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The Cool School

Director: Morgan Neville Run Time: 126 min. Format: Digital Rating: NR Release Year: 2008

Starring: Ed Ruscha, Eve Babitz, John Baldessari, Larry Bell

Nitehawk’s June ART SEEN shows love for the Los Angeles art world with the documentary The Cool School and The Black and White Tapes (1970-1975) by Paul McCarthy. Introduction on Saturday by Rebecca Taylor from MoMA PS1.

Amidst the city’s sprawling landscape, vast highways, warm weather, and cheap rents, the artists that make Los Angeles their home are like no other artists in the world. 2008’s The Cool School documents the birth of modern art in LA with the beginning of the eponymous Ferus Gallery in the late 1950s, showing the renegade artists and curators who built that scene from almost nothing. Ed Kienholz, Larry Bell, Ed Moses, John Baldessari, Ed Ruscha, Billy Al Bengston, Dennis Hopper, Irving Blum, Walter Hopps are but some of the notable names you find in The Cool School’s look at the most unique art scene in the world (then and now).

mccarthy_bw_xlShowing before The Cool School will be a screening of seminal Los Angeles artist Paul McCarthy’s The Black and White Tapes (1970-1975). A mixture of subtlety and confrontation, the artist’s body and formal play with objects, light, and shadow, this compilation of thirteen early black and white performance tapes from the 1970s reveals the nascent development of the themes, the raw physicality, and the performance personae that mark McCarthy’s well-known later works.

We will also show artist works by Kelly Kleinschrodt, Alexa Garrity, and Henry Joost & Ariel Schulman’s A Brief History of John Baldessari.