|Index||3 reviews in total|
Viewed at Starz Denver Film Festival. This IS the film if you want a crash course on LA's hipster art scene of the mid '50s and late '60s. Thoroughly enjoyable from beginning to end. It was at Ferus Gallery that bookwormish Walter Hopps (who cared about the art) and Cary Grant-like Irving Blum (who cared about the money) brought together a unique and odd collection of off-beat artists to La Cienega - Ed Kienholz, Ed Ruscha, Larry Bell, John Altoon, Billy Al Bengston, Ed Moses, Robert Irwin and Kenneth Price, among others. Bon vivants, artists, collectors and cigar afficionados Dennis Hopper and Dean Stockwell are interspersed throughout. The gallery housed Warhol's first exhibit, brought in Lichtenstein, and got busted by the cops for an exhibit deemed obscene. After seeing the film, I suggest going to Barney's Beanery in West Hollywood - to look up the ghosts.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Like the older, polite cousin of "Dog Town & Z-Boyz", the film is
constructed from an large pool of interviews with artists, actors and
gallery owners who talk over some well discovered archival footage and
photos. This nicely edited preamble delves into the special world of a
unique group of pioneering artists in Los Angeles in the 50s and 60s
including Ed Moses, Ed Kienholz, Ed Ruscha, Craig Kauffman, Wallace
Berman, and Robert Irwin.
The names might be smaller than those in the mature NY scene or more-respected SF scene but this lively documentary gifts us an insight into how Venice beach beatniks and the hip gallery scene on La Cienega Blvd. influenced and created a small but unique social movement on the West Coast.
The young city of Los Angeles quickly rose from an unknown underdog to one of America's respected art cities, placing it within competitive reach of New York and San Francisco and therefore with Paris, London and Berlin.
Worth watching, perhaps more so for people who know about art and / or L.A.
You REALLY, REALLY have to be an art lover to like this documentary. I mean, I thought after the glacial pacing that maybe I would learn something new about art and I did. But not enough to slog through after the first 10 - 15 minutes. I just couldn't take it anymore. Yes, I agree these guys/gals made their artistic bones on the west coast and need to be recognized but they deserved a better presentation as a whole. Even the celebrity cameos felt limp. I was more interested in the brand of cigars they were smoking than in the subject they were discussing. I flipped back to view what I had recorded from the History Channel to finish my night.
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