William Hackman "Out of Sight"

Saturday, May 16, 2015 at 2:00 p.m.

Join us at CB1 Gallery for a reading, discussion and book signing with William Hackman, author of Out of Sight, a social and cultural history of Los Angeles and its emerging art scene in the 1950s, 60s, and 70s. Copies will be available for purchase.

The history of modern art typically begins in Paris and ends in New York. Los Angeles was out of sight and out of mind, viewed as the apotheosis of popular culture, not a center for serious art.

Out of Sight chronicles the rapid-fire rise, fall, and rebirth of L.A.’s art scene, from the emergence of a small bohemian community in the 1950s to the founding of the Museum of Contemporary Art in 1980. Included are some of the most influential artists of our time: painters Edward Ruscha and Vija Celmins, sculptors Ed Kienholz and Ken Price, and many others.

A book about the city as much as it is about the art, Out of Sight is a social and cultural history that illuminates the ways mid-century Los Angeles shaped its emerging art scene—and how that art scene helped remake the city.

“In Out of Sight, William Hackman calls 1962 Los Angeles’s annus mirabilis…[Out of Sight] capture[s] the era…comprehensively and clearly.”—The Wall Street Journal

“It has the texture of life as it is actually lived…One of [Outs of Sight’s] chief pleasures is Hackman’s careful and extensive use of the voluminous oral histories that have been recorded over decades by artists, dealers, critics, collectors, curators and more, and which are archived at UCLA, the Smithsonian Institution’s Archives of American Art and elsewhere. The author also has a personal trove of interviews he conducted, some more than 25 years ago. Sundry distinct voices are stitched together to shape the unfolding narrative.” —The Los Angeles Times

“[A] fascinating new history of the 1960s Los Angeles art scene… Hackman has written [LA] it back in [to the story].” —The Guardian US Online

“A deeply absorbing account of the midcentury years during which Los Angeles’s once-marginal art scene transformed into a prominent locus of the avant-garde. …The author’s prose is engaging, infused with deft turns of phrase…A thoroughly researched history of a great city’s creative zeitgeist, recalling a time when art and artists were more accessible; this will appeal to anyone interested in contemporary art.” —Library Journal

“William Hackman’s Out of Sight is an intelligent, incisive, never-facile account of the California art scene and its romantic beginnings in the ’50s and ’60s. Read this book if you want to know about Ken Price, Vija Celmins, Ed Ruscha, and Bruce Nauman or, in other words, if you want to know about America’s coolest artists.” —Deborah Solomon, author of American Mirror: The Life and Art of Norman Rockwell


About the Author

William Hackman is a former managing editor at the J. Paul Getty Trust and a longtime arts journalist who has written extensively about art, music, and theater for general audiences. His essays, articles, and reviews have appeared in major American newspapers and magazines, including the Chicago Tribune, the Philadelphia Inquirer, and the Los Angeles Times. The author of two previous books—The Los Angeles County Museum of Art, for the Art Spaces series (Scala: 2008); and Inside the Getty (J. Paul Getty Trust: 2008)—Hackman lives in Los Angeles.

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