cover image Creating the Future: Art and Los Angeles in the 1970s

Creating the Future: Art and Los Angeles in the 1970s

Michael Fallon. Counterpoint (PGW, dist.), $26 (400p) ISBN 978-1-61902-343-7

While the closure of the Ferus Gallery in 1966 and subsequent events such as Artforum’s move to New York City in 1967 seemed like crushing setbacks to Los Angeles’s art scene at the time, Fallon proves the contrary in this lively history of artistic pluralism and dissidence. Fallon, an arts and culture writer based in Minneapolis, casts a wide net over avant-garde and populist art movements to demonstrate that Angelino art in the ’70s remained as fresh, radical, and influential as ever, if not more so. He emphasizes the rise of the feminist and Chicano art movements, the leaps represented by John Baldessari’s Cremation Project, James Turrell’s investigations into “perceptual reality,” and Chris Burden’s performance Shoot. He discusses graffiti in the barrios, African-American muralists such as Elliot Pinkney, and Allan Kaprow’s tenure at CalArts. He also provides an overview of Lowbrow artist Robert Williams’s relationship to the cultures of cars, punk rock, surfing, and skateboarding. From Vija Celmins to Paul McCarthy, the scope of subjects accurately conveys the complex, diverse nature of L.A. art across the decade. Though the book has little in the way original analysis of the artworks and the narrative is loosely assembled, it still satisfies. Agent: Lyn DelliQuadri, Lahr & Partners (Sept.)