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Culture

LA Art Show GM Kassandra Voyagis Speaks with TNH

January 17, 2018
Vasilis Papoutsis

LOS ANGELES, CA – The Los Angeles Art Show is one of the largest international art fairs in the United States, attracting national and international galleries and museums, acclaimed artists, and highly regarded curators and collectors.

The LA Art Show takes place at the Los Angeles Convention Center January 10-14, and will feature a new concept  that will blend art and design with the launch of Design LA Art, a curated selection of 10 to12 exhibitors showcasing modern furniture, architectural objects and jewelry.

The show, now in its 23rd year, has grown leaps and bounds since its inception in 1994 by founder Kim Martindale, and for the last three years has been under the leadership of Kassandra Voyagis, an actress who comes from a family of entertainers. Her father is the well-known Greek actor Yorgo Voyagis and her mom is Italian-American actress and TV personality Nadia Cassini, whose parents were also performers on Broadway. Her godmother is the renowned Greek actress Irene Pappas, who suggested to her parents the name Kassandra.

Voyagis had a successful acting career in Italy and Greece before her arrival to the United States, when she made her debut with the epic miniseries Cleopatra (1999) for ABC television,co-starring Timothy Dalton and Billy Zane. Acting came naturally to her growing up in an entertainment family, but when the time came to attend college she did not chose a performance arts university. She applied and was accepted to Oxford, where she studied business administration, “I wanted to explore a new field since I have been around actors and performers all my life,” she said. The skills she acquired from her business degree came handy when she entered the world of art shows management. “I love art and used to go to art shows as a guest. When I came to the LA Art show I was introduced to the founder Kim Martindale who offered me the opportunity to work in the art show. I started at the bottom so I know every position in the company and that is beneficial  when it comes to managing such a huge operation” she told TNH.

The art show will feature over 100 galleries from more than 18 countries from around the world, China and Japan among them. “It takes approximately 6 months to put together a show with this kind of international reach and the last 2 months preceding the opening are very intense. As the General Manager I have to approve everything, gallery applications, collector vetting, VIP Program, PR campaign and overlook the various crews. We have great staff that makes delegating so much easier but still the work amount is enormous” Voyagis said.The LA Art show that started as a showcase for regional artists, now has a global reach.

Founder and Producer Kim Martindale talking about the future of the art show told TNH that “although we welcome art from all over the world the location of Los Angeles makes as an ideal place to be the artistic heart of the Pacific Rim and Latin America.” And in accordance with that vision the LA Art Show this year will present two exhibitions from Latin America and  the world-renown Korean artist Lee Jae-Hyo whose sculptures  fuse aesthetics and craft of fine art with the functionality of benches,stools and tables. His exhibition will be the center piece of Design LA Art.

The MUSA Museum Guadalajara, Mexico will be exhibiting Metaphysical Orozco, a retrospective of muralist Jose Clemente Orozco, and the Museum of Latin American Art (MOLAA) will be exhibiting the world premiere of Aporias Moviles, a multimedia installation by Argentinian artist Nuna Mangiante. Marisa Caichiolo, who is the Director & Curator of Latin American Galleries and Institutions for the LA Art Show commenting on the selections told TNH “I have collaborated with the MUSA Museum Guadalajara for a long time and this is a unique opportunity to show the public the works of the celebrated muralist Jose Clemente Orozco.”

His murals that are located at the auditorium of the two-story neoclassical building of white brick where the museum is, are of historical significance as they are part of the Mexican Mural Renaissance, as was Diego Rivera’s murals. The exhibition will be a “3D video mapping accompanied by a musical soundtrack and complimented by graphic material to give the audience a sensory experience. This will be the first exhibition outside of Mexico and also the first in the United States. It will be a cultural celebration for the Mexican American people of Los Angeles” curator Caichiolo said.

The Aporias Moviles exhibition is also a multimedia installation featuring portraits of obscured faces on display with various construction and building materials signifying the increased urban transformation in Latin America. Los Angeles area museums such as LACMA and The Autry Museum of the American West will again participate in the show, a collaboration that started last year as a gesture of civic engagement. Also an intriguing art installation “Octopus BrainStorming” that combines the technology of neuroscience and communication exhibited by octopi was created by Victoria Vesna, UCLA professor and Director of the UCLA ArtSci Center. Vesna created the project over five years with UCLA neuroscientist Mark Cohen. Elaborating on her participation Prof. Vesna told TNH: “The works they are presenting at the LA Art Show are related to the exhibition topic and I was interested to see the audience response to this kind of performative/ experimental work.”

With Hollywood in close proximity movie stars and celebrities regularly attend the art show. Leonardo DiCaprio, Barbra Streisand, Henry Winkler, Anne Hathaway, and mega art collectors such as Eli Broad have prowled its galleries. Proceeds from the LA Art Show’s Opening Night Preview and Premiere Party on January 10 will benefit St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Last year the evening was attended by more than 7,000 VIPs and hosted by Emma Roberts. This year’s Emcee is Emmy and Golden Globe Award-winning actor, director and producer Jon Hamm, who became famous as the character Don Draper, a star advertising executive in Manhattan, in the TV drama series Mad Men.

Also this year, Matthew Modine, who rose to prominence through his role as Marine Corps Private Joker in Stanley Kubrick’s film Full Metal Jacket, will host a Director’s Chair presentation with photographic material from the movie. Exhibitor information, participating galleries and programming details can be found at LAArtshow.com.

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