A Finding Aid to the Irving Blum Gallery and Ferus Gallery Announcements,
1961-1973, in the Archives of American Art, by Jayna M. Hanson
Funding for the processing and digitization of this collection was provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art
Table of Contents:
- Historical Note
- Overview of the Collection
- How to Use the Collection
- Detailed Description and Container Inventory
In 1957, Walter Hopps (1932-2005) and Edward Kienholz (1927-1994) opened the contemporary art Ferus Gallery on North La Cienega Boulevard in Los Angeles, California. Kienholz sold his share to Irving Blum (b. 1930) one year later. Hopps left in 1962 to become curator and, later, director of the Pasadena Art Museum. Ferus Gallery closed in 1966 and Irving Blum maintained sole ownership and changed the gallery's name to Irving Blum Gallery.
Ferus Gallery was the first gallery in the Los Angeles area to show contemporary American art, and focused heavily on contemporary Southern California artists, such as John Altoon, Larry Bell, Billy Al Bengston, Wallace Berman, Robert Irwin, Craig Kauffman, Ed Kienholz, Ed Moses, Richard Ruben, among many others. Likewise, Ferus Gallery helped to solidify the reputations of many established New York artists, including Roy Lichtenstein, Jasper Johns, Frank Stella, Richard Diebenkorn, Andy Warhol, and others.
The inaugural exhibition at the Ferus Gallery was "Objects on the New Landscape Demanding of the Eye" (March 15 - April 11, 1957), a group show including the work of Frank Lobdell, Jay DeFeo, Craig Kauffman, Richard Diebenkorn, John Altoon and Clyfford Still. Los Angeles artists who had their first solo shows at the gallery included: Wallace Berman (1957), Billy Al Bengston (1958), Ed Moses (1958), Robert Irwin (1959), John Mason (1959), Kenneth Price (1960), Llyn Foulkes (1962), Larry Bell (1962) and Ed Ruscha (1963).
In 1957 the gallery was temporarily closed after LAPD officers arrested and charged Wallace Berman with obscenity over work in his exhibition. It was his first and last solo show.
In 1962 "Andy Warhol: Campbell's Soup Cans" was Andy Warhol's first solo pop art exhibition and the first exhibition of the Soup Cans. Five of the canvases sold for $100 each, but Blum bought them back to keep the set intact.
Irving Blum designed many of the exhibition announcements for the gallery with a graphic aesthetic.
In 2007, "The Cool School" was released, a documentary film about the Ferus Gallery and its eccentric artists.
Overview of the Collection
Scope and Contents
The Irving Blum Gallery and Ferus Gallery announcements consist of 32 announcements for exhibitions at the Los Angeles Ferus Gallery (1957-1966) and its successor the Irving Blum Gallery (1966-circa 1972). Exhibition announcements are for many exhibitions of southern California contemporary and pop artists, as well as New York artists. Artists represented by announcements include John Altoon, Don Bachardy, Larry Bell, Billy Al Bengston, Robert Irwin, Jasper Johns, Donald Judd, Craig Kauffman, Roy Lichtenstein, Edward Moses, Kenneth Noland, Ad Reinhardt, Ed Ruscha, Frank Stella, and Andy Warhol, among others.
Although these announcements are scattered, they provide insight to and documentation of the southern California LA art scene and the Beat era. The exhibition announcements themselves are quite unique.
Arrangement and Series Description
The collection is arranged as 2 series:
- Series 1: Ferus Gallery Announcements, 1961-1965 (Box 1; 20 folders)
- Series 2: Irving Blum Gallery Announcements, 1969-1972 (Box 1; 12 folders)
Subjects and Names
This collection is indexed in the online catalog of the Archives of American Art under the following terms:
- Altoon, John, 1925-
- Bachardy, Don, 1934-
- Bell, Larry, 1939-
- Bengston, Billy Al
- Irwin, Robert, 1928-
- Johns, Jasper, 1930-
- Judd, Donald, 1928-
- Kauffman, Craig, 1932-
- Lichtenstein, Roy, 1923-
- Moses, Ed, 1926-
- Noland, Kenneth, 1924-
- Reinhardt, Ad, 1913-1967
- Ruscha, Edward
- Stella, Frank
- Warhol, Andy, 1928-
- Art galleries, Commercial -- California -- Los Angeles
- Ferus Gallery (Los Angeles, Calif.)
Mrs. Rochella Orchard donated the Ferus Gallery and Irving Blum Gallery announcements on February 22, 1979.
Separated and Related Materials
Also found at the Archives of American Art is an oral history interview with Irving Blum conducted by Paul Cummings on May 31-June 23, 1977.
How the Collection was Processed
The collection was microfilmed on reel 3002 upon receipt. Later, the collection was fully processed and described by Jayna Hanson in October 2008 and scanned in 2009 with funding provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art.
How to Use the Collection
Restrictions on Use
The collection has been digitized and is available online via AAA's website.
Ownership & Literary Rights
The Irving Blum Gallery and Ferus Gallery announcements are owned by the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution. Literary rights as possessed by the donor have been dedicated to public use for research, study, and scholarship. The collection is subject to all copyright laws.
The collection was digitized in 2009 and is available via the Archives of American Art's website.
How to Cite this Collection
Irving Blum Gallery and Ferus Gallery and announcements, 1961-1972. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Detailed Description and Container Inventory
Series 1: Ferus Gallery Announcements, 1961-1965 (Box 1; 20 folders)
Exhibition announcements for Ferus Gallery arranged in chronological order. Exhibition announcements for Ferus Gallery arranged in chronological order.
Series 2: Irving Blum Gallery Announcements, 1969-1972 (Box 1; 12 folders)
Exhibition announcements for the Irving Blum Gallery arranged in chronological order.