Argonaut, Feb 2020


This weekend’s stARTup Art Fair converts the rooms of the Kinney Hotel into pop-up galleries for 50 artists, featuring works by Sam Silberstein, Lili Bernard and Belen Islas (left to right)

By Sofia Alfaro, February 12, 2020

You could call this L.A.’s art weekend — the convergence of Frieze Los Angeles, Art Los Angeles Contemporary, Felix L.A. and stARTup Art Fair, the latter a pretty exciting showcase of 50 emerging contemporary artists at The Kinney Hotel in Venice.

The three-day stARTup Art Fair gives participating artists creative license to queer-eye guestrooms into mini pop-up galleries, allowing visitors the chance to meet, discuss and purchase works directly from the artists themselves.

Each room promises a very different experience.

Belen Islas, a native of Mexico, lends a flavor of magical realism to the event with a series of paintings that convey resilience and free movement, created during a difficult pregnancy that kept her mostly bedridden.

Sam Silberstein paints abstract work on leather and often incorporates other physical objects, making his canvases as much of the art as the paint he applies to it. The piece titled “The 250th Mass Shooting,” created to mark that gruesome milestone last year, features more than 400 hand-carved bullets representing the victims of mass shootings.

Lili Bernard’s art calls out and rich-and-famous men accused of sexual misconduct and other perpetrators of injustice with bold images that don’t pull their punches. Expect to see “Dr. Hoaxtable” and “Man in the Mirror” called out as a rapist and a pedophile, but in the context of a slot-machine justice system that lets white men get away with the same crimes. Bernard, one of Bill Cosby’s accusers, also leads a panel discussion on Sunday.

stARTup Art Fair runs Friday, Saturday and Sunday (Feb. 14, 15 & 16) at the Kinney Hotel, 737 W. Washington Blvd., Venice. Tickets are $15 advance, $20 at the door or $30 to $40 for a three-day pass. Visit for previews of participating artists.