunch on Sunday.

- NZ Herald

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