Across three thriving spaces in Los Angeles, Anat Ebgi has crafted a reputation for its curated museum-caliber shows and unwavering commitment to artists. At first, founder Anat Ebgi and senior director and partner Stefano Di Paola dreamed of working in museums. Instead, they channeled their institutional ambition into forming one of Los Angeles’s most dynamic galleries, with branches in Mid-Wilshire, Los Feliz, and Culver City.
Next January, the gallery will arrive on the East Coast for the first time to open a 5,000-square-foot space in New York’s bustling Tribeca neighborhood at 372 Broadway. In March, its inaugural solo exhibition, aptly titled “Sink or Swim,” will showcase new work from Los Angeles–based artist Greg Ito. It’s a fitting metaphor for the gallery’s own journey, having spent a decade helping artists not only stay afloat but swim successfully in the art world.
The gallery’s roots can be traced to the fall of 2008, when, after graduating from the Center of Curatorial Studies at Bard, Ebgi moved to Los Angeles. She opened The Company, an experimental gallery in Chinatown, before moving to Chung King Road, where she met Di Paola, who joined the gallery as an intern. By 2012, Ebgi changed the gallery’s name and opened a new space in Culver City. Di Paola, after briefly leaving to work at the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, serendipitously reconnected with Ebgi in this new space, marking his transition from intern to a pivotal role within the gallery.
“We had this shared experience where she also wanted to do institutional work in the beginning, but realized that at the time it wasn’t going to really happen, and that [the] gallery was the way to continue to work with artists,” Di Paola told Artsy. “I will never forget [my and Anat’s] conversation because it was so fascinating. I said, ‘I want to work in an institution or museum because I don’t want to think about artists as commodity. I want to think about them as just artists and their projects and really just support them,’ and Anat says, ‘What do you think we do here? We are the first people to step up for an artist before any museum or institution will.’”
This ethos of reimaging the gallery space as a nurturing environment rather than simply a commercial entity is exemplified in the gallery’s inclusive and intentional programming, such as its collaboration with the influential feminist artist Faith Wilding. In a significant display of support, Anat Ebgi showcased Wilding’s evocative watercolors, spanning 1969 through 1979, at Art Basel in Miami Beach in 2018—making the first art fair appearance for the artist at the age of 75. The gallery has persistently celebrated Wilding’s artistry, most recently at its booth at the ADAA: The Art Show in New York, where her acclaimed works like Moth Triptych (1974) and Birds of Paradise: Virgin Goddess (1978) were on view.
These historic works, emblematic of Wilding’s groundbreaking journey and the feminist movement’s evolution, were crucial to the gallery’s celebration of the 50th anniversary of “Womanhouse” in 2022. Anat Ebgi’s innovative approach to the exhibition sought to contextualize the 1972 “Womanhouse” exhibition in Los Angeles—a groundbreaking art installation created by the Feminist Art Program at the California Institute of the Arts—within a broader continuum of feminist art.
For Di Paola, championing Wilding’s work is about “taking that legacy and expanding it beyond the one or two famous works that people know, but instead putting energy into enlarging this view of what an artist can be and helping grow this legacy beyond one thing.”
Di Paola’s dedication to expanding an artist’s legacy reflects Anat Ebgi’s central commitment to its artists, emphasizing a holistic approach to nurturing their careers and ensuring their relevance in contemporary art.
“Rather than trying to gather up all these artists, I think every artist that we believe in, that we feel is an important artist to give our energies, is seen with how long we’ve worked with these artists and that we believe in them and stand by them, and that’s just part of the program,” Ebgi told Artsy.
Experimental American artist Tina Giruoard, much like Wilding, represents another facet of the gallery’s dedication to contextualizing and uplifting the work of its artists within a broader history. Anat Ebgi’s representation of Giruoard’s estate is a testament to honoring the breadth of an artist’s entire career. Since the artist’s passing in 2020, the gallery has played a key role in solidifying her legacy.
“One of the exciting things of what we get to do as a gallery is having this history and being able to look back at it, being able to recontextualize this work and find the places in which [Girouard] fits,” Di Paola said.
Above all, the gallery’s mission is predicated on deep-seated trust with its artists and its collectors. Ebgi spoke to this dedication, particularly in the case of Sigrid Sandström, the first artist to join her roster. Her perseverance is mirrored in Sandström’s progress, with an upcoming exhibition at Perrotin signifying a milestone in the artist’s burgeoning recognition. “We really work hard for these artists,” Ebgi affirmed.
Likewise, the gallery’s bond with collectors and institutions is founded on a shared investment in the artists’ long-term visions rather than transient trends. Anat Ebgi, with a deep-rooted presence in the international art scene, stands on the precipice of a new chapter with its move to New York. The move promises to weave the gallery even more tightly into New York’s art scene and the global art community, furthering the reach of its 30-strong roster, which includes several ultra-contemporary artists such as Jessica Taylor Bellamy and Krzysztof Strzelecki.
Ultimately, Anat Ebgi’s passion for the longevity of artists is communicated and shared across its community—a secret that distinguishes the gallery in the art world.
“The collectors that we’ve cultivated are ones that are going to hold the work and are going to continue to support and are going to invest in the program,” Di Paola said. “They’re not people who are just searching for the next hot thing that can be flipped in six months. We’ve cultivated really dedicated collectors for our really dedicated program.”