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    Cool School exhibition installation
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    Cool School exhibition installation
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    Cool School exhibition installation
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    Cool School exhibition installation

The Cool School

March 30, 2020 - December 31, 2021
Palm Desert, CA


Heather James Fine Art presents an online exclusive exhibition focusing on artists associated with the Ferus Gallery, the legendary Los Angeles art gallery that ran from 1957-1966. The exhibition pulls from our extensive collection to showcase Charles Arnoldi, Larry Bell, Billy Al Bengston, Ed Moses, and Ed Ruscha.

Founded by curator Walter Hopps, artist Edward Kienholz, and poet Bob Alexander, the gallery exhibited major artists of both the West and East Coast. They were the first gallery on the West Coast to exhibit Andy Warhol’s iconic Campbell’s soup cans. Under director Irving Blum, Ferus nurtured and promoted art movements unique to the West Coast and California including Finish Fetish and Light and Space.

This exhibition brings together artists associated with the wave of avant-garde art in southern California centered around Ferus. These artists shaped not just the art scene on the West Coast but art history in general bringing a distinctive Southern California sensibility. Marked by creative camaraderie, this “Cool School” group of artists changed our perceptions of art.

Larry Bell and the Light and Space movement made us take note of the interaction of materiality and perception. Ed Moses and Billy Al Bengston pushed the boundaries of abstract art whether it was Moses and his use of assemblage and chance or Bengston’s mix of masculine and feminine references. Ed Ruscha put a California spin to Pop Art. And, although not formally in the group, Charles Arnoldi was a close friend of Moses, and Arnoldi’s blend of color, abstraction, materiality and assemblage melds with these artists.

Cool in spirit and cool in style, these artists epitomize the importance of Southern California in art history.