Hauser Wirth & Schimmel
A new complex, its exterior pristine-white and auspicious, has taken over nearly an entire block of the Arts District. You’ve seen the 30-foot-tall rose, an installation from Isa Genzken, peeking out of its courtyard. Or maybe you first stumbled upon the space earlier this year, when Shinique Smith’s hanging braids of texture and color caught your eye from across the street and drew you into the breezeway. Or maybe you’ve been following Hauser & Wirth’s global expansion for quite some time now, and with the debut of the franchise’s sixth gallery, manned by the Wirths, Paul McCarthy, and former MOCA curator Paul Schimmel, it may come as no surprise to you that Hauser Wirth & Schimmel has become one of this year’s most highly-anticipated additions to the L.A. art scene.
Since opening in late March, the gallery has transformed the 100,000-square-foot sprawl formerly owned by the 1880s Globe Grain & Milling Company into a veritable, multi-purpose compound. The factory, which was once a major flour producer, is now equal parts gallery, restaurant, bookstore, and local watering hole. The flour tower, with its original machinery preserved, remains in the heart of the complex.
Accessibility was a determining factor in designing the space, which, with its courtyard, communal benches, open-air breezeways, and free Wi-Fi, feels more like a public square than a commercial gallery. According to Senior Director Stacen Berg, it took years to find the right place, but after scoping out duck processing factories, freezer storage plants, and a myriad of other curious relics around the neighborhood, it was the old Globe Grain & Milling Company property that did them in. “We always wanted to make the gallery a destination where you come and spend time,” said Berg. “With this space, the vision grew to more than what we had originally imagined. It was the perfect spot.”
Last month’s grand opening of Manuela, the gallery’s flagship restaurant, completed the team’s idyllic vision of an urban home away from home. Headed by chef Wes Whitsell of Gjelina and Osteria La Buca, the centrally located eatery brings sustainable Southern cooking to the table, harkening a rustic farmhouse flavor akin to the gallery’s Somerset outpost. Enjoy potent main dishes like fried quail, deer burger and baby back ribs smoked in-house, as well as sides like collard greens, okra, and squash, all within a beautiful, marbled space accented with brass. Across the courtyard, you’ll find a community garden, where the kitchen sources its fruits, veggies, and herbs, right beside a neon light installation from London artist Martin Creed. And of course, you’ll want to say hi to the infamous chickens.
For the remainder of the year, the gallery will be showing ongoing exhibitions surveying the works of assemblage artist Isa Genzken and painter Maria Lassnig, as well as a group show featuring Dadaists Kurt Schwitters, Hans Arp, and Joan Miró. In the new year, the gallery will feature a large-scale retrospective on the late California artist Jason Rhoades, one of the first since his death, as well as a bevy of immersive educational programs across the board. The free program includes artist and critic lectures, hands-on workshops, family activities, music performances, film screenings, and small plays, all of which will take place in the gallery’s multiuse education room located in the attic space of the mill.
“A lot of times, you’ll walk by a gallery when it’s closed, and you can’t see in,” says Aandrea Stang, Hauser Wirth & Schimmel’s Head of Education. “We keep our shades up at night. We want people to see in. We don’t want people to feel like this is a place they’re closed off from.”
Written by Sophie He
Photographed by Caleb Thal