Billy Al Bengston, Los Angeles Watercolor, 1958
Ferus: A Visual Conversation
Sep 7 – Oct 8, 2022
JD Malat Gallery
London, UK

JD Malat Gallery is thrilled to announce the historic group show Ferus: A Visual Conversation which will showcase never before seen artworks by Billy Al Bengston, John Altoon, Ed Moses, Craig Kauffman, and Giorgio Morandi. Opening the new season with an exhibition dedicated to the artistic relationships that flourished within the Ferus Gallery, JD Malat Gallery seeks to examine the centrality of visual exchange amongst these established figures during the 1950s and 1960s.

For just nine years, from 1957–1966, the Ferus Gallery was one of the most important galleries in Los Angeles, helping to launch a generation of artists who would go on to have international careers, as well as bringing a number of East Coasts artists, including Andy Warhol, Josef Albers, Giorgio Morandi, Frank Stella and Roy Lichtenstein to the West Coast. The Ferus Gallery has since been celebrated for its role in the development of the nascent art scene in Los Angeles and the emergence of the Cool School.

Knowledge and experience exchange was the driving force at the Ferus Gallery, which led to the formation of artistic friendships. The artists gathered, discussed, critiqued, and inspired each other, sharing a similar ideology – to challenge the canons of artistic practice. From drawing inspiration from motorcycle culture and glossy fashion magazines, to exploring flora and fauna, the Ferus group of artists had a shared passion for reflecting on mutual interests within visual culture to produce diverse and energetic artworks.

At the heart of each Ferus exhibition was the opening, when the artists would come together, talk, drink, and listen to music but also look at the art on the walls. Ferus: A Visual Conversation seeks to explore and imagine some of these conversations, to consider what connections may have been made with the works on display, and to celebrate these occasions as more than social gatherings but as a potential creative crucible.

The exhibition will showcase artworks which were passed amongst the artists as gifts, and display unique visual materials sourced from private collections, the artists’ studios and their families and friends, to unveil unusual never before seen canvases and sketches. With a catalogue foreword written by Dr Richard Davey, the leading art historian on Ed Moses and co-curator of the exhibition, we are thrilled to offer an immersive and informative experience which shines a new light on the significance of visual exchange and friendship at the Ferus Gallery.

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