The former Santa Monica Post Office on Fifth Street, which closed in 2013, is now an art space.
Over the next few months, New York gallery owner Vito Schnabel will be presenting shows in the large Depression-era structure, which has 15,000 square feet of exhibition space. The modern-style building from 1938 is currently owned by Alexander Dellal of the British company Allied Commercial Exporters Ltd. (ACE), who bought it in 2018 from Skydance Media from David Ellison for $ 30 million.
ACE also owns the historic Venice Post Office, which it bought in 2019 for $ 22 million, and is developing it for undisclosed use; the building was previously owned by producer Joel Silver, who planned to turn it into offices.
Schnabel’s first show in Santa Monica, which runs until January 16, is Francesco Clemente: twenty years of painting, 2001-2021; it highlights the colorful, large-scale works of the 69-year-old Naples-born, New York-based painter that are teeming with dreamlike symbolism.
According to Francesco Clemente, “every image must be memorable, but must also give the impression that the image is transitory”, because, he adds, “the spirit world is not some kind of refuge where you can finally anchor yourself to something permanent. No way, it’s impermanent, like everything else.
The Clemente show also includes new watercolors; a self-portrait of the artist with pink antlers springing from his head; and portraits of writers Fran Lebowitz and Toni Morrison. This is Clemente’s first solo show in Los Angeles in nearly two decades.
1248 Fifth St., Santa Monica; Gallery visits by appointment only, from Thursday to Sunday, via vitoschnabel.com.
This story first appeared in the November 10 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. Click here to subscribe.