Before the pandemic hit, I could often be found taking in the latest dark art exhibits happening local to me. It’s no surprise that in-person art events largely ceased over the past year and a half, so it’s been a while since I’ve set foot in a gallery. Now with many Covid-19 restrictions lifting in the City of Angels, spaces are reopening their doors, welcoming patrons to admire the macabre works of gifted artists up close. For those whose artistic tastes lean towards the grotesque, bizarre and otherworldly, then the following dark art galleries in Los Angeles, California, will tickle your fancy. I’ve paid a visit to most of these establishments and look forward to returning soon to cover future art shows. Here is a selection of L.A. dark art galleries you need to visit if you find yourself in the area!
Note: from left to right, top featured image includes “Behind You” by Larkin Cypher, photo inside Lethal Amounts and art inside Dark Art Emporium
This self-described “goth glam gallery” in Burbank has showcased a plethora of provocative and morbid pieces. The last event I attended was themed Erotic, featuring tantalizing creations by a variety of artists. Occult fashion designer Missy Munster of MM Fabrications debuted her INRI collection at the gallery, which included a stirring human suspension performance. After a lengthy hiatus, Black Sheep will be opening to the public on July 17th with a new exhibit. At this time, it seems that the official website is down for maintenance, but you can follow the gallery on Instagram.
Copro Gallery has been around since 1992 and is nestled in the Bergamot Station arts complex in Santa Monica. Renowned artist Chet Zar has collaborated closely with the gallery on several projects over the years to promote the dark art scene. The group art show he curated with Jeremy Wagner titled Conjoined vs. Grotesque: Denizens of the Dark in 2019 was the first event I attended at the gallery and introduced me to an eclectic mix of emerging and established artists. Copro already has a calendar filled with new art exhibits happening in the upcoming months. Opening reception events are free and featured artists are usually in attendance. At the moment, the space is open on Saturdays only from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. An appointment is required to visit at any other time.
This was the first gallery I visited that exposed me to the world of dark art and the one I’ve covered the most on my blog. Located in the East Village of the city of Long Beach, Dark Art Emporium is overseen by owner Jeremy Schott and assistant director Jeremy Cross, otherwise referred to as “The Jeremys.” This pair is as laidback and unpretentious as they come in the art scene. The business has moved a couple of times, and its current space is a nice upgrade from the smaller location it previously inhabited. They’ve hosted some very unconventional and provoking exhibits showing off mind-blowing art. Plus, DAE is connected to a horror-inspired pizzeria called The 4th Horseman that features a diabolically delicious menu! This is a joint where you can feed your appetite for good art and food. Currently, they’re open by appointment only Tuesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Admission is free.
I have yet to visit The Hive, but I’m hoping to change that soon. This gallery was founded by Nathan Cartwright and opened its doors in 2005 amidst the Downtown Art Walk neighborhood of Los Angeles. It specializes in neo-pop creations with themed exhibits that have highlighted paganism, the Tarot, fetishism, sci-fi and the paranormal, to name only a few. The Hive debuts a new art show every month, so there’s always something fresh to discover. An added bonus is that the gallery’s inventory includes affordable, premium quality works with prices as low as $10—a great resource for novice art collectors. It’s open to the public from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday and by appointment only Sunday through Tuesday.
Located in Burbank, Hyaena Gallery is a haven for outsider art that’s dark and underground. The space is intimate, and in addition to art, features a shop where clients can purchase prints, iconic memorabilia, books and other strange and unusual goodies. A while back I checked out the Dreaming of Spirits show, which exhibited ethereal pieces by a variety of artists. Before the pandemic, Hyaena was unveiling new exhibits monthly. No upcoming events have been announced yet, but the establishment is open to visitors Tuesday through Sunday.
Priding itself on promoting controversial and unconventional work, Lethal Amounts relishes in collaborating with creators that push and test boundaries. The gallery, nestled in downtown Los Angeles, is the brainchild of Danny Fuentes and proudly brandishes its signature safety pins LA brand logo. Fuentes has also hosted underground music events, both in the gallery and at other venues. Artists whose work I’ve seen here include the duo Mothmeister, Blake Armstrong and Brittany Markert. Lethal Amounts recently reopened with a weekend-long celebration unveiling an all-new permanent art collection and boutique. Hours of operation are 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. Friday through Sunday, and appointments are available upon request from Tuesday to Thursday.
La Matadora Gallery is tucked away in the desert wilderness of Joshua Tree, east of Los Angeles. The gallery is fairly new, opening in 2017 by Colleena Hake. Although it encompasses less than 400 square feet, the space makes a big statement through the artists and pieces displayed. Exhibits are curated by Hake and Wendy Gadzuk who is also a gifted artist. The atmosphere and works showcased radiate a rustic, magical energy. I haven’t made my way to this gallery yet, but I’m hoping to eventually take a trip to the High Desert. The location of this space is the most unique of the galleries mentioned on this list because it lies outside of the city surrounded by a wild and wonderous landscape. Currently, La Matadora is open to the public on weekends from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. or by appointment.
While not strictly a dark art gallery, I’m including The Mystic Museum because they’ve put on some fantastic art shows in the past. It’s located in a part of Burbank called Magnolia Park, known for its retro and eccentric shops. I’ve attended several events and they’re always entertaining because they incorporate fun photo ops and immersive experiences that align with the theme of the exhibit. Dark Art Emporium was the first professional gallery that exposed me to macabre fine art, whereas Mystic Museum introduced me to pop-up art installations. Owners Kiko and Erick highlight works inspired by horror, comics, Halloween, the occult and pop culture by emerging, local and established artists. Past events have focused on The Shining, Vampira, Goosebumps, Gothic Families of TV and more. During your visit, you can browse their oddities shop next door, Bearded Lady Vintage & Oddities, and check out the latest attraction Camp Horror. Hours of operation are 12 p.m. to 7 p.m. every day.
Here at SugarMynt Gallery in South Pasadena, every day is Halloween. The establishment sits in an iconic spot too—it’s where filming for the 1978 horror flick Halloween took place! Yes, you read that right. The gallery is situated behind the original Michael Myers house and displays behind-the-scenes photos from the movie, artifacts from Hocus Pocus and spooky art. They’ve also started hosting events again, such as outdoor horror film screenings and pop-up experiences. Plus, SugarMynt recently added a new ScareBNB attraction, which allows guests to rent a room for up to three nights in the gallery that’s decked out in décor inspired by the Halloween movie. I’m surprised with myself that I haven’t been to this space yet, but you can bet I’ll be stopping by. SugarMynt is open Thursday through Sunday and admission is $15. Visit the official website for specific hours. Appointments are available for days the gallery is closed to the public.