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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.

This exhibition contains mature content. Visitor discretion is advised.


Major support for this exhibition has been provided by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors and the Los Angeles County Arts Commission, Pasadena Arts & Culture Commission and the City of Pasadena Cultural Affairs Division, H. Leslie and Elaine S. Hoffman Foundation, Bente and Gerald E. Buck, and Cathie and David Partridge.

Additional support has been provided by Ann and Olin Barrett, Lawrence Kelly, Joan Rehnborg, Elinor and Rubin Turner, Frank S. Wyle, and Sullivan Goss – An American Gallery.

This exhibition catalogue is made possible by a grant from the Getty Foundation.

For more information on the catalogue or to purchase, please visit our online store.

Pacific Standard Time


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Image Credits:

Rico Lebrun, Untitled (Three figures), 1960. Ink wash on paper, 18 × 18 ½ inches. Private collection.

Jan Stussy, The False Accuser, 1968. Mixed media on masonite, 48 × 48 inches. Collection of Woodbury University.
William Brice, Untitled (Malibu Figure), 1968. Oil on canvas, 69 ½ × 59 inches. Courtesy of the William Brice Estate
and LA Louver Gallery, Venice, CA.