Making the Scene: Assemblage, Pop Art and Locality in 1960s Los Angeles


Luce/ACLS Dissertation Fellowships in American Art


Art History


My project asks how pop and assemblage artists working in Southern California responded in their work to the changing relationship between art and place in the 'fragmented metropolis' of 1960s Los Angeles. I examine how key artists, such as Wallace Berman, Edward Kienholz, Billy Al Bengston, and Ed Ruscha, helped to produce within this unlikely cultural geography a new art community. While previous scholarship on these artists has situated their stylistic development in isolation or in the terms of the New York art world, my study performs a contextualization of their work within the cultural landscape of Los Angeles. Ultimately, I address how the specific forces that transformed the Los Angeles art world in the 1960s required these artists to negotiate shifting meanings of the national and the local, the public and the private, and the sites of commerce and community.