Art World Influencer Stefan Simchowitz’s Guide to LA
Stefan Simchowitz’s reputation is bound to proceed him wherever he goes, such is the impact and influence that he has had (and continues to have) on the art world. The Los Angeles-based art collector, consultant, curator, producer of 15 films, and patron of the arts, who was once described by the New York Times as “The Art World’s Patron Satan,” is not afraid to speak his mind on matters relating to the art world and the art market. He wears his heart on his sleeve, sometimes to the detriment of his reputation. Yet his heart is usually in the right place and his intentions are usually good, making him somewhat of a misunderstood and often misjudged figure.
Deftly navigating the boundary between fame and infamy, Simchowitz’s description of himself as “an ambitious entrepreneur who loves art and has made it his life to build a collection and life around it, who is often entangled in the lack of ethics that is prevalent in businesses, from banking to bars, defending his position and demythologizing the myths of artist, institution, journalist, and gallerist in the culture industry” is spot on. Not only does he support artists by finding them galleries, getting them financed, introducing their work to collectors, and arranging financing and support for institutional shows, he puts his money where his mouth is and buys their work for his own collection.
And speaking of Simchowitz’s art collection, it’s impressive to say the least, comprising more than 900 works and counting. In addition to big names such as Sterling Ruby, Joe Bradley, Tauba Auerbach, Parker Ito, and Oscar Murillo, to name but a few, Simchowitz has also put his faith in emerging talents such as Jimmy Merris, Lucy Stahl, Marc Horowitz, Petra Cortright, Kour Pour, Joey Wolfe, Serge Attukwei Clotted, Nikolas Gamberoff, Aaron Garber-Maikovska, Graham Wilson, and Zachary Armstrong. Head to the Los Angeles offices of Hollywood talent agency ICM Partners and you can see 400 works by 90 artists from Simchowitz’s collection exhibited throughout the building thanks to a unique partnership deal.
Stefan Simchowitz took time out his busy schedule (for more info on Simchowitz’s diverse activities and projects see http://www.simchowitz.com and https://www.simcosclub.com/) to give BLOUIN ARTINFO his tips for the best places to eat, stay, and shop in LA
What are your recommendations for must-visit places in Los Angeles and why?
My office, my home, and the ICM offices because I am a perpetual self-promoter and you will get an idea of all things Simco, not just what you read in the press.
What restaurants, bars, and cafes would you recommend in Los Angeles and why?
I don’t drink so hardly ever go to bars. KaGaYa is my favorite restaurant in the city. Masa is the chef and it is a sublime experience. It’s a very sophisticated Shabu Shabu restaurant. Blue Bottle on Beverly Boulevard at Sweetzer Avenue for coffee and breakfast. E- baldi for Italian. India Sweet House for the best Indian and the cheapest vegetarian in town. Awash for the best Ethiopian.
Where would you go and what would you do if you had a free morning or afternoon in Los Angeles?
I don’t know every morning and afternoon is free. Walk around the park and make phone calls as I always do. Go get a foot massage and complain about the art world. Standard operating procedure.
Where would you head to in Los Angeles for the best shopping and what would you buy?
I would go to Mameg for Bernhard Willhelm, Eatable of Many Orders, Bless, Cosmic Wonder, and every other brand they carry. It is simply the best Woman’s store in the Country. Maxfield to buy Paul Harnden only and H. Lorenzo to buy everything else from Ziggy Chen to Undercover to Song for the Mute.
Where would you recommend people stay when they visit Los Angeles?
Other than your own place, where would you suggest visitors stay when they are in LA and why?
Stay at the Malibu Beach Inn and get breakfast at the farm. Or stay in Little Tokyo and get Shiatsu massage and Shabu Shabu.
What are the best places to see and buy art in Los Angeles?
What are some of Los Angeles’ best secret places that everyone should discover?
There are no secrets in LA. Find an empty parking lot.
What projects are you currently working on/involved in?
Writing this rubbish.