My First LA Flea Market Experience: Downtown Modernism

Last weekend, I went downtown to Los Angeles Downtown Modernism, a flea market with more than 80 vintage dealers. My expectations were, needless to say, pretty high. With moving into the new house (make sure to follow my new blog Thursday series) I have many things on the list of things we need.

We got there real early, making sure to be some of the first pickers at all good vintage we expected to see. We took a quick run through the dealers, shouting for stuff we really liked and then started our quest to get what we had eyed. I quickly found out, nothing is cheap here. While it might be cheaper than you find in stores, very often, things were so high priced that it seemed almost ridiculous to start bargain. Tbh my mood got a little booted, as I was kind of expecting something else. It’s probably because this particular flea market is so curated that prices are a bit high.

Right as we walked in, I saw an original Greta Grossman desk in perfect condition and next to it, was a vintage Bruno Mathsson Pernilla easy chair. Both over my budget. The desk was going for $2500 and the chair $2300. The desk price seems fine, but the chair was very worn out, not in that cool vintage way though. So we passed on both.

It was definitely possible to find smaller pieces of ceramic that wasn’t too high priced, but even vintage posters from some random gallery were crazy priced in my opinion. Some dealers even pointed out they were signed, and I was like: “by who? The art director?”. But of course we did find something that we just could leave, even if the prices were a bit too high maybe. So today, I wanted to take you through what we picked up – and be prepared, we only got a bunch of cool art pieces and no furniture.

Our first pick was this framed print signed Weichmann, no. 175/240. We circled it a few times and just could not LET IT GO. Something about the greens and shapes, which is just so compelling, and as we have basically no art for the new house, we just had to have it. It was priced at $500, which seemed a bit pricey, but as none of us knew of the artist, we just went on our fascination. At our second visit to the vendor we got her to $450, and as we got cash out of the ATM, we came up with a story that the machine would only give us $400. We ended up getting it for $410. I am still not sure if we did a good buy or not, but we were stopped three times after buying it by other visitors who had also admired it.


Next up it these FOUR prints that I think used to be one big print. At least the do connect and tell some story I guess. It was by far Mr. LA’s favorite buy of the day. I really like the one with the cross-armed dude, but there is just something about the other faces that seems a bit fresco to me. With the right set of frames, I do think it will look amazing. We might split them up and put two in the new house and two in the Big Bear cabin. They weren’t cheap either ($500), but the vendor took credit card so we just went for it. And since Mr. LA liked them so much, I really couldn’t veto them. I thought, I’ll use it against him if I find something I like that he doesn’t (that didn’t happen… this time!).

At the same vendor, we found a big suitcase full of smaller prints, kind of throw in for people to just flip through. My eye caught the stripy one with the four silhouettes, where one of them is actually a cut out which is then glue on. I really like it. The other one, maybe it was just the spur of the moment, that we had to have a naked lady in the house. They were $40, which I just thought was a score. They might just be some art projects from a evening art class, but who cares.


Last but not least, we came across this wooden Jesus monkey head. Probably my FAVORITE buy. It really is INSANE. Maybe because it’s so unusual, so special and so not something I would normally go for, I just had to have it. I really am obsessed. It’s really not Jesus, but that’s what we call it right now. It might seem a little of brand for me, but I really like it for some reason, Mr. LA wasn’t too convinced, but he might have been easier to persuade after my objection against the four posters. It was $200, which might seem pretty high, but it’s such a unique piece and I think it will bring some coolness to our Scandi interior vibes.

There you go, our loot – mostly splurges, but really all things that WE LIKE and will find room for in our new home. It wasn’t exactly was I had hope for heading downtown, I really would have liked to find some cool vintage wishbone chair like chair or a super cool table lamp for my new office, but this haul makes up for it I think.

What do you think? Would you have splurged on some of these art pieces too? I think these pieces will be a great mix with all our more modern Scandi furniture. Come back for a first look of the new house later this week.

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  • Reply
    May 5, 2019 at 18:43

    Try the Pasadena Swap meet or the rose bowl

    • Reply
      May 6, 2019 at 21:20

      Both on my list… thank you. I’ll check out more swap meets during the summer.

  • Reply
    Downtown Modernism
    May 13, 2019 at 19:16

    Had a good laugh with the “wooden Jesus monkey head”! if that’s not a conversation piece, I don’t know what is! Thank you so much for coming to the market, it’s definitely very curated. We keep growing and hope you join us at the next one in October, perhaps you’ll find more furniture within the budget then, or more conversation pieces! XOXO, Downtown Modernism

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