cover image California Painters

California Painters

Chronicle Books, Henry T. Hopkins. Chronicle Books, $22.95 (143pp) ISBN 978-0-87701-593-2

In his informative but uninspired survey, Hopkins, director of the Frederick R. Weisman Art Foundation in Los Angeles, provides a necessarily schematic overview of those historical developments and aesthetic traditions in Southern California (primarily L.A.) and the San Francisco Bay Area that have influenced the more current California painters, the best-known of whom may be David Hockney and Richard Diebenkorn. Hopkins effectively situates 41 artists here within a general context of national and international contemporary trends (e.g., neo-expressionism), thereby avoiding charges of both provincialist autonomy and stylistic hegemony. But Hopkins's zeal for modernism leads him to ignore the postmodernists--a number of younger painters with recently acquired national reputations, such as Mike Kelley and Tim Ebner, are inexcusably omitted. A portrait by McHugh, a photographer for People magazine, and a brief personal statement--neither of which particularly enhance the reader's understanding of the artwork--accompany several good-quality color reproductions. (Oct.)