FARAGO Leaves the Lights On

Galleries in Downtown LA today come in increasingly varied forms: from massive warehouse spaces to apartments-turned-galleries; from simple storefronts to basement spaces beneath existing businesses. A common factor among these varied gallery styles is their operating hours –— art is available for free public viewing at certain times, then shuttered away until the next day. This is the case for all but one particular gallery.

Sitting along 8th Street by the corner of Broadway, FARAGO is perhaps Downtown's most unusual and unorthodox gallery. Slightly larger than a department store window display, a bit too small to be considered a habitable amount of space, FARAGO occupies three narrow glass facade retail compartments. It sits at the base of the Tower Theatre - comparatively, perhaps Broadway's most unusual and unorthodox historic theater. While the gallery does post operating hours, in practice it almost never closes. The wall space sits so close to the sidewalk and the lights are left on throughout the night, allowing the art to remain viewable even after the doors are locked. 

The question then becomes what does a gallery space do with this 24/7 art viewing opportunity? FARAGO has provocatively answered this with their most recent two shows, William Crawford's More Worried than a Worm in a Bird's Nest and John Kayser's photographs (currently on view through March 5), both featuring highly sexualized, perverse, teetering on pornographic works. By virtue of the space and its visibility, their taboo expositions become a public art spectacle. With all the changes occurring at Broadway and 8th that are bringing more commercial, upscale uses to the area, FARAGO serves as an anchor of downtown realness - offering something of a sidewalk peep show in a modern albeit unexpected space.      •