Discovery: Louis Eisner



Louis Eisner and his friend Nick Darmstaedter grew up together and attended high school a block away from Bergamot Station, a gallery complex in Santa Monica, California, where they frequently ate lunch at the cafe. There, they initially schemed ways to leave their marks at one of the galleries next door. In 2005, before leaving for university, the two friends succeeded in presenting their group exhibition at Frank Pictures. College and stints in New York behind them, this weekend the two return to the gallery that first hosted them, presenting “Ain’t,” a group show that includes many of the same peers they included five years ago.

Growing up, Eisner had natural exposure to art—his mother is photographer Lisa Eisner. So when he moved to New York in 2006, he applied for an internship at Sotheby’s, and got it. It’s at the auction house (and under the tutelage of the flamboyant Tobias Meyer) that he was introduced to the history of art. A year later, Eisner interned at Deitch Projects, and focused on an Art History degree at Columbia University. After graduating, he moved back to LA, and is putting what he learned to use: curating, painting (currently dinosaurs), and collaborating with a group of young artists who go under the moniker Stillhouse. Formed in 2008, the semi-collective group is made up of a rotating cast of a dozen young artists, who produce their own exhibitions, challenge each other in studio environments and present “the work currently being made.” Louis likes putting on exhibitions just as much as he enjoys talking about them with his viewers. Playing the “dealer” role in Stillhouse, he invites collectors and walks them through the shows.


Last year, Stillhouse occupied an abandoned floor at the defunct Department of Transportation in Tribeca and organized an exhibition entitled While it Lasts, to conclude their unique eight-month residency. For the show, Louis made a semi-abstract diptych painting. It was inspired by the florescent lights that spotlit a linen canvas he had hung on the wall. Currently, he’s working on new series inspired by a dinosaur history class he took during his last semester. Eisner became captivated by the paintings in the textbooks “and their obsoleteness; now proven inaccurate hypotheses of their environments and characteristics, as well as the impressionistic style they are rendered in.” Louis will continue this project in Wyoming in the coming months, which is where his family is originally from, “but also where many of the dinosaurs lived during their lives.” And his perfect exhibition space for them? “The Explorer’s Club in New York.”