Former MOCA Curator Returns to Downtown

Paul Schimmel, now a partner in Hauser Wirth & Schimmel, will oversee the gallery's new Los Angeles home, in the Arts District. 

DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES — Two years ago, MOCA Chief Curator Paul Schimmel was forced out of the museum where he had spent more than two decades. It marked the beginning of the downfall of then-museum director Jeffrey Deitch.

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Now, Schimmel is coming back to Downtown.

Schimmel is a partner in the art gallery Hauser Wirth & Schimmel, which will move into a 100,000-square-foot former flour mill at 901 E. Third St. in the Arts District. The gallery will offer contemporary and modern art exhibitions and a variety of programs.

Iwan Wirth is president and owner of Hauser & Wirth. Schimmel’s partners are Manuela Wirth (who is Iwan's wife) and Marc Payot. The gallery is expected to debut in January with a group exhibition featuring Los Angeles artists who have emerged in the past 15 years. That will be in an un-renovated part of the property.

"Hauser Wirth & Schimmel is building a visual arts destination to complement the other arts institutions nearby -- we will share overlapping audiences with MOCA, the Geffen and in the near future the Broad," Schimmel said in an email to the Los Angeles Downtown News.

"It is no longer a question of whether people will come to the downtown Arts District anymore - people live there, work there and play there," he said of the gallery's new L.A. home.

After the group show, the building will close for extensive renovations. The goal is to reopen permanently in winter 2016.

The complex is comprised of seven late 19th and early 20th century buildings, with a variety of spaces ranging from small rooms to soaring industrial interiors. Gallery officials expect to have three to five exhibitions on view at any time, changing several times a year.

The property will include a 20,000-square-foot interior courtyard. Currently covered, the space will be opened to provide a platform for outdoor sculpture exhibitions. It will also serve as an events space.  

The complex, which also offers 28 parking spaces, has been mostly uninhabited since the 1950s. The graffiti that has accumulated on its exterior walls will remain up during the early 2015 exhibition. It remains unclear if it will be there permanently.  

donna@downtownnews.com

Twitter: @donnadowntown

© Los Angeles Downtown News 2014