The Cool School | Chicago Reader

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Morgan Neville's talking-head documentary revisits the wild and woolly modern-art scene that flourished around the Ferus Gallery in Los Angeles during the late 50s and much of the 60s, temporarily smashing the city's reputation as an artistic backwater. Most of the major players—gallery owners Walter Hopps, Edward Kienholz, and Irving Blum; artists Robert Irwin, Kenneth Price, Craig Kauffman, Ed Moses, Ed Ruscha, and Billy Al Bengston—are still around to celebrate themselves and each other, their chorus augmented by such famous fans as Dennis Hopper, Dean Stockwell, and Frank Gehry. The cultural cock-strutting gets to be a bit much, but Neville handily captures the excitement of an art scene percolating, breaking wide open, and finally burning itself out. 86 min.

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