Set to open this Sunday, the Main Museum will be the latest addition to the growing downtown L.A arts scene. The Main will feature L.A-based artists and bilingual Spanish-English programming.
“We focus on L.A. art and artists to engage the public with the most important ideas and art of our time,” said Allison Agsten, the Main Museum’s director. “It’s an incredibly exciting time to be in L.A — there are such extraordinary intellectual opportunities at the moment.”
The Main opened its “test project,” Beta Main in October 2016 with two artist residency studios. The Main is a non-collecting museum so they do not have a permanent collection. Instead, the museum focuses on their five-artist residency program.
According to Agsten, subject matter will be fluid.
“Our mission is rooted in engaging with what’s going on around us,” Agsten said. “It’s our job to respond to the artists. If they are interested in politics, so, too, are we.”
Agsten hopes to draw both locals and visitors with relevant programming and art that touches on current subjects and events that matter to Los Angeles.
“We pride ourselves on being a creative capital but if artists can’t live and work in L.A, how can we maintain that title,” Agsten said. She added that the Main’s most recent artist residency received more than 600 applicants, highlighting the need for affordable artist studios in Los Angeles.
The Main is located in the Hellman Building on 4th Street, which was built in 1903 and retains portions of the original tile floors. Agsten said the museum is social media and photography-friendly but that snap-worthy works of art are not the museum’s intent.
“We don’t program for spectacle, we program for meaning,” Agsten said.
Upcoming programs include an artist panel on creators with disabilities, a collaboration with ArtsCenter and, eventually, an on-site restaurant.
The Main Museum exhibition opening will take place on Saturday, July 8 at 2 p.m. at 114 W 4th Street, Los Angeles.