California Bear

A New Exhibition in Santa Monica Features a Formidable Selection of California Artists

The exhibit, featuring a selection of contemporary art produced in the Golden State from the 1960s to the present, is curated by Foundation Director Billie Milam Weisman. “Since the 1960s, California has emerged as a center for contemporary art that rivals New York in its accomplishments and innovation,” he shares. Weisman, who began collecting both international art and art from Los Angeles in the mid-1950s, counted many of the city’s top artists as his close friends, building a collection that reflects these personal relationships.

Weisman was an early supporter of many of the artists who rose to prominence through the legendary Ferus Gallery, established by Walter Hopps, Ed Kienholz, and later, Irving Blum. At the time, Hopps was an innovative young curator tuned in to the idiosyncratic styles of Los Angeles artists, which had developed from isolation during the post-war period. As a result, LA artists were inspired by their daily lives and surroundings—the local terrain, vibrant sun, beautiful sunsets, blue skies, surfboards, and fast, flashy cars. Soon, new art movements were created (such as Light and Space and Finish Fetish), and the Cool School was born. The art on view represents a number of these diverse movements that have shaped and continue to play a decisive role in defining the visual arts in the Golden State.

Artists represented at the exhibition include Lita Albuquerque, David Hockney, Edward and Nancy Kienholz, Ed Moses, Ruth Pastine and Edward Ruscha.

The exhibition is currently open to the public through December 6. The SMC Pete & Susan Barrett Gallery is located at the SMC Performing Arts Center, 1310 11th Street (at Santa Monica Boulevard), Santa Monica. More information is available here.

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