Introducing the Entrepreneur: PC Valmorbida
The first time I spoke to PC Valmorbida was on a tip that he was going to be selling off the inventory from the then-still-open Deitch Projects. I called him out of the blue, hit him with the question and he quickly denied it and got off the phone. “That was a strange phone call,” recalls Valmorbida. “It was out of the blue for me, I was freaked out.” The rumor was false, but speculation about speculation isn’t entirely beyond the purview of this 23-year-old Aussie transplant, whose steel-and-glass Prism Gallery on the Sunset Strip has put on some of the more innovative and unpredictable shows to hit Los Angeles since it opened last fall with a show of works curated by RVCA founder PM Tenore. Since then Prism has hosted the after-party of the MOCA gala, put on a retrospective of legendary Japanese photographer Nobuyoshi Araki, and installed a monstrous blue light sculpture on the roof by Angeleno artist Gustavo Godoy. The latest venture, “Misericordia,” a centuries- and medium-sprawling group show curated by Pace Gallery director Birte Kleemann, opened this weekend.
Examinging themes of mercy in fine art, Kleemann juxtaposes Old Master paintings with documentation of Marina Abramovic’s and Chris Burden’s early performances and contemporary sculpture by Monica Bonvicini and Sterling Ruby. Simultaneously, the “mini community center” Valmorbida has built with partner Jared Najjar has become an it-spot for actors and artists alike, with this, his most important show to date, drawing yet another hip crowd (Rachel Zoe, Juliette Lewis, Mario Testino) on par with the ones his brother, Andy (along with partner Vladimir Restoin Roitfeld), has rated for pop-up exhibitions with artists like Richard Hambleton. With an Oscars-timed collaboration in the works between Prism and Phillips de Pury, a new Lead Apron-curated bookshop in place, and solo shows for Ryan McGinness and fellow Aussie Jonathan Zawada, the young dealer is already looking to take the venture on the road. “Prism is kind of a brand in a sense, so we can definitely do it,” says the enterprising Valmorbida, who called in after the opening to talk about the space, his budding passion for photography, and the seemingly unstoppable L.A. art scene.
READ THE INTERVIEW. MISERICORDIA IS ON VIEW THROUGH DECEMBER 4. PRISM LA IS LOCATED AT 8746 WEST SUNSET BOULEVARD, WEST HOLLYWOOD.