10 April 2008

The Cool School (2008)

San Francisco is an excellent destination for watching films, I gotta say. How else would I have been able to catch a movie about the Los Angeles modern art scene from the late 1950s through the 1960s, embodied by the Ferus Gallery on La Cienega. While names like Walter Hopps, Ed Kienholz, and Irving Bloom didn't ring any bells -- thus the promotion of the film using more familiar names like Frank Gehry and Dennis Hopper (despite being mostly minor commenters) -- the documentary was fascinating.

I'm hardly studied in art enough to really understand abstract expressionism, installation art, or most of the actual pieces the film displayed but it doesn't matter because in the end it's about a group of people carving out a moment (if not an actual movement), much like Dogtown and Z-Boys and grabs your attention irrespective of previous expertise on the subject.

One of the things mentioned in the movie was the requirements for creating an "effective" art scene. It consisted of having artists to create, galleries to display, critics to praise, and ultimately, collectors to buy. I have often wondered why certain cities seem to have an art scene and some don't and this formula sheds some light on the linear pieces that have to be compiled to create something out of nothing.