Synopsis by Mark Deming
New York City has long been regarded as the heart of the American art movement, but near the end of the 1940s, as the post-war rise of Abstract Expressionism became the new wave of painting in the United States, a small but determined band of painters, curators, and collectors on the West Coast were determined to make themselves known. Filmmaker Morgan Neville examines the rise of the Los Angeles art scene and how it brought a new and vigorously American slant to contemporary painting in the documentary The Cool School. Neville profiles Walter Hopps and Irving Blum, owners of the Ferus Gallery, which championed the new school of Los Angeles art; sculptors Ed Kienholz and Larry Bell; and painters Ed Ruscha, John Altoon, and Billy Al Bengston, all of whom were championed by the Ferus Gallery; architect Frank Gehry, whose ideas dovetailed with those of the new L.A. artists; and Dennis Hopper and Dean Stockwell, actors and Hollywood bohemians whose love of the new L.A. art (and willingness to buy pieces) provided crucial support for a struggling movement. Jeff Bridges serves as narrator.
abstract-art, architecture, art-scene, expressionism, painting, sculpture