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When Sonia Eram reopens her much-loved destination-boutique Mameg in a new spot in Beverly Hills in May, she will have a new neighbour: the first-ever Los Angeles branch of Michael Werner Gallery. The two will occupy the same building at 415 North Camden Drive, sharing a courtyard on the same block as Gagosian.

Werner’s first show in Los Angeles will, admittedly, be a weird one. The gallery is pairing the 82-year-old German painter Markus Lüpertz, known for mining images from art history as well as mythology, with the 19th-century French painter Pierre Puvis de Chavannes, a proto-symbolist who pursued a hazy sort of realism. While some of Lüpertz’s works directly respond to Puvis de Chavannes, with a fisherman’s boat placed here or there, others belong to what you might call a feverish dialogue. “The show is just as odd as could be, but artists know and love Puvis de Chavannes,” says Gordon VeneKlasen, the gallery’s co-owner, who has collected the French artist’s work for years.

This sort of risk-taking reflects the gallery’s recognition that it knows it is on the tail end of a string of big-name galleries moving to Los Angeles. “I want to think a lot about these shows and bring something different than just showing a hot young artist,” says VeneKlasen, who has an apartment in LA. “We’re not coming to do a satellite with programming straight from our other galleries; I want to make a programme that’s sensitive to fact that the world is different here.”

VeneKlasen was introduced to Eram by Hammer Museum director Annie Philbin, a mutual friend who had encouraged him to consider opening a branch in Los Angeles. They brought in the Los Angeles architecture firm Johnston Marklee to do the renovation, giving them distinct identities but the same, very dark-green linoleum flooring.

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The gallery has hired Courtney Treut, who helped to open Hauser Wirth & Schimmel back in the day and more recently worked as a director at Sean Kelly in Los Angeles. VeneKlasen has also reached out to Hannah Hoffman, the Los Angeles gallerist who shows two Werner artists (Raphaela Simon and Andy Robert), about collaborating on the new space. The current idea is for Hoffman to run a poetry programme in the courtyard.

The gallery seems relationship-driven on many levels, starting with the Mameg connection. VeneKlasen says: “Sonia works in a really authentic way, so it’s a good marriage with our gallery.”

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