The Cool School is an object lesson in how to build an art scene from scratch and what to avoid in the process.
The film focuses on the seminal Ferus Gallery, which groomed the Los Angeles art scene from a loose band of idealistic beatniks into a coterie of competitive and often brilliant artists, including Ed Kienholz, Ed Ruscha, Craig Kauffman, Wallace Berman, Ed Moses, and Robert Irwin.
The Ferus also served as launching point for New York imports Andy Warhol (hosting his first Soup Can show), Jasper Johns, and Roy Lichtenstein, as well as leading to the first Pop Art show and Marcel Duchamp’s first retrospective.
What was lost and gained is tied up in a complex web of egos, passions, money, and art. This is how LA came of age, featuring Irving Blum, Walter Hopps, Ed Ruscha, Frank Gehry, Dennis Hopper, Ed Kienholz, Billy Al Bengston, John Baldessari, Dean Stockwell, Larry Bell, and Ken Price. Directed by Morgan Neville and narrated by Jeff Bridges.
DVD. 86 minutes.