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Secret Exhibition by Rebecca Solnit
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Secret Exhibition (1990)

by Rebecca Solnit

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Secret Exhibition chronicles a vital California art movement, focusing on six artists Wallace Bergman, Jess, Bruce Conner, Jay DeFeo, Wally Hendrick, and George Herms who broke new ground with provocative work, especially in assemblage and mixed-media projects. This important though relatively little-documented 1950s' avant-garde flourished on the West Coast, where the artists were free to create art that was as subversive as it was uncommercial. The story of these artists and their close associates Beat Generation poets, experimental filmmakers, and musicians who were also breaking away from formalism and convention is told here against the backdrop of the Korean and Vietnam wars, postwar growth, and the rise of a vigorous counterculture. With first-hand accounts by writers and artists, passages from letters, poems, and ephemeral publications, Secret Exhibition brings together a complex picture of an exciting era; and more than a hundred illustrations in black and white and color make it a visual record of an essential chapter in contemporary American art.… (more)

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