new-york

“Ferus”

Gagosian Gallery

The art of what used to be called (proudly by its fans, derisively by its detractors) the Ferus “boys club” is back. And it looks pretty damned good after the museum-quality exhibition of key work from Los Angeles’s breakthrough Ferus Gallery (1957–66) at Gagosian’s Chelsea branch. The show was curated by the former Ferus majordomo, kettledrum-voiced Cary Grant stunt double Irving Blum. The first thing you encountered, by way of introduction, was a spate of black-and-white photographs of young, raffish, ’60s-suave Ed Ruscha, Craig Kauffman, and Larry Bell, all looking as smart-ass elegant as their art. And their art, along with that of John Altoon, Robert Irwin, Billy Al Bengston, Ed Moses, and Ken Price, made Ferus the contemporary Kunstkapital of Los Angeles four decades ago. The gallery was started on La Cienega Boulevard in 1957 by the bombastic assemblagist Ed Kienholz and the flakily

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