CAA agent and collector Thao Nguyen reveals art exhibits to see when LA reopens – The Hollywood Reporter
During the pandemic, CAA agent Thao Nguyen embarked on something counterintuitive: a live event company, Constellation Immersive. Affiliated with CAA and the theatrical entertainment group Crossroads Live, he offered an Elf on the Shelf driving experience at the Fairplex in late 2020. Coming soon: “In July, we are launching the DiscOasis, a sound experience that unites dance, roller skating, collective joy and performance art at the South Coast Botanic Garden. We are really lucky to have the legendary Nile Rodgers as Groovemaster, who curates our music,” says Nguyen. (DiscoOasis operates July 16-September 6, $34-$94, 26300 Crenshaw Blvd., thediscoasis.com.)
Nguyen, who oversees the art collection at the CAA’s Los Angeles and New York offices, is a collector herself. She recently had the chance to see art for the first time in person post-lockdown. “It was energizing to be around people,” she says, adding that watching works online over the past year has been “not satisfying.” It’s hard to capture the emotion of a JPEG.
Here are the four exhibitions that seduced her.
“Say Can You See” is the first solo exhibition in Los Angeles by Jamaican-American artist Nari Ward. “It was incredibly powerful to see his works together, recontextualizing objects in a new sense.” (Until August 21, at Jeffrey Deitch, 925 N. Orange Drive, deitch.com.)
“Made in LA 2020: A Version”, the biennial of The Hammer, is presented in part at the Huntington. The show includes filmmaker/videographer (and Nguyen client) Kahlil Joseph’s video installation BLKNWS, a show that, as the catalog puts it, “highlights the vastness of the black experience with sources from social media , popular culture and genuine news footage”. (Until August 1, hammer.ucla.edu.)
“World as Lover, World as Self” features dreamlike paintings by Anja Salonen. “Exquisite,” says Nguyen. (Until July 20, at Five Car Garage, Santa Monica, address given by appointment, email@example.com.)
“The Space Between” is the latest series of paintings by iconic conceptual artist John Baldessari, who passed away last year. “June 17 would have been his 90th birthday. He was so universally loved,” Nguyen says. (Until September 11, at Sprüth Magers, 5900 Wilshire Blvd., spruethmagers.com.)
Nguyen is looking forward to visiting the Felix Art Fair (July 29-August 1, felixfair.com) at the Hollywood Roosevelt; the very first Gallery Weekend Los Angeles (the same weekend); and “the exhibition of all their ‘LA’ artists from Hauser & Wirth,” she says. “It will be historic, from the late Luchita Hurtado to Henry Taylor, Larry Bell and Diana Thater.” (July 8-August 22, hauserwirth.com.)
“I also look forward to the reopening of the underground museum later this year with a timely tribute to Noah Davis,” says Nguyen (who is co-director of Constellation Immersive with Marty LaSalle), “and David Zwirner and Hauser & Wirth opening new spaces in LA next year, proof that LA is an international artistic destination.
This story first appeared in the June 23 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. Click here to subscribe.