Venice beach renegade artists hold a reunion Actor/director/photographer/collector Dennis Hopper had a reunion Sunday for some of Venice Beach’s renegade artists from the 1960s and early 1970s at a new and very unusual gallery, Azzurra, in Marina del Rey. Like Hopper, the artists, who virtually created the now internationally famous L.A. art scene 40-some years ago, are all now acclaimed and renowned. During the party, the artists posed in front of Hopper’s monumental billboard-sized photograph “Double Standard, 1961” for a group photograph. Among the artists scheduled to attend the reunion were Peter Alexander, Chuck Arnoldi, Tony Berlant, Charles Brittin, William Claxton, Patricia Faure, who now owns a gallery in Santa Monica, Sid Felsen, David Gamble, Joe Goode, Malcolm Lubliner, Jerry McMillan, Allen Ruppersberg and Julian Wasser Alexander said, “In the 60s, the center of the art world was New York and we were just surfers from L.A., 15 to 20 artists, bouncing off each other, trying to make it mutually supportive for all of us.” Goode seconded the notions. “People tried to talk us into moving to New York to be more successful but to the man, all of us stayed because of the weather and the freedom and because we could afford our own studios here.” Alexis Smith, one of the few women to make a major mark on the L.A. art scene during the renegades’ rise, said, “There was no money in the art scene here in the 60s but there was a lot of coolness. It was fun, exciting and it didn’t cost much to live. It was natural, easy yet everyone was flamboyant in their work.” Craig Krull, who owns a gallery in Santa Monica, said, “It was a seminal moment. L.A. was a small art world, the public didn’t acknowledge their work and these guys weren’t aware they were making art history.” “Working in their airy, funky Venice and Santa Monica studios, the artists, painters and photographers in the LA contingent gave birth to the ’Light and Space’ movement. Almost overnight, these artists put L.A. and themselves on the international art world map,” said Tom Barrack, CEO of Colony Capital, the LA-based developer of Azzurra. The high rise residential art gallery has hung 160 symbolic works by the 50 founding artists of the “L.A. Movement” on the 19 floors of the building at 13700 Marina Point Drive, off Lincoln Boulevard in the Marina, a couple of miles from the Venice Beach where it all began.
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