Early Experiments with Perceptual Environments in the Southland

Los Angeles founded the West Coast Chapter of E.A.T. in 1969—E.A.T. stands for Experiments in Art and Technology—in a concerted effort to promote/utilize/collaborate/participate/incorporate the skills sets of the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) physicists, the engineering talents at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), with the experimental artists working in new materials and perspective who were residing in Los Angeles.  One exciting outcome of this merging of science/engineering/art would be the Southland group Chrysalis and their staged performances/manifestations such as Inflatable Environment of 1970.  What are your thoughts on the merging of Science/Technology/Art in the last quarter of the 20th Century?  Is such blending of  professional occupations good or bad for Art?

Chrysalis, Examples of Inflatable Environments, 1970+

Love, Beauty, and Truth: John Maynard Keynes

Seems a little strange and out of context to develop a blog post on Southern California Art with thoughts from the brilliant British economist John Maynard Keynes but, for the first half of the 20th century, the sharpest mind regarding “the Group Dynamics” within a growing global economy was that of Keynes.  Keynes understood the power of the Collective Experience and wrote about it in terms of Love, Beauty, and Truth.  “In the long run we are all dead…The market can stay irrational longer than you can stay solvent…The difficulty lies not so much in developing new ideas as in escaping from old ones…The appropriate subjects of passionate contemplation and communion were a beloved person, beauty and truth, and one’s prime objects in life were love, the creation and enjoyment of aesthetic experience and the pursuit of knowledge.”  How do you think Keynes perception of the Collective Experience relates to the visual arts developing in Southern California during the post World War II era under the curatorial leadership of Walter Hopps and the artwork of Edward Kienholz?

Photograph of John Maynard Keynes

Photograph of Walter Hopps

Edward Kienholz, The Wait, 1964-65