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  • Klenator Draculas (1977)

    Billy Al Bengston

    "The process of making a painting is the process of living. . . . When it’s all over, he has made a diary about his life."—Billy Al Bengston

    After his first solo show at the Ferus Gallery in Los Angeles in 1958, Billy Al Bengston soon became a fixture in what became known as the Cool School group of young Los Angeles artists. In his works Bengston typically depicts a single, simple, isolated subject in a range of materials and methods that often reflect the environments and times he has encountered in his travels. The Dracula series, which he began in the 1970s, focuses on the soft and pliable form of a delicate iris flower. The shifting circles of color in Klenator Draculas are meant to suggest rippling pools of light moving in water.

    Acrylic on canvas 60 x 56 1/8 in
    Frederick R. Weisman Art Foundation © Billy Al Bengston

  • Dabs (1982)

    Carol Shaw-Sutton, Joan Austin

    Southern California artist Peter Alexander explored light, color, and decorative surface effects in his glittering, sequined works of the 1980s. In Dabs Alexander creates a textured scene that resembles the vibrancy of life in the depths of the ocean. Originally associated with the Light and Space movement, Alexander shows that luminosity and brilliance occur even in the darkest places one can imagine. His method references crafting, such as appliqua © and embroidery, and his use of kitschy materials like glitter and sequins only serve to heighten the effect. Here Alexander retains his interest in the properties of light, yet calls attention to the type of velvet painting reminiscent of tourist art from Mexico as a potential form of high art.

    Acrylic and fabric on velvet 87 x 104 in
    Frederick R. Weisman Art Foundation

  • American Standard (1975)

    Charles Arnoldi

    Los Angeles artist Charles Arnoldi first came to prominence in the early 1970s with a series of twig paintings and sculptures, flat designs made from actual tree branches arranged to echo the expressive lines of modern drawing. American Standard is one of the earliest examples of these works. This eclectic and inventive approach to sculpture was initially aligned with 1970s conceptualism, which proclaimed traditional artistic methods obsolete. Through his use of tree branches as art materials, Arnoldi made a conceptualist gesture—a kind of natural readymade—while paying homage to the intrinsic beauty of natural forms.

    Painted Wood Construction 20 x 20-1/2 x 2 in
    Frederick R. Weisman Art Foundation © Charles Arnoldi

  • Impound (1985)

    Charles Arnoldi

    Wood has been part of Charles Arnoldi's oeuvre since the late 1960s. Impound is part of his Logjam series—paintings inspired by images of Mount St. Helen's volcanic eruption in 1980, which sent a mudslide of timber cascading down the mountainside in wild disarray. In this work Arnoldi uses a diptych format to re-create an impression of the volcanic explosion and its aftermath. On the left, he constructs a painted relief made by actually cutting into a wood panel with a chainsaw. A thousand abstract “sticks” seem to implode and explode both toward and away from the viewer. He then juxtaposes this artist's rendering with the panel on the right, where he creates a more naturalistic sculptural surface composed of layers of actual tree branches.

    Acrylic and branches on plywood 92 x 154 x 11 in. (four panels)
    Frederick R. Weisman Art Foundation © Charles Arnoldi

  • Untitled (1983)

    Jack Goldstein

    Jack Goldstein achieved success in New York in the late 1970s for his performance, film, and sound-recording works that explored the relationship between human subjectivity and technology. In the early 1980s, Goldstein turned toward the more traditional realm of painting in works such as Untitled (1983), creating images that depict the realm of nature—landscape, space, or topographical maps—seen by and through layers of technological manipulation that recall his earlier performances. Goldstein created his paintings by appropriating found images from scientific and technological magazines, and then enlarging, segmenting, and painting the source image with an intricate airbrush technique. Untitled is an image of a telescopic view of a solar eclipse.

    Acrylic on canvas 96 x 96 in
    Frederick R. Weisman Art Foundation © The Estate of Jack Goldstein

  • Untitled (1968)

    Robert Irwin

    Acrylic lacquer on plastic Height: 24 in; diameter: 54 in
    Frederick R. Weisman Art Foundation California Art: Selections from the Frederick R. Weisman Art Foundation

  • Untitled (1985)

    Ed Moses

    "I’m interested in discovering things through the meandering and chaos in the confusion of painting."—Ed Moses

    For his first exhibition in 1969 in Los Angeles, artist Ed Moses dislodged the roof and ceiling of the gallery, revealing the wood slats in between. Natural light streaming through these slats created shadows of diagonal patterns that shifted across the walls and floor of the gallery with the sun's movement. The shifting diagonal grid was also evident in paintings from the same exhibition. Throughout his career, the highly reductive grid, symbol of rationality and control, has continued to serve as the basic structuring device of his paintings. It is often paired with a loose, fluid use of paint, as in Untitled, where spreading stains of color and animal forms (spiders) swarm beneath a black grid.

    Watercolor on paper 59 1/2 x 40 x 1 in
    Frederick R. Weisman Art Foundation © Ed Moses

  • Untitled (1973)

    Tom Wudl

    Tom Wudl first came to prominence in the early 1970s through his series of abstract paintings made from perforated rice paper. His nontraditional materials and colorful, flat surface patterns were typical of Los Angeles art of the time. This work's majestic size, reminiscent of nineteenth-century landscape or history painting, envelops the viewer in an abstractly rendered skyscape. The blue and white background represents the heavens. Two round shapes schematize stars or planets. A yellow bolt recalling lightning zigzags across the canvas. These elements culminate in a storm designed to evoke the mythic or religious symbolism of the sky as a place of cosmic creation. At the same time, by balancing this dramatic scene with a precise, controlled geometry, the seeming randomness of nature is shown to have an underlying mathematical structure.

    Mixed media 70 x 90 in
    Frederick R. Weisman Art Foundation © Tom Wudl

Frederick R. Weisman Museum of Art, Pepperdine University

California Art: Selections from the Frederick R. Weisman Art Foundation

Since the 1960s California has emerged as a center for contemporary art that rivals New York in its accomplishments and innovation. Frederick R. Weisman was a pioneering collector whose rise as an important patron of the arts paralleled the emergence of the contemporary art scene in Los Angeles. He began collecting both international art and art from Los Angeles in the mid-1950s, and counted many of the city's top artists as his close friends, building a collection that reflects these personal relationships. He was an early supporter of many of the artists that rose to prominence under the legendary Ferus Gallery, established by Walter Hopps, Ed Kienholz and later, Irving Blum. At the time Hopps was an innovative young curator who was tuned in to the idiosyncratic styles of Los Angeles artists, which had developed from isolation during the post-war period. As a result, LA artists were inspired by their daily lives and surroundings-the local terrain, vibrant sun, beautiful sunsets, blue skies, surfboards, and fast, flashy cars. Soon new art movements were created (such as Light and Space, and Finish Fetish), and the Cool School was born. But it would be decades later before the rest of the world recognized the importance of these artists and movements. In keeping with Frederick Weisman's tradition of supporting local artists, the Frederick R. Weisman Art Foundation has continued to amass a substantial collection of Los Angeles and California art.
08/27/2011 12/04/2011
Frederick R. Weisman Museum of Art, Pepperdine University
24255 Pacific Coast Highway
Malibu, CA 90263