L.A. RAW: Abject Expressionism in Los Angeles 1945–1980, From Rico Lebrun to Paul McCarthy

The figurative artists, who dominated the postwar Los Angeles art scene until the late 1950s, have largely been written out of today’s art history. L.A. RAW: Abject Expressionism in Los Angeles 1945-1980, From Rico Lebrun to Paul McCarthy traces the distinctive aesthetic of figurative expressionism from the end of World War II, bringing together over 120 works by forty-one artists in a variety of media–painting, sculpture, photography and performance. The exhibition places both lesser- and better-known artists in a historical context, giving unique insight into the reactions to World War II and the atomic bomb; to the repressions of the Eisenhower Era; to the fallout of 1960s idealism; and to ongoing racial and gender struggles. The passionate consistency of all the artists–whose work often depicts a boldly honest, stripped-down view of humanity in its rawest, most elemental state–demonstrates the ongoing relevance of expressionism as a primary approach to art making.

Curated by Michael Duncan and part of the Getty Foundation’s initiative “Pacific Standard Time: Art in L.A. 1945-1980,” L.A. RAW: Abject Expressionism in Los Angeles 1945-1980, From Rico Lebrun to Paul McCarthy is accompanied by a 208 page catalogue, a much-needed reference for the study of post-war American figurative art.