Los Angeles wasn’t always the art hub that it is today and if it weren’t for a clutch of tenacious artists working from the 1960s on, today’s art scene may never have come to fruition.
Throughout his forty-year career, legendary Los Angeles artist Charles Arnoldi (b. 1946) has been synonymous with the artistic scene of Venice Beach. Arnoldi’s distinctive work blurs the boundaries between sculpture and painting, containing echoes both of architecture and the natural world. LAMA is pleased to announce a a meticulously crafted 1985 painting by Arnoldi that goes to auction on October 9th. Imposing geometric order on irregular material, Billion 1 achieves a harmonious and symmetrical balance. The artist recently spoke with Peter Loughrey, Director of Modern Design & Fine Art to discuss his work.
A self-described “abstract surrealist,” the painter, collagist, and teacher Emerson Woelffer was in many ways the very ideal of a postwar American artist. His distinctive style of Abstract Expressionism was inflected by his many and varied interests and experiences. Certainly one of Woelffer’s most enduring legacies is the inspiration he gave his students. When Woelffer came to Los Angeles in the 1960s he became a mentor to an impressive roster of devoted students at the Chouinard Institute that included Larry Bell, Ed Ruscha, Joe Goode, and Charles Arnoldi. His work was shaped, too, by his move to Southern California, which prompted a discernable shift to bolder, brighter colors in his paintings.
Charles Arnoldi is a painter, sculptor, and printmaker acclaimed for brightly colored compositions that straddle the margins of sculpture and painting; abstraction and representation. Both curiosity and experimentation are hallmarks of Arnoldi’s work–a theme that emerged in his groundbreaking “stick paintings” of the 1970s, made of found twigs and branches that Arnoldi shaped into constructions and affixed to panels.
Los Angeles Modern Auctions spoke with Charles Arnoldi in August 2015 about his career and his artistic philosophy. Five lots by the artist will be offered in our October 11 Modern Art & Design Auction.
The locus of the avant-garde in the 1960s Los Angeles art scene could be found in the “clean white cube” occupying a small storefront on La Cienega Boulevard: the Ferus Gallery. Curator Walter Hopps and impresario Irving Blum nurtured Los Angeles’s first significant postwar artists between 1957 and 1966. The vanguard of the new art scene was comprised of members of this “Cool School”–among them Ed Moses, Billy Al Bengston, Ken Price, Joe Goode, Ed Ruscha, and Larry Bell–who often employed a stylistic combination of pop, hard-edged abstraction, and minimalism. Works by Moses, Bengston, Price, Goode, Ruscha, and Bell will be on offer May 17 at the Modern Art & Design Auction. LAMA is also pleased to offer more works on paper by key California artists: De Wain Valentine and Chuck Arnoldi. And opening May 10 at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art will be the first museum presentation of Moses’s 1960s and 1970s drawings since 1976. Check out Ed Moses: Drawings from the 1960s and 70s along with Drawing in L.A.: The 1960s and 70s at LACMA.