Right next to the celebrity-favored Kings Road Cafe in West Hollywood, the Los Angeles–based dealer and collector Stefan Simchowitz has planted roots for his latest art-world exploit. In the bones of an old newsstand, Simchowitz is launching—in the terms of a news release—a “semi-permanent pop-up exhibition space” called the Newsstand Project, which is slated to open with show by the one-namer artist Lazaros on August 5, with a reception from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
All of that said, “I hate the word pop-up,” Simchowitz told ARTnews in a phone interview. And to be fair, the space is not quite that—rather than a fly-by-night operation, the Newsstand Project will see the always-controversial figure partner with various curators, dealers, and nonprofits on a rotating basis. Details about future programming remain purposefully vague.
The newsstand, which Simchowitz said he used to frequent, closed in 2016. “Newsstands are all going out of business,” he said. “It’s kind of tragic, because a newsstand, if you think about it, is almost like the last holdout of cultural diversity and complexity. It’s an environment where you have special interests and different interests represented, different subcultures represented, and they’re just going out of business, effectively. Also, today, unfortunately, we see the same thing happening with the small to lower and even midsize gallery system.”
The first exhibition will involve the L.A.-based Lazaros, who’s a self-proclaimed alchemist, creating a “spell shop” titled “Astral Oracles” in partnership with local dealer Michael Thibault.
Simchowitz compared the sculptures that will be on view, with objects suspended in liquid in a form of collage, to the boxes of Joseph Cornell, though these apparently have some special properties. The artist claims the pieces act as spell potions that can grant wishes. “You can come in to the space and be like, ‘Oh, I want to be the head of a movie studio,” Simchowitz explained.