Spending part of my time out in Los Angeles has been an amazing exposure to an entirely different part of the art world. Much has been written about the LA art scene of late, which seems to be coming into its own, with terrific local fairs attracting international galleries; outstanding museums; and pockets of galleries spread throughout the sprawling city.
Last week I met Cedd Moses, one of the executive producers The Cool School: How LA Learned to Love Modern Art. He told me about the film, which chronicles the Angeleno art world in its youth, starting at its 1950’s beginnings. Featuring artists like John Baldessari, Ed Ruscha, Robert Irwin and Ed Moses (Cedd’s father), the movie reads as a who’s-who of LA art luminaries, complete with interviews of major gallerists like Irving Blum and Walter Hopps.
It was an illuminating insight into how the artists lived and worked during the LA art scene’s early years, colonizing Venice Beach when it was a derelict, oil rig-dotted backwater swamp. Having spent that very afternoon strolling Venice’s Abbot Kinney Boulevard and marveling at its jungly, oceanside beauty, it was an eye-opening insight into one of many of LA’s past lives.