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Gagosian Gallery

What's on: Ferus Gallery retrospective

Gagosian Gallery

Ferus Gallery was the most underground, radical, provocative and penniless gallery in Los Angeles or anywhere else, which makes the fact that its first full-scale retrospective should be mounted at Gagosian’s Chelsea hangar all the more deliciously incongruous. This is a truly wonderful exhibition (12 September-19 October) that fills an aching gap in art history and provides an exemplary lesson in how to revive the relatively recent past in a dynamic and engaging manner. For the decade between 1957 and 1967 Ferus was of central importance throughout America as a beacon of ambitious, dangerous activity. Irving Blum is interviewed in the impeccable, illustrated catalogue and explains just how defiantly non-commercial his space was. Including works by everyone from Wally Berman to De Feo and Roy Lichtenstein, the exhibition includes some now super-expensive objects: a Warhol soup can painting, Ruscha canvases and early Judds. The only thing missing in this exhilarating compilation is any work by Cameron, one of the “Crowleyan” magicians centred round the California Institute of Technology, whose “supernatural copulating couple” led to obscenity charges against Ferus in 1957. Otherwise this exceptional exhibition is enough to make one forgive Gagosian his success, a perfect complement to the news that his own LA gallery is expanding by another 2,000 square-feet.