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L.A. in S.B. An Exhibition of Historic Los Angeles Art

Press Release


Sullivan Goss is bringing a taste of the historic L.A. art scene to its Santa Barbara gallery in time for summer. With all of the media focus on Los Angeles as a new global art capital, the curators at Sullivan Goss thought it would be fun to dig through the gallery’s inventory to find some context for the city’s emergence. How did L.A. get to be such an important art center? Angelenos will have to drive north to find out.

Much of the City’s art history lies buried between two great stories. One story relates to the development of Los Angeles as a capital of plein air Impressionism. The other story relates to the so-called Cool School that was centered around Venice Beach and the infamous Ferus Gallery on La Cienega. The stretch between Impressionism and the Cool School – the 30s, 40s, and early 50s – is frequently overlooked. That period saw the simultaneous rise of a nationally known Regionalism as well as the import of international Modernist styles like Expressionism and Cubism. Some of the teachers associated with these movements ended up instructing the later generations. They helped the greater Los Angeles area develop a gallery network, collectors, and museums.


Of course, the film industry – and Disney in particular – were also instrumental in growing a visual arts culture in L.A. Among the artists in this exhibition who worked for them are Richmond Kelsey, Ben Messick, and Irv Wyner – though Richard Haines is known to have given classes to Disney artists.

Over the past thirty-three years, Sullivan Goss has mounted at least forty solo exhibitions for L.A. artists , as well as nine thematic exhibitions devoted to the area. In other words, L.A. has been prominently represented in S.B. for a while.


2:15 | Jeremy Tessmer

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