Gallery Owner Spotlight | Rita McBride and Glen Rubsamen

Often we preclude how gifted gallery owners are at setting the stage for our art-viewing pleasure. And too often we take for granted those who curate both space and exhibitions, without asking what the connection to the art world gallery owners have.

Last month, LA Art Show at the NoHo Arts District featured Bi•no•mi•al•No•men•cla•ture and the Open Wall Salon with Kristin Posehn’s beautiful contribution “Manic Castle Hash”. Both Rita and Glen were kind enough to share some insight into their own professional trajectories, and additionally shed light into what inspired Open Wall Salon’s creative and special inception.

Q:           What is your relationship to the Art World, and how did you first become interested in the arts?

A:            Both Rita and I are visual artists and have been sharing studios all around the world for last 30 years. I am originally from LA, born in the Hollywood Hills, and Rita and I met in the late 1980’s at LACE in it’s downtown location. Rita was one of the preparators there, freshly graduated from CalArts, and I was the exhibiting artist with my first solo presentation after graduating from UCLA.

It was love at first sight.

Q: How was Open Wall Salon conceived/created?

A:            Both Rita and I were inspired by our local museums growing up. The Des Moines Art Center in Des Moines, Iowa where Rita is originally from, was a radical place in the 1960’s and so was the Pasadena Art Musuem under the guidance of Walter Hopps (before Norton Simon). I am a painter with an interest in urban landscapes. Rita is a sculptor working largely with public projects. We moved back to LA and to this studio on West Adams Blvd a few years ago. Rita starting immediately working outside, on the facade of the building, and we were both inspired by the continuous struggle between additive and subtractive actions on the walls of buildings in the neighborhood. Advertising posters and graffiti tags are constantly added and immediately over-painted by the city in a deliberate attempt to neutralize the cityscape. The city uses a random assortment of colors, none of which match the original color of the buildings, creating an abstract composition that erases the content of the actions but also reinforces their composition.

Q:           What message do you hope people glean while visiting?

A:            At 5601 West Adams there is a 40 foot cinderblock wall protected by a steel picket fence that encloses a narrow strip of land on which two mature fan palms reside. In early 2018 the aspiring artist duo Ava and Laeo, spray-painted the Latin binomial for the Mexican Fan Palm, Washingtonia Robustaon the wall and two days later it was erased by a rough overpainting in bluish gray. Binomial nomenclature is a scientific system for naming all the worlds fauna and flora, giving each a name composed of two parts, both of which use Latin grammatical forms, although they can be based on words from other languages. The first part of the name – the generic name – identifies the genus to which the species belongs, while the second part – the specific name – identifies the species within the genus.

Q: How do you curate and select rotating exhibitions?

A:            Following on this initial event, new additions and subtractions have occurred at semi-regular intervals highlighted by sporadic Saturday Salon gatherings. The next intervention on the wall was in September 2018 by German artist Elmar Hermann, Entitled Limes GermanicusIn February of 2019 Mexican Artist Gabriel Kuri installed a text piece on the wall, Accumulation puts an end to the impression of chance, followed in June by Niko Chodor with his work entitled Locationaccumulation and in September with Christoph Beyer’s mural entitled Electric Pitstop. In August 2020 Kristin Posehn installed the most recent intervention entitled Manic Castle Hash which will remain on view until the end of November.

Bi•no•mi•al•No•men•cla•ture / Open Wall Salon is an initiative of Rita McBride and Glen Rubsamen, it is an investigation into the possibility of continuous change.”

Many thanks to Rita McBride and Glen Rubsamen for their candor and bright spirits, which shine through in both their words and their beautiful contribution to Los Angeles vis a vis Open Wall Salon.

Open Wall Salon / Binomial Nomenclature

5601 W. Adams Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90016

Raleigh Barrett Gallina
Author: Raleigh Barrett Gallina

Raleigh (Barrett) Gallina from LA ART. Raleigh has been writing for the NoHo Arts District since 2015. Raleigh explores everything from large-scale commercial exhibitions to gratis solo exhibitions showcased by amateur galleries. While her preferences are ever-evolving, her favorite exhibitions include large-scale sculpture or paint, as well as artwork which holds socio-cultural underpinnings. She hopes that by capturing a large array of media and voices (including that of curators and the artists themselves), that readers are able to enjoy and voyeur out of their comfort zones.