Authors: Hunter Drohojowska-Philp
To David, again
“People cut themselves off from their ties to the old life when they come to Los Angeles. They are looking for a palace where they can be free, where they can do things they couldn't do anywhere else.”
, the grandson of slaves, whose 1973 election as Los Angeles's first black mayor resulted in an unprecedented twenty-year tenure and the establishment of the city's Museum of Contemporary Art
Walter Hopps organizes Action I, exhibition in the Merry-Go-Round building on the Santa Monica Pier. Announcement is designed by his childhood friend, artist Craig Kauffman.
Ed Kienholz shows his work at Von's CafÃ© Galleria, Laurel Canyon. Meets his future wife Mary Lynch.
Later opens his first gallery in the lobby of the Coronet Theatre Cinema.
Wallace Berman publishes first issue of his magazine of poetry and pictures,
Peter Voulkos teaches ceramics at the Los Angeles County Art Institute (future Otis College of Art and Design). Students include Billy Al Bengston, Ken Price, and John Mason.
Rebel Without a Cause
, directed by Nicholas Ray, stars Dennis Hopper, James Dean, and Natalie Wood.
Dean, 24, dies in a car accident.
Lorser Feitelson begins his TV show,
Feitelson on Art,
which runs until 1963.
Kienholz opens his Now Gallery.
John Altoon returns to Los Angeles from New York and Europe and teaches at Chouinard Art Institute.
Ed Ruscha and Mason Williams arrive in Los Angeles. Ruscha enrolls in Chouinard. Williams discovers folk music clubs in L.A. Joins the Navy.
Walter Hopps and Ed Kienholz organize the “4th Annual All-City Outdoor Art Festival” in Barnsdall Park.
On the Road
First polyurethane surfboards go on the market.
Llyn Foulkes, Judy Gerowitz (later Chicago), and Irving Blum move to Los Angeles.
Wallace Berman and Robert Alexander open Stone Brothers boutique and printing press.
George Herms presents
his assemblage sculpture on a vacant lot in Hermosa Beach.
Robert Irwin has first solo show at Felix Landau Gallery.
Walter Hopps and Ed Kienholz open Ferus Gallery. Wallace Berman exhibition is closed and artist is arrested for obscenity. John Altoon is given solo show.
The TV police series
77 Sunset Strip
Everett Ellin opens first gallery and Chez La Vie cafÃ©, which closes after a year.
Ruscha shares a house with fellow Chouinard students and Oklahomans Jerry McMillan, Pat Blackwell, and Don Moore. Joe Goode joins them in early 1959 and enrolls at Chouinard.
Larry Bell enrolls at Chouinard.
Billy Al Bengston, Craig Kauffman, and Ed Moses have first solo shows at Ferus.
Robert Alexander and James Newman open Dilexi Gallery in San Francisco and show many Ferus artists including Moses, who starts using the name Ed Moses Y Branco.
Irving Blum buys out Kienholz and becomes co-director of Ferus at new location on La Cienega Boulevard.
The Holy Barbarians
, with John Altoon on the cover, an account of the Beat scene in Venice by Lawrence Lipton.
Peter Voulkos ceramics, sculpture, and paintings shown at the Pasadena Art Museum.
Democrat Edmund (“Pat”) Brown elected Governor of California.
Lenny Bruce performs monologues inspired by improvisational jazz and left-wing politics.
Richard Neutra builds the Singleton house in Bel Air.
Craig and Vivian Kauffman travel to Europe from 1959 to 1961.
Ken Price returns to L.A. from graduate school in Alfred, New York.
Virginia Dwan opens her gallery in Westwood.
Four Abstract Classicists, a show of geometric abstract painting by John McLaughlin, Lorser Feitelson, Fred Hammersley, and Karl Benjamin at the L.A. County Museum of History, Science, and Art.
A show by abstract artist Lee Mullican is held at the UCLA art galleries, organized by curator Frederick S. Wight.
The contraceptive pill comes on the market.
John Lautner designs the “Chemosphere,” or Malin residence.
Opening of the LAX theme building designed by Charles Luckman, William Pereira, Welton Becket, and Paul Williams.
Julius Shulman photographs
Case Study House No. 22
designed by Pierre Koenig. The nighttime view of fashionably dressed young women seated in a glass-walled living room cantilevered over a hillside with a grid of lights in the distance defines the exotic, modern Southern California lifestyle.
Everett Ellin opens his second gallery on North La Cienega Boulevard.
Billy Al Bengston paints his Dracula series with a small orchid shape in center of canvas.
Larry Bell begins paintings of nested hexagons.
Ferus shows Jasper Johns with Kurt Schwitters; Ken Price's first solo show.
The Pasadena Art Museum presents the clay sculpture of John Mason in May, followed by Robert Irwin in July, and Richard Diebenkorn in September.
album is released, launching a surf music trend. About 30,000 young people are surfing California beaches each weekend.
Willem de Kooning at the Kantor Gallery and Helen Frankenthaler at Primus-Stuart Gallery. Ferus artists are packaged as something entirely different: Ken Price's exhibition announcement depicts the artist surfing; Bengston's shows the artist driving his motorcycle.
A forest fire destroys more than 500 houses in Bel Air, Brentwood, and Malibu, including that of Dennis and Brooke Hopper.
Dwan Gallery's Yves Klein: Le Monochrome opens on May 29.
Ed Kienholz is given a show at the Pasadena Art Museum in May and included in the Museum of Modern Art's The Art of Assemblage organized by William Seitz the following fall.
In May, Huysman Gallery, founded by art historian Henry Hopkins, puts on War Babies.
Kienholz shows his first life-size installation of a bordello,
at Ferus. It is followed in March by the geometric abstract paintings of Larry Bell. In May, Robert Irwin presents line paintings. In July, Andy Warhol's first show features the
Campbell's Soup Cans
In September, Hopps presents New Painting of Common Objects at the Pasadena Art Museum. The show includes Jim Dine, Robert Dowd, Joe Goode, Philip Hefferton, Roy Lichtenstein, Ed Ruscha, Wayne Thiebaud, and Andy Warhol. Ruscha has the announcement printed at a workshop that usually makes boxing posters.
Dwan Gallery shows Robert Rauschenberg in March, the same time that Everett Ellin Gallery shows Niki de Saint Phalle and Jean Tinguely.
Ed Moses shows at the Alan Gallery in March and Billy Al Bengston shows at Martha Jackson Gallery in May, both in New York City.
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
is published. Peter, Paul and Mary make popular the Bob Dylan song
Blowin' in the Wind
Death of Marilyn Monroe in Los Angeles.
Ken Price moves to Japan, then to Ventura, 1963â1965.
Pasadena Art Museum gives solo shows to John Altoon and Llyn Foulkes.
Beginning of Monday night art walks on North La Cienega Boulevard.
Walter Hopps appointed curator of the Pasadena Art Museum. Oversees Kurt Schwitters retrospective, June 20âJuly 17.
Joe Goode's first solo show is with Dilexi Gallery.
The first issue of
published by John Irwin in San Francisco.
Dwan Gallery shows Martial Raysse, Franz Kline, who had died in 1962, Larry Rivers, Jean Tinguely and Niki de Saint Phalle, and Ed Kienholz. Claes Oldenburg shows soft sculpture at Dwan in October and stages Autobodies, a Happening involving dozens of cars and a parking lot.
At Ferus: Irving Blum shows New Yorkers Andy Warhol, Frank Stella, and Roy Lichtenstein, as well as L.A.'s John Mason, Ed Moses, Larry Bell, and Ed Ruscha. Ruscha creates his first artist's book,
Twentysix Gasoline Stations
More galleries open on North La Cienega Boulevard: Rolf Nelson, director of Dilexi, leaves to open his own gallery and present a Fluxus event
. He shows Joe Goode, Llyn Foulkes, and George Herms. Ceeje Gallery shows Charles Garabedian and Edmund Teske. David Stuart Gallery shows Tony Berlant and Dennis Hopper.
Everett Ellin closes gallery and moves to New York to be director of Marlborough Gallery.
Edward G. Robinson's highly regarded collection of Impressionist art is rejected by the trustees of the L.A. County Museum, fearful of his left-leaning politics. It is shown in his Beverly Hills home as a charity event before being auctioned after his divorce.