A Night at the Main Museum: The Newest Downtown LA Museum

Artist Clara Berta with Silver Lining Minimalism painting and Director Allison Agsten

On November 1st, 2018 I had the pleasure of participating in Office Hours, an art exhibition at the Main Museum, the newest addition to the Downtown LA museum community. Unlike other Los Angeles museums, the Main Museum is focused on art from Downtown Los Angeles-based artists.

Main Museum Office Hours opening 2018
Main Museum Office Hours opening 2018

Office Hours is Open

Office Hours, now in its third year, is one of the Downtown LA museum’s most popular programs. Each year 50 local artists are invited to meet personally with Main Museum Director Allison Agsten to discuss their work and then immediately proceed to install their art for a large-scale group exhibition. I was so honored to participate in this exciting program designed to help Downtown LA artists get recognition and exposure to collectors, galleries and local curators.

The Silver Lining of Downtown LA

Artist Clara Berta with Silver Lining Minimalism painting and Director Allison Agsten

My painting Silver Lining, from my Minimalism series, was featured in the Main Museum exhibition and was a favorite of Director Allison Agsten. Silver Lining includes my signature blue tones and is one of my personal favorites too. I loved being able to show it at a Downtown LA museum located so close to BertaArt Studio Gallery where it was created.

Diversity on Display

With such a diverse community of artists living and working in the Downtown area, the variety of work at this exhibit was amazing. From conceptual art installations to assemblage, to photography, mixed media, and paintings, the collection at the Main Museum was inspiring to behold. One local installation artist, Dani Dodge, had one of the most unusual pieces in the exhibit. She shared her process along with the meaning behind the work which really resonated with me:

Gilded Graces by Dani Dodge at Main Museum Office Hours opening November 2018
Gilded Graces by Dani Dodge at Main Museum

“My piece is called “Gilded Graces.” It is made from plaster bird sculptures, gold lace, gold ribbon, a gold ring, wire, and resin. I created Gilded Graces as I reflected upon the struggle to always be my “better self.” I believe that inside each of us is that better person, that beautiful dove of peace. But often we react to each other with anger, resentment, defensiveness or insecurity turned to meanness, rather than letting that better self shine. In Gilded Graces, the doves are hidden under golden fabric, once used as a prom dress, and hung by a golden ribbon. They are left in an internal balance of reaction to each other.”

Another stand out from the night was the technique used by artist Clare Holzer for her painting Glen Helen Crossing. And the story behind her inspiration was equally unique:

Glen Helen Crossing by Clare Holzer at Main Museum
Glen Helen Crossing by Clare Holzer at Main Museum

“This painting is of Glen Helen Crossing in Devore California, as the train heads north into the Cajon Pass, paralleling Old Route 66. On a rainy day I stopped my truck as the crossing gates came down and turned off my engine, as a sheet of rainwater covered my windshield. I waited until the engine came into the frame and snapped a picture with the distorted effect from the rainwater making a wavy pattern of the image. I used the photo as a reference for the painting.”

The Vibrancy of Downtown LA

Clara Berta with fellow Downton LA artists at Main Museum Office Hours 2018 opening
Clara Berta with fellow Downton LA artists at Main Museum Office Hours 2018 opening

Los Angeles is such a great place to be an artist! I am always inspired by meeting and talking to fellow artists and I love that there is now a Downtown LA museum dedicated this vibrant community. The Office Hours exhibit runs through November 17th. The Main is open and free to the public Wednesday through Sunday from 12 to 7 pm. I highly recommend experiencing this diverse and exciting show.

For more information about Office Hours visit

About the Main Museum

Main Museum Beta storefront in Downtown Los Angeles

The Main Museum, located at 114 West 4th Street in the historic Hellman Building, is dedicated to engaging the public with the most important ideas of our time through the art of Downtown LA-based artists. Still in development, Beta Main is phase one occupying the ground floor of the Downtown LA museum. According to Co-Founder and Developer Tom Gilmore, further expansion is planned, including taking over a portion of the former Farmers and Merchants Bank next door, and the addition of a rooftop sculpture garden

Learn more at

About Clara Berta

Artist Clara Berta with her Minimalism painting
Artist Clara Berta

“Abstract painting is a mysterious journey. From the initial inspiration to the final work, I can never predict the steps in the process or the final image.”

Clara Berta is a passionate, award-winning abstract artist of Hungarian heritage. Her dynamic, abstract paintings have been exhibited in the US and collected worldwide. A sensibility of simplicity permeates her paintings with areas of bright color juxtaposed with large fields of negative space. This balance, between the focal point and the white space surrounding it, is a delicate equilibrium.

She believes in the philosophy of the renowned German architect, Mies van der Rohe, who created an influential twentieth-century architectural style, stated with extreme clarity and simplicity. He is often associated with his quotation of the aphorism, “less is more.”

See more from Clara’s Minimalism series

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