susannah tantemsapya  ⟶  los angeles + bangkok   

PC Valmoribda

Co-founder of PRISM

by Susannah Tantemsapya
Portrait by Claudia Lucia 

Whitewall Magazine - The Art Issue  (Spring 2013) 

Whitewall: You have said in another interview that starting PRISM in Los Angeles was
“spontaneous.” Can you elaborate on that?‬

PC Valmorbida: It was spontaneous in the sense that I did not foresee Los Angeles as being the
city where I would open my first space. Opening a gallery had been on my mind, but where and when I did not know. I came across this space on Sunset Blvd one afternoon with my partner, Jared Najjar. It seemed, at first, like a formidable undertaking, but at the same time, also to be an exciting and challenging endeavor. It turned out to make all the sense in the world.

WW: Your first show was with Barry McGee, an artist you already admired. What’s it like to show such a high caliber of work from the beginning? How do you continue to build on that success in a long-lasting way?

PCV: Working with Barry was a great privilege, as I have always admired his work. Getting to know him on a personal level has been even more of a privilege. I consider all the artists I work with to be of high caliber. I always look to create challenging exhibitions and to work with artists I both respect and admire.

WW: What is your vision for PRISM in the next few years? Do you plan to expand outside of Los Angeles?

PCV: We are continuing to build PRISM here in Los Angeles and solidifying our future
programming. We are also potentially looking to branch out both nationally and internationally in
the near future.
WW: What’s your take on the art scene in Los Angeles? How is PRISM shaping it?

PCV:  Los Angeles has a rapidly expanding and vibrant art scene with so many great local and
international artists exhibiting and working in the city. I believe Los Angeles will only continue to solidify its position as one of the world’s leading destinations for contemporary art. PRISM is contributing to the art scene here rather than shaping it. We are working to introduce several national and international artists that have not necessarily been shown in Los Angeles before.

WW: What specific shows and programs are happening this year?  Any new artists we should be excited about?

PCV: We are having our first solo exhibition for photographer Mario Testino that will coincide
with the Academy Awards in February. Also this year, we are having a show with acclaimed
Japanese photographer Daido Moriyama and some other exciting shows that are yet to be
announced. I was just in Stockholm for a few days and had the chance to meet Alfred Boman and Paul Fagerskiold, two very impressive Swedish artists that I suggest to keep an eye out for.

Jim Drain 
Fatty Rose Crushing the Sun
Acrylic on twill
114 x 80 inches
Courtesy of PRISM

WW: How has your view of the art world in general changed since you started out?
PCV: I have learned a lot since I have started. The more I learn and see, the more exciting it looks. I believe this is an extremely exciting time for contemporary art. Seeing so many artists creating such strong work makes me happy to be able to be apart of it all.

WW: Is there a defining moment since PRISM opened that stands out in your mind?

PCV: I don't know if you want to call it a defining moment, but definitely one of the most interesting and privileged times I have had along the way was working with Mike Kelley on his last exhibition before he passed away. It was an inspiration to see him and his three close friends all reunite for the show Destroy all Monsters.

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