L.A. Artists
A painting by Ed Ruscha; Dennis Hopper's photograph of Jasper Johns

In the 1960s, Los Angeles's warm weather, cheap rents and groovy vibe attracted painters short on money but long on ambition. Three new gossipy, image-filled books chronicle the heady days of freewheeling creativity that put Los Angeles on the international art map.

In Rebels in Paradise: The Los Angeles Art Scene and the 1960s, author Hunter Drohojowska-Philp discusses how then-unknowns-- including Ed Ruscha, Edward Kienholz and John Baldessari--blossomed away from New York's stranglehold of abstract expressionism. There's also the story of how a little gallery called Ferus gave a young Manhattan window dresser named Andy Warhol his first solo show.

Ed Ruscha's Los Angeles is a compact volume detailing how the handsome artist (who still works in Venice today) elevated text-laden freeway gas stations, motels and billboards into iconic Los Angeles imagery.

Lush, large-format Dennis Hopper: Photographs 1961-1967 shows an intimate, bygone Los Angeles. Not yet a household name, Hopper was a 1960s art-world insider who snapped everyone from heavyweights like Jasper Johns, Robert Rauschenberg and Andy Warhol to the Hollywood stars littering parties at his own contemporary art-filled home.

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