povera trend and the LA art scene. To explain the connection between the LA art scene and the arte povera trend further I need to take a slight detour and take a look at the different ways that dealers can approach the sale of fine art.
When a dealer decides to open a new gallery or take on a new market, there are several options that they have when it comes to deciding how they are going to approach that market. The options are:
A. Discovering and promoting emerging young talent
B. Selling the work of well established and highly recognisable artists
C. Reviving and promoting the work of artists from the past who were either overlooked or just not considered worthy at the time they were most active.
The market for emerging talent in LA is obviously flourishing, as is the market for the work of famous LA artists such as Hockney and Ruscha, which leaves option C as the option with the most potential for dealers. Art critic Mat Gleason recently wrote a piece for the Huffington Post titled ‘The Ten Most UNDERRATED Los Angeles Art World Stars’ ( see article here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mat-gleason/the-ten-most-underrated-l_b_684359.html ). What made me particularly excited to find this article was the fact that three of the artists were artists that produced work that fits in perfectly with the arte povera trend; the second connection between the LA art scene and the arte povera trend. The current progression of this trend suggests that these three artists – George Herms, Lynn Foulkes and Michael C. McMillen – will begin to get the recognition they deserve as dealers continue to look for “new” artistic talent to promote in the form of overlooked artists from the past.
One of the reasons that LA is such an important location for the arte povera trend is the strong connection that LA has with artistic movements and cultural trends that relate strongly to the concepts and characteristics of arte povera. An influential beatnik trend that emerged in LA during the 50’s and 60’s was partially responsible for one of the most significant arte povera related (even though it appears to have predated arte povera) art trends to emerge in LA – the California Assemblage movement. According to the Laguna Art Museum website:
“Historically speaking, California Assemblage art was most prominent in the 1950s and 60s. The California Assemblage movement was born out of the Beat Generation of artists and poets, and George Herms was an active participant. Herms, whose work dates back to the early 1950s, is seen as one of the last living luminaries of the California Assemblage movement. Herms’ reclamation and reverence for the found object, along with his appreciation and use of entropy as an active and constant force operating on it, are the tools he uses to transform the detritus of our society into his artworks.”
The connections that I have made over the last few posts between arte povera, assemblage, collage, Latin American art and the