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Rising Stars: Meet Lois Lambert

Today we’d like to introduce you to Lois Lambert.

Hi Lois, please kick things off for us with an introduction to yourself and your story.
I originally started as “Gallery of Functional Art.” I had read about two galleries in New York: “Art Et Industrie” and “Peter Joseph Gallery,” and one off in London. After visiting these galleries, I got an idea of what it was that I wanted to do that had never been done on the West Coast. After laborious research, I opened “Gallery of Functional Art” in the brand new Frank Gehry building in Santa Monica in 1988. My focus was on furniture and lighting made by artists and architects from various parts of the world. In 1994, I moved to Bergamot Station Arts Center and opened “Lois Lambert Gallery,” where I remain today. Our space is 3,500 sq. ft. The space allowed me to continue showing some functional work, as well as paintings, photography, and sculpture. Today, most of my space is focused on fine art. I do have an attached museum-like store, “Our Gallery Store.”

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey have been a fairly smooth road?
There were many struggles along the way, including the fact that furniture companies started making copies of high-design furniture, and the market for functional art disappeared. Many of my artists were both object-makers and fine art painters, so the transition went smoothly. Over the years, I have attracted some of the most diverse artists from all over the US, South America, Cuba, France, Mexico, Italy, Austria, and Germany. The biggest problems I encountered were the recession and COVID-19.

Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your work?
I grew up among artists and collectors, and I learned very early how to recognize talent. I have been a curator for 35 years. My interactions with artists are the highlight of my career. I am known for innovative and substantial exhibitions. The hardest part of running a gallery is the business of business, so it has always been important that I work with people who not only know the history of art and contemporary art but are organized and self-motivated.

What quality or characteristic do you feel is most important to your success?
My tenaciousness.

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