Los Angeles Post WWII Art: Engaging European Traditions With So Cal’s Unique Expressions

  • Curators and artists collaborated together to create an exhibition where Made in L.A. 2012 could successfully tap into the trend-setting vision of L.A.-based artists/arts administrators who offered the seminal PST exhibition.  Southern California post-WWII artists looked somewhat passively to NYC and European art centers–London, Berlin, Paris–as they wrestled with their distinctive nuances of the time within which they were living.  The Ferus Gang were confident that their generation of American West Coast artists did not need to continue to pay allegiance to apprenticeships either nationally or internationally.  Such thinking to them was both humiliating and condescending to their distinctive aesthetic beliefs.  PST and Made in L.A. 2012  are two exhibitions of note that thoroughly close the book on So Cal or West Coast artists needing to subvert themselves to the constancy of the past.
  • Thomas Gaehtgens of the Getty stated the following in PST:
  • “In Los Angeles, a very distinct engagement with European artistic traditions merged with California art’s unique expression of openness, mobility, modernity, individuality, light, and color to create a new aesthetic, one well suited to an innovative style of West Coast living. During the 1960s and 1970s, political activism and resistance spurred artists to new fields of discovery.”
  • What are your thoughts on a prevailing cultural expectation that American artists were compelled, by the general public, to look to NYC and the Art centers of Western Europe to sustain constancy with the past which So Cal artists rejected with a firm stamp of disapproval?
  • Steven Von Huene, Tap Dance, 1967