Generally favorable reviews - based on 9 Critics What's this?

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  • Summary: The Cool School is the story of American art in the 1950s and '60s, LA's coming of age, and a distinctive, fraternal group of headstrong talents. The renowned Ferus Art Gallery groomed certain members of the LA art scene from a loose band of idealistic beatniks into a coterie of competitive, often-brilliant artists. What was lost and gained is tied up in complex web of egos, passions, money, and art. The Cool School is about San Francisco versus LA, New York versus LA, commercialism, and bohemianism. Ferus managed to do for art in LA what the museums would not; the gallery gave birth to a vibrant, coalescing scene. Assemblage art, abstract expressionism, or Pop--the men of Ferus shared ideas, goals, studios, women, and a vision. The Cool School is an extraordinary lesson in how a city can build an art scene from scratch without losing its soul. (Tremolo Productions) Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 7 out of 9
  2. Negative: 0 out of 9
  1. The rare footage of '50s and '60s L.A. alone is a treasure; the City of Angels has rarely looked so hip. Bonus: cool music from the likes of Charles Mingus and the Velvet Underground.
  2. Reviewed by: Ken Fox
    Happily, many of the figures spoken about throughout the film are still with us -- Neville is even able to reproduce Patricia Foure's famous group photo with most of its original subjects.
  3. Reviewed by: Kenneth Baker
    Takes its title from an early Artforum article that described the sleek aesthetic of the then-new Southern California art.
  4. Reviewed by: John Anderson
    What The Cool School does so well, through its color accents and black-and-white photography, through the kinetic music that propels Jeff Bridges' narration by and the unorthodox attitude that reflects the artists themselves, is impart a sense of discovery.
  5. Reviewed by: Nathan Lee
    All told, and well told, this is essential history.
  6. 63
    Filmed largely in black and white, The Cool School includes interviews with one of the gallery's founders, Ed Kienholz, as well as with Dennis Hopper, Dean Stockwell and architect Frank Gehry.
  7. 60
    The cultural cock-strutting gets to be a bit much, but Neville handily captures the excitement of an art scene percolating, breaking wide open, and finally burning itself out.

See all 9 Critic Reviews