Frank Lloyd’s blog

Art, architecture and the people that I know.

Los Angeles Artists, Everywhere

with 2 comments

It’s easy to think that the birth of the Los Angeles art scene is just beginning to be fully appreciated. After all, the Getty-sponsored Pacific Standard Time: Art in L.A. 1945-1980 has drawn to a close, having given an enormous audience the chance to learn about the range of styles and materials during this period.

However, this view overlooks the ways in which these West Coast artists were appreciated in their own time, and the substantial recognition they gained at a much earlier date. Artists from the Los Angeles area and the West Coast were exhibited throughout the world in shows including Ten from Los Angeles at the Seattle Art Museum Pavilion, 1966, Los Angeles 6 by the Vancouver Art Gallery, 1968, and 11 Los Angeles Artists by the Arts Council of Great Britain in London, 1971.

Not only were these West Coast artists important, they were important together, and could be shown together without making distinctions between media. The image you see here is an exhibition announcement for Kompass, a 1970 show at the Kunsthalle Bern in Bern, Switzerland. The poster announces that the show consists of “American Art of the West Coast,” and lists the artists represented, including Larry Bell, Billy Al Bengston, Bruce Conner, Richard Diebenkorn, Robert Irwin, Craig Kauffman, Ed Kienholz, Frank Lobdell, John Mason, John McCracken, Bruce Nauman, Ken Price, Ed Ruscha, Hassel Smith, Clifford Still, Wayne Thiebaud, Peter Voulkos, Doug Wheeler, and William T. Wiley.

Seeing such a diverse group of names together really illustrates what was happening on the West Coast. The pluralistic approach of these exhibits reflects an understanding of the multiplicity of styles and mediums that thrived in the Los Angeles scene of that period.


2 Responses

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  1. Are there any books that you would recommend that elaborate more on the “birth” of the art scene in LA? I saw the PST show/s and would love to learn more.

    Also, I would be curious to hear more about this line from above — “Not only were these West Coast artists important, they were important together, and could be shown together without making distinctions between media.” — Is this true of emerging/contemporary artists in LA today? If so, are there any names you might recommend I research?

    Thanks so much!

    Stacy Elaine


    July 16, 2012 at 2:28 am

  2. Hi Stacy Elaine,
    There are several recent publications to read. Many of the museums that presented the PST shows produced publications. The Getty Research Institute’s book, titled “Pacific Standard Time” is available on the Getty Publications website and also through Amazon. The Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego presented “Phenomenal” and their catalogue is a good one for learning about Light and Space. The Laguna Museum published a book about the artists who taught and who were students at U.C. Irvine, titled “Best Kept Secret”. Each of those publications also has a bibilography.

    Frank Lloyd

    July 19, 2012 at 8:31 pm

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