Michael Kohn Goes to Hollywood


Los Angeles’s Kohn Gallery is doubling its footprint and moving to a new location in Hollywood, an area that proprietor Michael Kohn says is quickly developing.

“The neighborhood is gentrifying so fast, I have already turned down an offer of twice what I paid for the property,” Kohn told A.i.A. in a phone interview. His previous digs were in West Hollywood. Kohn’s new home will be near galleries such as Regen Projects and Redling Fine Art.

The new 12,000-square-foot location boasts 22-foot ceilings and large windows facing the street, along with extensive skylights. “Including the sculpture garden, it’s 15,000 square feet,” Kohn said. The site was previously home to a printing press, and has been largely rebuilt, he said.

“Like every business owner, I’ve long wanted to own my own space,” he said. “I’ve been renting for 29 years and finally found an up-and-coming area that was by and large not zoned for retail.” The neighborhood was previously dominated by light manufacturing and film developing businesses, he said. “With the gentrification of all of Hollywood, zoning restrictions have been eased, so there are big spaces that are suddenly available for retail.”

The new venue opens May 3 with an exhibition of Oregon-born, L.A.-based artist Mark Ryden (through June 28). A painter in the local style known as “low brow,” Ryden creates surrealist-tinged figurative works of doll-like girls with outsize eyes. He also shows with New York’s Paul Kasmin Gallery, and commands prices as high as $800,000 from collectors including Leonardo DiCaprio.

The space was designed by Lester Tobias of L.A. firm Tobias Architecture. Tobias previously worked for Frank Gehry, and also designed the gallery’s West Hollywood site.

Founded 29 years ago, Kohn Gallery shows artists ranging from figures born in the ’20s and ’30s such as Bruce Conner, Wallace Berman and Joe Goode to contemporary abstract painter Ryan McGinness and figurative painters including Will Cotton.